Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Recovery, resmovery!

Per the political pundits, tv economists and politicians ... Dow exceeds 10,000!! .. we've recovered.  Yeah, like that's never happened before.


Tell that to the 16-18% unemployed individuals, yours truly included, and those with their impending job loss due to downsizing and outsourcing.


It's been a week, and no word from my last interview.  My guess is that 'they found someone else'.  The description of the job is somewhat perplexing, that is, there are two different versions of the important skills needed, depending upon who one talks to.


So, I have two other possible gigs, as I await for corporate decisions to be made.  One could say they are being cautious, but I'm not buying it.   I wonder if I changed my last name to Smith or Patel, would it make a difference?  I prepared for the negative, so I won't dwell on it after this.  Next!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Finally! A Job Interview

Eight months have passed.  I had one technical interview to assess my skillset about three months ago.  Nothing came from that, as I had not expected it to, due to the inexperience of the recruiter and her firm.  I've sent out countless cover letters with my credentials, posted my resume on boards and emailed to those who my friends have suggested.  Out of those, I got two actual rejection emails.  Still no interest, until last week. 


I got one email from an ex co-worker inquiring if I'm open to an upcoming project in Tampa.  I said 'Sure, I'm open'.  The next day, I got a phone call from a recruiter in Jacksonville, FL about a short-term contract there, which just so happened to be with the same firm that my friend emailed about the day before.  Ok, now I'm thinking my budgeting timing theory is unfolding (more opportunities near the end of 3rd quarter into beginning of fourth quarter budgeting theory ... spend money now or lose it for next year).  Then, the following day, I got a call about my submission for a job at JPMorganChase (which I had applied for in August, with no response).  Lo and behold, I've finally landed a more realistic interview with JPMorganChase, where Deb works.  I had a brief interview with HR, and then had an technical interview with three guys in the technical group that has the opening.  It seemed to go well, despite me not being able to completely dazzle them.  At least, I think I ended with good rapport ... I had them laughing.  My weekly golf outing with the JPMChase boys may be proving to be beneficial, since I did get an insider referral.  We'll see if I was up to their standards ... waiting to see what is next in store for me .. another interview or maybe an offer of some type.  I'm not going to even mention a rejection so as to not jinx myself.  Oh, too late. 


In the meantime, I've yet to hear anything regarding the other two contract leads.  Maybe in the next few days, something will come about.  Maybe I'll just call the Jacksonville recruiter tomorrow to followup.  


My long vacation may be coming to an end soon.  I hope so, but then again I was getting used to "forced retirement" and the "self-domestication".  Maybe I can now pay someone else for those things-to-do that I neglected to do myself.  That will be my contribution for economic recovery.  Well, I shouldn't count my chickens before they hatch.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Squeakie and her Mom

Whatcha lookin' at, Momma?




Check out my nails!
Cousin Heather ain't got nuttin' on me :)


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Gold and Dollar

The dollar is tanking ... Gold has reached record highs; and Bernanke says the recession is over. You haven't seen nothin', yet. Things aren't what they seem to be. People jumping back into stock market are in for a rude awakening, if they don't heed the warning and get out when they should. It ain't over til the fat lady sings ... she's no where to be found.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Buy American Gold or should I say "Let the Govt short change you"

Now I've noticed more ads touting buying gold to preserve wealth. These are dealers that have purchased gold from the US Mint and various other sources. They are starting to sell more aggressively, because they know the demand is there and plus the price of gold is rising. The more buyers for a supply that remains relatively constant or even slightly decreasing, will cause prices to move up even more. What is being touted for purchase? American Gold Eagles. I've researched this and have come to the conclusion, that for the best bang for your buck in legal tender gold coins, it's NOT the American Gold Eagle. Other legal tender gold coins; such as, the Canadian Maple Leaf, Austrian Philharmonic, Chinese Panda, Australian Nuggets and even the US Gold Buffalo are better deals in my opinion.

Why? Those coins are 24k gold which is .999 fine gold (I think it's not 100%, because they add .001 of a hardener alloys. Pure gold is extremely malleable). The American Gold Eagle is 22K (.916) gold. Not a huge amount of difference in content, but a difference just the same. The market may not care about the difference, but should the investor? Maybe or maybe not. I guess that depends upon how much gold you have and how high gold prices will rise when the dollar tanks.



UPDATE:
I don't know what I'm talking about here. Fineness of less than .999 / 24k (pure gold) 1 oz gold, such as 22k American Gold Eagle, does not mean there is less gold in 1 troy oz coins. It means there are more "other" metals in there, like copper and silver. Consquently, a 22k gold coin will weigh a bit more than a troy oz. due to the added metal alloys. It still has 1 troy oz. of pure gold.


Never mind .......

What's that big suckin' sound?

I have to explore different investment ideas, as the stock market has sucked big time. My retirement funds have gone nowhere in the past ten years, so I have to take actual control of things. To hell with the old adages, "Invest for long-term with dollar-cost averaging" and "Buy and hold". That just hasn't worked, at least not for me. I will directly manage its growth and possibly invest it into my own business. I'm on the fence about the business, or maybe too apprehensive to jump into the fire today. It certainly doesn't look like a good time to go into business for yourself, but then maybe it is the best time.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Cash for Your Gold

Unless you've been deeply submerged in mind entertainment and haven't noticed, there seems to be a lot of ads for selling your 'old gold' jewelry for cash. Why do I even bring this up? Those that are 'buying' your old gold, are doing so to extract and meltdown the actual gold content in the old jewelry (14k to 18k), which amounts to 58 - 75% gold content. They're not going to pay anywhere near what the gold content would get on the open market, probably 50% of that. When they melt it down and create pure gold bars, they then profit up to 100% or more. Pretty good returns for those buyers. It would appear that gold demand is falling and supplies are rising with all of the selling by the public. I think the opposite is happening. Why? For instance, you can't buy a US minted gold coin from the US Mint now, because the demand has outstripped the supply of gold needed to produce them, and we've just only passed the half year mark. So what, you say? Cash or the 'great' American dollar has declined some 20% in the last two to three years ... inflation. You can't buy the same amount of stuff you could just a few years ago. Gold has increased 35% in dollar value in that same period. So, if you sell your stuff now, you're basically getting 25 - 30% of the worth of the gold content, if that much. That's a super bargain for those buying.

So, unless you need the cash, I personally would just hold on to the old stuff. Or, have some jeweler that you trust, melt it down for you and keep the gold in raw form. It will retain its value, not in terms of the dollar, but in what it can buy, regardless of the economy. Think about it. The value of things haven't really changed that much. The only thing that has changed is the value of the dollar. Inflation has decreased the buying power of dollars dramatically over the years.

Here's a true life example: In 1976, a person making $10,000 a year could buy a new well-equipped (with a/c & radio) Honda Accord for around $4000. (By the way, that was my first car purchase with my own money). Now, if my salary is $60,000 a year, I can buy a new well-equipped (albeit with XM radio and a/c) Honda Accord for six times the 1976 price @ $24,000. Try this with anything that you can remember, and convert the price and you'll see what I mean.

Now try it using gold prices of the time. In 1976, avg gold price was about $147 an ounce. It took about 27 oz. of gold to buy that Accord. Now, the avg gold price in 2009 so far, is approximately $900 an ounce. It takes about 26.67 oz. of gold to buy the current Accord. Things still are valued the same, it's just the dollar that screws everything up. Gold has held its own and is the only true money. The dollar is fiat currency, based on a promise .. it's an IOU. There's word on the streets that a new currency will take the place of the US dollar as the world currency. When the world dumps the dollar, all bets are off! Look out!

I'm getting too "long winded". You could say I've got 'too much time on my hands' ... there's a song in my head .. can you say 'Styx'?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Coffin Nails

I used to smoke. A pack and a half a day habit. I knew it was not a good thing to do, but a habit is hard to break, as I had stopped temporarily 3 or 4 times. I had not quit, despite stopping for a good 6 months once. My uncle-in-law told me he quit for four years then started again. I simply said, 'You didn't quit, you just stopped temporarily'. When you quit, it is for good. I haven't smoked a cigarette in 20 years. Unless I start again before I die, chances are that I have quit; otherwise, I would have just stopped temporarily. Yes, everyone used to say it looks cool, especially when you're a young teenager or even a young adult, but the fact of the matter, it looks pretty stupid. ('Stupid is as stupid does' doesn't apply here.) The 'looking cool' doesn't cut it any more. The 'It calms my nerves' excuse is bullshit. I know people who have all kinds of weird ailments, and will flat out deny that any of it has to do with cigarette smoking. I'm no doctor, but common sense should tell you that you probably wouldn't have those kind of ailments if you weren't a smoker. Smokers are like people who have bad body odor. We walk away from them. (Yes, there is good body odor, but we rarely use the word 'odor' to describe them. They just smell good.)

I believe I helped my brother quit his 20-year smoking habit, although he may not admit to it. I told him that someone I worked with died of a heart attack, a smoker who I thought was 10 years older than me because he looked it, but who was actually 4 years younger than me. Other co-workers vowed to quit after this one's death. I decided to evoke his intelligence. I told him that those co-workers were not going to quit, because they were losers and wouldn't be able to. I know my brother, and told him 'You're not a loser. You have more will power than I ever had'. Anyway, a month later he told me he quit cold turkey, and to my knowledge has not smoked since some 8 years later. I was right. His will power is much stronger than mine. He could even be around smokers without wanting to light up himself. His wife still smokes. I didn't quit cold the first time I stopped. About the fifth time, I did, but I had to self-hypnotize myself. I actually stopped myself from thinking about cigarettes. If one popped into my head, I erased it immediately. Eventually, I had no desire for one. I guess I hypnotized myself to disassociate cigarettes from my life. Don't underestimate the power of suggestion.

Perception is what smoking is all about; perception of yourself and how you want others to see you. What most smokers usually fail to see is others' actual perception of you. I just look at smokers, and say to myself, 'How smart can that person really be?' Not meaning cognitive intelligence, but emotional intelligence. There are no physical or psychological positives associated with smoking, and you can't convince me otherwise. There is nothing to "miss".

Ok, I'm off of my soap box ... do whatever you want. It's your life. Who the hell am I anyway? I have no right to say anything. I'll shut up now. Don't get me started, Missie!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Changing One's Life

I'm remembering back to 1988 when I made the biggest change in my life, next to getting divorced ten years earlier. I was unattached and lived by myself with my cat, Miss Kitty. I had adopted her when she was 1 year old around 1985. She made all of the subsequent moves (I counted six times) with me until 2004 when she went to kitty heaven. I digress. In 1988, I had co-worker friends, tennis friends and my dating scene had run its course. I rarely frequented bars, as it was no fun going to them by myself. I was no pickup artist. After I stopped doing that, I found myself killing time by driving around the streets of Little Rock until I got really bored and went back home. That was probably the darkest hours of my single-mindedness. I wanted to be a single playboy type without a care and I was. But after the fun had run its course, I realized my dating partners were just temporary escorts that I spent money on. No love there, so what was the point. I was single but I was just freakin' lonely. I knew the time was right, and I had dreamed of moving to sunny Florida, as I had visited there once during the winter with my ex-wife. The climate was great, as I remember mild warm days in the middle of December, something I had never experienced before. So I looked at a map of Florida, and after having disqualified Miami, Tallahassee and Jacksonville, I set my eyes on Gainesville, because there was potential work there from the sister company of my last employer. Then I saw this "cutout" about halfway down the west coast, which turned out to be Tampa Bay. I said, "hmm" to myself, and decided to check it out. I think I flew in a couple of times, rented a car and traveled around just to see if I could get lost. I found it easy to get around, so when I returned to Little Rock, I then began to search for leads on contracts. I got a lead, then decided to go ahead and move. All my friends said I had "big balls" to just get up and move without knowing anyone there. There was nothing left for me in Little Rock. I put my house up for sale, and two weeks prior to my scheduled move date, I put it up for rent, as I had no offers. My good friend Murray helped me pack and move. We crammed a 12 foot u-haul up to the ceiling with my crap. The rest I gave away to friends. During my loading up, all of the folks I had been friends with (I like to think of them as the ones that actually cared about me) showed up at different times to wish me well and to send me off. I was definitely ready to hit the road. Murray and I drove from Little Rock to Tampa swapping off between driving the u-haul truck and my '85 Biarritz (that was my pimp mobile, nice ride). It took about 22 hours. My closest blood relative is 18-20 hours away in north Mississippi, just south of Memphis. Distance from relatives was not a deciding factor for me. It was primarily the climate and the chance to get away from snowy and icy winters. My skin couldn't take the dry humidity during the winter anymore. Plus, I was ready to embark on another phase of my life, one that I was creating, not just letting happen. Little Rock was my home for 12 years, the longest I had lived anywhere except my home town where I grew up. Now the Tampa Bay area is my home. I moved a total of six times to where Deb and I are now in Wesley Chapel, just north of Tampa. I will have been here 21 years the end of this month. Geez! Time flies. Now my closest family (Deb's blood relatives) is only 30 minutes away. Most of her family was here, but most have moved to Texas. It is alway great to have family close by regardless. To my niece, do your due diligence as you contemplate your next move (as I'm sure you will). Independence and the freedom to move wherever you want is a wonderful thing.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Cooking In my spare time

I've been doing a lot of cooking lately, while I'm semi-retired. I remember when I was in college, I thought I could cook spaghetti sauce, but I realize I had no idea what I was doing and it sucked. (Those that tried it then, were just being nice.) Since I've grown a bit wiser and can at least tell if food is good or not (to my taste), I thought I'd throw out a recipe for meat sauce that I think is pretty tasty, even if I do say so myself. Easy prep and not that long to finish on simmer. It makes a good medium thick sauce; enough for three or four meals for two people, depending on how hungry you are. If you like tomato'er sauce, use more tomatoes and less puree. Also, if there are veggies in here you don't care for, like celery and bell peppers, don't add it. It will taste just fine without it. Don't ask me why the canned tomato stuff comes in such odd sizes, as I have no idea.

Meat Sauce Recipe for Spaghetti or other pasta dishes
By Sam

(Adapted from Donatelli’s)

Ingredients

· 1 pound of lean ground beef (ground round is good)
· 1 tablespoon minced garlic
· Salt and pepper to taste
· 1/8 cup of olive oil or canola oil (4 tablespoons)
· ½ cup of diced onions (white or yellow)
· 1 tablespoon of beef base or 1 cup beef stock
· 1 tablespoon of chicken base or 1 cup chicken stock
· ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
· 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
· 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
· 1 tablespoon Worchester sauce
· ½ cup of red wine
· ½ cup of chopped celery hearts
· ½ cup of chopped bell pepper (any color)

· 1 teaspoon dried or fresh basil, 1 teaspoon dried oregano
Or
· 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning

· 1 - 6 ounce can of tomato paste
* 2 - 10 ounce cans of tomato puree
· 1 – 15 ounce can of crushed tomatoes or diced tomatoes (no salt added preferred)
Or
· 1 – 29 ounce can of crushed tomatoes in puree
· 1 - 10 ounce can of tomato puree
* 1 - 6 ounce can of tomato paste

Optional:
· ¼ cup of chopped black olives
· ½ cup of sliced or rough chopped mushrooms (baby Bella or white)

Directions

· Brown ground beef with minced garlic. Salt and pepper to tasted. Drain and set aside.
· Place oil and onions in saucepan and sauté on medium high heat until onions start to be come translucent, about 5 minutes.
· Add chopped celery and bell pepper, stir and sauté for additional 5 – 8 minutes.
· Add all tomato products.
· Dissolve beef and chicken base in 6-8 ounces of water, if using base. Stir this into sauce.
· Add remaining ingredients: Worchester sauce, ground pepper, granulated garlic, wine, Parmesan cheese, Italian spices
· Allow to heat for 10 minutes over medium-high heat.
· Stir in drained ground beef.
· Cover and simmer on medium-low heat for 1 to 1-1/2 hours.
· If desired, add chopped mushrooms and black olives after ½ - ¾ hour (or just throw them in when you added the ground beef)
· Stir sauce occasionally while simmering. If heat is too high, the sauce will boil excessively and splatter everywhere.

Serve over favorite pasta.

Cooking Pasta

· Add 3 quarts of water to pot.
· Add a tablespoon of olive or canola oil and teaspoon of salt.
· Bring water to slow to medium boil in pot.
· Add pasta to boiling water. Stir occasionally while pasta cooks no longer than 12 minutes for al dente.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Movies Rated

Decided to at least give a short rating for the movies I've watched. Netflix is "da bomb".

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Golf is pretty funny sometimes

This was sent by a golfing buddy who constantly has to take a leak, because he drinks at least one beer for every two holes we play. It's actually a real item for golfers. Wish I had thought of that, or maybe not. Hmmm .. maybe an invention for the lady golfers. (Would that require a funnel?)
video

Monday, May 18, 2009

Screaming (not streaming) video

Tried to help my father-in-law with his pc. Video signal went out on his. It's hard to troubleshoot over the phone, so in a way, I empathize with the tech support guys, wherever they are. My general conclusion was his video card went bad. So, he said he would enlist local son-in-law to help hook up the old IBM pc. No word as to the progress there. I suspect that when they do make this attempt, Sam's PC support will be called. It might be something else causing the problem, like a sleeping non-wakening pc or something.

My video started screaming again ... 2 weeks later. So, I assumed that there had to be others experiencing the same issues. I went to HP site and found a link to the customer forum. Searched about 15-20 minutes and found a thread that outlined almost the same ordeals that I had experienced. With the exception, that someone had determined or was informed that the video drivers needed to be updated, because the manufacturer nVidia encountered these issues from many customers. Basically, there was a software fix to control the fan on the video card. Without the fix, the fan would redline to the max, hence the screaming ja-willies (that is a word, albeit, a colloquial term .. hell, it's a country hick term). The software fix would better detect the need for speed, and throttle down accordingly. Everyone else on the forum didn't believe and some wouldn't even try it. I tried it and whattya know, it worked. I guess I didn't need a new video card in the first place. You'd think that HP tech support would know this by now. Now the only thing I can hear is the super-loud hum from the fluorescent light on my fish tank .. ahh, music to my ears .. well something other than the screaming fan.

Computers .. they're just machines with millions and millions of on-off switches.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

It's lonely in the trenches of computers and such

It's going on 3 months, wait, 4 months since I last did any work in my profession (for pay). I've done my own troubleshooting for my pc when my video card started whining like a banshee, or helped family out. Luckily, I had a warranty with free everything. The hardest part was dealing with "tech support" out of India. First call resulted in proper action, but the order for the replacement card was never placed. Second call was to remedy this and it was .. stayed on phone for 20 minutes or so followed by the supervisor's survey. Two days later, got the new video card and let the service tech install it for me ... didn't cost anything extra, so why not. Three days later, the video card was "dead" so to speak (or not seeing). I opened up the pc tower, and the video card's fan was hanging off one side, no connection; ergo, no video. The third call didn't take very long, and another video card was sent. In the meantime, I figured I could "fix" the "broken" video card myself, until a new one arrived. I used a plastic tie and rigged the fan to the board and it worked fine. Two days later, I get the new card and install it myself. I turned the pc on and guess what, no video. I double-checked the seating and even re-installed the "broken/fixed" card. It worked fine. Just a DOA video card ... quality control from wherever these were made evidently has some loopholes. Another call to "tech support" in India was required. My fourth call took a while to remedy, as the "tech support" rep had to go through her outlined procedures to troubleshoot, despite the fact that I had told her what the problem was. So, with time on my hands, I pretended to go through all of the troubleshooting procedures she was reading through, to see what the outcome would be. After another 20 minutes on the phone, she concluded that I needed to send my pc to HP for servicing. What the f??k??? So, I calmly told her that all I needed was a video card to replace the broken one. That took another 10 minutes for her to place the order. Two days later the replacement video card comes in and I install it and all is well on my desktop again. Real interesting story, huh? Sorry to put you to sleep.

So, why the hell am I still looking for a freaking computer job, yet dimwits on the other side of the world have one? What is wrong with this picture? God HELP us all!!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Two-fer


Into the world comes, Elijah Mead Crider, at 7lbs. 6oz. on March 16. Son of my nephew, Brian, and his wife Jen. It is by pure coincidence that my niece and nephew named their first borns, Elijah. Now, if any of my other nephews and nieces are expecting, please let me know.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

One Down, One to Go!!!


Elijah Michael Burr has arrived. My niece, Melanie, had her 7 lb. baby last night @ 8:57pm. Now, on deck, Jen Crider, my nephew's wife.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Not Getting Any Younger

My oldest nephew, Brian, just turned 36, and he and his wife, Jen, are expecting their first child within weeks. My next to youngest niece, Melanie, and her husband, Josh, are also expecting their first child within weeks. Gonna be a grand-uncle. Geez, that sounds old. I have no blood offspring (that I'm aware of). So, I live vicariously through my nieces and nephews and step-son. Ahh, to be 35 again ..

Wait! Been there, done that. "Repeat to myself ... live in the present, live in the present". Okay, so what. I can still fantasize about the changes I would've made and things I would've or would not have done, if I knew then what I know now. Now that I think about it, there would be way too many things and circumstances to have to consider, not to mention the "butterfly effect". One can only imagine the impact of changing one thing going forward. Since, I'm not in prison right now, I don't think I would change anything after all. Hmm, that just gave me an idea. Not the prison thing, but the "butterfly effect". Let me flutter a bit on that.

I need to submit my resume to some more companies for job opportunities in this down economy. I think the economy is hurting a smaller percentage of people than we think. Everywhere I go, people are still spending money. They also drive as if gasoline was 50cents a gallon. Of course, the closer to home it gets, the more likely the impact of this down economy will be apparent. I'm confident I will find an opportunity sooner than expected. Likewise for Deb, as she plans and prepares for the finalization and end of her job. We've both been in worse "dire straits".

Friday, February 13, 2009

V-Day is here

Seems just yesterday that it was Christmas. Gift time again. I don't usually get much from the spouse on Valentine's Day. It is, by all commercial intent, predominantly for the ladies. Nevertheless, I always enjoy the participation, as I find gift giving a challenge, not a chore. I do get a kick out of surprised and appreciative looks and everything else that comes along with it.

Now my brother is a different story, especially when it comes to his nearest blood relatives (not counting his only child), go figure. He probably finds more enjoyment giving to his in-laws than his own siblings (not that we hold it against him because we don't). For him, it is a hassle, as far as I can tell. I remember one Christmas, when we were still in high school, I hadn't gotten him anything, so I gave him $20. He said, "Here's my gift to you" and handed the $20 bill back to me. That, in a nutshell, should've told me what he thought about all of that back then.

So, I just made a trip to our favorite "Fresh Market" store and loaded up for a nice home dinner, a little surf-n-turf, some wine and extras. No since in trying to get into a restaurant this late in the game, although McDonald's service is pretty quick (NOT). The wife doesn't do fast food, only as a last resort and when there is not a Subway within 50 miles.

My stomach virus is almost gone. Got in some golf practice, too. Lost 5-6 pounds this past week because I didn't have an appetite. Maybe I can keep it at this level now, as I wanted to shed those pounds anyway somehow. A bit closer to my high school weight.

Going to enjoy Valentine's Day. Also, will enjoy the long weekend with President's Day coming up, too.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Wide Awake Again

Can't get to sleep again. It's becoming a habit. So is taking benedryl to make me sleep. Sheepishly, I say, "Oh, I can quit any time". Exchanged a couple of emails with an old high school friend. Haven't seen him since he graduated. The past memories makes one realize how lucky one can be. They say success means different things to different people. I agree ... to me, success means staying out prison. If you're alive and well, why worry. Oversimplication, you say! Maybe, but sometimes the present is all that matters.

Trying to get over a stomach virus that hit me on Monday out of the blue. Not a delightful condition to have. I don't recall ever having a stomach virus before, but I know I've had worse. Since the symptons were familiar to a more serious condition I encountered 3-1/2 years ago, I went to my primary care doctor, just in case. It is a stomach virus .. it's been going around. I'm not sure how one catches it, but I guess the Gasparilla party in south Tampa may have been the source. Could've been the food or the drunk people slobbering on everyone. Hopefully, I'll be over it by tomorrow, cause I want to work on the golf game and play a round this weekend.

Kick in, Benedryl, kick in .. still waiting. No yawning, yet. Maybe, I'll just watch tv.
YAWNNN .. spoke to soon. Now, if I can get my cat to stop chasing bottle caps across the tile floor, I may be able to get some sleep.

Monday, February 9, 2009

jammin' by myself

I still have visions of being a rock star. There is no fear of messing up, when you're jamming by one's self. You screw up, and just start over or not. I hear the foo-pa, but don't care that much. I live in a world without pressure, except that which I place on my own self. The pressure from others is only what you allow ... stay in control.

Now trying to learn the main 'riffs' to 'Hotel California' takes some work. I started it once and only got through about the first 3 measures (or whatever they call it in music). Not being music-literate from a technical standpoint, I play by sight and sound and cheat sheets or guitar tabs (tablatures). These have helped me to learn most of the hard stuff that I picked up, but they still take some work.

Nephew M&M (I tried to nickname him 'Dirty White Boy', but was ignored) got a guitar for Christmas ... learning to play it "right-handed" (he's left-handed), which shouldn't matter since he's a beginner. Learning to play guitar has always been a solitary activity for me. When others are around, it is usually an attempt to jam, which rarely goes well .... let's play this song ... I don't know that song ... show me the chords ... and before too long you're bored with it and stop. I play for myself, and depending upon the number of beers I've had, I might play in front of others.

I think everyone should learn to play some type of musical instrument. Heck, I started with the infamous flutaphone. Played melodies by ear, but then came the guitar and I was hooked. It can be an emotional outlet to a great degree, depending upon your state of mind. I never have given it up, as I try to play every day, when I have the time (of which I have plenty right now). I play the same old tunes, but occasionally, I will remember something that I hadn't played in years.

I finally learned how to tune a guitar to a different key, just to play one song. It definitely sounds better than trying to convert it to another key. 'She talks to Angels' is pretty easy, if you tune the guitar to 'open E' instead of standard tuning.

Blah, blah, blah.
I'm a Pickin' and I'm a grinnin' ... hee, haw!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

I suck at golf

I suck at golf. Well, sometimes. Let me rephrase ... a lot. My worst rounds seem to out number my average and best rounds. It's easy to say, "I just need to practice more". But then you realize that it means, more precisely, practice driving, practice fairway woods, hybrids and medium iron shots from different terrain (like the rough and the woods, not just the fairway .. by the way, if you can't drive consistently, you won't be in the fairway much), practice your long and half pitch shots, long and short chipping and long breaking putts, not to mention trying to hole 98% of your short putts from 6 feet and shorter. Get the picture? Seems like a lot of practice and too little time to play or better yet, to work and earn money so that you can play often on real courses without having to compromise with your other time and expenses. It is a vicious cycle.

So, why keep playing?
I was bitten by the golf bug many years ago and I have not gotten over the 'fever'. It can be a simple game, yet extremely difficult at times, especially for the average golfer like myself. Ok, I really don't consider myself average, because my score average is lower than the national average of 95. I've been averaging around 90 for the past two years. But they say 'Par for the course' is more like 71 and 72, depending upon the course. So, should I be shooting in the 70's? Should and can are miles apart right now. At least, that is what my ultimate goal for this game is. To shoot sub-par rounds would be a fluke for me and I don't need that kind of pressure, not for just playing golf for nothing other than recreation.

Yes, I suck at golf, but I love the game. I guess for me, it's the journey not the destination.