Thursday, July 28, 2005

Bits and one Rant

  • Watched Mind of Mencia on Comedy Central last night freaking hilarious, being Hispanic myself I could relate to a lot of the jokes. Still, I think everyone would find something funny about it.

  • BTW, if you ever get a foot amputated and don’t want to part with it just do what this guy did, but you may have to move to Lawrence KS. Check with your local law enforcement.

  • Freakshow of the week award goes to Noel Divine from Florida.
    Soon to start his junior campaign, Noel is already projected to be a blue-chipper in the recruiting field as a running back. In the pictures found in the link he was 15 years old and doing a 315 lbs bench press and a 225 lb incline. Oh, did I mention he is also the adopted son of Deion Saunders? Deion is moving him to the Dallas area and putting him in a 2A school north of Frisco. To his credit, Noel has gone through a lot for a teenager as both his parents are dead and until the adoption was living at a friend's house.

  • The Space Shuttle Program is grounded again all because of a plate sized piece of foam. Okay I am sure there is much more to this but I am rather disappointed. It is my opinion that we need to stop spending tons of money on the Space Shuttle and start to focus on the next generation vehicle that will take us back to the Moon and Mars. I think we are starting to see the beginning of the end of the Shuttle program. We need to start diverting funds to the next program and get back in the game. Private companies are already able to achieve manned sub-orbital flights on their own and, more than likely, in ten years will be able to get to low even high orbit on their own. While this is not a bad thing I think the US Government should be a leader in this field. I think Congress has to make a rule that NASA will be funded, not with a yearly budget, but with a planned goal based budget that will prevent NASA wasting time begging Congress for scraps every year. I also think NASA should start asking for money from the general public and fundraise like public television does. I am sure there are laws against it but in this case there should not be.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Of Shoes and Ships and Sealing Wax & Cabbages and Kings

If you read this often, you know of Meghan's love of shoes. This relatively new phenomenon has grown because of her recent birthday. She received 4 pair of "dress up shoes" for her birthday and has been clomping around the house ever since. This weekend, while shopping with my mother in law, (who I believe contributed the "Shoe Gene") I saw a harbinger of things to come. Lorenzo and I should buy stock now in all fashion shoe houses, because we are in trouble.
We were in Foley's at Northpark. Meghan's feet are growing and they had a significant sale, so I agreed with Susanna that we should check out the children's shoe section. Meghan was thrilled to see the shoe department. The department was in total disarray because of the sale and lack of salespeople (that's another story), so I sat down on the floor and started sorting through to find some that were her size.
Meghan had a plan of her own. She first demanded "shoes!". This, of course, means "Mom, please take off my current shoes." I obliged. She then started taking random shoes she found and trying them on. If she couldn't get the shoe on herself, she would come to me, take my cheeks in her hands, turn my face toward her and say, "MA!".
I found 5 pair that were her size. 4 pair were tennis shoes of different varieties and one pair were a dressier shoe. They ranged in color from white to pink, some had lights, some had velcro, one had princesses on the side. For those who don't buy kid's shoes, they have some very cool features these days!
Meghan was very willing to try on all 5 pair. She stood up, took a few steps in each. She didn't fall in love with any particular pair. Instead she continued on shopping. She found a pair of size 11 black low top converse that she liked. (She wears a size 6.5.) She found two different pairs of boots she liked. The first was a pink suede, fur lined boot that covered her entire leg because it was so big. The second was a rainbow striped ran boot that was also very big.
If there were ever a time to have a camera phone, shoe shopping with Meghan is that time. I was exasperated by her patience to continue trying on new shoes! I finally selected one pair of the tennis shoes to buy for her. She had no interest in those shoes, though, because she had already tried them on. She would have been perfectly happy trying on shoes until the store closed. My daughter is a shoe salesperson's nightmare at 2. I can only imagine her teen years.
Luckily, after I bought the shoes, she did indeed want to wear them. So in her new pink tennis shoes, she strolled out of Foley's happy with her shoes.
Ships and Sealing Wax and Cabbages and Kings
I didn't really have posts for the others, but had the Lewis Carroll quote in my head.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Of things Blue and Gold....

So as most of you know Lynn and I are Notre Dame alumni. We have just completed an annual ND ritual that ranks high on the list of many alumni.

The Notre Dame Football Ticket Lottery.

This process is very involved. Perhaps too involved in the eyes of observers, who I am sure just don't understand the need for all the fuss. It is just a football game. No, I say. It's Notre Dame Football. BIG Difference.

To say ND makes money off of this lottery is an understatement. I mean, how can they not? Your first step in becoming eligible is to become attend ND and graduate. Thus you just spent a ton on tuition. Second, once you are alumni you have to contribute to the ND Annual Fund in order to get the form that will allow you to enter the lottery. Making the contribution does not guarantee you will get tickets. This contribution is a minimum $50 for Young Alumni (those that have graduated within 7 years) and $100 for Alumni. Once that is taken care of you wait for the lottery form to show up in the mail sometime in April. At this point you pick the games you want to attend and how many tickets you want to buy. Note that there are limits on the number of tickets you can purchase per game. Single ticket prices this year were $56 dollars each. This, of course, is up from last year. Oh, and don’t forget the $15 mandatory service charge for each application. So once this is sent in you get to wait till mid July to get the results. Thankfully, we won tickets on all but one of the games we requested. Ironically, we can only attend one game this year (BYU) so we are helping out others in need with the tickets we will not be able to use. You can figure out that the cost of just getting a ticket can be high, but it is ND Football. You could say we are a bit obsessed.

Now can this possibly be worth it? Well in a word “Yes.” The people that we get to see and times we spend together there are certainly “priceless.” Win or lose, it is like one big party. ND does not have a Homecoming game anymore and has not for quite sometime? Why? Well, it is a moot point. So many alumni come to the games that there is not a need for one. You are bound to see someone you know in a chance meeting.

As of this writing there are 43 days left till kickoff against Pitt. Go Irish! Beat Panthers!

On another ND related note I have recently altered a trombone of mine in anticipation of next years ND Band Alumni Reunion. I know, I know, I am crazy and wacky but I should get good T.V. time, lol. I am including pictures below.

For those who care, this is a used Blessing B128 model I got at a music store. The trombone had been refurbished so I got it at a good price. The hardest part of this process was finding someone who would do a good job relacquering the bell. I had heard of, and seen, other trombones that had custom lacquer jobs but no one in the DFW area does this. Well, not without spray paint and some tape. So I asked around and after about a month heard that Brook Mays bought a respected music store in Abilene that was known for its refurbishment talent and had become their new Brook Mays Refurbishment Center. They also did custom lacquer jobs. SCORE!

After a few email exchanges I was set. Basically, I only wanted the bell of the horn relacquered. The original slide would serve as the ‘gold’ in the blue/gold motif I wanted. The bell had to be stripped of its original lacquer and then nickel plated. The nickel would allow the blue to show up better and not be tinted by the actual brass underneath the original lacquer. Once the nickel set in the blue lacquer was applied. This is just like the normal brass lacquer that is applied to horns, just, well, blue. With the nickel background the blue turns brighter. You take care of the blue lacquer just like you would on a normal horn so there is no hassle with maintenance. I am very pleased to say the least.

Note the mouthpiece. This is a 6 ½ AL Kelly Crystal Blue mouthpiece. It is made out of Lexan which is similar to the material that comprises bulletproof glass and safety eyeglass lenses. This also has the advantage of not conducting heat or cold. Pretty neat huh!

I have figured out how to put some permanent links on the sidebar to the left of this writing so be sure and check those out. It lists other blogs, ND related stuff and trombone related stuff.

  • ND Nation is a message board for ND Sport Fans, and not just football.
  • Blue Gray Sky Blog is another ND Football related link but with great writing and well thought out articles.
  • Jeff Squyres is a very good friend of mine from college and you can see how he is handling is computer related work and twin daughters at the same time.
  • nonchalantsavant post some rather interesting finds on the internet and will entertain you at the office while you are bored
  • The Phantom Professor caused quite a stir at a local university here in Dallas with her behind the scenes look at the state of academics and the mental state of her students. This is good writing and reading.
  • The Online Trombone Journal is the online haven for trombonists around the world.
  • I perform with the NDTC
  • GrooveBone is an internet radio station devoted to trombone performances and the music behind them.

I will list links for Lynn once she tells me what she would like (This is a hint).

Monday, July 11, 2005

Bravery is the heart that loves beyond all reason

Last night, at dinner with a very dear friend, I discovered a new level of respect for those who love deeply, in a very classical "un-requited love".

I remember reading stories and poems written hundreds of years ago obsessing with the idea and complete romance of un-requited love. Oh, to be pined for as the subjects of those works were. That was the ultimate in romance to me.

I really never considered being the "lover" instead of the "love-e". The very idea of putting my heart out there so openly, so exposed, was not only scary to me, but it was the complete opposite of romance. It would be perfectly fine to be loved by someone, but to love someone so deeply and completely, who didn't love me back. To me, that was un-fathomable...Until yesterday.

My very good friend has had a few too many forays into un-requited love, in my opinion. A heart shouldn't be broken that many times. It doesn't seem fair that there are those who have truly loved so deeply, and then there are those, who will only allow themselves into a relationship where they are the object of love.

Ultimately, though my friend has not yet given up on love. With or without my sage wisdom (ha ha), my friend knows that to love truly and deeply, and to ultimately find love in return, you must allow your heart to be exposed and raw. Pain and risk, be damned. To love, you must be brave.

Typhoid Lynn

So in preparation for her trip to India, Lynn has had to get immunized against all sorts of diseases that we don't really have to worry about here in the States. 7 shots in all. Not only that but the typhoid immunization is actually a course of 4 pills every other day until gone. These pills contain attenuated Salmonella Typhi bacteria and they are in our fridge. I just find it kinda weird that bacteria that has killed millions in the course of our history is sitting next to the butter, attenuated or not. Thankfully, her last dose is tonight so that will be over with.

I am back on nights for six weeks. Ughhhh.

I found a rare version of the Notre Dame Victory March done by Tommy Dorsey and his orchestra on the internet recently. It was recorded from an old 78rpm and is a very decent recording. Basically it is a swing version of the famous tune. I also found a John Valby version of the same song. Valby's version and lyrics are, well, not very polictically correct and should not be heard by anyone younger than 30. The lyrics might make a Marine blush! :) It should be noted that Valby can be considered the father of the old Trombone Pre-Rally drinking songs that were sung at ND. This is more of a forgotten art now since pre-rallies (quick 20 to 30 minute parties given by section or sections after marching practice of a home game and before that night's pep rally) do not exist for the ND Marching Band anymore, or so they say.

Saw, The Grudge, last night. I would say it is pretty much like The Ring, but only at half strength. Glad I did not pay to see it at the theaters.

Alex is becoming quite a reader over the summer and is doing well on his summer workbooks. It is amazing to see how much he soaks up knowledge wise.

Meghan has all her teeth for her age but two and is slowly getting a bigger vocabulary. (Previous sentence editted, thanks Anonymous)

All for now.....


Friday, July 08, 2005


Images through glass
Flow by fast
Light changes
Colors vary
Sounds dim
As the days pass
The reflection too
Fades into

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Lynn's Thoughts on US "Leadership"

I have been listening to the news on radio and T.V. for a few days in preparation for the G-8 summit. Unless you have been in a hole, you know that the plight of poor nations, particularly in Africa, are a major topic of discussion.

Those who know me, know that I am not the biggest fan of our current president. His decisions are not at all aligned with those I would make in his position. In my opinion, he is in the back pocket of big business and since they have bank rolled him and the congress we are focused on US business alone, and have even forgotten the people in our great nation.

I am disappointed that we have moved from a nation that leads other nations to a nation that offends, disappoints and even attacks other nations. We have sent our troops to Iraq and Afghanistan for un-successful missions. We are asking the working people of the US to give up their families and fight in a war that we will not win. It seems to be un-endable, unless we pull out. Our president wouldn't understand that, because when he "served his country" he did it in the US without the pains, longing and frustration our military servicemen are now feeling away from home.

My father fought in Vietnam. He served his country with pride for over 20 years in the US Marine Corps. I am proud to say I am a Marine brat and that I have known many honorable men and women in all services throughout my life. I never served, but I hold those who follow the orders of our Commander in Chief in the up-most regard. They are doing as ordered. They deserve hero parades. They deserve better pay. They deserve to be in a war they can win, or they deserve to come home to their families and country that loves them.

At the conference this week, it is rumored that Prime Minister Blair will try to get the 8 nations present to agree that global warming is a problem that must be addressed. I wish him very good luck getting America to agree. It seems that would be a great coup. Our current administration seems to believe that though global warming is a problem, it's a slow problem. Yes, we should reduce the gas emissions but slowly.

In truth, the United States emits well over it's fair share of harmful gases. The emissions will only grow as emerging nations industrialize. However, to keep the US ahead in economic development, our leadership would prefer to ask companies to voluntarily reduce emissions. For those who work for companies in America, have you ever known them to voluntarily do the right thing? Do companies in America reduce paychecks for CEO's and Executives, or lay off the masses? Do CEO's and Executives lose their pensions and health coverage? Do companies even pay taxes in your district?

We may be a great nation, but I think that is because of the painstaking work done by the American public in spite of our leadership. If I wanted my company to make political decisions, I would have gone to work for the government instead of private industry. President Bush would be an inspiration if he made decisions based upon the people who need him to lead, instead of the companies that pay for his elections.

I didn't vote for him. I hope and pray, that we can find a candidate that is willing to make the hard decisions. I want to find a person that will bring America back to a leadership position in the world, instead of one that holds the others back.

Monday, July 04, 2005


Lorenzo here. First of all, Happy 4th of July! A heartfelt thanks to all the servicemen and servicewomen that are busy doing their duty here and abroad.

July 1st was our daughter's 2nd birthday!!! Whoo Hoo! She is a big girl now. We had a small party for her and family and friends which was quite fun. Meghan, it seems, has a thing for shoes. The gifts that got the most reaction were 'dress-up' shoes that came with a Barbie 'dress-up' kit. Her eyes lit up and she let out a loud 'Shhhhoooooeeess!!' for everyone to hear. Too cute!

Meghan with her ssshhhhooooeeess!!! Posted by Picasa

Also this weekend we had Lynn's brother, Mike, and his girlfriend, Tracy, in town. It was good to have both in town as it had been a while since Lynn had seen her brother. July 3rd the four of us were able to go to Sambuca in Addison, Tx to sample the fireworks that were part of that city's Kaboomtown celebration. Also, of note was the band playing there. Idle Hands is a coverband whose keyboardist also plays in the trombone choir that I play in. The four of us were able to enjoy a great night on the town and some awesome fireworks.

Previous to this was the North Dallas Trombone choir's June 29th performance at the St Andrews Methodist Church in Plano, TX. Talk about a venue. I walked in and was pretty impressed with the Church. The architecture reminded me of Bass Performance Hall in Ft. Worth, well, minus the Mezzanine Level up, but dang! This church also has the third-largest pipe organ in the area. Just a beautiful piece of work.

St. Andrews from the stage/altar Posted by Picasa

The organ and my trombone to the right Posted by Picasa

I walked in and played note or two and noted the acoustics. The sound delay was, well, in my mind, perfect. I looked up and saw why. The ceiling has acoutic damping layers. The woodworking, the flat-screen plasma tvs in the foyers, the sound of the organ, this was a awesome venue. What made it even cooler was that we played one piece that had organ accompaniment and fortissimo and fortississimos toward the end. Gotta love controlled loudness.


I am doing research for an exciting trip I have coming up. I found out last week that Cadbury is sending me to India in late August.

Developing Leaders Day is a consortium initiative jointed developed by Cadbury and AIESEC International ( 15 Cadbury employees were picked to join in teaching young people from across the world about leadership. I will be paired with someone from AIESEC and we will prepare lessons and then teach for a day.

All of this will take place in Agra, India. For those of you who don't know, as I didn't last week, the Taj Mahal is in Agra. I am so excited to get to see that magnificent structure. It will definitely be a memorable experience.

However, the trip over will probably be one I'd like to forget. I called Friday to make my flight plans and here are a few details.

I depart DFW on Friday 8/26 at about 3pm. I'll fly directly from Dallas to Frankfort, Germany. I have a few hour layover there before I head to Delhi, India. I arrive in Delhi at 2am local time on Sunday. From there I have 5 hour trip (they did not specify mode of transportation) to get to Agra. Once in Agra, I have to adjust to the time zone changes and prepare to work.

When I return home, it'll be even better. Many of you know that my birthday is Sept 4. I'll have the longest birthday ever, this year. I leave Delhi, at 2am the morning of Sept 4 and fly back to Frankfort. Again, I have a layover for a few hours and then head home to Dallas. When I land it'll be 3ish local time, still the 4th. Hey, at least I'll get home for my birthday!

I don't know a lot about this trip yet, but I am extremely excited. This will be a great chance to see and learn and I can't wait!

Friday, July 01, 2005

Security is in your pants

Lorenzo and I planned a day to take Alex to Six Flags a few months ago. We thought it would be fun to spend the day with just him and enjoy the park together. Meghan just can't enjoy an amusement park like him yet, and this would be a good chance for us to have some fun for just Alex.

Wednesday was the big day. I was excited to have a day off work in the middle of the week, and spending the day with my two favorite men is always wonderful. We were up early, took Meghan to Blue Ivey and went out for breakfast. We decided to go with IHOP because it's closest to the freeway. There I did discover that Funnel Cakes for breakfast aren't just available in Arkansas. Somehow, I avoided them again.

After a good breakfast, we hit Starbucks for coffee on the way to Arlington and got on the road. Since there were three of us in the car, we could use the HOV and got there in record time.

Upon arrival (before the park opened), we had a few minutes to people watch. Those of you who know me well know this is one of my favorite pastimes. You can definitely see interesting things when people watching. Wednesday was no exception.

I was covering Alex and Lorenzo with sunscreen when a beat up Hyundai pulled into the lot near us. This four door sedan was full of people. As a matter of fact there were 3 adults and four kids in the car. (Actually, one of the "adults" could have been a teenager, but she was smoking a cigarette, so I assume she was 18.)

I feel I must describe this car, because it was the whole scene that made it memorable. The car was black. It had no hubcaps on the wheels. There was a major dent in the hood of the car that had clearly been beat back into "normal" shape. The paint was rusting in spots. There was a sunroof that was damaged pretty badly. The chrome that should have laid flat to the sun room was at about a 45 degree angle to the roof of the car. The windows were down, suggesting the air conditioner wasn't working. This car was in bad shape.

First, the smoking teenager/adult got out. She sucked the cigarette to the filter in one quick strong draw. It was actually impressive to see a cigarette shrivel that fast.

Next, the four kids in the back with her came scrambling out. They appeared pretty normal. The smoking teenager/adult proceeded to arrange her too short shorts that were clearly riding into the nether-regions. Her mother/sister got out next. I believe they had the same tailor for their shorts, because she soon demonstrated the same issue.

Finally, the driver/father/brother (oldest man) got out. He held the door open called to one of the 4 kids. After watching for a few seconds, I realized he had asked for help putting the windows up in the car. He didn't roll up the window, however. Instead, he literally pulled the window up from inside the door frame and had his assistant hold the window while he pushed it closed.

The security system wasn't completely engaged yet. No, this man had a plan to ensure his car was there when he returned from a day of coasters and fun at the park. So he opened the hood of the car and removed two different components from the car/engine and slipped them into his pockets. (I am obviously not a mechanic and I don't claim to be) I really had to ask myself if any self respecting thief would choose to steal this beat up, window doesn't work, Hyundai instead of the other functional cars in the parking lot.

After they headed into the park and Lorenzo, Alex and I were sufficiently protected from the sun, we headed into the park behind this clan. We had a great time on Wednesday riding coasters and walking around. We got back to our car around 3:30 and the black Hyundai was still waiting. I hope they made it home safe.

Forget Lojack, forget The Club, just drive a beat up car and carry small necessary components in your pockets...Security is in your pants!