Lazy June Day

What a weird day today has been!  Basically it’s been a really lazy day – that had it’s moments of productivity, but overall I was more lazy overall.

First off I worked from home today, mainly on the sole basis that I needed to do my laundry.  That was a pretty weak excuse to justify working from home, but for some reason I just didn’t feel like going into the office.

About working from home: Luckily in my job I’m blessed with the ability to work just about anywhere.  I have a laptop that I use as my primary machine, so it has all of the tools and software I need.  I have call forwarding enabled on my office phone to send calls to both my cell phone and my home phone.  I have high speed Internet and a cool cordless headset, so really I have everything I need.  This last school year I was horrible when it came to going into the office.  I moved across town, so my old 5 minute drive to work now becomes a 20 minute drive.  Along with that I have a virtual team where I was the only person in Fort Collins, so I really had no inclination to go into the office.  At my worst point I had been home for 20 consecutive work days – so yeah I was bad.

Luckily about 6 weeks ago we brought in a contractor that does work for my team and sits in the Fort Collins site, which has been giving me incentive to go into the office more.  Right after finals week I was back into the office 85-95% of the time (if I had early morning meetings I did them from home, got ready and then headed into work).  I was doing pretty well.  But my goal this summer is to improve my office attendance and break the cycle of working from home when I don’t really need to.

It’s not that I don’t like working from home – the reality is I love it.  I get to blast my music all day, listen to Rome, make my own lunch and get to do all of the little household things I needed to do anyway (like laundry).  But the problem is when you work from home too often you become to prone to distraction.   There are so many times during the day when my electric drumset is calling out my name, or my messy office just can’t take it anymore and needs to be cleaned.  Then I get suck into this "unproductive" run that can only be alleviated by going back into the office and being re-energized.

So the moral of the story is working from home can be a good thing in moderation, but going to the office can never go wrong when it comes to being productive.

Hence, where I’m at today.  This week is already a slow week at work.  We’re a little ahead of schedule with our current project and I’ve made pretty good progress in my smaller-scale projects.  So far the majority of my time this week has been spent tying up loose ends.  Well I ended up just getting lazy today working from home and being completely unproductive..  So my workday really felt like a waste.

Tomorrow I’m going into the office 1st thing in the morning (for once).  and looking forward to re-energize my productivity.

The funny thing is – my laundry; the sole justification for working from home today – I didn’t even start it until 5:30pm…  So what a joke!  I spent the evening cleaning up and being productive on the home front, but I’ve been a complete slacker on all of my other fronts.  I have a pile of NCSC work that needs to get done that I keep putting off (ARGGH.. TIME TO MAKE TIME!) and as far as Pastoral Council goes I have a meeting on Monday and I’m still slacking around with the agenda, action items and all of that good stuff.  So yeah I’m being a slacker in that area…  Gotta kick my butt in gear.

It’s these 4 day weeks, I’m tellin’ ya…  My whole sense of time is thrown off right now!

Oh and my sister made it safely to Puerto Rico today, after 9 hours and one layover later (yuck!).  I, the airfare king booked my mom and sister’s trip back to Boston this August to bring my sister to school – $186 round-trip for my mom and $94 one-way for my sister!  HOW DO YOU LIKE THEM APPLES?!?

I also ordered prints today of my sister’s graduation pictures…  Here is one with all four of us kids:

Crappy Day

Thank God that this day is almost over!  This has been a very crappy day, hence this blog will basically be a rant of this day.  So thank you to those of you who choose to read it, but also please take things with a grain of salt.  My emotions are high and I just need to get this out so I can go to bed in peace.

This day had it’s potential.  I started the day by seeing "The Longest Yard" with my family.  That was a pretty good movie (for what it was – a comedy about football).  Romo was in it, which was hilarious, as well as Michael Irvine.  I would recommend that you go see it, especially if you like Adam Sandler, football or any combination of the two.  Burt Reynolds wasn’t too obnoxious either, and usually I can’t stand him.

The potential carried into a completion of a home project that was long overdue.  At my parent’s house the gate of our fence has had a hole in it for almost a year.  During that time the dog loves to get out and just chill in the front yard.  He really doesn’t run away, he just sits in the front yards, bugs the neighbors and the people walking by, but just hangs there.  But he will (hopefully) no longer be doing that now that we’ve repaired the gate.  We pretty much reconstructed the whole thing and it looks really good.  We also laid out a bunch of 2×4’s so that he’ll stop messing with the actual fence panels.  So I felt productive and that was nice.

Then things started to go south… 

First off it rained all day and it’s been a chilly 40-50 degree day – a real turn from the 80’s that we were experiencing earlier in the week.  Usually I love the rain – it is probably my favorite weather..  But I don’t like rain when it’s rained all day, is freezing cold and I have 13 Rockies Tickets.  Yes, we had 13 tickets for my family, my sisters’ friends and boyfriends and a few of my friends.  We were going to have a grand old time watching the Rockies get beat by the Cardinals and then get to see some really cool fireworks after the game.  This was going to be the third fireworks game I would have gone to, and when it comes to fireworks games I was 0-2.  The first year I got 2nd section seats for the family only to have the stupid 3rd level overhang completely block our view of the fireworks.  The next year I thought I had the problem solved by getting right field box seats, but behold – that stupid overhang came back again…  But this year was going to be different.  I spent an hour figuring out their stupid on-line ticket system so that I could get tickets on the 3rd level (no overhand), behind the dug-out, getting aisle seats on the 2nd row of the section.  We were going to have our perfect unobstructed view of the fireworks. But then the rain had to come and ruin it.  It was pouring in Fort Collins which really convinced my friends, as well as my family to not really want to go.  Finally I resigned to my family and told them that if they didn’t want to go we didn’t have to…  So they didn’t and we didn’t go.

It was probably good that we didn’t go.  The game was delayed 1 hour and 40 minutes, and when it did start it didn’t get over until 11pm, and after having to move their 10’s of fans from the left-field boxes over to the field the fireworks probably wouldn’t have started until 11:30 at the earliest.  Which means as I’m writing this as 12:15am they would just be getting over and we’d be heading home…  So yeah, it was probably good but…

I am now out $360 in 13 tickets!  That’s right, I’ve basically taken $360 and flushed it down the toilet.  Actually flushing those tickets down the toilet would probably give me more entertainment than they’re getting sitting on my desk right now.  So now I am $360 poorer.  THIS SUCKS!  My only hope is that I can call the Rockies Ticket office and see if I can do some kind of exchange for some tickets, but it says right there on the ticket – No Refunds/Exchanges…  I went through and read all of that small print on the back of those tickets and right now my chances don’t look good.

Now I understand it’s money and in the end I’ll get over this – but for tonight I think I’ve earned a night to pout about this…  I just think about how much $360 could be used for other things right now…  I’m just really pissed.

On top of that I’m really struggling with my sister.  I’m really sick of the drama that has gone on all throughout this weekend, and only now am I beginning to feel the effects of dealing with this crap.  As I am writing this I am less than 24 hours away from her going away for the whole summer (her leaving early is another point of contention).  I have spent the last 4 days at my family’s house virtually all day and yet my sister has only been at home for about an hour during that whole time.  I’m pretty pissed that we have all this family that have traveled long distances to see her, that my mom has made serious sacrifices all throughout this weekend for her and she’s out with her friends this whole time.  I understand that she wants to see them too, but this whole "leaving early" thing she brought on herself…  I guess what it all boils down to is that my sister keeps making these stupid choices and doesn’t encounter any of the consequences from them.  A perfect example is what happened tonight…

So my sister decides to go off and watch a movie with her friends so she gets into the car, backs up, doesn’t look and NAILS my other sister’s boyfriend’s car right in the rear fender.  We go out to see what happens and she gets out, really doesn’t assume any responsibility for it, then goes nuts on us somehow trying to make it our fault.  Does it stop her from going out?  No it doesn’t!  She pulls the car back into the garage, and angrily gets into her friend’s car and leaves…  And there she goes – gone without even really looking back.  Not once did she apologize to my sister’s boyfriend and she just leaves our family to deal with the crap from this.

I know that this is probably just random rambling, but I’m just really pissed that she doesn’t accept the consequences of her actions.  She’s 18, she’s going across the country for school and she doesn’t even know what it’s like to be out in this real world.  I know that part of the college experience will be to teach her those lessons, but I just think back to myself and my other sister when we were that age and we were so different.  Why my sister just doesn’t "get it" – I have no idea and I think that’s what really frustrates me.  I’m really mad that she takes advantage of my mom.  My parents have worked hard to make sure that my siblings and I had all the opportunities and resources we need – and still for my sister that’s not good enough.  I spent my tax return buying her a brand new laptop, but she still complains when I gave my youngest sister my USED PDA (palm top).  The grass is always greener with her.  Ambition is a good thing – lust is not.  Academically she’s the smartest person in our family, but it doesn’t mean crap if you don’t have common sense and can’t apply your knowledge.  She knows how to do well in AP classes and get accepted into MIT – but yet she still doesn’t understand the meaning of hard work or the value of sacrifices of others.

This sounds really horrible – I love my sister and all but I’m really looking forward to her being gone for the summer and hope that she’ll grow up in the process.  Welcome to the real world…

So that’s my rant.  I’m sorry for the emotionally-laced tirade.  Here’s to a good night’s sleep and the promise of a new day…

Oh man…. Another looooong day!

Going back and re-tracing my steps from the beginning it’s been nuts just to think about where I’ve been.  My day started off with my sister and I going to Loveland to join my family for Mass (I usually go in Fort Collins, and usually I end up playing drums at the Saturday night Mass, so it was a bit weird for me to have to go to Mass on Sunday first off, then secondly have to go to Loveland..  But that’s where my sister Amanda wanted to go..  Afterwards we got some food, ran some errands and came back home.  While I was at home I worked with my uncle to repair the gate at my parent’s house (the freakin’ dog knocked a huge hole in it and always gets out), then helped my mom get ready for my sister’s "real party" (and I burned a hole in my finger during the process), then went to the "real party", came back and watched my first NASCAR Race on TV, switching back with the NBA Eastern Conference Finals, then ended my day by drinking a lot of beer and playing Mexican Train with my family….  So yeah it’s been another long day.

About this weekend though (and something I said I would explain a bit)

1) The "Real Party" – So with my sister graduating high school, she (along with everyone else) wants to have a party.

Sidenote: Who the heck came up with the idea of the graduation party.  I understand you want to celebrate your achievement and go out and have a good time – I get that.  I understand that a lot of times the party isn’t so much about you, but about your friends and family who have a chance to celebrate you or to do nice things for you.  I get that as well.  But I still don’t get the concept of having a party while everyone else is having a party, then expecting people to show up.  Whether it’s high school or college graduation, it never changes.  As an underclassman you’re expected to go to these parties or run the risk of tarnashing your friendship ranking with that person.   And if you’re a graduating senior don’t even think about being able to go to other people’s parties.  You have your own to tend to, but what do you do?  I’ve seen people leave their parties to go to other people’s parties (like my sister).  That defeats the whole purpose of the graduation party.

So my sister Amanda, (whom I love dearly, but being whom she is often have a challenging time with) decides not only to have one party but to have to parties.  Well check that – at first she only wanted one party, but it was the one she wanted to throw jointly with two of her other friends.  Well somehow she forgot to mention any of this to our family when they were going through the decision making process "Ooops!", and all of the sudden we had a party that our family was slated to go to & help prepare for.  While all of this was going on, my mom, being the awesome mom that she is, is already actively in the planning stages of our family/friends party of our own…  I know that party planning is a lot of stress, but I know that in my heart of hearts my mom really wants to throw the party.  Like I said in my little sidenote – the party isn’t always so much about the person being honored as it is for the friends and family of that person.  Well my sister didn’t realize this, so all of the sudden we’re faced with two parties that are competing against each other.  And while we were going through and setting forth our plans to celebrate my sister at our family/friend party, my sister was actively sending out invitations and planning logistics for the "real party" that was going on with her two friends.

So over the last few weeks that his gotten really ugly and our family is taking it’s usual sides ( the ENTIRE family vs. my sister).  Both my oldest sister and I were probably the most frustrated because here we were doing all of this work out of the sense of respect and the notion of support for my other, while my sister couldn’t care less and had virtually no stock in this party that was being thrown for her.  She really didn’t invite anyone (as she was inviting them all to the "real party").  So this left us all with a bitter taste in our mouth.

So we went and did both parties.  The family one turned out to be really nice.  Like I said, virtually no one came, but we had some great family up there.  My uncle from Texas has been up all weekend, and then I had an aunt and cousin up here yesterday as well – people I haven’t seen in a long time.  So it turned out to be really nice, very relaxed and we just had a good time.

The "real party" went about as well as I expected.  There were a ton of people there, but really no one that I knew.  I showed up, ate some pretty good food, listened to the band there, talked with my sisters some more and then took off less than 2 hours later.

But now at least our drama-filled weekend is over.  I think it’s funny that my mind has been so weighted by these high school graduation situations, but when it comes to my sister Amanda, everything become a big deal…  But now she’s off to Boston for the summer in less than 48 hours, so here comes the next scramble/drama/adventure.  While I’m really going to miss my sister I’m also looking forward to the stress level at my parent’s house going down about 15 notches by the end of the week.

Tomorrow is another big day.  My uncle is taking off Tuesday, so I’m going to try to get some more quality family time and enjoy my day off of work.  We’re heading down to the Rockies game tomorrow night, something I’m a bit concerned about because it is COLD!!  I don’t know what happened to the weather, but today we didn’t get back 60 and it turned out to be a downpour this afternoon.  I’m just hoping that the rain holds out tomorrow and lets us have this game.  Fireworks are going on tomorrow night as well – should be a good show.

I’m Done with IE

Tonight should be a quick post.  I’m really tired, but I really wanted to not fall into the habit of not poisting (after going strong for three weeks now).

First and foremost I am writing on Firefox tonight because Internet Explorer is FREAKIN’ STUPID!!  DO NOT USE IT if you ever can…  Now I love to rip on Microsoft as much as the next guy (but truth be told that they make some great quality products – i.e. Office, Visual Studio) but Internet Explorer has definitely outlived it’s usefulness.   About a year ago I made the switch over to Mozilla Firefox (which was in a beta at the time) and I haven’t looked back ever since.  Unfortunately I cannot get rid of that pesky Internet Explorer, due to the fact that many web sites/applications still require it – Xanga being one of them..  Granted you don’t need IE for Xanga, but the text editor module which allows you to apply and retain rich text styles only works in IE.

So anyway I fire up IE on my desktop this evening to make my Xanga entry and what do I find?  My start-up page has changed (it’s usually set to a blank screen), replaced with some stupid URL that is running scripts that are being executed by my machine that my Virus Software is catching and disabling.  NIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIICE!  I know many of you have encountered this before, but for a total computer nerd, I pride myself on my ability to keep myself from computer STD’s (or viruses).  So I’m a bit peeved at Internet Explorer right now, because if they didn’t have their stupid security loopholes that hackers take advantage of then I wouldn’t be in this predicament to begin with.

Moral of the story: if and when possible please use Mozilla Firefox!!

So I’ve fallen off the planet for the last few days – at least to the outside world.  Truth is that I’ve been spending all my time in Loveland with my sister’s high school graduation going on.  We had some family come in which I am taking every opportunity to spend time with, as well as trying to help my mom and the rest of my family maintain their sanity throughout this crazy time.  In the course a few days we have 2 graduation parties to plan (don’t ask why we have two – this is a sore subject), the commencement to go see, a Rockies game to go watch with the whole family (I am really excited about this), and most importantly seeing my sister Amanda from graduation on Saturday to leaving for the summer on Tuesday.  The decisions that brought my sister to make such a drastic and sudden transition are those of her doing (despite objections of the entire family), but regardless we are now trying to support her in getting out of town by Tuesday night.  So things are nuts right now….  I’d like to get more specific, but the lateness of night along with the need for me to be up really early on Sunday prevents me from explaining at this time…  Hopefully more to come…

Top Concerts

Great night tonight!  I just got in from the Queens of the Stone Age concert, what a blast that was!  I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I ended up having a blast.  The person who invited me actually won the tickets from a radio station up here and invited me!  I was happy to join her, but hadn’t heard very much of their stuff.

The show turned out to be great.  QotSA is a solid rock band that laid down some really great grooves.  Their lead singer had a great voice and was totally ripped.  Their opening act, Eagles of Death Metal was pretty good as well!

The drummers for both groups were really impressed.  Eagles of Death Metal has a girl drummer, which was awesome.  She was really good, in a "Ringo Starr" kind of way.  Technically she was average, but she kept a really strong beat and for that kind of music it was exactly what she needed.  She was able to groove pretty well.  QotSA’s drummer was flippin’ awesome.  He was totally ripped as well!  He really conveyed a lot of energy and laid down a solid foundation for the band.

On the way home this got me thinking about some of the other concerts that I’ve been to, and how tonight’s concert would rate with those shows.  I think this show, as solid as it is, would probably rate in the top 2/3’s of the best shows that I’ve been to.  Sometime when I have the chance I should list out all of the concerts I’ve been to – if I can remember all of them.  To get an idea of what I’m rating tonight’s concert against, I’d like to post my mental list of the top 5 concerts I’ve been to…

#5) Dave Matthew Band – Home Depot Center (LA), August 27 & 28, 2004
Part of what makes this show great are it’s circumstances.  Hopping on a bird to LA for the weekend, seeing the beach during the day and then spending a warm California night with my best friend Emily seeing my favorite band – definitely one of the highlights of my life!  The band was freakin’ amazing and made it worth the 900 mile trip.  :They played two consecutive nights (I went to both shows) and out of both those nights, they only played 2 songs both nights (and only because they were new songs).  What made it the most classic is that they played my favorite DMB song – "Two Step".  They hadn’t played it for weeks (I was monitoring the set-list) and the level of excitement I exhibited when they started the song was apparently humorous (just ask Emily).

#4) Spearhead – Fillmore Auditorium, September 2003
It was a Saturday night and a big group of us from church went down to see this band.  This was the first time I saw Spearhead live and they did not disappoint.  The show had so much raw energy and was incredibly positive.  This was also my first time at the Fillmore which is an amazing venue (a restored ballroom).  We made our way to the VERY front, and just jammed out the whole time.  It was great!

#3) Coldplay – Red Rocks Amphitheatre, June 2003
My friend Matt and I went to this show with 2 guys I went to church and worked with.  It was funny because they offered these tickets to me out of the blue and Matt and I decided to go.  At that point neither of us were huge fans of Coldplay (we only heard what they played on the radio) nor had we been to Red Rocks (but we heard all about it!).  After going to that show though – both the band and venue went beyond either of our expectations.  As soon as we started driving down to Denver it began to rain, and it didn’t let up one bit.  It rained the WHOLE concert, and not a drizzle, but a pretty good downpour.  Neither Matt and I had any rain gear and just stood there getting sobbing wet just being blown away by Coldplay.  I’ll never forget when they played "Clocks" for the encore and you saw the lasers shooting and image of clouds & sky out from the stage, begin broken up by the rain.  It’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen!

#2) John Ondrasik (Five For Fighting) Acoustic – Blue Bird Theater, April 2004
For those of you who haven’t heard Five For Fighting beyond "Superman" and "100 Years" – you’re really missing out.  John Ondrasik is definitely one of my favorite musicians of all time, and I had been in love with Five For Fighting for almost 2 years at that point.  So when I heard that he was having an acoustic show I jumped at the chance to get tickets (which weren’t selling very fast at all).  I roped a few of my friends from church to come down to the show.  My friend Fred and I ended up sitting in the 2nd row and we were like 8 feet away from John Ondrasik!   I had never been to the Blue Bird before, but it is TINY! – 150 people, max…  And he we were in an awesome intimate concert setting hearing all of these awesome songs and raw passion that John put into playing each of them.  He gave us a little bit of piano, a little bit of guitar and a lot of amazement.  I wasn’t sure how my friends were going to react to the show, but when we walked out they were blown away as well.  Then one of my friends asked me "How did you manage to get tickets to that?!?  To see someone acoustic and small as that – you have to know the band personally".  I still find it funny

and the #1 show I’ve ever been to (Drum Roll Please)

#1) Dave Matthews Band – Mile High Stadium, August 2000
Nostalga and pure luck make this concert the #1 show.  Picture this and you’ll see why: One of (I think the if I’m not mistaken) the last concerts at old Mile High Stadium, Ozomatli AND Ben Harper opening, and oh yeah, FRONT ROW SEATS! I kid you not..  Section A-1, Row 1, Seats 3 & 4.  I still remember it vividly.  How I got these tickets – it’s a long story, but to make it short I had a very generous friend and was very lucky.  This was the first concert I had ever been to and only 4 days earlier had I finished helping lead my first service trip to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.  What a contrast to be in a place that was so quiet, sparse and peaceful, then not even 4 days later to be surrounded by over 73,000 people seeing this amazing band that had been my favorite for over 5 years..  To top it off, during "All Along the Watchtower" while Ben Harper was soloing Dave came to our side ofthe stage and made eye contact with me – I swear!!!

Honorable Mentions:
Five for Fighting, Hard Rock Cafe (Orlando), June 2002
-Ozomatli, Aggie Theatre, October 2004

I’m anxious to hear other people’s top 5 lists…