Just Go

I used to have this great standing policy that I've let lapse recently.  It went like this - if anyone asked me to go to a live music event with them, I'd go. Why would someone behave like Jim Carrey's character in "Yes Man" when concerts are concerned?  I made the rule when I was in college, and it served me well.  The early 90s in Virginia, where I went to school at Washington & Lee, were a great time and place for music.  It was also a time for my likes and dislikes to shift a bit.  I graduated high school a slobbering hard rock fan and didn't listen to anything unless it was in the Van Halen/AC-DC/Aerosmith realm.  Then I got to school and everybody was listening to other stuff.  I had no idea at the time, but musical tastes were shifting and we were going to get exposed to some great music from bands that would go on to do bigger and better things.  To give you an idea of some of the acts I saw in the 1990-1994 period by sticking to my policy, here's some of the artist I saw (some of them at fraternity houses or small college shows):

  • Dave Matthews (in particular, many gigs at the W&L Phi Delta Theta house during Spring Term my senior year)
  • Toad the Wet Sprocket
  • Gin Blossoms (hung out with them in their hotel room, too, and got an interview for the school paper)
  • Blues Traveler
  • Soul Asylum
  • The Smithereens

At the time, I had no idea how big any of these bands were or how big they'd get.  I saw a lot of other shows, too, with artists that were more established and I'm now very thankful for that.  Then there were a million bands and artists that I saw who didn't "make it" but probably should have.  I've also got a running list of bands I'd probably be uncomfortable admitting that I've seen live - Air Supply, Journey, that annoying boy band that did that "I Wanna Sex You Up" song (can't remember and don't feel like Googling).  But I'll take the bad cheesy with the good.

Point is, I can't remember every really having a bad time at a live music event.  (Well, there was that one time at the Tibetan Freedom Concert at RFK where that girl got struck by lightning.)  So I'm wondering why I don't go like I used to.  Of course, it has a lot to do with the fact that I'm too old to be seen in clubs and that I have a wife and 18-month-old daughter at home.  But I think I need to get back to going to shows again.

You never know when you're going to witness history.  You never know when you're going to get exposed to an up-and-coming artist that's about to give you music that will be your life's soundtrack in the coming years.  You never know when you're going to have a good time out with your friends, seeing some band and creating a story you're going to tell over beers 10 years from now.

So go out today and find something to go see.  Go to the bar down the block and check out the live music.  Go book tickets to a live show you've been meaning to see.  Tell your bud with the spare ticket you'd love to go to the show with him.  (Yes, I turned down a spare Lady Gaga ticket and even though I'm not really a fan, I should have taken up my buddy on it...)  Just get out there.  I have so many fond memories of going to shows that I really should be making an effort to do it more often.

So stop reading this, open up a web browser and go buy some tickets.  Just go.


Snow is supposed to be fun, dammit!  25 inches of snow isn't, though.  News 12 said Holtsville got over two feet, and considering what I went through this weekend, I believe it. Saturday, I figured out that getting Craig's plow and attaching it to my truck wasn't an easy task.  The frame rails on a Dodge 1500 are completely different from the 2500, plus there's about 5 hours of wiring involved.  So I called up LaCorte Equipment in Calverton to see if they stocked the plow for my John Deere.  They did, and they put one aside for me.  Jimmy and I picked it up and then spent the better part of Saturday putting it together.  Saturday night I took the mower deck off and then made a pass when there was only about six inches on the ground and the plow performed beautifully.  I plowed all the way from the house to the cul-de-sac and it was great.

I started digging out early Sunday morning.  Here's the first thing I saw. It actually wasn't too bad.  I'd push the snow as far as the tractor would push it, back up and then shovel for a bit.  Once I cleared out enough room for the plow to operate, I'd start it back up again.  So I went back and forth for a few hours until my wife told me someone was on their way with a truck plow to un-bury us.  He was supposed to be there by noon.  He didn't show up at all.  I started digging again at 1 PM or so, after I put a new battery in my quad, got it started up and figured out the snow was too deep to go riding.

I got the truck unburied, so I started it up and put it into 4WD.  Unfortunately, the snow was really deep and the snow underneath was turning into ice.  I slid off the driveway sideways and hit a tree.  It wasn't too bad - you can barely see the dent, but it made me angry that I wasn't more careful.  I did manage to get the truck out, though, and I backed it down the road in 4WD with the snow up to the grille.  So that was our path out.

Even with the path I carved with the truck, though, the snow was too deep to get through.  I worked my way down the driveway and managed to finish up most of the driveway by the afternoon.  I made one more run down to the cul-de-sac with the truck and discovered that none of the secondary streets were plowed yet.  I was barely able to get out of the development.  Lauren was calling landscapers with plows.  One of her friends from work had a brother who was supposed to come and bail us out, but his power steering blew up on a previous job, so he couldn't make it.  I gave up after the driveway was relatively clear, but most of the road remained.

This morning, someone my wife contacted came by and plowed the whole road and what remained of the driveway.  I used the John Deere to get my wife's car out of the gat


Forgive me, father. It's been two months since my last confession update. When I was in high school, I had a computer science teacher who tried to describe a stack (the data structure, that is). Her first analogy about a stack of lunch trays in the cafeteria didn't work. The "A-Ha!" moment for me came when she was describing how to recursively move through a stack. "Have you ever been cleaning your house," she asked. "And you go to another room looking for something to help you tidy up the first room? And then you notice something in the second room that needs to be straightened up before you can return to the first room?" I got it.

Unfortunately, my personal life feels like I've got an unmanageable stack right now.  I'm working my way through it, but it's frustrating.  Here's a slice of the stack right now.

I want to play my guitar.  Before I can do that, I need to unpack all my music gear in the basement.  Before I can unpack all my music gear, I have to put walls up in the basement because if I unpack before I put walls up, I'll have to pack everything back up so stuff can be out of the way while we work on the framing and drywall.  Before I can put walls up in the basement, I need to figure out when my brother in law Jimmy can help me with it.  Before I can do that, Jimmy has to finish patching all the holes we made when we replaced the air conditioning.

There's a lot more.  It seems like every project has some sort of dependency that's keeping me from getting to it.  Like once Jimmy is done patching holes and spackling, I should probably paint all the walls downstairs.  But we ought not to do that before we have everyone over for Christmas, lest I create a mess that can't be cleaned up before everyone gets there.

In this way, every time I have free time at home, I feel anxiety because there is a metric assload of things that need to be done, but most of them can't be done until something else is done first.  Some days, I feel like saying "Damn the order in which things should be done."  Maybe I should just break into the middle of the stack in the interest of getting stuff done.

I will have a week between Christmas and New Year's, where I can take some time to address some projects and maybe cut the stack down.  We'll see.

Speaking of free time, there isn't much of it.  So there's not a heck of a lot to report when it comes to new personal developments.  I'm still very happy spending time with my family, but sometimes feel like I'm stuck in second gear and can't get into third, because I'm the type of person who needs to feel like he's always making progress on multiple fronts in order to feel fulfilled.

It helps to have a wonderful wife and an amazingly cute daughter.  Here's a recent pic.


I showed this pic to a client recently.  She said "She looks like Cindy Lou Who!" (from the Grinch Who Stole Christmas).  Funny, because someone stopped my wife a few weeks ago in a store and said the same thing.

I should learn to take it easy and count my blessings.