Yes, I’m alive..

It’s been a busy week.  One trip to Orlando last weekend for work.  Another on Friday and Saturday.  At least I get Sunday off this time! 
 
In interesting computer news, we are converting our projects at work from Visual Studio 2003 and .NET 1.1 to Visual Studio 2005 and .NET 2.0.  I’ve done a sizable portion of the work, and am finishing up ironing out all the issues (and there are a LOT of them!)
 
I’ll have more in a bit…
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Rick’s next guitar

I just spotted this over at the PRS website… an SE Custom.  Finally, an inexpensive PRS model guitar that looks closer to the VERY expensive models.  Once my friend Rick decides that it’s time to move to the next level of guitar, I’ll be recommending this. I wouldn’t mind checking one of these out myself. 

Why I like/drive my ‘vette, plus some great memories

I’ve been asked by many people ‘Why do you drive a ‘vette?’ (or any other sports car for that matter).  I always have a bunch of logical reasons like safer, good gas mileage, not as outrageously expensive as one would think, etc…  What it really comes down to is two reasons:  1.  I love to drive a nice sports car and 2. I learned it from my Grandpa.
 
For the first reason, I drive a LOT.  My current ‘vette has over 135,000 miles on it (and it’s a 2000 model).  I actually have had very few problems with the car, for the amount of miles it has.  The ‘vette I had before, a 1998 model, had almost 80,000 miles on it.  I really love driving these kinds of cars.  What else can I say?
 
The second reason is probably much more interesting…  I think that I learned my love of sports cars from my Grandpa.  I don’t ever remember him having something that wasn’t at least sporty.  He NEVER had a car that had more than two doors.  Over time, he owned everything from a ’72 Corvette to an ’89 Honda Prelude.  And he always used them as daily drivers, and he drove almost as much as I do now. 
 
In fact, he *encouraged* me with sports cars.  At one point in time, I needed him to co-sign on my first car loan.  I had found a nice little early nineties Nissan 240Z.  I drug my grandfather out to take a look.  We test drove it, he’s like, ‘Not bad’.  The dealer also had a brand new Corolla in the same price range.  We took it for a test drive.  My grandpa wasn’t impressed.  We decided to skip both cars, but we had an interesting conversation on the way home.  We were discussing practicality, feasabiliity, insurance, and maintenance.  I finally asked, ‘Which one would you get?’  He smiled and said, ‘Definitely NOT the corolla’.  I ended up not purchasing either one, but later, he helped me get my first real sports car, an MR2.
 
Enough walking down memory lane for now…

I can’t believe people actually READ this blog…

Hi Christine!
 
It seems like I’m getting my chops busted for not writing for the last couple of days…  Not much is happening, aside from a near miss with a hurricane, a sinus cold that I can’t shake, a dead A/C unit on the car (AGAIN!), and the prospect of working every day for an entire month looming.  Maybe I should take these things in order.
 
Hurricane Rita is causing some nice wind and rain for us, but nothing like Katrina.  It seems like all the ‘resuce’ agencies are in full force for this one, as if to say, ‘Ok, we screwed up last time, let’s be real visible on this one to make up for it’.  (Maybe I’m a little bit cynical…)  Hopefully dividing the efforts will not slow down the help to the places that really need it.
 
Also, I’ve had some sort of sinus cold for the last couple of days.  That’s really knocked my energy levels down.  It seems to be going away, will know more tomorrow.
 
Saturday morning, my compressor died in my car.  This is the third compressor to go in the last 14 months.  Fortunately, GM’s policy on A/C parts is a lifetime warranty.  I found out the hard way that even the labor is covered.  The dealership that had put the first 3 (yes, 3!) compressors in, I have sworn NEVER to go back to.  Maroone Chevrolet of Delray beach spent almost 3 months trying to get it working, and they never did fix it correctly.  Any ‘vette owners, STAY AWAY from these guys!  I have started using Lou Bachrot Chevrolet.  These guys are top notch.  Even though I could have taken my car back to the old dealership and had them fix the A/C for free, I would rather pay my new dealership to ‘take over’ the service.  Let’s see if it lasts past a month.  I’ve got a bunch of driving to do!
 
Finally, starting last Monday, I will not have a day off until the middle of October.   This is a good thing for several reasons, but it will be wearing.  I may not be as prolific during this time, as I’ll be sleeping when not working!
 
I’ll survive… (I hope) <grin>

I owe Rick an apology…

I owe my friend Rick an apology…  I’m sorry about going off on a stupid rant today.  It wasn’t directed at anybody, least of all you.  I don’t have too many friends that understand software development, was just venting to you because you’ve been there, done that, got the t-shirt. 
 
I’ve also realized that I’ve been ranting a lot lately about too much random stuff.  At one time, ranting was kinda funny… seems like most people are over it anymore.  Time for me to calm down a bit, and get back to getting my jobs done.  I’ll get back to writing about guitars, computers, and life in general…

Practice DOESN’T MAKE Perfect

but PERFECT PRACTICE Does….
 
In continuing with mine and Rick’s discussions about Time Management, Consistency, and Discipline, I want to add a VERY, VERY, VERY important point…  You should always do things correctly.  For guitarists, this means, use the metronome, tap your foot, make sure the rhythm you are playing is the rhythm that is notated or expected, play the proper pitch, and all the other little things that make music pleasing to the player and the listener.  The best way to do this is to play SLOWLY.  It’s just like anything else in life, you’ve got to walk before you can run.  (Enough with the cliche’d sayings!)  Think about it.  If you can’t play a piece of music correctly when you have a lot of time to think about what you are doing, how will you play the music correctly when the tempo is sped up?
 
Again this is just like almost anything in life…  you have to be able to do something correctly before you can do it quickly.
 
I had better ideas for this post, but I couldn’t organize my thoughts very well.  More to come later…

Consistency and discipline

Just a quick note… It’s amazing what can be accomplished as long as one is consistent at it.  Watching my friend Rick learn to play the guitar has reminded me of the most important lesson of all.  Do a little bit each day, and be focused during that time.  I’m learning to allocate a certain amount of time every day for my ‘leisure’ activities, playing guitar, karate, and reading.  I’m trying to just put 15-20 minutes each a day into the karate and guitar, and even after just a week or two, I see improvement.  Now, if I can just apply that discipline to going to the gym.  You’d think with all the cute girls that are there, I wouldn’t need any discipline to go…

In the grand scheme of things, not important, but VERY, VERY COOL

With recent events of Hurricane Katrina, and the memorials for 9/11
weighting heavily on peoples hearts, this is not an important post.

For guitar players who love PRS Guitars,
this 9/12 is going to be an important day.  Near the middle of
last year, Gibson guitars sued PRS for ‘copying’ their signature
guitar, the Les Paul.  Even though there are several direct copies
already made by different companies, Gibson chose to go after
PRS.  Personally, I think it’s because PRS guitars are MUCH better
in quality than anything on the market, especially the Gibsons. 
Gibson, based out of Nashville, was able to convince a Nashville judge
that people were blind and could not tell the difference between the
two guitars.  Fortunately, today, that ruling was overturned.

PRS will once again be able to produce and sell Singlecut
guitars!  For anyone who’s played one and wants them, they will be
available WITHOUT the speculation prices!

Yeah!

Slow posting…

Yes, I’ve slowed down a bit with my posts.  A LOT has been going on lately.  As much as I’ve been ‘playing’, I’ve been working twice as hard.  Between my normal job, my side jobs, my guitar playing, and soon, karate, life has been very busy.  Also, I have few responsibilities, other than work and bills.  No children, no girlfriend/wife, little family, and only one cat.  There has been a lot happening in the world, ranging from monster disasters, Katrina, to technological advances, iPod Nano and Visual Studio 2005.  I’ve been very overwhelmed. 
 
Also, I’ve been working on straightening out my finances.  I make a very comfortable salary, but it all seems to disappear (first person who mentions the car get’s all future posts BLOCKED! )  I’ve started analyzing my spending, and am trying to slow it down.  I’m a shopaholic by nature, so it’s tough.  (Yes, guys are shopaholics, it’s just in different stores)  Also, I’ve been realizing that there are a lot of things out there that I *want* but do not *need*.  Staying away from Barnes and Noble has been VERY helpful.  And that’s REALLY tough, as the best B&N that I’ve seen is less than 5 miles from my apartment.
 
Ok, I’m rambling.  What else do you do when it’s a quiet Friday night and you’re by yourself?

I survived the weekend… (Concert Reports!)

I survived the hard part of the weekend!  Two major concerts in
three days, plus working on a consulting project, and a friend’s
birthday.  Gotta say, I had fun.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean all the events were good.

First off, never go see a concert a Sound Advice Ampitheatre. 
Both shows that I saw this weekend where at this venue.  I was not
able to make out the words of ANY of the bands (and I saw a LOT of
bands).  Mixes were horrible, no balance to the sound at
all.  It might have something to do with being an open-air
ampitheatre, but I’ve seen great shows at Pompano Beach Ampitheatre, so
I don’t think THAT’s an excuse.  One thing that was different is
that the bands I saw this weekend were alternative rock and/or metal
bands.  A lot of these guys go for the ‘heavy buzz-saw’ sound,
which is OK on a CD, but terrible live.  Three chords and some
space go a LONG way live.

Also one other thing that truly disappointed me was people’s
behavior.  Ok, so the concert was OzzFest, but jeez, does EVERYONE
have to act like an a-hole?  There were some very nice people
there, but there were some real losers, too.  To all the people
that threw grass and mud during one of the sets, YOU are the reason
concert prices go up.  Plus, you piss the rest of the people
off.  I had absolutely NO sympathy for the people that were being
forcefully thrown out of the concert.  I do not like to have to
watch my back while trying to watch a concert.  You guys probably
doomed the ‘lawn seating’ for that concert venue (although WHY someone
would want to listen to the horrible mixing job is beyond me).

Sorry about the rant, but I don’t like having to have fights with
friends, just because I tried to get out of the way of being hit with
flying mud and grass.

Tomorrow, I should have a more positive blog (I hope!)

Relaxing takes more work than working!

Let the Labor Day Weekend ROLL!!!!  They say whatever doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.  I’m going to find that out this weekend!  Tonight is the Papa Roach/311 concert.  Tomorrow is doing consulting work in Miami, then going to North West Palm Beach for a friend’s Birthday party.  Sunday, OzzFest.  Monday, some friends are coming by for dinner.  I may just fall over dead on Tuesday…

Argh, trying to juggle

As Christine asked, have I given up on this site?  No, I haven’t.  I’ve just been focusing on a lot of other parts of life lately.  I’ve used this blog to air my personal problems and my gadget lust.  I need to change that.  I do not want to start writing boring techincal articles, ’cause then NOBODY would read my blog.  I think that I’m beginning to grow up a bit, and hopefully, my blog entries might reflect that growing process.
 
I’ve been busy helping my friend Rick learn to play the guitar.  That’s been an eye opening experience, to say the least.  Trying to explain the ‘why’ to a very logical person is tough!  Especially when the ‘why’ questions leave you shaking your head because the answer you know don’t make sense!  Oh well, guitar is as much about feel as anything else in life.  The more you do something, the more you analyze it, the more the understanding comes to you. </Zen mode>
 
Also, I’ve been working more and more on my Macintosh.  The darned thing just makes sense.  Windows Vista MIGHT get there, but I doubt it.  Unfortunately, trying to blog to MSN Spaces with a Mac is NOT easy.  None of the browsers support the interface that Spaces has created for IE 6.  Adding a link to a blog entry in Safari is, ah, interesting.  I’m working on a PC project now, so I should be blogging more and more.
 
Gotta get back to coding!