the perpetually shrinking budget..

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going through all the christmas-related bills recently, Elaine and I have been forced to decide to do some budget-related cutbacks. what? you mean, i can’t just spend freely at every whim during my weekly trips to best buy anymore? huh? it can’t be??!?! wwwaaahhhh! [sob, sob… whimper…whine…sniff, sniff…]
..well, wouldn’t ya know it, just yesterday our sony trinitron in our family room (our main TV) decided to conk out on us. and it definitely looks to be a goner. it’s never worth it to look into fixing TVs so i guess i gotta go to best buy and look for a new one. [heh, heh… hands rubbing together with glee…]

..ahem..! [Elaine standing with her arms crossed and right foot tapping against the floor..]

..oh, alright… i’ll look for a cheapo replacement…

i guess the dilemma nowadays is (..don’t even mention LCD/plasma TVs b/c it won’t fit in the ever decreasing budget…) : do you spend the extra dough on HD ready (oopffhhh! look at the myriad of HD-related configurations!) or just get a cheap tube TV and worry about HD when the you know what hits the fan?

actually it was pretty nice spending some time last night in the family room without the TV blaring away. of course, i’m thinking that it’d get old night after night without watching my shows. shoot. i missed The Amazing Race last night. anybody want to fill me in on what happened?

…oh, here’s a samsung that was recently shown at the CES convention. what do ya think? should i even bother showing this one to Elaine? :P

80 inch plasma, drool, drool, drool

the new years funk…

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shirley wrote in and said that she’s bored to tears about all this blogging-talk i’ve been doing lately. yeah, i guess she’s right. but.. i’ve been going through some new-year’s blues/funk-whatever you call it plus, i caught a cold recently so i haven’t been feeling too expressive lately. sorry. i don’t feel like going into all the crap i’ve been feeling lately so all this geek-talk has been all i could muster. so, just for shirley, i won’t talk about wordpress or geeklog today… so i’ll mention…. something else… ummm.. yes, … oh, yeah, Roy released the new version of Tabulas over the weekend. (sorry shirley! :P) hooray for him. The new release looks really good and if i didn’t have this here site to deal with, i’d probably still be over there bloggin’ away although i do admit feeling sorta old over there with all those fourteen year olds journalling about school-crushes and how they really despise their math teacher. probably why i couldn’t continue blogging over there. you know, b/c i really don’t need another daily reminder of how old i’m getting!! no thanks. plus, there isn’t a way to export out all the entries from tabulas. so once you decide to move on, you lose all those posts you spent all that time writing. i know this b/c i haven’t been able to re-import any of the entry files i’ve saved from there. but hey, if you’re young and you don’t have a website, that’s the place to be, my friend! … and while you’re there, say ‘hey’ to Roy for me. :)

sprinkle, sprinkle…

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sprinkle, sprinkle? more like pouring money down the drain! Elaine was at the desk doing the bills the other night and suddenly stomped on over to me with the water bill. yikes! it was over 200 bucks! she gave me an “i told ya so” look and then walked away. you see, after overseeding the lawn back in early october, I set the sprinkler system to the “recommended” cycle which was three times a day, every day for three weeks. So I followed the lawncare guideline even though Elaine thought it was a bit much. my thinking was that we need to keep our lawn green and in tip top shape especially in a close knit neighborhood like ours where you find meticulous lawns and flower filled landscaping. but i didn’t expect such a large water bill. my bad! I will definitely have to rethink the programming on the sprinkler system next season. hey, i’m learning as i go here, OK?. and yes, you can reach me in the dog house for the next few days. thanks.—-now with sites like namecheap and godaddy, obtaining domain names is pretty simple and cheap. i currently own as well as our church worship team site i’ve noticed recently that my full name (dot net) has become available and i’m trying to decide if i should get it or not. now what is everyone else doing out there? are y’all buying your full name domains? or is it *not cool* to do that? i really don’t have a separate use for it and i’ll probably end up using it just as an email address (more for novelty) and also redirect the traffic to my currect site ( in terms of preference, i do prefer the shortness of dlee over my full name but i like dot NET over something like dot US. i’m still waiting for DLee.NET or .ORG to expire so that i can snatch it up. dot US doesn’t have the cache like a dot com or a dot net. anyway, just curious what other folks thought about reserving their dot com names. please post your thoughts here..—-i’m also thinking of not renewing my paid email account at although, i’m happy with the service, GMail and the increased space on YAHOO mail pretty much killed the need for a “paid” email service. plus, i have email with my domains as well. and even though i’m a self professed email hoarder, i’m not seeing a real need for me to continue paying for email. i’m paid up until May, so i’ll probably start re-routing email through my other domains and discontinue fastmail. it’s just the sign of the times. i wish fastmail well but it’s pretty apparent that GMail changed the whole email landscape.—-oohhh, i found another CMS that i would love to try out. MAMBO. anybody currently using this? I wouldn’t mind switching out of geeklog but apparently there isn’t a convenient conversion script that would transfer all my posts into the MAMBO system. and would hate to lose all my beloved posts that i made using geeklog. i could go into the database and move each entry manually but can you imagine how long THAT would take? no thanks. i don’t know, i guess i’ll just stick it out with geeklog for now. there IS a new release of geeklog out now. since i have some plugins installed on my current release, i’m just waiting for those plugins to be rewritten so that they’ll work with the new release. but you know me, i love switching for platform to platform. anybody remember me starting out with blogger back in 2001? I then quickly switched to greymatter which was pretty cool. I then changed hosting plans that disallowed the use of greymatter/CGI so i went with PHP based nucleus. I used nucleus for about a year until ol’ buddy Roy convinced me to blog over at tabulas. It was pretty much fine and dandy over there but i missed having everything on my own domain so I came back over and incorporated my daily blog into my “family site” which by then was using this here geeklog. it’s not the greatest CMS by any means but i guess i’m stuck with it for now. …. unless i get the courage to just start over from scratch. hhhmmmmm…. maybe….

tis the season..

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well, how’s it going? i’m still busy trying to get some work done along with all the christmas shopping and stuff… yup, in other words, i’m in christmas hell.with all the shopping, spending money i don’t have, traveling, spending time with the relatives/grandparents, christmas decorations, christmas cards, christmas tree, traffic, shopping malls, catching colds and headaches, i’m never a happy camper during this time of the year. yup, i’m just a christmas grump. is it just me? i can’t be the only one. come on admit it! you know, misery loves company. :Pthe following are just various tidbids floating in the ol’ noggin:will someone at clearchannel please stop the madness!! please stop playing those horrid christmas songs by Manheim Steamroller!! those cheesy early eighties sounding synths, those thin, crappy sounding drums, those unimaginative instrumental arrangements, the mind-numbingly simple and bland solos. i can’t take it anymore. who likes this crap? I’m OK with Christmas music around the holidays but Manheim Steamroller??? Someone please tie up these middle-aged balding fogies and don’t let ‘em out til spring!some hackers got into the server that hosts my worship team’s website (the site that i run for the church band/choir.) now, who in their right mind would mess with a church-related site? don’t they know they be messing with God’s work? well, they got cahones!i’m sad. seriously! more evidence that Nick and Jessica’s marriage is indeed on the rocks. someone hand me some tissue!i just love Hi-5. i think i’ll get their CD …. for my nieces for christmas! OK, i admit that i’ve been a fan since they started broadcasting the show in the mornings on TLC last year. is that so wrong? to be a grown up and like the kids in Hi-5? is it a little to pervy? come on, it’s just a well done show!!The choir did an incredible version of Kirk Franklin’s ‘Now Behold the Lamb’ at church this past sunday! I was in tears at the end. it was powerful.
it sort of brings things into perspective.
Now behold the Lamb, the precious Lamb of God
Born into sin that I may live again
The precious Lamb of God
Holy is the Lamb, the precious Lamb of God
Why You love me so Lord I shall never know
The precious Lamb of God
When I always didn’t do right I went left
He told me to go right
But I’m standing here in the midst of my tears
Lord I claim You to be the Lamb of God
Thank you for the Lamb, the precious Lamb of God
Because of Your grace I can finish this race
The precious Lamb of God
Even when i broke Your heart, my sins tore us apart
But I’m standing right here in the midst of my tears
I claim you to be the Lamb of God
Why You love me so Lord I shall never know
The precious Lamb of God
-Kirk Franklin

back from a lot of eating and sleeping…

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well, i’m back from my internet-less stay at my MIL’s house. i guess it was sort of refreshing not logging on for a couple days. so, what did i miss? anything new with you? i have to say that it’s always a great feeling coming back home from a trip. coming back to the familiar and routine. yes, it’s sad but true, i’m a creature of habit. gotta have my daily routine or i’m pretty much lost and out of my element. don’t tell me it’s because i’m getting older and becoming set in my ways??!!?? …oh the horror! blow like cyclone, my second wind! blow like typhoon, my second wind! blow like tempest, my second wind!!….well, gotta go and catch up on some work. laterz!

what gets my goat #479…

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you know what pisses me off? people who plan to meet up with you at a certain time and then totally forget about it. you know, a person who says to you “oh, i’ve been meaning take some time and hang out with you. say, let’s get together at 10 on thursday, alright?” .. and then totally don’t show up or just plain neglect to tell you that something else came up. …and not just once but habitually. an habitual line-steppa! [as Charlie Murphy would say…] look, If you don’t actually *want* to spend time with me and you’re just saying it just to be nice, just don’t bother setting up a time to begin with. really. i mean, come on, if you’re not going to follow through with it just don’t suggest anything to me, alright? just keep it to yourself. what the *f* is the benefit saying stuff like that to me in the first place??? obviously, I mean *that* much to you that you can’t get yourself to write this down on a calendar to remind yourself or somehow get yourself to a phone so that you could simply let me know that you can’t be there??what am i, some kind of slime??and what kind of “so-called” friend are you anyway??you’re definitely on *my list* now and you ain’t comin’ off anytime soon. yeah, that’s right, you should be scared! where, oh where are those people with integrity? someone please clue me in ….because i’m in dire need of some people of quality in my life. just one or two. i’m not asking for much…….anyone? …anyone? …bueller? …bueller?

Mr. Non-Existent Short-Term Memory Man strikes again… scene #2258

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ahh, yes. Once again we find Mr. Non-Existent Short-Term Memory Man sitting at his desk expecting a call from his long-suffering and dutiful wife any minute now. His office phone rings and out comes her voice flowing from the phone earpiece like a gentle soothing stream…NOT,

“honey, you forgot to take your lunch with you to work again. See, you *never* pay attention to what I say b/c I even reminded you not a minute before you left the house…. blah, blah, blah, yadda, yadda, yadda” [loop this segment over and over for ten minutes…]

“But dear, I just forgot…” Mr. NESTMM tries to explain…

“don’t give me that excuse about your memory. It’s not going to work this time. you always try to blame your memory while in fact it’s just *you* not listening to anything that I tell you to do….blah, blah, blah, yadda, yadda, yadda” [loop it for another ten minutes…]

“yes, dear. Ok, dear. whatever you say dear… I’ll be sure to eat that sandwich for dinner then. thank you dear. I’m so lucky to have you looking out for me like that, dear. I’ll see you at dinner then. love you. bye”

[repeat whipping sound in the background]

Mr. NESTM looks down and realizes that he forgot to bring his cell-phone as well.


[office phone rings again…]

[end of scene # 2258]

in the Lennon tradition, a bed-in..

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hey all. back from a long dull weekend. how was yours? saturday started out with all of us standing in line at our pediatric clinic for Ethan and Alec to get their flu shots (baby Christian got his during is appointment earlier in the week.) Thanks to all the media hub-bub about the vaccine shortage it looked like most of the kids and their parents in North Raleigh was out in line in front of the clinic. the line stretched out of the parking lot and down the block and around the corner by 9 AM. Elaine knew this was going to happen beforehand so she kicked me out of bed at 6:30 to shower and get the kids ready to head out. we got there an hour early and caught the line before it reached beyond the edge of the parking lot. Here’s a couple fuzzy shots from Ethan’s pencam.I took care of the kids the rest of the day so that Elaine could go shopping in peace. yes, i’m such a good husband, i know. Elaine made sure to remind me that it had been quite a while since she last purchased something for herself so i let her have the day to do what she pleased. having the kids for a day must have took its toll because on sunday i was useless. i felt sick and just stayed in bed. i’m not totally sure if it was a bug or just depression but i didn’t feel like doing anything sunday. i sorta felt guilty toward the end there but the day was wasted by that time. i did catch B.A.P.S. on the tube while lying in bed sunday. it never fails. whenever i’m sick in bed, the movie always seems to be on cable somewhere. it’s my “comfort” movie. it’s so bad it’s good. in fact, it’s probably my all time favorite Halle Berry movie. the best part is when she’s standing in line for an audition and she starts dancing and humming to herself. it’s total genius. my respect for Halle’s talents shot to a new level back when i first saw that scene a couple years ago. heh.and sunday night was reserved for some of my favs: Extreme Makeover Home Edition, Desperate Housewives and Surreal Life. sad to say, i’m totally addicted. and what’s happening to my boy Jordan Knight. you would think he’d go on a show like Surreal Life to sort of raise his public profile but man, this show is totally making him out to be the biggest no-talent dweeb. he’s definitely a good example of what can be created in the recording studio from the most minuscule amount of creative talent. yeah, i enjoy crackin’ on him and the other losers on the show but then the fun diminishes when the fact remains that they are still making tons more money than i do. …back to my depression…

just me myself and I

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12 measures. 12 measures of music is what i needed to fill on a song last week. an all out drum solo. the dreaded, mind-numbing, “time for a bathroom-break” drum solo. no one wants to hear a drum solo. even *i* don’t want to hear a drum solo unless it’s by one of the all time greats. so, who would want to hear 12 measures of just me? I know i can’t come up with anything even *remotely* interesting. and that’s what i usually tell the music director whenever something like this comes up and normally my veto would go through. but not this time. the music director as well as the horn section (those clowns!) were steadfast in their demand for 12 measures of drums. now, i don’t mind something that’s integral with the music itself, a drum fill or beat that enhances the song or something that helps transitions a part to the next section but 12 measures is asking too much …. from me as well as the people that have to listen to me! it was tough during rehearsal last week, trying to come up with something interesting as well as something that gradually gained momentum that would carry into the initial “true” intro of the song. mine felt more like disjointed drum fill ideas pasted together haphazardly. it definitely made me appreciate more how drummers like Neil Peart and Carl Palmer can carry on for fifteen minutes or more. i can probably run through my standard bag of ideas and motifs in about two minutes tops. that kinda gives you an taste of how much i practice at home. zilch. nada. nunca. and these “12 measures” almost made me break my long running streak. *almost*. with two little boys running around the house *plus* a lil’ seven month old, having a drum set at home is just not a good idea. so how did i do sunday? well, let’s just say my brain is still trying desperately to deaden reality, spinning a web of denial and shooting out endorphins left and right to ease the pain. i basically held my breath and hacked my way through it. and now i don’t really recall what i actually played. at least it wasn’t a massive train wreck where it’d stop the song dead in its tracks. that’s a “positive”, isn’t it? i’ve asked a couple of people and they all said “it was fine” but how am i ever supposed to know if they’re just saying that to appease me or if it’s something they actually thought was OK. whatever. it’s done. it’s over. i’m not gonna worry about it. …i have to admit that it did “stretch” me in terms of my abilities and … maybe my next solo won’t be so bad. :P well, at least no one threw any eggs at me … not that it’d matter that much since i have a plexiglass shield around the drum kit. heh.

my little pony…

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yes, went to another pig-pickin’ this past weekend. it must sound like i live wwaaayy out in the country with all the pig-pickins i’ve been to recently but hey… just pass me that plate full of Eastern Carolina style BBQ and i won’t care what ya think.the cookout was over at one of my co-worker’s farm way out in Johnston county where she’s got horses as well as miniature ponies. That meant tons-of-fun for the kiddies. Ethan and Alec had a blast. Truthfully, I’ll admit that i didn’t really feel like hanging out on a saturday with folks that i see during the workday (in fact, i was a big grump that day. i’m sure my colleagues didn’t really appreciate me just standing around with my dark shades on not being social and all …but hey i was just there for the food, alright? is that so wrong?) but it was all worth it seeing the kids having a blast riding the ponies and horses. click here for more photos.i really need an attitude adjustment. really. i do. and i *know* this. at this rate, i’m gonna end up a lonely ol’ man sitting on a rickety ol’ rocking chair with no one to talk to. i can blame my parents for raising me up as an only child but it won’t do me any good. i have to start breakin’ down this *wall* i have around me before its too late.

Note to self:
If I want more peace in the world
Then I must make peace with myself
If I want more trust in the world
Then I’ve got to trust in myself
If I want more love in the world
I must show more love to myself
because I want to change the world
I want to make it well
How can I change the world if I can’t change myself?

-Todd Rundgren

have band, will play for food…

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yup. that’s the worship team playing for two hours on saturday out at a dedication outside of Pittsboro. With most of us getting older and having families, it was probably the first time in years many of us played outside of church. I know personally it’s been a heck of a while since i broke out my trusty ol’ *hybrid* drum kit out from storage. hybrid, meaning half acoustic and half electronic. for those curious, here’s my list of stuff: Yamaha DTX 2.0 drum sound module, pintech concertcast silentech mesh head trigger pads, pintech ergokik kick drum trigger, 13″ paiste 802 hi-hats, 8″ sabian splash, 12″ sabian splash/crash, 18″ paiste 802 ride and 13″ pearl piccolo snare drum.anyway, it was a blast playing outside. great weather (but a bit humid!) plus there was a pig-pickin’ (i love me some eastern carolina style pork barbeque!!!! it’s da best!). and yes, we played for food. what’s wrong with that? it was all good.
The only incident i encountered this weekend was me nearly backing my Lexus into the garage. it scared the stuffing out of me. I had backed up my SUV in the driveway after the gig so that i could unload all my drum stuff. I was dead tired so i left it for sunday. i unloaded the equipment sunday afternoon and sometime in the evening I had to go out on an errand so i hopped in my car and put the thing into reverse as i normally do to get out of my driveway and i hit the gas!!??!! I ended up backing into a small bush barely missing the garage. no damage. just total embarrassment especially since my neighbor came out to see what all the ruckus was about. he probably thinks i’m a total idiot who can’t get out of a driveway without plowing into things! grrrr! hey, i was on autopilot. i wasn’t thinking! my body just does things by routine and the routine was to put the car into reverse to get out of the driveway. come on! am i the only one that does this??? back me up here! don’t tell me i’m losing brain cells at more of an accelerated rate than the rest of you out there. must be something in the water….

birthday weekend…

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I’m back! Had a nice couple days off. thank you Shirley and Elizabeth for posting ‘happy birthday’ wishes. oh and happy belated birthday to Elizabeth. she just had one of the big ones. ;) so, i had another ‘birthday party’ this past sunday. just a small one with family. as you might recall, i had the ‘big’ birthday party last weekend. this time we just had my parents and my aunt and uncle to come by. so basically i had a total of TWO birthday cakes for my 35th birthday. oh, and a pie… my mom made a pie as well. yes, i’m special. hhmmm, what else happened this weekend… oh yeah, there was a ‘baby dedication’ at church on sunday so we got to go up on stage with the rest of the parents to ‘dedicate’ our babies. Each family had to introduce their families to the rest of the congregation and i’m not totally sure but i think i spoke a little too loud into the mic (or so i’m told). *embarrassed* hey, i’m not used to being up front speaking in front of 800 or so folks (just used to playing/hiding behind the drums!!). anyways, i blame the stage monitors… we could barely hear ourselves where we were standing on stage, it was all garbled and echoey. whatever. i hope they all didn’t laugh too hard at me. :P
you know what?
i’m getting used to embarrassing myself in a major way at least once a week. ;)

weekend update…

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well, how was your weekend? ours was pretty full… it started out with the weekly ritual of mowing the lawn. Oh, and here’s a pencam pic of the lawnmower. yes, a pencam. low-res, fuzzy and unfocused pictures. ahh, the wonders of technology. :P I recently got the pencam off of ebay for eight bucks. It’s for Ethan (my seven year old) to play around with. I’ve been testing it around the house and man i’m totally glad that i only paid eight bucks for it. the pic quality is horrible. can you believe they actually go for forty dollars brand new? totally not worth it. but anyway, i’m sure Ethan will have loads of fun with it. i set up a separate gallery just for the pencam. check the section for updates every once in a while. you never know what Ethan might get a shot of. right now it has a couple of my test shots. click here for the album.Spent most of saturday cleaning the house inside and out. why? because of my “surprise” birthday party. well, it was supposed to be a surprise but NOTHING gets by me! I KNOW all, I see all! a couple weeks back, Elaine tried to fool me by saying we were having a baby shower at our house for one of our friends on Saturday the 11th (which is a week before my birthday, the 19th) but one day while checking the mail, i came across a baby shower invitation for OUR FRIEND for Sunday the 12th! a-ha! busted! and all was ruined! nah, not really. we still had a great time. it was nice having our friends over for dinner. …well, except whenever Linda continually mentioned during the evening that she thought this was one of the “major milestone” birthdays like a 4-0 or a 5-0!! thanks Linda…. NOT! anyway, it was actually the first time we had a whole bunch of folks over since we moved in to the house so it was kinda like a “house warming party” as well. man, you should have seen our cul-de-sac full of cars. hopefully our neighbors didn’t get too agitated with us. great food, big cake and good friends. good times.then on sunday, got to church by 7:15am, rehearsed with the worship team, had breakfast, then had service and got out by 12:15. hurried back home to have lunch and then Elaine was off to Jen’s baby shower across town. I chilled out with the boys until Elaine got back and then we were back at church for a church family meeting. the band played again as well. by the end of it, Christian (our six month old) was cranky b/c of the lack of sleep and Alec and Ethan were complaining for the lack of playtime. oh well. at least i had fun!

got green thumb?

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apparently the landscapers came by yesterday. it was hard to tell b/c they didn’t do much. i was expecting them to redo some of the flower/plant beds. looks like they just did some trimming. elaine was home and she said that the workers seemed that they weren’t really sure what to do with our yard like they weren’t really given clear instructions from their supervisor. so, elaine had to tell them what to do. this is a great first impression. i’m paying for this?? i’m going to give them a month and if they don’t do an impressive job with the yard they’ll leave me no choice but to kick ‘em to da curb. now, how do i go about getting me one of those green thumbs??

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