(no subject)

Re: Orlando shootings

I gave even more than usual to everytown.org.  I also had an interesting conversation with a friend who has liberal views but owns 11 guns and is reluctant to say anything on her Facebook page.  I told her that more people who own guns but are in favor of reasonable limits need to speak up.

Re: Brexit

Re: family

They're in North Carolina for two weeks.  It's awful lonely (and surprisingly boring).  I meant to go out and do lots of stuff but my knee has been bothering me.

Re: general political discourse

The echo chamber effect on social media is becoming pretty bad.  The sit-in by the House Democrats was useless and stupid (nonviolent protest works most effectively against violence, not inaction).  People are too concerned about the trivial outrage du jour (children being eaten by alligators at Disney World or endangered at a zoo) and not enough about long-standing serious issues.  It's discouraging.

(no subject)

For Journey's birthday Holly wangled access to Disneyland and California Adventure from generous former coworkers.  So rather than have a cake/bounce house/kids/presents party like we do every year, Journey got a fabulous excursion.  I joined them for CA (I can't stand the crowding in Disneyland) and it was great.  She was able to ride California Screamin' for the first time ever.  She seemed scared but we convinced her to get on and afterwards she was UTTERLY THRILLED and wanted to ride it 26,000 more times.  We had gotten fastpasses thanks to our host Becca and the prospect of standing an hour in line to get on it again was daunting so Journey never got her wish, but now I know I can take her to Magic Mountain.

We went on many smaller rides for Avalon too, and I even got to hear the Ellis Island Boys up close and personal.  We had dinner at Ariel's Grotto (my food was not very good at all, except for a chowder) and then watched the after-closing-time water and light show.  The show was essentially a giant ad for Disneyland and its 50th anniversary, but the kids seemed to enjoy it.  It was really late though and they were complete zombies by the time we got back to the  car.  Avalon didn't put her seatbelt on and we forgot to check, so we accidentally drove 30 miles back to my mom's house with her unbelted and asleep.  As I stopped at the light she slid forward off her seat and toppled into the footwell with a whimper, but never woke up (!)

Our old dishwasher died and we bought a new one but it won't fit under the counter, so we'll have to do a little hacksawing and the kitchen counter will be pretty ugly.  It got chipped when the old dishwasher went in, and it was chipped more when it came out, so whatever.  We should probably remodel the kitchen at some point anyway.

Went to Alumni Day at Ricketts with Steve and Mirabelle and my kids.  I took a funny picture of Avalon in the wading pool surrounded by five male undergraduates.  Techers, always glomming the cute chicks.

I discovered a few of the preschool dads are interested in racquetball, so I've been playing again.  Much more aerobic than dancing, that's for sure.

(no subject)

Anyone know a good, free LJ archiver now that LJBook is a pay model?

Had a very family-oriented weekend.  WPNS Springfest on Saturday where I helped with the sound system and was recruited at the last second to emcee.  Got lots of sun.  Went to Beach Pizza with a few other families afterwards, ate half a large pizza, then slept for 11 hours.  The next day I tried giving Journey another bike riding lesson and then we went to the park with Cindy and Gregg and their kids and the extra four kids (!) they were watching for two other families, so we dropped the kid:adult ratio from 3:1 to 2:1 for them.  Then immediately went over to the Y, showered all the sand and dust off and got in the pool.  My ankles were destroyed by standing up for roughly 7 hours in flipflops on Saturday and the hot tub jets felt good.  Went to sleep around 9:30.  At this rate I'll be going to bed in the late afternoon soon.

The kids have been having a hard time obeying when we say not to do something.  It's hard to deal with.

(no subject)

Finally watched Whiplash last night.  When it was released there was a hue and cry from jazz musicians, particularly drummers, about how the movie's drumming was stupid and the representation of jazz education was stupid and Everything Was Stupid.

Of course what they fail to realize is that the movie is no more about jazz than The Karate Kid is about karate.  Jazz is the bland cracker that delivers the delicious cheese of psychodrama in this movie.  So, yeah, the depiction of drumming is wildly incorrect and the likelihood that a music instructor would ever lay a finger on a student is nonexistent and it's way over the top, but the movie succeeds in provoking acute feelings of anxiety and discomfort in the viewer, which is the whole point.  And therefore, as a movie, it is quite good despite some wooden acting from the protagonist.  And it ends correctly given the entire arc of narrative.

In other news I will finally get my S2000 top repaired.  For a while it had a defect at the front where it met the windshield which gradually expanded until at speed air was coming in under the top.  I forgot about this the last time I was driving it and during an impatient freeway pass I hit 87 mph whereupon the top ripped wide open.  Fortunately Holly had recently cleared out the garage enough to park the car in it, and now I've bought a new fabric top from online, and I need the upholstery shop to install it, and I'll have a decent top on the car again.  It was such a pain in the ass repairing the top the first time I would rather pay someone to do it.  I'm lazy.

We also got Journey a bigger bike since she's too big for the Goodwill Special we acquired a few years ago.  A local bike shop couldn't put training wheels on it, so I'm going to try to get her to learn to ride without them.  So far we've had one 10 minute practice session, and while she moans and whines about riding, I think she will get it pretty quickly.

(no subject)

Dana's man Will had a birthday, and so did Michelle's man Mike, so we all dressed up and went to the Edison for the night.  It's been a while since I went out for a night on the town so it was fun blowing a small wad of money on food, booze, and good times with friends.  I danced a few songs with Dana but later she said she was still broken from her car accident and wound up not being able to walk for two days.  Whoops.  Wasn't my fault, honest.

On Friday before Easter the girls went to Legoland and stayed the night at my mom's, so I went down to Atomic that night and slept over at my mom's too.  The next morning we went on an Easter egg "hunt" at a mall with Dana and Claire where the objective was to visit every store and get an egg from the variously cheerful or grumpy employees.  And then we went to Kavya's birthday at Evonne's parents house which was fun, but it was really about 23 hours too long in Orange County.  I love my friends but they live in a dreadfully boring area of Southern California.

(no subject)

Naturally, unplugging the TV and plugging it back in makes it work again.

Everything in your life is a little computer.  Didja trah rebootin'?

(no subject)

Our TV died in late February, we got it repaired, and now it's died in the same way again.  Hopefully the repair guy will repair it under his warranty.

The kids went camping with Holly.  They had planned to spend 3 days and two nights there but it was a miserable first night (cold and sleepless) so they bailed.  I don't get camping.  It seems to be, at its core, a way to make yourself work really hard to be less comfortable.

(no subject)

Went ice skating at Arabella's birthday party.  I am very tentative on roller skates and ice skating was a little harder for me, but I managed to get around without falling.  Of course I had to go verrrry slowly to help my daughters along as they clutched at the wall, but that's ok.  I am not convinced that a sport involving sharp razors strapped to your feet has any place in my life however.  Roller skating seems like a lot less work to me.

Later that night the kids went to a "drive in" at the preschool where they sat in cardboard box cars.  One kid had the most amazing cardboard box car ever.  It was fully decked out inside and out with very car-like accessories; dashboard, speedo, steering wheel, license plate, rearview mirror... we had a box with some paint on it.  Parents of the year, right here.

It's been El Nino-ing here and I noticed water dripping down the chimney (on the brick exposed to the living room) so we called our roofer who applied a temporary fix just in time for a heavy storm the next day.  A more permanent repair is required.  We also discovered leakage where there shouldn't be leakage in the garage, so some foundation specialists are coming to re-grade the little area behind the garage and hopefully water won't pool in the corner anymore.

The weekend after that the kids and Holly played roles in a Peanut music video where the kids got to throw cake at each other.  I instead bought a Carvin CX630 powered mixer from a pawn shop and a pair of Carvin 805 speakers from Craigslist for a total of $180, a massive bargain.  Well, I had to buy $50 of speaker cables too, so $230.  (A comparable brand new system would cost roughly $600-700.)  Unfortunately one of the speakers did not work so I got a recommendation from Jan and hauled the speaker and my old dysfunctional Marshall 8040 guitar combo to Advanced Musical Electronics on Venice.  As Jan promised the owner Kurt was kind of a grumpy guy but in a way I liked.  He said 'So what's wrong with your Valvestate other than it's a Valvestate?"  And he said 'have you ever been a customer before' and I said 'nope, got referred' and Kurt looked at me in surprise and said "Most people try to figure out what I mean by that question -- do I get a discount if I'm a repeat customer" but you answered right away, no hesitation'.  And he and a long-time customer were hassling each other, cracking me up.  I hope he's as good at repair as he is at being snarky.  I really love that combo and I hope he can resurrect it.

We used the one working speaker at a Lowbrau rehearsal and it really cleared up our feedback problems.  Of course that just meant we could crank the vocals louder, and the bass/guitar amps got louder too...

Went dancing at Atomic for the first time in months and it was really great.  Sarah showed up, and Sara was also there, and Michelle went, and in general it was pretty darn fun.  I am ridiculously out of shape after having had three or four consecutive colds and the associated cough continuously since November.

Yesterday we took Journey and Avalon to see gymnastics at UCLA as part of a Girl Scout day.  The Bruins were competing against Oklahoma, but got destroyed; Oklahoma was really really good.  I asked Journey if watching gymnastics was inspirational and she said grumpily "I don't want to WATCH gymnastics I want to DO it".  So I guess inspiration wasn't really needed.

One of the Girl Scouts in the row behind me managed to dump 2 or 3 full sodas onto me, my backpack, and my wife's purse.  They should award a patch for gracefulness to avoid doing that.

(no subject)

Two years ago our jazz band played Apache, and it went well.  Last year Apache was different for various political reasons and so they had no band, but Ricketts called us up again this year so we played again.  I contacted a few people I met at jazz camp and got our best horn lineup.  There was virtually nobody there the first two sets (the steam tunnels were backed up as usual) but unbelievably packed the third set.  Given that everybody was incredibly drunk, we were a big hit.  They asked us to play again next year.

But here's the interesting bit.  Steve pointed me to this:

http://caltechcampuspubs.library.caltech.edu/2229/1/1990.pdf (88 meg download)

On page 119 of our yearbook there is me signing the guest list at the entrance to the steam tunnels, and the picture to the right is a man taking a smoke break in the courtyard along with a few students (pretty sure that's Eric Candell standing there in the plaid pants).

The man taking the smoke break is the drummer for Apache that night in 1990.

The drummer is EARL PALMER.

Holy crap.

(no subject)

Avalon's party went well.  The kids flopped down the bounce house slide sixty six million times and gorged themselves on cake and ice cream after the usual hamburgers and hot dogs and potstickers and macaroni and cheese.  Our kid birthday parties don't vary very much.  It was nice to see people I rarely see, and the people who wanted to watch the football playoffs got to watch it.

I've spent the past week trying to prep for an upcoming gig at Apache and hugely neglecting my online MongoDB course.  I'm getting zeros on all the homeworks because i'm simply not turning it in.  Not like it matters.  I got a pianist and bassist from jazz camp and Steve will play guitar and we're getting a pro horn player.  Hopefully everyone will have fun.

My in-laws are here and therefore we are eating ridiculously tasty food every night.