Monday, September 24, 2012

Abrasion Covers are Magic!

I wrecked on my mountain bike a week ago.  Did it hurt?  Not at the time.  Did it hurt an hour later?  Oh my stars did it hurt an hour later.  I went over the handlebars, slapped the right knee cap (and good), bruised the left side from hip to foot, and trophied myself with an honorary elbow scrape.

Exhibit A: Elbow Scrape

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

A friend of mine gave me the get-yourself-some-abrasion-covers-and-get-them-fast lecture.  I said, wah-wah-wah-wah for a day, then conceded, because I didn't have any laying around and they're somewhat hard to find.  So I put in some healing Effort and traipsed about town looking for Abrasion Covers.

Exhibit B: AbrasionCovers

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

I kept the wound covered for about six days.  Look at the wound after six days.  Magic, yes?  Magic!

Exhibit C: Six Days Later.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Now if only someone could provide me with some similar magic for my knee.  Frownie face.

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Friday Fights

I yell at Yahoo #2 every Friday.  I yell at him other times too, but this Friday thing has become a noticeable pattern.  Yahoo #1 is also a recipient of some yelling, but it's more of a random holler instead of a weekly episode.

Both the Yahoos are taking some piano right now.  At this point it's more of a forcing – I've inflicted my piano-loving will on the poor dears.  Piano is the tool I've chosen to teach them some work and discipline, and being as I see that teaching work and discipline is among my primariest of parenting roles, I'm going to say I'm forcing them for their own good.

Getting the Yahoos to practice is quite an ordeal.  First, I bribe with points; points that lead to real cash. Second, I sit down with them; I sit down with them for as many years (yes, it takes years!) as it takes for them to figure out how to focus and practice on their own.  For Yahoo #1, that was roughly four of those years.  Four years at five hours a week (give or take) is a lot of hours (1040, give or take.)

Yahoo #2 has been taking piano for just under two years.  His focusing skills have yet to reach maturity, so my services are required to keep his eyes on the music plan.  (That was my nice way for saying, "He's a boy.  He's eight.  He's got a deficit of attention.")

Now Yahoo #2 has some talent.  When he wants to focus, he's amazing.  He's pretty dang good at site reading.  He'll open something up and play it through with awesome accuracy the first time through.  If he's able to play something through with some accuracy, then he decides he's done and quits paying attention.  Or, he thinks he has it memorized.  Therefore, you ask him to play that something again, to refine and make even more accurate, and the kid produces a wide-eyed 'n blank stare that goes through the piano and the wall behind it.

Yahoo #2's propensity to play something well then tune out lends me to say things like, "look at your music" and "read your notes" and "eyes up." I say this a lot.  A lot.  For at least 30 minutes each and (almost) every day.  I remain somewhat patient until Friday.  But on Friday, something happens and both of us flip.  He quits listening altogether, and  I say "look at your music" and "read your notes" and "eyes up" until I loose it and start yelling.

At this point, I have three options:  1) Start the practice yelling – I'll get there anyway,  2) decide Friday is not our day and take it off, or 3) read this book that I bought a while ago but have yet to crack:

How to Get Your Child to Practice – Without Resorting to Violence!!
by Cynthia Richards


As an aside, I totally know this Cynthia Richards lady and she has raised a whole slew of music disciplinaries herself.   Totally makes this book a source to trust, yes?  If I choose to read this book then I could do a book report!  Yay!  Goody!  Yay!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Effort. Capital E on Purpose.

Being as Spouse and I have worked in technology a collective – wait for it – 43(!) years, we talk shop.  A lot.  These discussions generally begin with "wouldn't it be cool if..." and occur when one or both of us discovers a perceived problem that could be solved (easily!) by the invention of our new, improved and ultra brilliant web site or app.  We do this often.  We've dreamed up all sorts of software gadgets.  It all stops, however, when the dreaming phase morphs into the where-do-we-get-the-funding phase which is then murdered violently by the realization-of-human-hours phase, which is then buried by the no-one-would-buy-that phase.

It goes without saying – but I'm going to say it anyway – that both of us are still working for other software visionaries who have figured out the funding, human-hours, and the gettin'-folks-to-buy phases.

Last night, in between episodes of How I Met Your Mother, we had another one of those "wouldn't it be cool if..." conversations.

*As an aside, I do believe we watched the funniest episode to date.  They're all funny, but this one was particularly funny.  It's the one where the gang goes to a fat-cat bash at the Museum of Natural History, Ted explores the architectural anomaly of whispering things like "booger" and "poopoo platter" and the high-brows with top hats and monocles across the room can hear.  Meanwhile Lilly gets bent because Marshall turned into a corporate sell-out, and Barney and Robin get busted for running around touching and even wearing the artifacts.  Gasp!  (I'm sure no artifacts were harmed in the making of that episode.)

Today, I'm not going to tell you about the "wouldn't it be cool..." part of the conversation.  Because, like, duh, you never know if last night's "wouldn't it be cool..." might turn into tomorrow's latest internet craze.  It could happen, you know.  All it needs is some Effort.

Which brings me to the point of today's post: Effort.  Spouse and I were discussing the onset of social media and I had just asked, "What do you think will dethrone Facebook? Blogging was so fun there for a while.  I miss blogging.  Lots of fun people were blogging, and now they're not.  What gives?"

He replied with, "Blogs are dying because it requires Effort.  Now people just spew out some fart of a tweet and call it a gold post."  He followed this statement with a shoo-fly gesture, a fart noise, and a bitter-beer face.

He's on to something.  It's all about Effort – something in which I'm in short supply.  This blog is dying because it's gettin' none.  The house is a mess because it's getting none.  Running's a bust, the yards a wreck, the laundry's altogether hell, I don't see my friends or family much, the food we eat is boring,  piano's a struggle, and my work activity is just so-so – all because they aren't getting any of that thing called Effort.

Effort is not something I'm hitting.  It's been a dry, desolate few months for my love Effort.  If I were to receive a grade on Effort as of late, I'd be lucky to get a C-.  True story.   In the past I've been tagged a type "A" personality, not sure if that's true, but being an A and getting a C- is bad news.  Bad news, indeed.

After Spouse's comment, however, it became clear that maybe it's not just me.  I mean, the way of the (internet) world is to go with the path of least resistance.  Facebook took off because it requires little Effort; you type a few characters and click "post."  No need to worry about formats; the gomers at Facebook won't even allow italics!  No need to phone your friends for a decent conversation; read their facebook feed!  No need to send hand written thank you notes or invites; throw up one of those activities or broadcast one gushy collective "thank you."

We create apps and web sites to minimize Effort.  That's the point.  Solve a problem or make it easier.  But are we (I) expecting too much of this Effort to be taken out of the picture?  And do we (I) expect to get all this no Effort business without paying for it in some way?  Get your money for nothing and your chicks for free.

The irony of it all, I suppose, is that it's going to take this chick a fair amount of Effort to keep out of the no-Effort movement.

Let it be said here and let it be written: all things worth while require Effort, and a lot of it.

Here's to Effort!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Will The Circle Be Unbroken - Tuesday Tune, vol 116

In honor of September 11th and others who have passed, Today's Tuesday Tune is Will (Can) The Circle Be Unbroken.  This particular tune is a tribute tune of the country music foundation, that is played often at funerals and such.  It's a song of celebration.  And a tune I register and position among  my list of all time favorites.

While visiting Nashville last month, we made sure to stop on over ta' the County Music Hall of Fame.  It was terrific.  Truly.  The very last room you see is the "Will The Circle Be Unbroken" room.  It's a circular room; one that wraps and commemorates those country music greats who have passed.  It was quite a sight.


Will (Can) The Circle Be Unbroken is a traditional hymn that was released and made famous by The Original Carter Family.  It's been covered hundreds (maybe even thousands) of times since.  Here's the original as well as some of my other favorites.  Enjoy!

Can the Circle Be Unbroken – The Original Carter Family
Can the Circle Be Unbroken –  Cisco Herzhaft
Will the Circle Be Unbroken – The Neville Brothers
Will the Circle Be Unbroken (my second favorite) – John Lee Hooker

And my very first favorite:

Will the Circle Be Unbroken – Mavis Staples

Vera and I saw Mavis Staples perform this tune with Bonnie Raitt last week.  Wow.  All I can say about that one is wow.

I know you're dying – but hopefully not enough to become part of the Unbroken Circle Rotunda – to see what's inside the Country Music Hall of Fame, so here's a little taste.


This is where Spouse explained to the Yahoos that, "This was the first ipod."


Look!  My reflection.  Take a picture.






How 'bout a little Dwight Yokoam?  
(Guitars! Cadillacs! Hillbilly music!)