Friday, August 20, 2010

The Curse of the Glass Wall

Well, I believe it has finally happened...

Blogging has slipped silently behind the glass wall. I knew it would eventually, and I'll be darned if it didn't do just that!

I've gone on at length in this blog before about how I tend get into something, as far as a hobby, interest or other activity, and I go all out with it, letting it absorb me, and then very suddenly, it simply ceases to be a viable activity anymore. I can't tell you how many things this has happened with. It's depressing, really - mostly because I don't really understand why it happens or how to stop it. The best analogy I can come up with is that it slips behind a glass wall, like in a trophy case or something. I can see the thing, but I can't grab it anymore. It has been memorialized.

Skateboarding, script-writing, acting, playing my guitar, writing music, cartooning, animating, watching wrestling, working on my first novel, playing certain games (PC/video), listening to certain types of music, having in-depth theological discussions, bible reading/memorizing, painting, playing golf, working on my Wagnervana website... all of them used to to fully absorb me, often for years on end, and all of them ended with being 100% full-throttle one day, then completely dead the next. They "slip behind the glass wall", where I can still "see" them, and I still tell people I do them and have interest in them... but I simply don't do them any more. They will always be a part of me, just not an active part anymore...

I always knew this blog would get there someday. That day has come.

I can't tell you how proud I am of this blog, and how cool it is that so many people would read it so regularly, and look over my shoulder as I took this weird journey, almost 500 posts ago. I started out knowing I had a lot to say, and to challenge myself to see if I could write a new post every day for a year. I hit that goal, and had a lot of fun doing it.

But I woke up the other morning and I just knew I was done. I waited a few days to see if I was somehow mistaken, but I'm not.

I appreciate your support throughout the months. I don't expect you to keep this blog bookmarked. I'm going to assume this will be my last post. I'll still be available via Facebook and email: davidwagner1 (at) cox (dot) net if you'd like to stay in touch. I'll also certainly continue lurking and leaving comments on your blogs.

It's been a great trip.

Dave Wagner
San Diego

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Turning Forty: Part Two!

Had my 40th birthday party on Saturday, and a bunch of people showed up. It was hard for me to gauge the success of the party, being sort of off-kilter the whole time. I have a rather bizarre mix of personality traits, whereby part of me loves to be on stage and entertain people, while another large part of me infinitely prefers to lurk in the shadows, and enjoy myself vicariously by making sure everyone else is having a good enough time, without reference to me...

All that to say, I *think* everyone enjoyed themselves sufficiently, but I'm not positive...

Wifey and I... and Keno...

We ate fruits & veggies, sandwiches and sodas, primarily. Everyone brought me a card, which was nice of them. I think all told, there might have been 30 people or so. I tried to get some good pics, but there weren't very many good ones to choose from. Here's a few...

Outside with Johnny, Jayson, Abbie, Keno, Rebecca, Chris, Rebekah and Grace. Abbie is about to kiss her soda for some reason. And Rebecca just didn't want to be seen, so she turned away... (kidding, she was talking to Rebekah...)

Grace and Jayson, lounging around...

Vye, Dimitri and Yanni, probably talking about Starcraft 2...

"Happy birthday to yooouuuu..."

Boggle time! Guess who won? :D

Say cheese!

Bob, Stan and Russ, talking about guy stuff, no doubt...

My brother John left a message for me on one of the unused Scrabble boards...

All in all, I was happy with the event. Many thanks to my wife and mom for making it happen. After we left, I went home and had sushi and Starbucks, and worked more on the camp video. A great way to end the day!

Other odds and ends:

- Yanni finally started a new blog! Yay! Now everyone else will be able to experience that crazy brain of his! I feel like a glutton not sharing... I trust you'll enjoy him as well, as he gets his blogging feet under him. Once it gets rolling, I'll add a permanent link to the sidebar.

- I got a new iPad for my birthday from my sister! What a gift! I already bought the Boggle app for it! I got $40 in iTunes cards for my birthday, so I'll have fun browsing for apps, songs and books.

- The latest Pooter videos have been terrific. Here's Episode 111 and here's 112. Enjoy!

- I won a book called Solitary by Travis Thrasher, in a give-away on Fiction Addict. Yay for free books!

- Saw this cool car + trailer combination on the road the other day... click to make it bigger...

How cool to design the trailer to be just like the car...

OK, I'm done. I had other "40" stuff to post about in a third post, but I think the theme has run its course. I'll be back to "normal" with the next post...

Hope y'all are doing well.


Friday, August 13, 2010

Turning 40; Part One!


I decided instead of lamenting the fact that I'm turning 40, I might as well celebrate the fact, by doing a post celebrating "40". I've discovered I have way too much stuff for just one post, so I'm going to divide it into at least two big posts, and see what happens...

OK, so I was born in 1970, and while I was technically alive for the whole decade of the 70s, I remember exactly none of it. I know most people can remember stuff from as early as age four or five or so, but I'm not one of those people. My memory sucks. I like to think it's because I live so much in the "right now" -- and with an eye toward the future -- that I don't have the time or mental capacity to dwell on the past! Honestly, it's probably just because I'm flighty.

My first relatively vivid memories have to do with the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980 - he was our 40th President, by the way! Here, lemme post a pic...

He's our country's best President, since he was the only one who could make a giant, ethereal American flag magically appear behind him in the sky. How cool is that?

Not having any real clear memory from the age 0 to 10, I can only assume all was well, since I survived it... And you know how nuts the 70's were! *shudder*... Think of the pants I must have worn!

After trolling several "Today In History" sites, I've come to see that absolutely nothing of interest happened on August 16, 1970 -- I mean worldwide! Therefore, I am forced to conclude that the most important event to occur was my birth. My logic is unassailable! In any case, here's a quick rundown of the tops in music/books/movies in 1970...

Top songs of 1970

1. Layla - Derek and the Dominos
2. Bridge Over Troubled Water - Simon and Garfunkel
3. Let It Be - The Beatles
4. Your Song - Elton John
5. Get Up - James Brown
6. Lola - The Kinks
7. Who'll Stop the Rain - Creedence Clearwater Revival
8. Fire and Rain - James Taylor
9. Paranoid - Black Sabbath
10. All Right Now - Free

Top Albums of 1970

1. Led Zeppelin III - Led Zeppelin
2. After the Gold Rush - Neil Young
3. Paranoid - Black Sabbath
4. John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band - John Lennon
5. Bridge Over Troubled Waters - Simon and Garfunkel
6. Loaded - Velvet Underground
7. Fun House - The Stooges
8. Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs - Derek & the Dominos
9. Moondance - Van Morrison
10. Let It Be - The Beatles

Top Books of 1970 (Best-Sellers)

1. Love Story, by Erich Segal
2. The French Lieutenant's Woman, by John Fowles
3. Islands in the Stream, by Ernest Hemingway
4. The Crystal Cave, by Mary Stewart
5. Great Lion of God, by Taylor Caldwell

Top Movies of 1970 (By gross)

1. Love Story
2. Airport
4. Patton (won Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Director)
5. The Aristocats
6. Woodstock
7. Little Big Man
8. Ryan's Daughter
9. Tora! Tora! Tora!
10. Catch-22

In continuing my 40 Theme, I'll now play a song. It is 40 by U2...

That's the song they've ended every concert they played, for decades now... they still might, I don't know... The lyrics of that song come from Psalm 40, actually...

Psalm 40: 1-3:  I waited patiently for the LORD;  he turned to me and heard my cry.  He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.  He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.

Read the rest of the the Psalm here. Some good verses in that Psalm. The first chapter in the bible to have a verse 40 is Genesis, during the story of Abraham sending his servant out to find a wife for his son Isaac. Not many "verse 40's" in the Bible. I'll sift a couple good ones out for the nest part of this post.

Moving right along, here's the White Ninja comic #40, from their archive...

Not exactly his best work, but still good for a chuckle, methinks...

There's a curious little "club" in Major League Baseball called "The 40/40 Club", which a player can belong to, if he hits 40 (or more) home runs and steals 40 (or more) bases in the same season. Only 4 players have ever done such a thing, making it an exclusive club indeed! Jose Canseco, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez and Alfonso Soriano. Usually, homerun hitters are too slow to steal many bases, and good base stealers are too lithe and wiry to hit many homeruns... so to find someone swift enough to swipe bases and strong enough to belt homers is rare - and frankly, 3 out of the 4 people in the "club" have been involved in accusations of steroid abuse.

I promise, I don't take steroids!

Here's another song, this time by UB40, called Red, Red Wine.

Odd that someone would go to the trouble of laying the album audio over live footage like that... anyway, I thought it was fitting, since IB40....

Not only did nothing interesting happen 40 years ago, but there's also a surprising dearth of professional sports players that wore the number 40. The closest I could find was in football, where legendary running back Gale Sayers wore number 40. But that's it...

Granted, Sayers is a legitimate Hall of Fame player, so he's no small potatoes. Still, I thought I'd be able to find high-caliber playas in all the major sports to pick from.

Well, I guess I could go into the (admittedly interesting) history of wonder-product WD-40, but I think that might be pushing the theme a bit too far... instead, I'll post one last piece of music, this time Mozart's Symphony 40 in G Minor, which you should immediately recognize...

There, now you have been sufficiently cultured and (hopefully) entertained for the day! I have more 40-related goodies to post in part two, but there will likely be a post about my birthday party on Saturday first, with "40 part two" following Monday (which is the 16th, actually). Thanks for browsing this far.



Tuesday, August 10, 2010

"Gray Hair is God's Graffiti." -- Bill Cosby

Yeah, I'm a world traveler.... it's official...

Back from our Vegas trip... I like to call it the "Vegas Trip" because calling it the "Henderson Trip" isn't as glamorous. Even though Henderson is about 10 minutes away from the strip, so it isn't a stretch to refer to it as Vegas...

My observations about the trip are likely what anyone would expect them to be. It was hot. The strip was cool and gross at the same time. I'm glad we went, and I'm glad we're home.

As for the 2-day workshop itself, it seemed a success. There were about 100 or so folks there, and I roamed around grabbing video footage and some pictures, as expected. I trust I did a good enough job. Remains to be seen. I have yet to review the footage, and all of the pictures. But the people were great, the food was great, the ride out was great... the drive back to San Diego was fairly grueling, for a number of reasons, but I won't drag this recap out any further. Nothing interesting to share, really, other than Wifey and I are getting along great at the moment, and my windshield decided to finish cracking all the way across. Better get it fixed...

OK, enough of that!

I'm trying to get the camp video finished this week, and---

WARNING: This blog post is too boring. You must add interesting content or you will be at risk of violating Blogging Ordnance #13. You have 3 seconds to comply.

Dang! That hasn't happened for a while... OK, fine, no camp video references... umm, lemme think...

White Ninja to the rescue!

FAIL: You are now officially in violation of BO#13. Three points have been added to your record. Your Infraction Total is now: 112 Points.


So much for White Ninja. Hmm, let's see...

My 40th birthday is almost here, and--

WARNING! You are---

No, wait! Wait! I know the birthday topic is pretty spent! Lemme try!

OK, so my 40th is almost upon me, and we're planning the party up at my mommy's house. I think for food, we've decided on---

FAIL: You now also have 6 points added for Tedious Narcissism and an additional 2 points for Ineffective Winging

"Ineffective Winging"? What the heck is that? Fine, whatever. It's not like I'll lose my Blogging License or anything. That doesn't happen until I hit 200 points.

(Check the newest Blog Charter, smart guy.)

Be right back...

What the! You lowered it to 125 points! That's not fair!

5 more points, and you're gone. 

Ok, fine! Here, look... another Funny Picture!

There, ya happy?

OK... for now. Carry on.


OK, so I was talking to my financial planner today, and---

BLOG POST TERMINATED. This blog has been suspended for 24 hours until the author can find more interesting fodder. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

"Marriage is Nature's Way of Keeping Us from Fighting with Strangers." -- Alan King

Ahhh... TUMS are my friends... go to work, my friends! Settle my stomach so I can rest tonight! God bless thee, O TUMS....

Where was I?

OK, well, we hit the road in the morning, Wifey, Eldest Daughter and I. Off to Henderson NV (near Vegas) to attend my Sister's conference that she is co-teaching. We go to document the event on video and standard camera. This is a trial run for us. If things go well, we will be attending additional seminars in other cities in the upcoming months. My sister mentioned Boston and Indianapolis so far. How cool would that be? I may get to travel more soon! YAY! Now I can try out those full-body X-ray scanners at the airports! I may have to get a chest tattoo that says, "If you can read this, you are too close!"

I thought I'd hop on here and throw a couple goofy items at you, to tide you over until I return. ALTHOUGH: checking out the amenities at the hotel we are staying at, it says it has free wireless internet access... so maybe I'll post from the hotel, who knows!

So I decided to go ahead with the plans for a birthday party for my 40th. I'm so torn. Part of me wants people to make a fuss over me. Part of me just wants to hide and not do anything. What swayed it for me was fast-forwarding (in my mind) a week or two after my birthday... I think after the fact I will be far more pleased to have had a party than to not have... my mom has offered the use of her house, and a list of people to invite has been assembled...

The list... there's another dread. Who to invite. We can't rightly invite everyone... where would we put them all, and how would we feed them all? And yet, the more people we invite, the more we will need to invite! The bigger the event is, the more likely it will be that someone will be offended for not getting invited. Just invite those closest to me? OK, but then what about their families? I want everyone to come, of course... but it just isn't practical! And so, the list has been made, and I've resigned myself to knowing some toes will be stepped on...

Ah, well... I suppose there are FAR worse problems to have...

Still trying to decide on a big-ticket item to buy myself for my birthday... I want an iPad... I want a new stereo system for my car... I want one of those BOSE wave radio thingys... then again, I don't really need any of those things, they'd just be nice. The iPad will probably lose it's novelty appeal pretty quickly. A stereo system for my car might prove obsolete if I buy a new car in the next year or two... and the BOSE thing is the definition of an unneeded luxury... maybe I'll just buy 10 pounds of beef jerky and be done with it....

This is INSANE:

He also did this little number in Beijing for the Olympics...

Well, I guess if you have to be good at something, make it something unique, eh?

I've ground to a halt on my reading. Since I've been working on the delivery van at the shop, I've needed to get up far earlier than usual, to get into the shop on time. That means going to bed earlier the nights before. Which means my reading time (midnight to 2 am) has been eliminated. I hope when I pick up Devices and Desires again, I won't be too lost...

Again, far worse problems to have...

Well, until we meet again!


Sunday, August 1, 2010

"I'm Just Trying to Make a Smudge on the Collective Unconscious." -- David Letterman

Where was I?

Oh, yeah...

So I was at church on Saturday, for a memorial service for one of our recently-passed members. My mind has been so elsewhere lately that I literally did not realize how I had dressed for the occasion. Jeans, a gaudy print t-shirt, and my black baseball cap. Everyone else dressed up nicely, as would be expected, but here I show up in my round-the-house grubbies. It was embarrassing. I basically hid upstairs as much as possible, since I had to video-tape the event in the first place. But I felt like a tool. I meant no disrespect.

Sorry, Pat.

I feel the urge to update this blog less and less as the weeks go by. Perhaps it is because my 40th birthday is rapidly approaching, and I feel so lost. Perhaps it's because I'm out of things to say. Perhaps it's just summer doldrums. Perhaps I'm as sick of me as y'all are, I'm sure.

Nope, not out of things to say just yet...

I was contemplating again today how amazingly unlikely it is (mathematically) that any of us actually made it to birth. I mean, what are the odds that out of all the people on earth, your parents met each other and decided to marry? What are the odds that the egg that became you was the one that dropped on the right month, and got fertilized? I don't know enough about reproduction to know this, but if every sperm in the "batch" that made you would have resulted in the same person, that's crazy enough, but if each individual sperm would have combined with the egg to make a different person, then that puts the odds way up past impossible. The exact sperm and egg, the right month, to make you and me. That alone staggers my imagination, but think also of all those that didn't make it! All those eggs and sperm that failed... untold millions of potential people!

What about the kids that would have resulted had your folks married someone else... they'll never exist now. They stepped aside (in a sense) so you could be born! Do you feel special yet?

Of course, if God had "you" in the pipeline to be born, and your parents just happened to be the happy couple trying to get pregnant, and God let them have you, that's a whole other issue. Then there really aren't untold millions of people that never got a chance to live. It's either a huge biological crapshoot, or every person that was meant to be born was/will be born, and the math is meaningless.

One week ends, another begins. I've been working off and on (mostly on), editing the camp video. All the photos (about 300) have been cropped, sized, cleaned and labeled. All of the video footage has been captured, imported and edited down to about 40 minutes of footage I want to keep. It's been grouped by event and placed on the timeline. Next is to incorporate the pictures in the appropriate places on the timeline, add Burns effects to each of them, make sure the run time is under an hour, and then find music. It's a long, tedious, ultimately rewarding process... especially difficult this year, with so much on my mind.

But it needs to be done, so done it shall be.

I'm going to my sister's marketing seminar in Las Vegas this coming up Thursday. So I'll be out of town from the 5th through the 8th. Will you miss me? Wifey and I are taking Eldest Daughter, and we'll be documenting the event with video camera and photos. We're getting a new HD video camera - I trust it will arrive before we leave, otherwise we're screwed! Our job is to document it and then edit together some informational products from the content. Squish me luck.

I'll try to update again before we leave. Otherwise, I'm sure all of you will be heartbroken. And I can't have any of that.

Dave the Cynic, signing off...