Thursday, May 29, 2008

Nintendo DS

Devin was playing his Nintendo DS while Deanna was watching. Luckily they were able to play nicely together long enough for me to get my camera out and make this capture.

Not much else is going on...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Children's Hospital & Guitar Center...

As I mentioned the other day, today was Devin's appointment at Children's Hospital to check on the progress that he has been making. So we again met with Dr. Kay and he did an evaluation of Devin. He thought he was doing better than expected but he is still concerned about his legs. So he prescribed another set of DAFO which he was measured for (picture above) and he also wants to do a computer imaging of his legs and the way he walks. Basically it is like when they computer track people for movies but for this they are going to really see how he is working and how his muscles are working. So we should have his new braces when we get back from vacation and then we will schedule the computer modeling thing. The doc thinks we MAY have to do surgery but he isn't quite sure and the computer modeling is really going to help determine the best course of treatment. But all in all things are looking good/better...

Once we finished there we made the trip a few blocks down Sunset Blvd to the Guitar Center in Hollywood. I figured since we were already that close we might as well check it out. It was just like everyone said it would be... HUGE... That had an amazing selection of equipment (we only went in the guitar area and didn't go in the others) and it was quite impressive. They even have a vintage area with some REALLY expensive guitars handing on the wall. I saw one 1960 Fender Stratocaster for a bargin price of $58,000... The funny thing, there was a guy check out the guitars and shopping for one. I suppose it must be REALLY nice when that is an option for a purchase... I mean that is more than my trailer... It was really impressive to see though.

Well, since I had that credit from returning that Line 6 Pocket Pod Denise and I decided to get the kids a mini guitar so they can try and learn. The folks there were VERY helpful and spent a good amount of time with us to hook everything up. We ended up getting a black Squire MINI by Fender that looks like a shrunken version of my guitar. It doesn't sound quite the same but I think it will work for getting the kids to learn about it. So HOPEFULLY they will actually want to do it and put the time into it. Devin was REALLY excited about it (Desirae wasn't with us) and we will just have to see how it goes!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Weekend flop...

Well, we had some grand plans for the weekend! And everything flopped... I took Friday off thinking that we would head out to go camping on Friday. We didn't plan on spending the entire weekend but probably at least until Sunday. Well, the weather had other plans and messed that up. So we gave up on the camping thing. We did go into Bakersfield for a quick trip to get some clothes for the kids and we had a movie night at the house but otherwise we stayed around the house with the exception of a Desirae and Denise trip into town and a solo trip I made to return that effects processor.

I didn't even make any photographs this weekend... Oh well...

Tomorrow we head down to Children's Hospital for an appointment for Devin. So hopefully that will go well. Will be a long day, like all Los Angeles trips are...

Friday, May 23, 2008

CS (on site) Off Site...

Thursday we had the 95th CS Offsite at the Oasis Center on base (on-site). The purpose was to discuss a couple of key issues about the way work is performed and reported. It was an interesting day and I think we accomplished what we set out to do. The best part about this is that we haven't done one of these "process" focused things in a LONG (LONG LONG LONG) time. In the past we would have nearly daily meetings with many people wasting tones of manpower and time. This is a focused event that although more meetings may occur it does not appear this is a prelude to more of the same. So HOPEFULLY the result is that everyone is on the same page and things will get better!

Now, the frustrating part. Friday - (as in today) - we were SUPPOSE to go camping for the weekend, or at least for a couple of days. BUT, the weather was so bad that we ended up punting. It was kind of frustrating but we ended up going into town (Bakersfield) to get some stuff, had a nice lunch with my Dad and Donna and then headed home. We also had a "movie night" and watched National Treasure II - The Book of Secrets. It was a pretty good movie and everyone seemed to enjoy it!

So, now the plan??? Well there really isn't a plan. I suppose we will wake up tomorrow and try to figure out what to do next. Now??? I think I am going to start lesson 6 from Jam Play and see what I can learn next on my Guitar!

Sunday, May 18, 2008


Well, I am falling way behind on keeping up with the blog. I think the main answer is life is getting into the way. Well, that and guitars. I have kept at it and have practiced every day. I can see the progress I am making although I am not able to play even a simple tune right now. But, with time I know I will and I just have to stick with it!

This weekend was interesting in that we didn't really do too much, well meaning that we didn't leave town. Denise and Desirae did do the Girl Scout "Mother Daughter Tea" on Saturday. I don't think Denise took any photographs but it sounded like they had a good time. They both wore their ty-dyed dresses so they looked pretty cute. The tentative idea was that we would then go into town so I could replace the garbage disposal but instead I bought it at the local Sears (in California City) and got all the other pieces (which I didn't need) at Ace and Radio Shack. Hmm, well Radio Shack was just for me!

So today we cleaned out the garage, which was A LOT of fun! (NOT) but we made GREAT progress and it is MUCH better. We also were able to make room and plug in the mini refrigerator that Denise's brother Bryan left for us when he went back home. So we have a semi-clean garage, a new little frig loaded with sodas and a new garbage disposal! Actually I was really surprised how much we did get done this weekend!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

More guitar and stuff...

I have practiced about a hour a day since I got my new guitar and it is starting to pay off. I still can't play anything but I am start to be able to move from key to key and the delays to switch are getting shorter and shorter. So that is progress at least!  I am also able to trick the kids into thinking I have a clue as to what it is that I am doing...  

Friday was the night of the Girl Scout sleep over. So Denise and Desirae headed off and left Devin, Deanna to fend for ourselves. It actually worked out pretty good and Deanna was even pretty good about it, so it wasn't much of a problem!  From what Denise reported they had a great time and the girls ate a ton of popcorn and spent the time dancing to music, watching movies and hanging out.  I am sure there was some official girl scout stuff going on but basically it was really to see how the girls would react to being a way from home and in the group.  They have to do this first before they can do the actually camping trip.  Denise and Desirae signed up for that and I am not sure when it is coming up - I think it is before our trip back to the mid-west.

we moved the jungle gym thing that we put together a few weeks ago back into the yard so the kids could play on that. Denise also put up her patio cover thing that enclosed the whole thing and made it a bit cooler for the kids. It is nice that they are playing outside more and having fun!

OBTW - on the top photo I used one of those 150 watt clip lamps you guy at the hardware store clamped onto the back of a chair and pointed straight down at the amp.  I then used my 17-55 2.8 at 2.5 sec, f/22 and ISO 200 at around 31mm.  Anyway I thought the lighting was cool and it made for a neat shot.  Plus the long exposure let the LED glow real nice for the photo.  I have my computer plugged into the CD IN and my headphones in the headphone jack. 

Saturday, May 03, 2008


So here's the deal. My brother and dad have played guitars for ever, but it is one of those things that I have never really figured out how to do and when I did try it in the past it just seemed out of reach for me. Well I have been thinking about getting a guitar and trying to learn for a couple of years now.  Denise grew up around her brother Gene playing and has a lot of fond memories about guitars so she was really supportive of me doing this.  

So finally last week (Monday) I decided to just go get one and give it a go and after work I drove down to the Palmdale Guitar Center to see what I could find. I had a "kit" in mind and almost ordered one online but with Kris's recommendation I thought I would give the store a try. I felt pretty overwhelmed when I walked in the door and I just about walked out but after a short while a pretty nice dude helped me out and hooked me up with a new guitar and the basics to get started. I ended up getting
  • Fender Standard Stratocaster
  • Marshall MG10CD Amp
  • Picks
  • DVD/Book Training Video
  • Cord
So I gave it a go and started working at it.  On Friday I drove over to Bakersfield for Rosie Newman's funeral service (more on that later) and decided to connect up with my dad while I was in town.  

Well on top of playing guitars for ever my dad also works on, customizes and builds guitars.  So after a couple of minutes he knew a few things my new Strat needed to make it work better so into the shop it went.  He filed down the frets so the sharp edges wouldn't cut the crap out of my hand, added another spring to the tremolo and adjusted the neck to lower the strings.  (When he first started it wouldn't stay in tune, and he fixed that too).  The photograph above is some of the work that took place.

We also spent a significant amount of time with some basic lesses that REALLY helped get me pointed in the right direction.  Since he is retired he basically plays all day long on his guitars so he is pretty smoking fast when playing.  I was actually surprised what I was able to do by the end of the evening.

The other thing I learned since getting this guitar is that Deanna really LOVES it and it doesn't matter where I put it she will find it and play with it.  So today I bought a wall hanging kit and now I have it hanging in the office so she can't get to it - so hopefully that will help with that!

Friday, May 02, 2008

Rosie's wake...

Today a group of the guys from work headed out to Bakersfield for Rosie's funeral/wake. It was a pretty somber and frustrating part of the day but I think we were all glad that we went. From Edwards Air Force Base Rob, Randy, Mike, Prince, John, Ken, Christine, Clint and his wife went. Nasa was represented by Rich, Greg and his wife and then Andy from China lake came out. Bill Tremmel from Pt. Mugu and the LAS Spectrum Manager also came over. The circumstances really are weighing hard with everyone and no one deserves to have to go through that. Both Greg and John spoke and I was really glad that they did as it wasn't something I could do. Afterwards there was a really nice reception where everyone had an opportunity to talk and visit with the family. Ultimately the family is going to transport Rosies ashes back to Hawaii for her actual funeral.  Rest assured as more details become available I will blog about them...