Category: About Me


On this day, ten years ago, I took my brand new car to work for the very first time.  It would get dubbed “The Toaster” by my friends in San Francisco.  I truly loved this underpowered box on wheels and it was fun to drive.

drivers

I had a meeting with a very important new client and they were very unhappy because their drive array began to die on my first day of work for the company.  My predecessor had only done the most minimum of upgrades on their hardware. The motherboard and drive array were damaged when the four year old power supply failed.

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When I arrived onsite, the owner of the business was irritated and kept mentioning that the corporate Lawyer was out of the office at a client but would be returning soon and they would be discussing their legal strategy.  This is a company that relied on it’s email and they now did not have access to it.  I patiently explained that I was not sure what was wrong but that I would figure it out and offer a solution as soon as I could.  He took a deep breath and walked away still annoyed.

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When I figured out the problem and explained it to him, he asked why only the hard drives were replaced and I explained that I wasn’t sure that my recommendation would have been to replace the current hardware with the most energy efficient and reliable hardware possible.  I had to take the server back to the Depot in San Francisco to Marin and a co-worker had to drive both of us and the server back.  The client called and wanted to meet with us on Monday to discuss this.   On Sunday, I went to Santa Clara Honda and this is what I got.

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On Monday when the meeting began, the client asked what I would do for their Network.  I explained what I recommended and that was two new servers, a backup device and server software upgrades.  The client eventually agreed to all new workstations and computers as well as Notebooks for the executives.  In total about $150,000 worth of equipment.  He then asked how they could be assured that I would not be like the last five Field Engineers and I explained about buying this car as I dropped the keys on the table and explained the job, their business paid my salary.

 

NOTE:  This blog was recreated from backup files from a self hosted blog posted the day it happened.

So it has been more then two years since the last time we saw each other and we didn’t part on the best of terms but deep down, I never thought that our not speaking would last this long.  In the last 23 years, when you were on vacation was the longest stretch of time and that was only because I was living halfway across the continent in St. Louis.  So much has happened in the interval, so many times that I wished that I could talk to you about it.  I mean over those years you and I have shared so much and you have been such an integral part of my life.

Cassidy died a few years ago and Jerre isn’t doing so well and I was sure she was going to go last weekend.  She could have gone already for all I know.  I have friends but none that I will ever be as close to as I am you.  We have stood by each other through the good, the bad and the ugly in the past and this time things got all fucked up and emotions and hurt feelings led to anger and suddenly I hear Yoda….

Kethry asked about you on her birthday when we went to incredible John’s Pizza and for the rest of the night, my mind was trying to find a plan, a way to get to run in to you so we could talk.  I figured once time had passed we would be able to work things out.  I had such hope and excitement when I saw your truck parked in the driveway, because it created the opportunity only to have it dissipate as I missed you by like a half an hour.

See, I can’t help myself, I see something funny, read something interesting or watch something on tv and it reminds me of a conversation that we had in the past and suddenly I want to talk to you.  Then, as the reality of how lonely I feel without my best friend and I wonder if you feel the same way, if or how often you wish we were still that close and still best friends.  See, regardless of what transpired that night, I know that I have always been a good friend to you and my presence there was continuing that task.

When your truck appeared Rachel said you were moving somewhere in Nevada and when your truck disappeared, I assume you came and have now left California?  I would love to hear from you sometime.  My number is the same and while I know your number hasn’t changed, I texted you once and never got a response, when you returned my stuff.  I guess the lack of any reply or any kind of response should tell me all that I need to know, it definitely speaks volumes that you left your truck at Rachel’s and didn’t contact me at all.

I can’t and won’t change who I am, so I will continue to have random moments when I wish I could talk to you, I realize that’s love and that the silence is your choice and not mine.  Maybe one day while we are both living, something will bring us together.  Until then, I will just avoid the full moon 🌙 which always awakens the lunacy.

Happy F—king Birthday

I just turned 47 and my age doesn’t really bother me and I rarely thing about it unless someone asks or says something that makes me feel old.  I also don’t usually get excited about my birthday and really haven’t since my Grandmother died right before I turned 21.  I didn’t go out drinking the night I turned 21 because I had to work, my after work celebration consisted of the bar tender at the trendy restaurant in Dublin, Ohio called Doodles made me a cocktail after closing and cleanup had been completed.  Thus ushered in the era of legal drinking.  Afterwards, I was like, I waited all this time for this?  Being an adult sucks.

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The only bright spot in this years otherwise abysmal birthday came from Rachel and Kethry and Haplo.  Rachel with her trinkets gathered off the bargain rack at Target and Kethry because it is her birthday too.  So I get to become a child again for that moment and celebrate with her.  This year was incredibly hard because money was even tighter then usual since I was so sick last year.  So a few days before my birthday, of course my cell service got disconnected from lack of payment.  Well, I could still use the phone and google voice, Facebook and Wifi to keep in touch and social network even without service.  I was coping.

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Then my phone shut off on Monday afternoon and I lost even that creature comfort.  It’s like I just keep getting kicked because now, not only do I have to pay for the delinquent phone service, I now, also have to purchase a new T-Mobile / Metro PCS compatible phone and then send the old one away to ZTE to repair or just send it away and wait for it to come back.  Turn-a-round time isn’t usually too long, although it often costs about $20 to send it via Fedex.  The carrier’s insurance was a viable option back in the day and I gladly paid for it, but over time the benefits have decreased while the associated fees and charges have increased.

Last Saturday Rachel, Haplo, Kethry and I went to Incredible John’s Pizza in Roseville for Kethry.  It’s a better fit for kids then Dave & Buster’s although it still costs the same when you factor in the cost of the buffet.  Sadly, the Buffet is at the bottom of buffets and the pizza pales in comparison to say, Round Table and their buffet.  When you factor in all of the insanity that comes with crowds and it can make you stop, slap your hands to your face ala McCauley Culkin in Home Alone and scream from the rudeness of people just cutting in front of you or worse you just lose it and let out a scream reminiscent of Edward Munch’s famous painting, The Scream, when you see someone stick their dirty, disease ridden fingers in something to take a taste.

Man at bridge holding head with hands and screaming 

Sometimes, all you need are friends and family to make everything seem better.

Dear Dad Diary

Hey Dad.  It’s a Tuesday afternoon and I just got out of class and I am unwinding before I do homework. Yeah, Dad, me, in college and get this, I have really good grades.  Even in PE classes.  No shit. I have dreamed about reuniting with you at some point and while the locations change the atmosphere is always the same.

See Dad, I have reached a point in my life where I have few regrets, few things that truly cause me any grief.  I am and always have been able to be totally honest with myself about everything.  After I left home the second time Dad, it was all me and it was hard and it was tough and painful and fun and exciting and I made it.  Thanks to you.  You see Dad, you taught me well.  You inspired me to never fuck up in a way that I had to apologize to you through glass.  I didn’t want to let you down.

I have two kids Dad, a daughter named Kethry and a son named Haplo.  Haplo is so much like me Dad, and I imagined him at various ages interacting with you like Josh or Susan or Zach.  I am not writing this to guilt you, rather to let you know that we miss you and that if you want it, there is always a place in our lives for you.

See, Zach and I had become friends right before he died, starting when I came back for my mom’s funeral.  I understand why you didn’t come even though every cell in my body wanted it.  Dad, Zach loved and missed you to the end.  My biggest regret with my mother is allowing her to somehow make you feel like you had to choose.

Jessica and I have always been close and talked, she called Michelle who called me to tell me about Mom.  I stayed with her while I was in Maryland.  I talked to her a lot over the last 15 years.  She and I have discussed you and she loves and missed you too.  Jessica has three children, two boys and a girl.  I met the two boys when I was in Maryland, the adorable girl was just born.

Danielle has a son who was born shortly before Zach died.  Zach is a family tragedy Dad and has put as big a gap in my heart as big as when Sonny died.  I really and truly wanted to be sitting outside in the garage listening to 98 Rock, smoking and drinking beer with you every night for months after that.  I wanted you to tell me about Zach.  I wanted you to just be, well, you Dad.

You taught me things Dad, that I didn’t realize I had learned and found myself doing them and questioning why I was that I realized where I learned it.  I have had many of my friends tell me I am a good friend and I learned that from you.  I learned how to be a good man, by watching you.  I took your advice and never screwed up, because I never wanted to let you down.

When I first met you, I really didn’t know what to think of you.  Then my mom pulled that shit and sent me away again and for most of my life, I thought you had something to do with it. It’s like not only finding out Darth Vader is your father but he also cuts off your hand.  Then, we were talking right before I left Baltimore and you told me how she told you.  See, Dad, I realize now, mom manipulated and controlled all of us to an extent.  She used each of us to manipulate the others and control then too.

Jessica and I were talking one time and she told me that she hated you.  When I asked why she said because she was afraid of you and when I pressed said it was because you were an alcoholic.  She said she had to spend her tweens in her room hiding.  Through the conversation, and questions I helped her realize Mom made her afraid.  See, I realized this when I left home that night after our last talk, Dad.

See, mom used to do it all the time when I lived at home.  Passive aggressive war on terror like fear mongering.  You were on your way home and I should go to my room so as to avoid you because I know how you are…. I know how you are?  Yes.  Sometimes a little bullish and awkward but never threatening.  Overbearing but never making me afraid.  But at the time her feigned anxiety and manifested concerns created a panicked flight response.  We went to our rooms.

I learned from you by your actions and those actions often taught by self-inflicted shame.  One time you came home drunk, Mom was in the hospital.  The police dropped you off, she was on the phone and did her magic.  I didn’t answer the door.  A few months later we were at mom-mom’s house and Uncle June came home drunk and stumbling.  I watched how lovingly, respectfully and gently you took care of him and I was shamed.

When I realized later how she had manipulated our relationship, I had this dream of visiting before you two separated and drinking a beer or better yet, smoking a joint and telling you all of this.  See Dad, if you hadn’t of been who you were, when you were the it wouldn’t have rubbed off on me.  I wouldn’t be the man I am today.  I love you and really and truly want to you to know that.  Life is short.  Hopefully Aunt Sandy shares this with you.

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So it has been a while since I did much social networking or blogging primarily because I have been struggling through the malaise created by the depression that was caused when someone stole my Samsung Galaxy Note 3 from my car seat.  See, I had been out with a friend at a bar, Ye Old Sticky Wicket, and had parked in the Target parking lot.  After the bar, I had drank beer which was one too many to risk being pulled over by the police, so I crashed in the passenger seat.  I placed the phone on the drivers sleep and began to snore.  Sometime during the night, it was chilly and I turned on the engine to turn on the heat and when I turned it off left the keys in the ignition and forgot to check and make sure the doors were locked.  About half an hour later, some white male, about 5’8 and 5’9 wearing dark clothes opened the drivers side door which awoke me almost immediately when the “Hey Idiot, your leaving your keys in your car” alarm began its annoying chirp.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

The part that makes this so irritating for me is that when I told this story, my macho friends were all like, I would have ran his ass down and caught him.  Wrong.  When you wake up like that, it takes a few seconds to comprehend what is going on,  Why is it beeping.  Wait, what is this guy doing and why did he suddenly run away.  Fuck.  My phone.   Several of my younger friends said they would have jumped out, ran his ass down on foot and got the phone back.  Everyone likes to think of themselves as Mr.Badass until the situation happens and they realize that reality and their imagination are two different things.  Let’s say, that by some chance they did awaken instantly, did jump out of the car and chase the guy?  Now someone else, who was watching goes back and ramsacks the now unlocked car, or worse steals it because your instant chase scenario left the keys behind in the ignition.  So, maybe you even catch this guy, anyone that bold is going to have a bold and brazen response to being chased so when you catch him, you feel that cold burning sensation of a knife or hear the unmistakable explosion of a gunshot as you feel the bullet pierce your skin.  Keep in mind that a large majority of the transient population are junkies aka serious drug addicts with Crack, Methamphetamine and Heroine being the three major habits.

Samsung Galaxy Note II N7100

When I was 9 or 10, my mother was taking my Aunt Sue, who was pregnant with my cousin Nicole to work at Westview Mall.  We had just pulled in to the first level of the two floor parking structure that was there.  As Aunt Sue was exiting the vehicle, we heard this woman scream “My Purse.”  My mother and Aunt Sue saw a guy running with a purse and like some  television show reminiscent of Cagney and Lacey they took off after him.  When they lost him, they split up and my mother found him hiding in some bushes by a house.  She grabbed his foot and used her nails in his ankles to force him to give her the purse which she returned to the lady.   Neither Aunt Sue nor my mother realized at the time how utterly dangerous their actions were, the young man in question was whacked out on PCP and had a pair of garden shears in his pocket as a weapon.  He very well could have killed my mother, leaving me and my two little siblings, Danielle and Jessica orphans.  My mother escaped death and ultimately was given an award plaque from the local Optimists Club at an awards dinner ceremony a few months later.

 

When the Note 3 needed to be repaired, I took the opportunity to jump carriers from the MVNO Straight Talk to MetroPCS simply because I wanted the option to be able to speak to a real, live person, in person as necessary.  My bill with Straight Talk when I signed up, was $45 for unlimited everything until I lost my Samsung Galaxy Note N7000 in 2014.  I say lost, but it really disappeared off the table in a Restaurant and I was able to track it using Google Device Locator right to a street address.  When I called the Sacramento County Sheriff’s office, they said it wasn’t accurate enough and that there was nothing they could do.  Sitting just inside the door of the garage where Google said my phone was located were several men.  Ironically, the Sheriff knew their names.  Smartphone thefts reached 3.1 million in 2013.  So there was nothing I could do about the phone or the SD card and since the mobile broadband was so slow, 20gb of the pictures I had taken with that phone disappeared with it.  At least the ones that I had not shared with social networking did.  So even though the download speeds were atrociously slow, I wasn’t unhappy with the service otherwise, so I chose to order a new replacement sim.

 

One customer service nightmare after another and two weeks worth of waiting even though I paid a fee to have the chip expedited to me, I finally got a sim chip and the new Samsung Galaxy Note 2 was now on AT&T’s LTE network.  It was pretty amazing and I talked about in on Social Networking, pimping Straight Talk.  Then about two weeks after this all started, I realized that when Straight Talk replaced my sim chip, they also changed the rate plan to “Unlimited everything*” where the * limits you to 2 or 3gb of 4G data and then the rate is throttled to 2g speeds and they were not kidding.  I would have jumped ship at this time except that the plan was too good.  Nobody offered anything close.  When my Note 2 disappeared, I tried to port my number from Straight Talk to T-Mobile but you have to do it before the last day in your billing cycle, or else they wont let you port the number.  Think about this for a second, you either pay them for service you will never use because you are taking your business elsewhere or you give up your telephone number.  So I bought a used and abused Samsung Galaxy Note 3.

Samsung Galaxy Note N7000

When I say used and abused, it is obvious that the previous owner went all natural, meaning he didn’t put a case or screen protector on the device and it was obvious from the markings that it had been dropped several times.  I didn’t care, I just ordered a case and hit hid all of that.  About 6 months after I bought the phone, the screen began to display large numbers of nonconforming pixels and in desperation, I contacted Samsung support.  Score!  It was still under warranty.  Since I couldn’t be without a device, I went to MetroPCS and bought the cheapest device they had, the Alcatel OneTouch Fierce 2.  It is a pretty amazing phone and easily on par with the Sprint Samsung Galaxy Epic Touch 4g aka Samsung Galaxy 2 or so I thought.  When Samsung sent the Galaxy Note 3 back to me, it would not register on any Mobile Network using any Sim Chip.  So I had to send it back to Samsung to be repaired.  This is when began to notice the limitations of the budget phone with only 2gb of internal storage.  This basically limits you to about 12 downloaded applications unless you move those that you can to the SD card.  I have spent weeks trying to find a method to root this device or some other method to work around this limitation.  I currently have 16 apps installed and 4 or 5 of them on the SD card but there is no room for Facebook or a bunch of other applications that I use on a regular basis.

Alcatel One Touch Fierce 2

Sadly, the carrier bloat on this phone is pretty high and there are probably 1gb or more space used applications that it shipped with that I will probably never use.  Carrier bloat is a real issue.  So is the locked boot loader and lack of ‘rooting’ method.  If there would have been a work-a-round for either one of these, this would be truly bitching badass phone because I could use a 32, 64 or maybe even a 128gb MicroSD chip to boost the storage.  Then using Root, a few hacks and an app, I could have permanently eliminated the space issues.  As of the writing of this blog, there is no known root method.  So there is no method to create the symbolic links in the file system to move more apps to the SD card and fool your device in to thinking they are still where it wants them.  Ultimately this is a design flaw being masqueraded around as a security feature or anything but what it really is.

LG G4 Stylus

Sadly, I cannot afford a different device at the moment and I would ultimately like to get another Samsung Galaxy Note 3 since I have two extra batteries and two external USB battery chargers for it.  Having all those batteries allowed me to use it even more and the reality is this was a flagship device and as such it flew.  I was actually moving to using it for social networking as well as entertainment.  The end user experience on that device is amazing and the Samsung enhancements make it a truly capable device.  I had stopped using my Notebook to watch television shows and stream online content using my Samsung Galaxy Note 3 instead.  MetroPCS has an LG Phone for $249 with a $50 mail in rebate that could potentially be as good of an end user experience as the Galaxy Note 3.  They also have a phone from a generic manufacturer named ZTE in the Zmax for $99 that could be an upgrade that would fix these issues as well.  Ultimately, I would love to find someone who is grandfathered in to an old school upgrade for signing a contract like all carriers did a few years ago who doesn’t need or want the upgrade so that I can use it.  I really covet the HTC One M9, Samsung S6 Edge or the Note 4 simply because I am a power user and these devices are designed for power users. 

ZTE Zmax

Imaging if you were a commuter and it was a choice between a Smart Car or a Dodge Charger as your commute vehicle.  On the surface it may seem like the gas mileage would be an issue, except that the Smart Car  EPA estimates are 36 mpg and the Charger gets a combined Highway / City rate of 32 mpg.  So the tradeoff is in comfort and power and this is all the difference in the world if your commute is from Sacramento to San Francisco due to the need to climb above the mountains and through a pass to get to the bay area.  The lack of LTE speeds combined with the unresolvable storage space issues make me not want to use Facebook because typing the responses gets frustrating when you are typing more then a tweet worth of characters and the device begins to stutter, lag and hang up.  This is about how I imagine I would feel if I had to use a Smart Car to commute from San Francisco to Lincoln on a regular basis.

The only reason the depression hasn’t won is because I have some amazing friends who have pushed, poked and prodded me to try and keep me from wallowing.  Unfortunately when the depression hits full speed, wallowing becomes much more appealing.  Not social networking and not using Facebook just add to the misery and despair.  Someone rear ended me, pushing me in to the car in front of be just before someone else rear ended them at the start of the Spring 2015 Semester and as a result, my HP Envy 17 3D Notebook that was on the back seat when flying off the seat and hit something (floor?) hard enough to dent the metal case and to cause the CPU Fan to stop working.  Luckily I had a HP Envy X2 tablet that  has helped get me by, but it doesn’t play games and I miss gaming.  I miss gaming with my Son and Daughter on Weekends.  The sad part is I am not sure when I will ever have an extra $1500 to spend on a Notebook again and this was a gaming rig.

I am hoping as I begin working with the two insurance carriers that one or the other will decide to pay for either sending it to HP to be repaired or replace it.  Sadly, the last time I was rear ended, in October of 2014, the Insurance company refused to help me in any way and since I don’t carry full coverage on my vehicle, and I couldn’t afford to pay it on the rental vehicle, I was forced to take the cash payout.  They also refused to pay for the Notebook that went flying (it’s a habit to reach back and deposit the Notebook on the seat after using it when picking someone up.  I am more then likely going to have to consult someone well versed in this type of jurisprudence because I am almost certain that having to provide proof of purchase for said item isn’t a valid enough of a reason for denying the claim.

Remember how I said II above how amazing my friends, both real life and via social networking are?  Last semester I was in Starbucks and someone asked me for change to buy coffee and instead I paid for her two cups of coffee even though it meant I would probably have to forego it one morning in the future.  One of my awesome Dirty 30 friends sent me a Starbucks card because my story about buying the woman coffee moved her to do something awesome for me.  Little does she know, that this card was like the Rainbow at the end of the semester when money was tight.  Her humble act made the darkness just a little less dark.  See, this is why I desire a better phone, because I desire to social network and connect with my friends and supporters.  Thanks for that gift card my super awesome Dirty 30 Gawdess, you will never know how much joy and relief your simple random act of kindness brought  to me the day it arrived and when I began to use it. 

HTC One M9

Now if I can just figure out how to get someone to buy me an HTC One M9.  this is such an amazing device and like most electronics, spending a little more on a device will ultimately improve the end user experience in the same way random acts of kindness enhance the human experience.  It is 104 degrees here in Sacramento today.  Stay Frosty.

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So ever since MooSe’s wife got sick and then my nephew hung himself I have had this growing sense of foreboding.  This anxiety that seems to come from nowhere and it has generally sapped my motivation. Last night, the diversion provided by the after-taste of In & Out has added to the anxiety with a feeling of impending doom which is new.

Thanfully, I have a weight training class in about 10 minutes to take my mind off of things and I will walk the bleachers on the way to class to drive my brain to motivate. Or that is the plan. Conversely, she liked the funny blog which makes me do little happy dances and will surely lead me to dance my way to class in a few minutes. Stoned and working out……

On the way to the class Cheek walked up and we walked to class happy and baked. In class I started with the dumbbells and did 10 sets of 10 instead of the normal 6. Ouch. But I can feel the difference in my body and when working out. But the machine reverse press is taking the hit as I have only done 6 reps of 10 and only 3.5 of them were at 110lbs. The others were at a lighter weight. Depression. Self hug. Hey, you have muscles dude. No shit.

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I spent most of yesterday in thr shell shocked confusion that you can only comprehend if you have seen a friend take their last breath.  I spent it with my friend MooSe, by his side as they removed the life support from her yesterday afternoon after he fulfilled her wishes.

I spent the evening and night sitting my own form of shiva with Thea’s family sitting around a fire in the back yard smoking marijuana and reveling in each others presence and communing in our shared emotions.

Then this morning as we awoke from our slumber, we all slowly assembled and greeted each other.  We comforted each other and communed over coffee, macaroons and marijuana.

Then a trip to Denny’s where the food was exactly what you’d expect and service that was subpar even for a Denny’s. This was more then made up for in the fellowship and the camaraderie and that is as good as chicken soup or a joint for the soul.  Rest in peace Thea.

So one of the things I always had from my party days was what they refer to as candy.  I wasn’t a “Candy Kid,” I just had a bracelet or two of brightly colored bead jewelry.

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This bracelet came to Kethry and she gave it to me and it was too tight but now with my weightloss it fits more comfortably.  She was excited when she saw me wearing it.

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She is just simply scrumptious, truly scrumptious and when I look at her I can truly understand that ear worm Sweet Child Of Mine…..  I picked her up and was holding her in my arms and because of my weight training and physical fitness regiment over the last 6 months, she was light.  She lamented that soon she would be too big for this but that it was ok for now.  My heart was like that first chocolate bunny clutched in your child’s death grip, where the solid milk chocolate is quickly losing its solidity and becoming a fluid. Yes, my heart melted as she said this and smiled at me, looking through her lashes.  She knows how to work it, how to wrap daddy around her finger.

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So last night, I went over to MooSe’s and hung out with him for a bit.  Three of us played dominoes, which I had not done in 30 years.  It was awesome fun and reminded me of some of those long days in the group home playing.

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One of the amazingly cool things about Lincoln, California is the Del Webb Retirement Community called Sun City and Sun City Lincoln Hills.  All of these retired people bring not only their wealth and knowledge but their spirit of adventure as well.  They may have grown old but they didn’t grow up. 🙂