They'll give a blog to anybody.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Memo to Brain from Body

What the hell were you thinking?!

I volunteered to be a chaperon for our church youth group's annual ski trip. I thought it would be a good chance for me to get back on skis. I started skiing when I was 12 and became quite good. I could ski any type of terrain and competed in the occasional slalom race. Aside for the occasional gash to my face, I always enjoyed skiing. The continually escalating price of lift tickets eventually ended my participation. So, after 19 years away from the snow, this weekend would be my triumphant return to the sport.

We arrived at the resort about 7:45 A.M. to go through the process of renting equipment (during the preceding years, I had given up hope of ever returning to the slopes and gave away my skis). I spent a couple of hours getting my kids onto their skis and to the appropriate places at the resort, the beginner lift and the first-timer class. I skied a couple of runs with Dirpette #1 to make sure I still knew how to turn and stop. After I was satisfied that I hadn't forgotten how to ski, I headed to the top of the mountain. I got off the lift and shot past the people looking down the hill with fear on their faces. I flew down the mountain, carving turns right where I wanted, with no difficulty at all. About a quarter of the way down the mountain, I stopped to assess my course. As soon as I stopped, my quadriceps started screaming at me "What the hell do you think you're doing?! We sit at a desk all day!" At least that's how the message translated. The actual untranslated message was in severe cramps in both legs. It was at that point, I realized I was a quarter of the way down a steep mountain and I could hardly stand up.

I managed to tough it out and ski down the rest of the mountain, pausing a few times. I still managed to carve my turns where I wanted, I just had to pause frequently. That was last run of the day. My triumphant return to the slopes ended at 11:15 A.M.

By noon, the next day, I can walk with almost no pain (as long as I keep taking pain killers). When did I get this old?

Saturday, October 13, 2007


It's been a while since I wrote anything new. This isn't new either. I totally copied the idea from Mrs. Dirpus.

Your Brain is 40% Female, 60% Male

You have a total boy brain
Logical and detailed, you tend to look at the facts
And while your emotions do sway you sometimes...
You never like to get feelings too involved

Your Karaoke Theme Song is "Livin' On a Prayer"

You believe the best things in life are mostly forgotten, and you're definitely more than a little nostalgic .
You're likely to still like the same foods, fashions, and music as you did when you were a teenager.

You have a knack for knowing what elements of pop culture people have missed, without them even realizing it.
It's great to remember the past, but don't forget that not everyone is as stuck in it as you are.

You might also sing: "Pour Some Sugar on Me," "Rapper's Delight," and "Cherry Pie"

Stay away from people who sing: "Toxic"

You Should Play the Accordion

You are eccentric, funky, wacky... definitely one of a kind.
People have trouble putting you in any one particular category. You definitely have your own thing going on.

You are a born entertainer. No wonder you'd be perfect as an one man (or one woman) band.
Your musical influences likely cross all genres - and blend together in a very unusual way.

While you are definitely offbeat, you also enjoy tradition and influences from the past.
It's just your style to take an old fashioned instrument like the accordion and make it uniquely yours.

Your dominant personality characteristic: your total inhibition

Your secondary personality characteristic: your interest in obscure activities and subjects

You Are 30% Weird

Not enough to scare other people...
But sometimes you scare yourself.

You Belong in Los Angeles

Whether you'll admit it or not, a huge part of you likes being in the spotlight.
And you may just have enough star quality to make it big in LA!
Even if you don't become famous, you still belong in a place where you can get a year round tan.

Your Summer Ride is a Beetle Convertible

Fun, funky, and a little bit euro.
You love your summers to be full of style and sun!

You Are a Freedom Rocker!

You're stuck in the 70s - for better or worse
Crazy hair, pot soaked clothes, and tons of groupies
Your kind showed the world how to rock
Is that freedom rock?... Well turn it up man!

You Are 28 Years Old

Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe.

13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.

20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.

30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!

40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Thanks Mom

I need to say thank you to my mother for raising me well and teaching me things I needed to know. Specifically, how to cook, clean, and sew. I didn't necessarily agree at the time, but she knew what she was doing. My recent foray into dress making, and the comments I have received, has refreshed my memory on something.

Women (real, adult, women) like men that are useful around the house.

They may say they like 'bad boys', and they might like them. As toys. But in the long term, I think most women will choose the guy that can make them clothes, fix them dinner, give them a good massage, and clean the bathroom. Now, if you also happen to have a Harley and a leather jacket, or be in a rock band... that would probably be okay.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

A Different Creative Outlet

A few weeks ago, Mrs. Dirpus and I were at the mall with our youngest daughter trying to find a new dress for her to wear to her sixth grade promotion. There was nothing that conformed both to what she wanted and what we would allow her to wear. "No you may not buy that dress from the young street walker collection!"

Finally, as Mrs. Dirpus was about to strike the young one dead, she asked me if I could make her a dress. A little taken aback, I said "Sure". The two of them went out later and bought a bunch of stuff and brought it home and I made a dress out of it. Everyone was happy with the result and thought our daughter looked very cute.

Then, a week ago Friday, my wife asked if I could make her a new dress to wear to a Job's Daughters event last Friday for our oldest daughter. Mind you, I am wearing a tuxedo to this event. I told her that if I started that day, I probably could. So we went to the fabric store and looked at patterns. She settled on a nice formal dress after I said I could mix top B with bottom C. I didn't really know if I could or not, but I was pretty sure I could work something out.

So, we bought all this fabric and a pattern and brought it home a week before she needed to wear it. Let me tell you about that week. I spent all day Saturday in the recording studio. I worked my job Monday to Friday. The Sacramento Monarchs started a home stand (we have season tickets) and we went to games on Saturday, Tuesday, and Thursday nights. That left me Sunday, Monday and Wednesday nights, and Friday after I got home from work before we left for the event.

There were a few minor technical difficulties in Mrs. Dirpus' gown. Did you know that the sizes used in patterns aren't the same as the sizes women buy in the stores. After doing some measuring on Mrs. Dirpus and preparing the pattern, I realized I need to buy a new one in a different size. This eliminated any chance of working on the dress on Friday or Saturday. As I was almost done and doing a fitting, it was decided that one of the things in the dress made it not fit right. This required buying more fabric, ripping some seams and re-doing the lining of the dress. This took my entire Wednesday night. Fortunately, I got off work early on Friday and was able to finish it up with about three hours to spare. I think it turned out pretty well. The picture below shows Mrs. Dirpus and Dirpette #2 in their Dirpus creations.

Before three weeks ago, I had never made a dress. What do you think of my handiwork?

The Recording Studio

I have a new appreciation for musicians that you'll never know. These people don't play on stage in front of thousands of people or make millions of dollars. They go to work each day in the recording studio playing the music we listen to every day. You probably hear many of them on the radio on your favorite songs, although they aren't singing or playing the guitar solo. They are most likely playing some small part in the background.

My band is currently working on a demo record to give out to club owners to try to get some paying work. Two Saturdays ago, we spent six hours in a recording studio trying to record the drum tracks for four songs. We spent two hours just getting everything set up. Then we spent three hours recording and re-recording the same thing. Because we have a limited budget, we quit when we thought it was good enough to work with. We'll go back and record other parts then Dustin, the engineer that owns the studio, will work some magic and make songs out of the pieces we recorded.

The studio is in an industrial park near Sacramento, CA. It used to be some kind of high tech company that went out of business. The conversion to a recording studio has turned it into a place that is conducive to being creative. It is decorated in a casual manner which is relaxing. The down side is the large room where we had the drums set up doesn't have air conditioning. As the morning turned into a Sacramento, June, afternoon, the heat started to rise. We spent more time in the small control room which had air conditioning, returning only to the big room when necessary. My turn ended up being while we were working on the last song of the day, which was the hottest part of our time there. The drummer and I played the same song several times while listening to the accompaniment on headphones.

Overall, I'm glad for the experience, and actually look forward to the next session. But I have a new respect for those that do this everyday to make a living and have to get it right the first or second time, every time, or they don't work. I've learned a little about what it means to be a working musician.

The thing is...

I still want to be one.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Better to be Lucky Than Good

My band is experiencing a little bit of the title of this post, not that we aren't good. People have told me that if they were in a bar, drunk, and we were playing, that they wouldn't leave. That sounds like a pretty ringing endorsement.

"Green Elephant. If you're in a noisy bar and have had too much to drink, they don't suck."

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. We have a gig on June 29th through the local parks department to play at one of the local parks. It's a monthly series they put on every summer. Because we're playing the first event of the summer, the parks people asked if we would be able to go on one of the local television station's morning programs two days before the concert. It would be from 9:00 to 10:00 on Wednesday, June 27th, and we'd have to be there an hour early to set up. We thought about it for about half a second and said "Heck yeah!" (or something vaguely similar).

So because we happen to be playing in the first concert of the summer, we get to be on TV. Cool!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Senior Moments

I thought of something really good to post while my computer was starting up this morning. That was about an hour and a half ago. I had some work to do before I could compose it. Now that I have a free moment, I can't remember what it was.

But, trust me, it was really good.


Thursday, May 17, 2007


I was able to get some of the video from the band's gig out of the camera and figured out how to upload some edited (for file size, not duration) to YouTube. Here is the link:

Green Elephant performs.