March 29, 2004
From a few days ago

I did some "random blog reading" today, cruising from one blog to another looking for anyone or anything that might interest me. What I discovered is that I like blogs written about the minutiae of everyday life. It's something I myself don't actually write about. I tend to wait until I have something big to share or at the least a few weeks worth of information to disperse. I'm going to try to change that and go back to writing at least once a day, even if it's to talk about the most mundane life events.

We had a nice weekend for the most part. Saturday was the Tidewater chapter of MAGDRL event at Pet Supplies "Plus" in the Kempsriver area of Virginia Beach. It was the second event in a month we've attended and we really didn't get to see everyone we hoped to. Brie and I are trying to get more involved with Tidewater MAGDRL chapter, it's hard not to when you find out how many Great Danes are in need of rescuing. I went over their website and modified the layout to solve some issues they were having caused by the horrendous tool Geocities uses for page designing. We are hoping that this weekend I can move them to their own domain and create a new website for them giving them a more official presence on the net.

Of course, for me my first obligation is to PACC. Tomorrow is our monthly meeting where we will elect new board members and get everything settled for our upcoming fundraiser at Pet Supplies "Plus" in Chesapeake. I'm currently in charge of our first newsletter and my graphic design and layout skills have come in handy designing not only the newsletter but the forum graphic, offical letterhead, and newspaper ad as well. I am loving it.

On the homefront, Brie and I had been building up to one of our major "discussions" and Saturday was when it all came out. It dealt with very complex and difficult relationship issues. Brie and I have very different communication styles and even with 17 years behind us we still can push each other completely the wrong way. I know she's probably not too happy I'm even posting about it here, but I felt it is something I should at least mention.

Also on our plate right now is how to handle her sister's August wedding in Alaska. Her sister has asked both Brie and Madeline to be members of her wedding party which I think is great. Her parents have offered to fly them out for the wedding, that I don't find so great. It's a very complex issue for me. I believe that all of us should be there for the wedding. But the reality is Alaska is anywhere from 9-11 hours of travel away and cost prohibitive for a family of five like ours. Airfare alone would be over $3,100. Plus the experience of last years trip to California showed us that Maddy is not capable of handling long flights without placing a lot of stress on us and perhaps a few passengers as well. Adding to that for me is the fact that Brie has done a lot of traveling over the last 10 years in particular. She already goes to California a couple times a year for work and in the past has flown across the country and even went to India for 11 days, all work related. I, of course, don't really go anywhere. In the year we have lived here I have been away from the family once, my Duran Duran excursion, not work related per se, but for me close enough since I have been a "Duranie" since I was 16. My trips cost us money, her trips do not. I try my best to be supportive, but it always ends up in a fight because I get irritable and, well, jealous. I'm much better at handling the work trips now, I was nothing but supportive on her last one. But this is something different and I'm very conflicted, especially about whether or not Maddy should make the long trip.

This morning when I woke up I was sad, I wish we had one more day in the weekend. The kids and I are seeing Brie for two hours a day total. When the weekend roles around there is so much to be done that come Monday it doesn't feel like we've actually relaxed any. Wednesday is the Nickle Creek show at the Norva in downtown Norfolk and will mark our first "date night" in what I think is almost year. We never did get to go out for our anniversary. Of course, we are sharing the night with another couple because we never get to do that either.

Posted by John at 03:17 PM
March 21, 2004
R.I.P Charlie

I received some sad news today. My ex-bandmate (and roomate) Rust Epique (I knew him by his birth name Charlie Lopez) died on March 10th in his home in Las Vegas of an apparent heart attack, he was 36.

The Modesto Bee wrote a great article here

Here is the story from Rolling Stone

A few weeks before I turned 19 Charlie gave me a call out of the blue and asked if I was interested in playing in his band. I had never been in a working band before and actually had no real formal training, he didn't care. He knew I had a synth, an image, and dedication. Soon after I moved in with Charlie and our lead singer Jon. Charlie and I shared bunkbeds and almost every moment of our lives for the next 5 months, when I moved out we continued to play in Kinesthesia together until we dissolved in mid-1987. Charlie and I were the creative driving force behind the band. He had the musical skills, I had the image and songwriting ideas. I left the band for the same apparent reason Rust (as he was now known) was fired from Crazy Town, he was indeed crazy.

Looking back at my time with him I would say Charlie was bipolar. There were moments when we would be sitting around our apartment living room and he would talk about his desire to be a counselor for kids, but those were by far outweighed by the times when he would be so incredibly vulgar as if to test your limits. He would fart in his hands right in front of you and breathe it in describing vivdly what he smelled, he would insult a person's appearance to their face, he seemed to have no consideration for the people around him.

The last time I physically saw Charlie was in 1996 when our ex-bandmtate Tim got married in Modesto. He was dissapointed I wouldn't dump my wife and son to go out to a bar that had some gear set-up so we could "jam". He was still the same old Charlie. At first I admired that he was driven to succeed in the music business at any cost and he never gave-up, but with our last contact, a series of emails in 2002, I realized that he had given up everything to succeed and there didn't seem to be much of a person left. I wasn't the least surprised when I heard he was in band that had been signed, I never liked Crazy Town, but I was happy for his success. Our last contact was 2/22/2002 he had emailed me his parents address in our hometown as well as his latest contact information. He was really excited about the deals he had in the works for among many projects Pre)thing. He had asked to get a copy of my bands demo as he wanted to "shop it around", but I decided against it because I knew I couldn't bare to have him involved in my career.

I'll remember Rust as Charlie, an amazing talent with the ability to play anything, in any style, but fractured as a person. He was very encouraging to me back when I had no experience and was an early supporter of my songwriting.

Posted by John at 10:18 PM
March 19, 2004

the friday five

If you...

1. ...owned a restaurant, what kind of food would you serve? Sushi. I'd love to run a Japanese Bistro that served Sushi and had Teppanyaki service.

2. ...owned a small store, what kind of merchandise would you sell? I'd definitely like to have a little record store (I guess the are called music stores now) where I would only carry the stuff I like.

3. ...wrote a book, what genre would it be? I have always liked the idea of writing either a biography of someone I admire or writing my own life story.

4. ...ran a school, what would you teach? I'd love to have a dog obedience school.

5. ...recorded an album, what kind of music would be on it? Well, I can check this one off the list, it's only a 4 song Ep, but it's close enough to a whole album. I'd say the style is popnewagerockdisco with an old school 80's feel.

Posted by John at 08:36 AM
March 12, 2004

the friday five

1. What was the last song you heard? I put one of my CD players on random last night and the last thing I can remember hearing was "I Can't Stand Losing" by The Police. But, I also know that was not the last song that I heard.

2. What were the last two movies you saw? In the theater it was "Finding Nemo" and probably "X2". On TV or DVD it was "The Guru" which was fun and "To Kill A Mockingbird" which I was dissapointed with because the book was so much better.

3. What were the last three things you purchased? This weekend we got Maddy and Keegan some new clothes, 70 lbs of dog food, and we had a spring cleaning run last week and got a Swiffer Wet Jet (love it!) and a new broom.

4. What four things do you need to do this weekend? I'm still spring cleaning. All I really have left now is to do our bedroom and then get the guest room so it's ready for my mom's arrival on Tuesday. Beside that it's the usual of lots of laundry and cleaning the 2 remaining bathrooms.

5. Who are the last five people you talked to? verbally and outside of my wife and kids... last night I had Michelle over from PACC (the animal organization I volunteer with) and we spen 2 hours going over the Spring Newsletter I am putting together. The day before that I spent 2 hours on the phone with someone from DirecWay's Tier 3 support, and before that my mom and I had a nice conversation on the phone.

Posted by John at 07:58 AM
March 07, 2004
Catching Up... again

Time for another "catching up" post. A lot of things have happened in the last three weeks. First off, like Sean and Amy, we have added more K-9 joy to our home. Our's comes in the form of two purebred black Great Danes.


They are from a local breeder. We originally went to look at a new litter of Harlequin Great Danes she had just had, but I fell in love with the boy, who we have named Jackson (just "Jack" to us), from a previous litter who at 11 weeks had a wobbly leg do to joint issues. The breeder who had taken him to the vet already assured us that all he needed was some TLC and he would be fine. Getting his sister, whom we have named Zoe, was an impulsive decision based on the fact that I felt that alone with his leg Jack would have issues with George being so big and playful. It's been almost a month now and Jack's leg is all better they way 15 lbs more than when we got them and everyone is exteremely happy.

It seems like someone has always been nursing a cold or a runny nose in our home since December. Sebastian missed school all last week with what only seemed like a cold, but when I took him to the doctor because he was complaining of an earache the doctor diagnosed him with some wheezing which he felt was the same virus that caused walking pneumonia. He prescribed a few days of antibiotics as well as some asthma medicine to clear up his lungs. Within two days Sebastian was back to normal again. Meanwhile, Brie was in California and she came down with a severe sore throat. After telling her of Sebastian's diagnosis I promptly made her an appointment with a doctor for as soon as she got back. Good thing! It turns out she had Strep Throat and with Maddy showing signs of being sick as well they both were prescribed antibiotics. Keegan did manage to avoid getting sick and I am only suffereing from yet another head cold, I'm not sure my sinuses have been clear for a couple months.

Coming up is Sebastian's 10th birthday. We are already gearing up for the occasion. Sebastian is inviting quite a few people this year including all the kids in his SECEP class and the neighbors kids. It's SpongeBob themed again. We are having the party here at our house, it will be the first time we have ever had company (besides John's mom) to the house. My mom should be up from Georgia the week of his birthday and hopefully she will be staying for at least a few weeks. Brie and I have tickets to go see Nickle Creek in Norfolk and PACC (People Amongst Cats & Canines) a local animal orginization I volunteer with is having their first fundraiser of the year and Brie and I want to be there to help show off the dogs they have for adoption.

Lastly, Sean and Amy have set a date for their wedding. On March 6, 2005 they will be wed aboard the Carnival cruise ship "Valor". After the ceremony Brie and I will be joining them on the Valor for a 7 day cruise to the Western Carribbean and Mexico. For them it will be their honeymoon, for Brie and I it will be in celebration of our 15th Anniversary. We might even have our Vows renewed by the ships Capitain. Brie's mom Shirley has offered to fly-in and watch the kids for us. We are all very excited.

Posted by John at 02:15 PM