Wednesday, August 24, 2005

08.24.05 - Life Update

Well folks, a mere month ago I was bemoaning the fact that we, Cher, the kids and I, were not going to be able to get a house until sometime next year. Since Saturday, we’ve been moving into our new house. Go figure. It’s amazing what happens when you put something out there and go with it when the door opens - simply amazing. It’s a much bigger house than what we thought we could afford with a lovely shaded backyard and patio on which we have had BBQ everyday since we moved in. I’ll eventually tire of BBQ but it reminds me of my childhood and happy times watching my father grill. As he and his father have moved on past this life, I am slowly growing into the role of Mr. Seifert. He, of course, would be sitting around in a T-shirt drinking Coors Light while I sit around drinking diet Pepsi as I watch the grill. I had no idea how difficult it was to keep the kids from burning themselves on the grill until I had a grill of my own.

School began anew for both the kids and I Monday. I didn’t get to start until today because of the move and Josh doesn’t get to start until Friday for much the same reason. I’ve only met my Ethics professor so far but, I like her. Hopefully the others speak to me in a way I can understand. Because of the fact that I changed my Major at the last minute, I had to drop several classes and then sign up for whatever was open in my Major. As a result, I have a class that starts at 5:30pm and gets out at 6:45pm on Mondays and Wednesdays. This would be fine except that Cher and I have one night a week that is for us – date night. The night set aside for that is unfortunately Wednesday night.

Date night was not my idea. I think, and I may be mistaken, that I got the idea from my friend and mentor Don. In any case, one night a week is inviolate with regards to my marriage. That’s the one night that I plan to take my wife out and wine and dine her – just the two of us. With six kids, the importance of this is monumental. Wednesday night also happens to be the night that I drop my three off at their mother’s. Well, the appointed hour for this exchange is before I get home from school this semester and so Cheryl, bless her heart, has agreed to drop them off for me. This is a really big deal to me - after all, who really wants to talk to the ex of anyone they’re married to. This is reason #65 that I’m nominating Cher for sainthood. Thank you Cher! THANK YOU!

Anyhow, I won’t get home till like 7:30pm, which seems a little late to go out. Hopefully, I can convince Cher to go anyway. Though what we’ll do if we go out I have no idea - The movies this summer just SUCK. Perhaps a trip to the local Barnes and Noble for coffee and a book… We shall see.

That’s about all the time I have. I need to get to class. More later, of course.


Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Some days chicken salad, some days chicken... or últimamente no ha sido todo amabilidad

What a day! I am so emotionally overwrought at the moment, I don’t know what to do with myself – so I’ve decided to bl**. We had the inspection on the house we’re trying to buy yesterday. It went well but it took forever. It seems the house needs a new furnace and a new roof however, other than those two pesky items, most of the other stuff could be fixed in a day or two. The owner is inclined to deduct the cost of the roof off the purchase price which would be fine if we had the $2500+ to replace a roof that needs to be replaced before winter. The furnace could probably be nursed along for a while though there are a couple of gas leaks that need to be addressed immediately. We’re planning on putting in AC anyway so we could conceivably do it all at once. Trying to buy a house has placed and unbelievable strain on our finances. It is only through the generosity of various family members that we’ve gotten this far. Hopefully we can push through the rest without event.

We had family night at our house last night. For those of you who are new to my bl**, this madcap party is a weekly event. We get together and let our kids play while we sit, talk, eat, and eat some more. It’s grown from merely eight to nine people at it’s inception to fifteen who show up regularly and two or three more who show up occasionally. Anyway we had it at our house because everybody wanted to make use of the pool but due to the inspection we didn’t get back to the house until nearly 6pm and it rained cats and dogs most of the afternoon anyway hence, no swimming. Dinner was yummy. We had pizza, the best pizza chain pizza IMHO, Anthony’s Pizza to be exact. We also celebrated two birthdays this month. One was my lovely wife Cheryl who is and ever shall remain beautiful in my eyes and the other was our dear friend E. Two birthdays = two cakes and both kicked ass. Thankfully, Cher and I enjoyed ourselves immensely during the evening because we both ended up sleeping on the couch and not for any of the fun reasons you can think of – one of the kids decided to “pop the bubbles” in our waterbed. A HUGE thank you to the Mom and Dad of this child for helping me to patch the waterbed today. I very much appreciated the help. Having great friends really helps to smooth over hard times.

So, my lovely wife and I spent the night sleeping on our futon couch. This couch is simply evil. It is lumpy and doesn’t lay flat on the frame. Both of us woke up with aches and pains to the sounds of children trying desperately to force their way past the makeshift barricade we’d built in the hall to slow the inevitable invasion. Though slowed, they wiggled their little butts through with remarkable ease and commenced to having breakfast ten feet from our heads in the most obnoxious fashion possible – kid style. So we begrudgingly got up and got dressed after a mostly sleepless night and headed out to purchase a patch kit for the bed. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it’s pretty damn hard to buy an old school waterbed these days let alone patch one. In any case, we finally found what we needed and returned home to commence the, much needed, repair.

As soon as I started, I noticed a problem. The night before, there were only two holes in evidence and I readily located those again as I got ready to patch them. It was about then that I noticed that it was wet further down the bed. Suffice is to say, there were MANY more than two holes. I sank to the floor in frustration. Cher, who was preparing a little nest on the side of the bed on the floor to sleep in, asked me what was wrong and I told her. She told me to just go ahead and take the time to drain the bed and fix it and I declined so that she could have more time to sleep seeing as she had to work tonight. We argued back and forth about it for about five minutes. As it turns out, she didn’t get much sleep anyway.

For much of the past month, my three kids have been off of their normal schedules. Normally, my ex and I split our parenting time more or less down the middle with me having them half of the week and her having them the other. Things have been off kilter because of various family trips and Cher and I’s wedding. As you might expect chaos levels have been high for about a month because kids like routine. All and all, we survived. We’re finally back on schedule and it will be nice to get back into a routine again. Thankfully, my ex is fairly conscious of maintaining a balance with regards to parenting time. On the whole, we have a fairly good working relationship with regards to the kids – something for which I am VERY thankful. Divorce can be awful though ours has been more amicable than most.

Tonight, however, I was forced to stand on principle and defend my boundaries – something which I am generally none too comfortable doing. I may well have placed our good working relationship in jeopardy in doing so – we shall have to see. It’s odd how uncomfortable I get when I feel forced to say, “no you can’t treat me that way” to my ex. In general, if you piss me off, I’ll front you off straight away and tell you exactly how I feel about it. However, It’s so very important to me that my ex and I maintain workable communications around the kids that I hesitate when I would otherwise not do so. In fairness, I suspect she probably does the same. I wonder when, if ever, the unresolved pain, anger, and disappointment of a broken marriage will fade and disappear. In a very real sense, I will have to see this woman and relate to her politely for the rest of my life and hers. Some days that’s more of a struggle than others. Today was one of those days. Marriage may no longer be a lifetime commitment but having and raising happy, healthy kids with someone absolutely is.

That’s why I’m so thankful as I wrap this up that Cher and I found each other. We’ve agreed. There will be no divorce. Period. End of sentence. We are each committed to raising our kids to be happy, healthy, successful, functional adults. We’re committed to loving and supporting each other for the long haul. I look forward to being able to proudly say to any we meet, “I’m old man Seifert, and this is my dear wife Cheryl.” I thought you might enjoy reading our wedding vows – those simple words whose meaning brought us both to tears:

I, (name), take you, (name), to be my (husband/wife), my constant friend, my faithful partner, and my love from this day forward. In the presence of God, our family, and our friends, I offer you my solemn vow to be your faithful partner in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, for richer or poorer, and in times of joy as well as in times of sorrow. I promise to love you unconditionally, to support you in your goals and aspirations, to honor and respect you, and to laugh and cry with you as we march, hand in hand, down the happy road of destiny. (name), I will love and cherish you as long as I live cultivating in my heart gratitude for the life we make together.

As it turns out, Bl**ing does help. Incidentally, I just recently realized that using any derivation of the word bl** is a no no, though I have no idea why. Anyway, I feel better. Time to go check and see if I missed any holes in the bed. YAY!


Friday, August 12, 2005

Review - The Dukes of Hazard

“Just the good ol' boys, Never meanin' no harm, Beats all you've ever saw, been in trouble with the law since the day they was born.” – Waylon Jennings.

I did it. I let my inner red neck out to play and went with my lovely wife to see The Dukes of Hazard. I knew before I went that it would be cheesy. I knew that it would not be great film making. I also knew I’d experience that wave of blissful nostalgia that one only gets when looking at a new take on something you loved as a kid. Well surf that wave I did. As such, I have no objectivity to bring to the table here so bear that in mind.

I loved it. I laughed and laughed until tears ran down my face. It was formulaic as hell, just like the TV show. The dukes were forever doing things that just didn’t add up technically, just like the series. It was nothing more than hysterical romp down memory lane. My only disappointment was Cooter. He just wasn’t funny. Jessica Simpson surprised me though in that I really enjoyed the way she delivered her lines… yah, that’s the ticket. Seriously though, she’s not just a pretty face. As far as the rest of the actors, Johnny Knoxville (Luke) and Sean William Scott(Bo) are just wonderful together although, Bo was a bit dumber than I would have liked. Burt Reynolds just barely pulled off Boss Hogg - without the rest of the cast, I’d be bitching.

While I cannot, in good conscience, lead you to believe this was good film, I can tell you that if you liked the series you’ll love this film. You don’t probably need to see it in the theater but I would recommend it if you get the chance and you’re into this kinda thing.


Thursday, August 11, 2005

Music, Music, and more Music

This post is brought to you care of the immortal John Lee Hooker and at the prompting of more than one of you. JLH is thrumming away as I write this. I love the blues, especially the old school blues. I’ve been teaching my son to play the blues on the guitar he’s beginning to understand the mechanics but he doesn’t yet have the mileage to carry it off. Ah well, life has a way of teaching you that sort of thing. Youth is really wasted on the young. I’m not exactly sure when it happened and that’s probably because it sneaks up on you. Somewhere I lost my immortality and it started to hurt when I fell down. I quit exercising every day and later even once a week, then once a month, then once a year, etc… At some point, I just gave up trying to fight the inevitable and gained eighty pounds I don’t need.

At least that’s what the old voices in my head tell me. Recently, I’ve been blessed. I got divorced and realized that I wasn’t happy. I got out on my own and got reacquainted with myself. I learned to value my time with my children. I got my shit together and had the good fortune to find a woman who loves me for who I am, who appreciates what I do, who treats me like I’m her hero. I quit a job that I’d hated for years. I got my priorities straight and went back to school and promptly got them screwed up again and then straightened them out again. I got married again and inherited three lovely children who are starting to call me Dad. It’s looking again like we’re going to get a house and we just recently got a new vehicle. Go figure, life does get better if I just get out of the way.

Music for me is not merely soothing, it’s curative. I have, on many occasions, played through a succession of tunes at random and found myself in entirely different mental space. When I listen to music, a segment of a song can lead me to another song which, in turn, leads me to another song. I cannot tell you in advance where and when the journey will end. This has proved to be frustrating in the extreme for anyone that has had to watch and listen to this process. I tend to have two to four pieces of music juxtaposed in my mind at any given time - usually one is classical, another rock, sometimes one is R&B, and the other is usually Jazz or the blues. The pieces in my head dictate where I’m going to go when I’m listening to bits and pieces of tunes so I can well imagine, to someone who doesn’t think like I do, that it just looks silly.

When I listen to the music for the first time, I’m only interested in how it makes me feel. If it doesn’t feel right, I don’t like it. This feeling is usually related to the mechanics of how it is put together or performed. The second time I’m usually taking apart the various parts of the song listening to, for example, the bass line, the drums or the guitar line. In the successive times after that I analyze each part individually and then later how they interact. Somewhere around the 9th or 10th time through I start just hearing the song again. All of this ends up getting filtered through the endlessly changing juxtaposition of music in my head. When I saw “Moulin Rouge” for the first time, the music brought tears to my eyes. In one of the early scenes, the composer fugues four tunes against each other. I was blown away because I’d never heard that done anywhere but in my head.

I couldn’t be more happy to be studying music. I’ve always avoided it because it’s never been a “reasonable” career path in that, musicians are generally perceived like most artist - broke. I suppose if I were to get more honest, I haven’t allowed myself to get sucked in to music because I lacked the maturity to avoid becoming completely obsessed and isolated. My need to be with people far outweighed my need for personal satisfaction. Thankfully, time and experience have shown me ways to balance the two. Don’t get me wrong, when I get into my passion and the creativity is flowing, there is nothing to do but ride it out. I’m better about scheduling my time so that people don’t get left out in the cold in this process that and my ability to multitask has improved in recent years.

As I’ve gotten older, and somewhat less egocentric, I’ve begun to suspect that there are others who hear music like I do and who, like I, struggle to find balance while exploring their gifts. Some of them go to college, some do nothing with it, some explore it on their own. I think I’d like to teach music at the college level and through private lessons. I think I’m finally to the point in my life where I have enough mileage and experience that I have something to share. I’d also like to perform occasionally – one never really loses the love of an audience. There’s nothing like it.

I’m not sure if that is at all interesting to any of you but it is a goodly portion of what has been occupying my brain of late. I tend to think I need to be witty or funny or upbeat or whatever to write. What I forget is that people are not always witty, upbeat, or funny but that doesn’t make them any less interesting. So that’s it, life on life’s terms.


Sunday, August 07, 2005

08.07.05 - Life Update and 1 more review

My dear sister is a writer and a pretty nifty one at that. Do me a favor and stop in at Among the bees of the invisible... and drop some comments. You won't be disappointed. Of course, she may well strangle me for the advertising but then hell, what are big brothers for?

School is done until the 22nd. Thank goodness. I got all A's in music and it looks like I'm going to take a D in Biology. At least it's over. I still need two science credits for my degree. I'm thinking geology and anthropology or something like that. If any of you have suggestions, I'd love to hear them. That I've been a bit stressy this week, I'm certain my wife, kids, and friends will attest. I've got to learn how to take school in stride.

I've made recent updates to both the photoblog and the audioblog so check those out when you get a chance. I am actually paying to blog now. Yay! I wanted to upload the song I played for my piano final and found that I had to pay to upload mp3s. It's not too hideous a deal at $50/yr but it's still expensive. Stay tuned as I'll have to use it to get my money's worth out of it.

I got an obnoxious letter in the mail from CU this week saying that they were hiking tuition 28% this year because of State budget cuts. As I understand it, this is after they lobbied the State of Colorado to provide an incentive to Coloradoan's for higher education which the State did, in fact, do. So, the state gives out a bunch of money to the people of Colorado for higher education which the people already paid in in taxes and CU then steps up and takes most of it to cover their budget cut. I'm talking from second and third hand sources here so don't quote me but if this turns out to be the truth, I'm gonna rant!

***!!!Warning RANDOM late night thought processes at work!!!*** I think might be cool to install a urinal at my desk so that I don't have to get up for anything other than food, though I suppose I could train my kids to bring me food, and the occasional bowel movement. I've got my computer, my desk, my guitars, my camera, and hopefully soon my new keyboard all within reach. Something tells me my dear wife wouldn't find that at all amusing - which leads me on a tangent.

After my divorce, I moved in with Paul. Paul and I rented a house from his mother. In typical geek fashion, we moved our piles of computer crap into the front room setting up four eight-foot folding tables around the perimeter of the room. This room was right next to the kitchen which didn't stop us from burning the Toll House cookies or our lunch on more than one occasion. It got so that we would instant message each other to converse despite being three feet apart. Spoken words were simply outmoded. I had the better sound system so I was generally in charge of the tunes though that often proved a bit annoying for dear Paul. After all, who doesn't like Thomas Dolby!? Anyway, this brief time of bachelor craziness lasted until I met Cher and Paul met Jenn. I loved living with Paul but married life has perks that living with Paul thankfully didn't offer.

Well after that you've probably tuned me out and, as my eyes are crossing as I squint to wrap this up, I'm thinking I should probably crawl in bed. It has just occurred to me that I saw another movie that I failed to review. Crap. Well here you go:

The Life Aquatic

This little ditty was amusing and quite a bit of fun. It was quirky and felt almost European. It reminded me a lot of the type of humor used in "Lost in Translation." However, it was not as well executed. It flows smoothly from scene to scene and Bill Murray's character is surprisingly tender at times. I'd probably wait for rental on this one but it would also make a fine matinee.


Saturday, August 06, 2005

Scattershot Film Reviews

It’s time, yet again, for another scattershot movie review session. Today, I have some new release movies as well as some rentals for your consideration. I’ve decided I like the multi-movie review (probably because it’s more convenient for me.) In any case, here they are for your enjoyment.


The Island

This film was just a mindless bit of good old fashioned fun with a sci-fi twist. There are explosions, beautiful people, funny jokes, and social commentary on some of the potential difficulties surrounding cloning. It’s not deep or difficult to understand – just straight forward fun entertainment – like Independence Day or Armageddon.



I bought this film because it seems like I always pay like $15 to rent any film because of late charges - wait that’s no longer the correct term, “Extended Viewing Fees.” In any case, I don’t rent anymore, but I digress. The film starts a bit slowly but it’s wry humor drags you along through the adventures of a couple of forty-something men on a bachelor’s weekend in California’s Napa valley. It highlights some of the games men like to play with themselves in a funny and poignant way. It’s kind of pretentious but yet accessible unlike the director’s most recent film About Schmidt.


Well I generally HATE Will Ferrell however, he was almost tolerable this time around. Nicole Kidman and Michael Caine made the film as far as I’m concerned. It’s a cheesy remake of a cheesy TV series. But it’s funny, and even witty at times. It’s not great film making but it’s warm and cute and leaves you feeling happy.


Team America – World Police

I had high expectations of this puppet film being as it was made by the same folks who brought us South Park. Like South Park, it’s viciously biting at everyone and everything. However, unlike South Park, it didn’t strike me as funny most of the time. Perhaps it’s the Puppets/Anime thing. It’s like watching a great comic having an off night. It’s still funny but it feels awkward and when you go home, you feel embarrassed for him.


Monday, August 01, 2005

08.01.05 - Life Update

I added a BlogMap to the right below the monkeys and the Poll. BlogMap is kinda cool and kinda scary. It uses GPS data to pinpoint where you are and then tells you who is near you in the blogging world. The more accurate your longitude and latitude, the more precise the map. Mine is purposely somewhat vague. I also added a poll last month sometime that is largely just silly but answer if you feel like it. If you've taken the nerd, or the Star Trek tests, what were your scores?

Cher and I are the proud new owners of a 1995 GMC Suburban. Thanks to the gracious family financing program, we traded our van for a Suburban which is more in keeping with the future transportation needs of our six kids. It gets about the same mileage that the van did so not a huge shock there. It does, however, have a 45 gallon gas tank which means that we can go 750-850 miles per tank. That just feels insane to me. Oh well, the first time I have to fill it up from empty should cost over $100 which will be new and different (and scary). It’s very cushy though – all the bells and whistles. The cruise control is not working, I wonder what that will cost to fix – I gotta have cruise or I speed my ass off.

The kids and I took it out bouncing around in the mountains Saturday. Poor Jordon was bored after an hour. He’d slept all morning so there was no hope that he was going to be able to sack out. The little guy just can’t stand to be buckled into a car for very long. Jade predictably fell asleep while Josh and I ran over several things that would cripple a mere car. I never buy expensive sunglasses. This time around I bought a set of yellow lens blue blocking safety glasses from home depot. I have to tell you $10 and they are the best riding glasses I have ever found. Anyway, I’m sharing with Josh this bit of critical knowledge and we’re trading the sunglasses back and forth all day marveling at how much easier it is to see with them on. I enjoyed the day. I enjoyed the kids and I love the new truck!

Having done quite a bit of research into keyboards this week, I’m probably going to buy the cheapest 88 key weighted keyboard I can find that has both Midi2 and USB2 and then buy software to take care of my synthesizing needs. I think I can get off the hook for 1-1.5k cheaper that way which, given that we are desperately trying to get out of debt, helps a lot. The problem, of course, is that I have a piano final on Friday and no piano at home to practice on so I’m going to have to spend some extra time at school to get ready this week. The good news is that my Biology lab is over so I can use that time to work on my piano final.

Speaking of Biology, I just barely passed the last test which means I need to pull a “B” on the final in order to get a “C” in the class. It’s only over two chapters and there’s a 20 point extra credit question that’s opinion so it shouldn’t be a problem. I’ll be so happy when that class is over. As of Friday the 5th, class is out till August 22 when the fall semester begins. I did manage to get my major switched over to music though I still need to do the audition for which I’ve already missed the cutoff date which means I’ll need to audition the next time around. The knowledge I gain between now and then can only help.

We’ve been seriously looking at a rent to own property for the past couple of weeks. Unfortunately, we’ve yet to arrive at a deal that makes sense for us. Time is getting short as we need to renew our lease soon or pay massive penalties for going month to month. I think, at this point, we’re realistically looking at two years before we’re out of debt and have a pile of cash big enough for a down payment – which is disheartening. We’d both really like to get out of the apartment life thing and into a house of our own. All in good time I suppose.

I’ll hopefully be getting around to all of your blogs this afternoon after I get home from school. I going through blog withdrawal – sweaty palms, twitchy eyes and fingers, drool... It’s really quite sad and, I’m sure, disturbing to non-bloggers. Ah well, we do what we can do and nothing more. In any case, I look forward to looking in on all of you to see what you’ve been up to this week and weekend. Hopefully when I get home, my sweet wife will be sleeping after a long night at work last night so I don’t have to choose between her and checking the blogs. She is, after all, infinitely more important.