Saturday, March 28, 2009

Like Porterfield says; Too Much Rock

So last night Tracy went out with the other ladies for the first time in quite a while. I stayed home, read another installment of Potter to the D, then was left to my own devices for a while. Usually when I'm home alone (Tracy at work, Delia at school) I break out my guitar. (On a side note, I finally got around to putting new strings on, and it sounds ten times better. Thumbs down for Elixers, thumbs up to D'Addario Phospher Bronze ).

Anyway, Delia was asleep so I couldn't very well break out the acoustic. Instead I went up to the attic and came down with an electric guitar and a processor.

About a year or so ago my friend Mike at work just gave me a guitar processor. I hadn't really played around with it much, what with moving and all, but it is (as the Brazilians say) SuperRad. It has a headphone jack (which is how I can play with it while the D is in bed) and can emulate quite a variety of stuff. I had a hella good time last night going through various amp/effect combinations, some of which are decidedly on the weird side.

So now I'm up to two guitars I like playing. Next stop - figuring out how to hook a guitar processor to Tracy's Mac for the next greatest thing ever; Garage Band.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Argh. Damn. Double Argh.

So in about an hour and twenty minutes I'm supposed to meet with Haley's friend Katie to go over the wedding ceremony we're having tomorrow. These people are fairly uncommunicative. I understand being shy, and I also understand that I've been tied up at work all week, but I'm starting to wonder if they're not trying to give me the slip. I got an email from the dude earlier this week, but none of my emails ever got answered and a phone call about ten minutes ago went to an answering machine. I guess if five rolls around and they're nowhere to be found (yay for rhyming!) then I'll drive out to Dorsey's Knob (where the wedding is going to go down). If they aren't there then I don't know what else to do.

Every time I do a wedding I come home and declare (often loudly, sometimes with some profanity sprinkled in) that I'm out of the wedding business. It always winds up the same. I tell people right off the bat that I'm a fake minister (legal, but that's as far as it goes with me), and I only really do this for the feeling that I'm pulling something over (somehow) on the System. Everyone I've ever married has been evasive on what the ceremony should be. I suppose they think that even a fake minister like me has a stash of ceremonies or a Black Standard Issue Book of Vows. A lot of the time this leads to a very uncomfortable Keith standing in front of a group of people just making the ceremony up as I go along.

I have learned to not hang around after the ceremony. There are too many questions if I do. I get "Exactly what church do you belong to?" a lot. More often I hear a stage whispered, "Where did they find this minister?" I've learned to dodge the Mother of the Bride at all costs.

I do hope that they haven't given me the slip, because I had to endure shopping today. Despite their early claims of a small ceremony there will be tuxes and gowns and a hundred people or so, so I didn't want to show up in old pants with pockets frayed from the clips of knives and combat boots. I bought three pairs of pants AND new shoes, all of which were on sale. I even tried to avoid buying what Tracy calls "old man shoes". I do like what I bought, but I'm going to feel like the System pulled a fast one on me this time if they've found someone else to do all this.

I'll let you know how it all turns out.

Monday, March 16, 2009

This Morning

I get up this morning only to find (gasp! Horror!) that there isn't enough coffee. Crap. Not an auspicious start to the day. I made what I could, which was about two cups of very watery brew. Nonetheless, I muddled through.

After dropping the D off at school I went to the Giant Eagle, where two discoveries awaited me. First off, coffee was buy one get one. This may not sound like a big deal, but it always makes my day. Secondly I ran into one of my bosses, who told me that InDesign should be installed today before I get there. This is super mega awesome. We've been stolidly behind the times at work for a while technology-wise. I'm certainly not out looking for a new job in this economy, but it is nice to know that if I had to I won't have to look across the interview table and profess mastery of defunct programs. Always thinking, I am.

And now the bad news. Aside from the fire last night (not us; see Tracy's blog) I made a horrific discovery this morning. But first some background information.

We've been playing the same D&D campaign for something like two years now. (That's right. I'm 33 years old, have a wife and daughter and still spend every other weekend pretending to be a paranoid schizophrenic dwarf. Mock me if you must, but I know that you know deep in your heart that you're totally jealous of our awesome hobby.) So I have a folder of notes and such on this game.

Notes that the freakin' cat peed on.

That's right; Nerfa peed on Gunter's character sheet. Which means I'm going to go spend some time on the back porch making a new one, where the pee aroma will be less nasty. Damn cat.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

First time this year!

So yesterday I was sitting around playing my guitar, minding my own business, when Tracy texts me from work, wanting to know if I wanted to go on a hike with her.

We hadn't been hiking since last fall. Winter has been a long stretch of being stuck indoors not getting exercise, becoming listless and out of shape. As it turns out, once you get used to a certain amount of physical activity, not doing much of anything will take a toll on you, both mentally and physically.

We went to hike the Hemlock Trail for the first time. It said on the internet to plan on a 45 minute hike. We did it in just under 50 minutes, while taking time to climb into the creek (pronounced "CREAK" if you're me and "CRICK" if you're Tracy), take pictures, and generally loiter around a bit. It was awesome. It was nice to break out into a sweat again from something other than anxiety or too much hot sauce.

Going out yesterday got me thinking about going camping soon. Also driving around on the roads we were on (which is whatever road the King Family Tree Farm is on, I forget what it's called) made me think of Route 33, our favorite method of getting to Virginia where my cousin and his fam live. I want to get down there soon, as it's my turn to make the trek and I like it better when it's Ryan's turn, because then it's my turn to bitch about him not making the six hour drive (which is only a five hour drive for him, because I drive like an old man and stop at anything that looks even remotely neato.)

Anyway, the upshot of all this is that I'm in a Hella good mood today. It's warm enough for the second day in a row to go running around without a sweater or jacket. Summer seems to be lurking just around the corner, ready to ambush and beat the shit out of the winter doldrums. While I don't normally advocate ambushes from behind clumps of Forsythia, I'm waiting for winter to get it's ass kicked with baited breath.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Something like ten years or so ago I became an ordained minister. I was ordained by the Universal Life Church of Modesto, California right from the comfort of my computer over the internet. Yes, I'm a minister. I was ordained specifically because my friend Malissa was getting married and I wanted to conduct the ceremony.

Now, to conduct a legal ceremony you have to have more than just a certificate that you printed out at your house. You have to get on the state's marriage registry, which requires getting a license from your local courthouse. At the time I lived in Clarksburg, which is the seat of Harrison County. So I marched downtown to the courthouse, asked around, and was eventually sent up to the county clerk's office.

The lady at the county clerk's office was a hoot. I remember walking in and telling her I wanted to perform a wedding but needed a license. She didn't even blink, just got out the forms and started asking me questions. It was all well and fine until we got the part about what church I belonged to. I told her, "The Universal Life Church."

"Uh huh," she says. "And where is that?"

"Modesto, California!" I said this with a big smile. She put down her pen, looked up...and just looked at me. I explained that I was ordained over the internet. This did not reassure her at all.

"Look, I'm not trying to declare my house a church for tax reasons. I just want to be able to marry my friends." This sounded weak when I said it. Then the big surprise. She shrugged, looked up, and said, "yeah, okay." I paid five dollars or so, and that was that. Legal.

I did the marriage, and all was well. Then a few years later I did another marriage for some friends of friends. Then there was the emergency biker wedding. Then another biker wedding.

The first emergency biker wedding was on a Saturday. My dad calls and asked if I could still do weddings. I told him that as far as I knew I sure could. Then he asked if I would marry his friends. That day. Their minister had double booked and was hours away. An hour later I was in a state park parking lot drinking a beer before the ceremony. The second biker wedding was at the dude's house. I can't remember either of their names, but they were both friends of my dad. I called the lady by the wrong name, then demanded that they stop tape so we could have a do over. Yeah; I'm a very professional minister.

A few months ago I heard on the news that Pennsylvania was no longer allowing Universal Life Church members to marry people. This made me worry. What if the marriages I performed weren't actually marriages and I had led people to possible tax repercussions? I meant to look into it, but then just kind of forgot.

Anyway, all this back story has a reason. This morning I'm sitting in the dining room playing my guitar when the phone rings, unknown number. I answer it to discover it's my friend Haley's new number; so far a delightful phone call. She tells me her friend wants her to marry her, but when she tried to get a license they wanted two letters from parishioners of her church. She's also a Universal Life Minister and was worried that if she just had two people write letters (I offered to write one) that she would either get in trouble or perform a marriage that would later be declared to not be a marriage at all. So she was wondering if I could still marry people.

I checked. According to the Secretary of State's office I am on the registry. This took a load off. According to the State of West Virginia the power to marry people that they so wisely vested in me is still in full effect.

I'm doing a wedding on the 22nd.

Monday, March 2, 2009

This can't be right.

So we're kicking around the idea of going to the beach this summer. Awesome. I got up today and looked at the Yahoo page, and there's this thing about your ideal weight. So I think to myself, "Self, you could probably stand to get in better shape over the next six months." I bit. I clicked on the link, entered my height and frame size guesstimate...and it said I should weigh about 145 pounds.

Then I thought, "Holy shit, that can't be right." I look at the page closer and discover that Self magazine is responsible for this article. Ahh. It would be the "ideal" weight for a woman my height. This prompted a little more looking around.

I find some other site (I forget what it was) that had a chart for both men and women. I go to the men's chart, look up my height...son of a bitch. 146.5 pounds. What the hell? According to this, I'm almost 20 pounds overweight. I don't feel 20 pounds overweight, but then again I never felt tardy when I was late for a class.

Now, I know a lot of people are very passionate about this issue one way or the other. I can hear the "don't worry about it" and "don't beat yourself up" comments already. You can rest assured, I'm not too worried about it. But it does make me wonder. Is this twenty pounds what keeps me from having six pack abs? I've always assumed it was my predilection for sitting around as much as possible and my inability to consistently do sit-ups on a regular basis. That and the fact that I like soda.

I know soda is bad for me. It rots your teeth, fills you with empty calories and contains the demon High Fructose Corn Syrup, lord of the 57th layer of the Abyss. I saw a commercial one time where this cartoon woman was complaining that she and her cartoon husband both quit drinking soda and he lost 15lbs in a month while she only lost like 3. Does this mean if I just quit drinking soda from now until August I'll be at my "ideal weight"? Or will I still be the same me, but with a blood lust stemming from my lack of vital Coca Cola Classic? Would an ideal weight Keith be preferable to a Keith prowling the streets like a junkie looking to score a hit of Mountain Dew?

In similar news I read a few days ago about a "groundbreaking study" about weight loss. Turns out that rather than shunning carbs or eating nothing but constipation curing yogurt is not the answer. Some brilliant scientists have quite scientifically proven that the best way to lose weight is to eat sensibly and exercise more. Holy shit! Turns out I am gifted with psychic abilities, because I could have told them this when I was in high school I'm a good fifteen years ahead of modern science.

I've been putting some thought into this, almost a whole hour's worth. Here's my big plan. When it gets warm enough to go back to my regularly scheduled tearing ass through Cooper's Rock and other state parks I'll start exercising again. I'll stay with the chin up bar I put up when we moved in (yes, I actually use it. I'm hella strong). So, no changes in the exercise department. And I am going to make a conscious effort to cut out the soda. Unless I waste away to my absurdly low "ideal weight", in which case I'm going to start having Mountain Dew Cheesecake floats for breakfast every day.

Up yours, Self Magazine.