Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Forced Vacation

Hey there friends. We are on "forced vacation". We won't be back at work until Jan. 19th. We usually tend to take our vacation when the kids are on vacation so that we can spend time with the kids and do activities with them. Well, this time, that's not going to be the case. Work pretty much told my wife and I that we have to much vacation time and we need to take it now. That's great! A much need break from work. But wait, also bad... The kids will be back in school soon so we won't be able to sleep in since we will need to get up at 6 ish to get them ready for school. We also didn't plan anything since the vacation was just sprung on us. I'm so not used to the time off. We accumulate about a month vacation over the course of the year but because we're needed at work, we only take a week or two a year and anything left over, we cash in on. Well, at least this way I can get to some much needed yard work done. Which brings me to yesterday morning...

I was out, cleaning up my lawn when I get an Email from The Admin at New Dilemma, wishing me a good holiday and asking if the Mexican Mafia got to me, since I disappeared after posting the Accordion Hero game. I laughed. I wrote back, from my phone, saying that I used to do most of my posts at work (I'm a very productive employee, as you can see) and since I'm not there, I need to get used to doing them at home. I also mentioned that this one mariachi band has been circling my house, giving me ominous stares so maybe it's a good idea that I stay on the down low for a bit. lol

It's about 9:30 AM now. I'm still in bed, looking out my window. I'm going to have me some breakfast in a minute and then go back outside and get a little more work done. Since I'll be home for a little over 3 weeks, I'm sure I'll have plenty of time to get to some projects that I've had lined up since forever. No more excuses now. It's showtime. Later!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Accordion Hero!!!

Hey there. This is for all of you friends out there that are just not into the rock movement. lol

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

On a Mission: Looking for Bikes

Hey there. Last night as we were driving home, my wife and I had a conversation about Christmas spirit. It just seems to be lacking this year. We haven't decorated our house, the tree is not up, gifts still need to be obtained, and we haven't wrapped the ones we've already bought! We've just been caught up in work. We're leaving later and are more stressed out, especially over all the negative news we've been getting in regards to our pay...

Nevertheless, I made it clear to my wife that all we need is each other to have a good Christmas. We've already gotten our kids "small" gifts and we still needed to get their "main" gifts, BICYCLES!

I never had a bicycle as a kid. I don't know how to ride one. I had a scooter as a child... yes, a scooter and I don't even think my dad bought it for me. Why? Because when he brought it home... IT WAS PINK! lmao I don't know if he found it or stole it or whatever but it was pink and I remember him telling me not to worry about the color. It was something that a little spray paint couldn't fix. lol That was my dad for you. He was in the upholstery business so he made a living of fixing and modifying things. There was many a time when he would come home with some beat up couch or whatever and he'd strip it and make it is own. He was damn good at it too. Anyways, we ended up spraying the scooter this neon green color. That was months before he passed away... many, many moons ago.

So we get home, and I sneak out of the house, on a mission to get the bikes. Now, I know it's a few days before Christmas so I figured traffic is going to suck, especially around the mall area, so I take all the small roads there. I get to Sears and parking is not too bad... Only spent about a minute or two before I lucked out and parked right in front of the entrance. I walk in, briskly, and look for the "fitness" section. I see a very small display of bikes. I figured that was just the ones on "sale" so I went off looking for the bike section. There was no bike section... at least not anymore. CRAP! I go back to that little display of like 4 or so bikes. They had a princess one and a Little Mermaid one. Loved the Mermaid one for our little one, but it was too small. Only 12 inch wheels. She'll out grow that by tomorrow... so I ended up getting her the Princess one. No 20 inch bikes in sight, so I needed to get out and go elsewhere for em. Back in the car and off I go.

Parking for Toys R Us was a complete nightmare. Cars honking, parents cursing, cars dodging left and right trying to avoid hitting each other. I was surprised that there wasn't an accident. I spent a good 10 to 15 mins looking for parking. After circling for what seemed like an eternity, a monster truck, yes... monster truck, pulls out of a spot right in front of me. I stop, signal, and hold off traffic while this guy exits. Finally... I get in the store. As I walk in, I'm texting my wife about the experience. I erase what I was writing and simply sent, "I just walked into hell..."

The place was standing room only. Shoulder to shoulder. People looked like sardines, just barely able to move. Damn... and I need to get to the back of the store, that's where the bikes are. I swerve and make my way to the back. Finally the bike section... and this is what I see.

NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! I sent that pic to my wife saying that the bike section is anemic. Damn near non existent if you ask me. They had absolutely NO boy bikes. All gone. CRAP!!!! But they did have some pretty nice girl bikes. Girly girl bikes too, the ones I know that our daughter will love. So I grab the ticket and off I go to the line. Luckily, a cashier just opened as I happen to be passing by so I was only like 3rd in line, instead of like, 15th! I pay for the bike and wait for them to bring it to me. 10 mins later, no bike... 20 mins later, no bike... What the hell?!?!?! I go over the service desk and ask the lady what's taking so long. She calls the pick up guys and they tell her that they do not have any more of those bikes in a box, only pre-assembled ones. Ugh!!! I don't have a truck, I have a car... I'm limited in space, I cannot fit a bike in the car. I tell them that I need one in a box and he best goes look for one. After a min or two of waiting for a reply, I go back to the bike section. I measure up the bike, hoping that maybe I can fit it in the back seat or something. I decide that maybe it'll fit. I'll MAKE IT FIT. So I go back to the service lady and tell her that I'll take it assembled. They tried to get me to pay the extra $10 for the assembly. Bullshit! I argued with her saying that I wanted it in a box and you don't have any. Someone should have told me at the register that there were no more and then I would've made another selection (that's a lie cause they didn't have a selection... lol). A manager rolls by so I call out to him, "Hey guy! I just bought this bike. Now I'm being told that they don't have any in a box and I'm being forced to pay extra because of the store's mistake." The manager spoke to the lady there and after a min or so, he tells me that they'll waive the fee and I'll get my bike. So I go and grab my bike and leave.

I did struggle to get it in the car... holding up traffic again since someone was waiting for me to get out to take my spot. After a lot of twisting and turning, SUCCESS! Tired and frustrated, I went home, a little disappointed that I couldn't find a bike for our son. I would've rather of taken care of it all in one trip, considering that it's shopping hell right now. I get home and the kids are still up, so I leave the bikes in the car. Our little one is a little sick and she couldn't sleep until close to midnight... Once I knew she was asleep, I get up and go to the car and bring in the bikes and stash them in the closet... along with all the other gifts that we've gotten. We have a walk in closet but it's more like a one step closet right now cause of all the boxes and what not. I park the bike inside and position the other along the back wall, semi hidden, and hope that we can keep our kids out of the closet for a few more days.

2 bikes down, 1 more to go. Now, the real mission begins. Keeping it a secret from the kids. Later!

Monday, December 22, 2008

X-Mas Shopping Not Done

Hey there. The holiday rush is on! lol We have not completed our shopping just yet. We went to the mall this weekend, expecting huge lines and just enough space to walk, but it wasn't as bad. It was still bad, there were people everywhere and some stores had some pretty long lines, but overall, it was alright. We've got about 90% of the kids done and done with, but the adults that need a gift are a lot more difficult to find. We've been so swamped, we haven't even had a chance to put up a tree... let alone wrap up the gifts we already have. I think we'll get to it tonight.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

BCBG Pay Cut

Hey there. Hard times continue to strike. We've just been told that our salaries are going to be slashed 6%... I'm thankful that it's not a 100% pay cut... but I may have to start looking for a second job to pay the mortgage...

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Winter Wonder

The dark clouds and sullen sky
A somber time has come
The symphony that is to be
Cannot be be matched by one
The scattered rains drip away
Feeding our Earth life
With low winds it helps begin
To deal with all our strife
A man stands as best he can
Asking himself, "Why?"
A desolate pain a lingered stay
A broken man can die
At god's fury he yells a flurry
Of words and excuses
And with loud thunder came asunder
Thoughts that confuses
And heavy lighting always blinding
Calls out to this pain
A voice of reason never treason
Eases his mental strain
A man lies for his demise
As he gazes at the sky
A fallen angel simply unable
As gods continue to cry.


Friday, December 12, 2008

Felt Good to Pick Up My Axe

Hey there. I own a Kirk Hammett 602 guitar (KH-602 or "Skully" as Kirk likes to call it) and I haven't given it much justice as of late. I got it many, many moons ago at the Marshall store in Hollywood. The one right across the street from Guitar Center. I remember walking in and checking out the gear and fell in love with it. Felt good, felt great playing. I asked the clerk for a cable so that I can check it out. He did and after a few minutes of me playing some Metallica stuff, the clerk hooked up next to me and we jammed some songs together. After a good 30 min jam session (we were basically the only ones in the store) he asked if I was interested in taking it. Typical sales guy, pretends to be your homie then gets you buy something. I told him that the $1200 price tag was way out of my reach. Love the guitar, just not the price. He then revealed to me that he's is the owner of the store and because I'm a "cool guy" he'd give it to me for $700 and throw in a guitar case. Did this guy practically slash the price in half?!?!?!!? Instead of me pouncing on the deal, I was being a geek and asked him if he was sure about that. The guy practically said that he owns everything in the store and it's really up to him to decide how much he wants to sell things so he said it was more than cool. Needless to say, I took it. I'll never forget that guy for hooking me up. Thanks to you, owner of the Marshall store. You're one bad ass guy.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Metallica's Death Magnetic is Bad Ass

Hey there. My wife pleasantly surprised me with this album a few weeks back. A "just because" gift, so to speak and I after having a good two weeks of listening to it, I've decided... This album is bad ass! It's the first album in years that I can listen to from beginning to end without skipping a song. I wanted Metallica to "come back" with this album. Considering that their last few albums went away from their standard sound, I naturally figured that their new album might be another expansion of that. As a musician, you can understand wanting to expand and try new things. I didn't knock them for it, but c'mon, let's face it... it's nowhere near being their best stuff.

In comes Death Magnetic, the latest entry in 20+ years of Metallica music. It's not thier "old" stuff but it's not their "new" stuff either. It's a perfect blend of what made them who they are while continuing to expand and venture off to new sounds. Take the track, The Unforgiven III, for example. It starts off with a piano intro. Nice, melodic, and easy going. Not standard Metallica. After the minute mark or so, the band plays jumps in, with a clean sound, a little more intricate than Fade to Black, but closer to Unforgiven II. Not "standard" Metallica, but you can see them playing this. Then comes the verse. Heavy moving rhythm and lead guitars and the voice we all know and love all kept in time with a strong bass and drum. Good stuff. Perfect blend of what was done and what is to be.

Then we have a the heavy tracks like All Nightmare Long and My Apocalypse. I mention those two cause they're my personal favorite on the album. Fast, furious, and again, simply bad ass. There also is an instrumental track on the album. Suicide and Redemption is a perfect blend of 3 different songs. Each section sounding completely different from each other but sound so right together. Great stuff, this is.

I have a 2 Gig micro card on my phone. I'm very selective as to what music I put on there since 2 gigs is simply not enough to even come close to catalog all the music that I own. Without hesitation, I downloaded the whole album on my phone and play it at work, while working. lol If you guys haven't had a chance to take a listen, you definitely should. For all us Metallica fans that have been yearning for that classic Metallica sound, this is the album that should have come after the Black Album, if not before.

I haven't really learned to play any new music on guitar. Don't know if it's just that I prefer to play their older stuff like Creeping Death or Trapped Under Ice, or just plain laziness, but this album is sparking that bug in me to pick up that guitar and learn me some songs. I already started on Unforgiven III and This Was Just Your Life and it's definitely an album that I would like to learn to play from start to finish. The only album that I am able to do that with is Master of Puppets, sans solos of course. lol This may just be what I needed to get my ass back on the axe and grinding out to this album.

Take a listen to the album. Here's My Apocalypse for you guys to enjoy. Later!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Rock Band at Metallman's

Hey there friends. Man, it was a mission to get Rock Band on at our place this weekend. In a previous post, I stated that I was able to get it at a reasonable price while getting 30% cash back. Well, I received Rock Band on Thursday and to my dismay, there were no breakaway cables in the box. You need those cables to hook up the instruments to the XBOX 360. Considering that it was pretty late, I left a voice message to the store I got it at. Discouraged, I put the instruments away and figured I'll try em on Friday. Come Friday, I called again and their customer service people said they would ship the cables to me. BUT IT'S FRIDAY AND I NEED IT BY SAT!!! I figured, I'd go buy a cable and at least that way I can test the drums and guitar that came with Rock Band, considering that I got a Wireless guitar, we should still be good to go. So I get a cable at my local Gamestop and hook it up to my drum set. NO POWER! WTF?!?!?! Everything is hooked up yet the drums are not turning... Let's try the guitar. Put batteries in the guitar, hooked that up, NO POWER!!! I was getting pretty damn upset at this point. I tested out the microphone... NO DICE! Shit! I figured that maybe my USB ports on my XBOX 360 were disabled or something, so I ended up calling the XBOX 360 support line. After registering my console, the agent gave me a pretty simple test to check out the USB ports. He simply asked me to plug in my phone via USB into the ports. If the phone starts to charge, then the ports are fine. I hooked it up, and phone was charging... I was shipped a defective Rock Band! NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!

Feeling pretty bummed out on Saturday morning, since friends and family were coming over to rock out later on, I decided to call the place I got Rock Band from. I wasn't expecting to get through since the place is closed on a Saturday. Angels smiled down that morning because someone picked up. I told them the situation and without hesitation, they offered to replace all the instruments. But they were going to be shipped via UPS. Not today, friends. I told them I'd go grab them myself since I needed it that night. I grabbed my little one and off I go to Burbank, CA to get my gear. Traffic was horrible, naturally, and after going through all kinds of traffic jams and accidents, I finally get there and get my stuff replaced.

Shortly after getting home, I nervously hook up the instruments. People were coming in less than 2 hours and I don't even know if the instruments will work. I put in all the replacement parts and hooked everything up and to my relief.... SUCCESS!!! Whew.... The kids and I got our band going and tested everything out and it all worked like a charm. That was a close one.

So how was it, you asked? Pretty bad ass, thank you. lol Family and friends showed up shortly and while it was still "early", we allowed the kids to stay up with us to enjoy the game. Once their bed time rolled around, the party started. If someone failed at their instrument, causing the band to fail, you were forced to take a shot. Liquid courage definitely got people off their asses and into the drum set, strumming away, or singing the night away. Great time, it was. Got to see some old friends, made a few new ones, all while hanging out with family. The band didn't start disbanding until after 4 AM. Great stuff. Below are just some of the snap shots of the night. Next time you're in town, you should follow the music over to Metallman's. That's really where the party is at. Later!

Here we are with our cuz, starting the night off right.
Haven't seen you since forever, buddy. Glad you were able to make it.
Damn proud of our accomplishments.
My babe, living the high life. lol
Can you tell that we are enjoying ourselves? lol
I'm telling you, a little liquid courage and everyone will start singing.
Even Metallman got into the act.
Our daughter playing guitar for her Nina. She's so bad ass, she doesn't even need to see the TV to know what she's doing. lol
I walk into the kitchen to grab a few brews and this is what I see. Don't ask me what happened cause I don't know... lmao

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Christmas Lights

My wife has been on my case to get the Christmas lights up. Now that they're up, for some reason she won't talk to me...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Up and Running with XBOX Live

Hey there. I received my XBOX 360 on Monday. I hooked it up and I was welcomed into the world of XBOX 360. I needed a game to test out so I ended up getting Bioshock. G4 highly recommended it and I ended up getting a special edition of the game that came with a soundtrack and behind the scenes DVD. I popped it in and to my dismay, I needed a memory card/ hard drive. Aw man. I figured it would of had a small amount on internal memory that I would be able to use. No chance. Not even enough free memory for a gamer profile. What's a Metallman to do? Get his ass over to game stop and get one, that's what. After doing some shopping around, I decided that the 60 Gig hard drive was the best choice. It even came with a 3 month's subscription to XBOX Live and a headset to communicate with friends. How bad ass is that? So last night, I set the whole thing up. Welcome, METALLMANX.

That's my gamer code (or profile... I'm still not all familiar with the lingo) so if any of you out there want to get it on in Rock Band or Bioshock (that's all I have so far) feel free to add me. As an added bonus, I'll cough up 250 ECs for anyone that adds me as a friend and mentions it in the friend request. I want to take full advantage of the XBOX Live community and gamers are allowed to play with or against friends from all over the world. Later!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Cashback With Live.com

Hey there. As many of you know, I was on a mission to get Rock Band for the XBOX 360 at the lowest possible price that I can. Notice how I wrote WAS. lol After many a search, and getting tired of seeing $139.99 or $129.99 for Rock Band (that's just a little too rich for me) I turned to an online search for rebates slash cash back offers. Low and behold, Live.com offered me 30% cash back on a purchase from Ebay.com. 30% cashback! How bad ass is that!??!?! You need to have a live.com account (basically a MSN or Hotmail account) and a Paypal account to qualify and use live.com as your search tool for shopping. Once you're there, the results will post will small symbols telling how much in cash back you can receive based on the retailer. It just so happens that I'm an Ebay addict and they offered 30% cash back on any item I buy with the "Buy it now" button. I found a brand new Rock Band for $109 - 30% = Rock band bundle for about $75! That's a great deal!

I'm still a little sketchy on the details, though. It says that you can wait for as long as 60 days for the cash back to be paid out on your Paypal account, but it also said that the cash back can be paid sooner based on Paypal's discretion. Either way, you're going to get paid and I use Paypal to pay for everything online so it's a win - win situation for me. Online shopping is on, friends. Cyber Monday just started so boost your savings with Live.com. Who doesn't want cash back on their purchases. Doesn't hurt to check it out, friends. Later!

Blogs of the Month for November

Hey there friends. Here are the top 10 blogs that have dropped regularly for the past month. I plan on providing links and credits only to the top 5, but decided that I'll post a screen shot of the top ten to show some recognition to those that were close, but not in the top 5. My top 5 is changing up some, but Picture to People continues to be my top supporter, staying in that top spot for yet another month. Many thanks and 200 credits are going out to the top 5. Many thanks and keep on dropping. Later!