Thursday, July 28, 2005

Happy Birthday! our house, which we closed on 7 years ago today. That makes this the address I've had for the longest of any in my life. Not my adult life, mind you - my entire life.

I like this place - a lot. J, on the other hand, has much fonder memories of our first house, in Durham. It may be that this is the only place that we've lived together (except for my apartment in Gaithersburg when we first got together) that started out more mine than hers, by virtue of me working from home while she was going off to work most days the first couple of years we had it. I actually got a head start for once.

It could be bigger. It could have more storage space and less slope in the driveway (so I could put in a basketball goal) and a little more privacy in the yard. I could have done what I said I was going to do after the last house and made sure there were cable and phone jacks in every single room in the house but I didn't (thank goodness for wireless!). But I love the big wide covered front porch and the screened-in porch in the back with the bar and the party lights and I love the way, with J's careful pruning, all the trees are growing in. I really dig my office upstairs separate from everything else so that I can get away from it when I want to. I love the soaring space when you first walk in the front door where the dining room opens up to the second floor.

I don't know how long we'll stay here - almost certainly not another 7 years. But I'm happy here for now and appreciate the 7 years we've had here and however many are yet to come. Happy birthday, house!

Live and In Person

JennySlash and I were talking a couple of days ago about concerts we'd seen, in the context of what an abysmal venue the Walnut Creek Ampitheater is and how we'll never, ever, ever go see another show there. Despite being married for more than 20 years, until that conversation I had no idea that she'd seen both Bob Dylan and Randy Newman in concert (not together, of course). I knew about her Monkees/Jimi Hendrix thing, but for some reason Dylan and Newman had never come up. While her cool factor certainly needed no boost, she got one anyway.

The only nice thing I'll say about Walnut Creek is that it did afford me the opportunity to finally see the last two bands on my "gotta see 'em before I die" list - The Pretenders and the B-52s. There's really nobody left now that is both still alive and that I'm really anxious to see that are still a band. I've managed to get to Springsteen, U2, Tom Petty, David Bowie, X, Elvis Costello, Little Feat (before Lowell George died), the Clash, Talking Heads, REM, Jimmy Buffet, Queen, English Beat, the Beach Boys, the Doobie Brothers, ELP, Squeeze, Guadalcanal Diary, the Violent Femmes, Billy Joel, the Police, the Replacements, Husker Du, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, the Dixie Dregs, blah, blah, blah over the years and really can't think of anybody else that I've just been dying to see that I haven't yet. [I originally wrote this a couple of days ago and in the interim did think of one band that I've missed that might not be beyond the realm of possibility - XTC.]

That being said, the recently-announced Rolling Stones show at Wallace Wade Stadium at Duke is damned tempting. I'm probably not going to try to go (tickets are going on sale Saturday and I'll be doing something much more fun than waiting in line, waiting on the phone or trying to get through to a jammed website). I've never seen 'em and I doubt I'll get too many more chances, although I'm convinced that Keith Richards will live forever, but this may be a show that I'll have to pass on. I haven't been to a stadium show since seeing U2 in the rain at Kenan Stadium in '83 (and then walking out on headliner Todd Rundgren because NOTHING was going to measure up to U2) and I've got to say that years of going to clubs has spoiled me for going to stadium shows (although I suspect this one could well be worth it). If any of you cats decide to go, though, give me a shout and I might just change my mind!

Monday, July 25, 2005

I Am So Uncool

No surprise to you, I'm sure, but today's reminder of that fact was my realization that I have no bloody idea who in the hell Coldplay is. Their third album came out a few weeks ago to a lot of music media fanfare and I see Chris Martin's face on the cover of various mags on the newsstand at Borders but I couldn't have named a single song of theirs.

So I poked around on Amazon a bit listening to the little samples of their first two CDs and I'll have to put myself in the Seriously Underwhelmed category. Am I missing something or is it really all whiny emo crap? I mean it sounded like pretty well-done whiny emo crap but my tolerance for even the most awesome whiny emo crap is pretty limited. Somebody let me know if there's more to it than that.

Of course my hope lies in thinking that since the third album immediately hit #1 on the charts of 22 different countries, any cool factor they had must be gone now, so maybe by not even knowing who the fuck they are, I'm that much cooler!

Sunday, July 24, 2005

That Rebounding Economy

H-P cutting 14,500 jobs

HP announced that it would cut 14,500 jobs, nearly 10 percent of the company's total workforce.
Kimberly-Clark cuts 6,000 jobs

...will result in a net work force reduction of about 10 percent, or 6,000 employees.
Eastman Kodak job cuts

...the company announced a second-quarter loss along with plans to cut 10,000 more workers over the next two years
Honeywell to cut 2,000 jobs despite increase in sales will trim 2,000 jobs from its aerospace business and reported that brisk sales boosted second-quarter operating income.
Ford cuts may be larger than expected

Ford already has announced plans to reduce its salaried work force in North America by 2,700 people by the end of this year. It also has said it will reduce the use of agency workers and other purchased services by 10 percent.

But Suris said the company, the nation's second-biggest automaker behind General Motors Corp., is considering even more aggressive measures.

June job cuts highest since Jan. '04

June job cuts rose 73 percent from the year-ago period. So far this year, 538,274 job cuts have been announced this year, 14 percent more than the six-month total of 472,735 last year.

Despite reports that show economic growth and job gains, major layoff announcements in the auto and retail sectors contributed to the surprise June number.

"The fact that job cuts are rising in the summer is not even the most surprising trend. The surprise is that we are seeing a growing number of mass job cuts," said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.