Mar 14, 2008

Into The Wild

Hi all!

Well, it's been a long minute since I've written anything here. I was hoping to have some news about school to post. But, as it stands I've had to reschedule my placement test and I've had some troubles gathering all the required tax information for FAFSA. (Student Aid) So, I'm still waiting with no new news to share.

I would like to share a story that happened just a day or so ago, however...

My uncle Richard passed away last weekend. I didn't really know him as well as I knew his off spring. Not that that made his funeral any easier. He was survived by three children all of which were older than me and lived in Detroit. John, his youngest, is my age. We share a great bond between us. Don't ask my why. We have only really seen each other a hand full of times the longest of which lasted a week. But, we quickly transversed family ties and became good friends instantly.

When his dad passed he asked that I be one of the pallbearers. I of course agreed. But, this is not a story of how nice the funeral was or how a disease thought to be Parkinson's destroyed the man that I once knew. This is actually a story of the adventure getting to Metamora in the first place.

It was early Sunday morning when Mom called to tell us the news. I could hear in her voice how rough the night before must have been. "John asked if you would help carry Richard's casket." she said. "I would be honored." was my reply. So, preparations were being made. I called the Art Institute to reschedule my placement test. Bridget went and had the oil changed and tires rotated. And come Monday we we were ready to roll out. We supposed to leave around noon that morning the viewing was between 10 and 4. And we had about an hour and a half drive to contend with.

At least that was the plan...

My wife babysits a friends little girl. The plan was to pack up, take her to school then leave from there. Well thats when fate intervened. We are down to one set of car keys.( The Mrs "misplaced" the spare sometime last summer.) God love her, she threw the keys in her coat pocket then threw her coat in the trunk!


I had to call the dealer to find out how to take the back seat out. The Mrs found another car to borrow and took Ali to school while I wrestled the back seat out of our Buick. It took me about an hour to get it out retrieve the keys and replace the seat. The Mrs returned just as I was putting it all back together. Much relieved that I was able to do it and not have to spend money we don't have on a silly mistake we rolled out. Only about an hour behind schedule. "Plenty of time" I thought.

All was going smooth for the first half hour or so. Then my wife says "The 'low tire' light just came on!" "Does it feel loose or wobbly?" "No." she said. "Well, lets just slow down a bit and limp on down to 52" You see at the time we were still on 465 just south of the 70 exit. So 52 was only a few minutes ahead. We made it to our exit and to a service station. Just so happens the way the wheel stopped when we pulled up I could see the problem right on top. A long square piece of metal had pierced our brad new 80,000 mile tires. I heard the whistle of escaping air before I even squated down to investigate.

Well, Crapshcks!

We found a Discount Tire just two miles from where we were. Not in the right direction but, close enough. I aired up our leaking tire and limped down to the tire place. Apparently we had bought a new set of tires from them about five years ago for a different car. They didn't bother to see if it was the same car or not. They just seen we had bought a new set from them once and fixed our flat for free. Cha-ching! This took about an hour as they were really busy. So, I called Mom just to let her know we were going to be even later than expected.

"Everything happens for a reason. I don't know why your supposed to be late. But, I know in my bones that you are supposed to be" "Well, something is sure going out of the way to ensure we are. So, maybe your right, Ma" I said, chuckling at the absurdity of it all. We got our tire patched. The man who did the work said if it were any bigger he couldn't have patched it. So, we dodged that bullet. We climbed back into the car, now starving, and hit the Hardees drive through. A quick bite and back on the road we went.

My wife was driving and all the hustle and bustle of the mornings escapades had left her too tired to drive long. So, I took the wheel for the las 10 miles or so. When you get close to Metamora, 52 gets really winding. I was just getting to the end of the curves when I hit the brakes. "PUPPIES!" I said a little louder than planned. Startling my wife from her slumber.

8 puppies and their mother to be exact. Just trying to cross the highway. My wife asked "What do we do?" I really didn't have an answer for her. But, I knew these animals were not going to make it without our help. I opened the drivers door and three puppies jumped in the car with out any help. My wife jumped out and started to call for the others to join us on the safe side of the road. Momma dog was nervous and wouldn't get any where close and by this time traffic was starting to whiz past us. Narrowly missing Momma and pup alike. Bridget ran out and scooped three pups up and darted across the highway. That made momma dog and the remaining puppies (with the exception of the one that had taken a shine to me) follw her. She took them up the embankment and set them down. The whole pack of them just sat there looking at me. The Mrs jumps back in the car and starts laughing. I wasn't going to let that little guy go. "But, I'm afraid momma will follow us if we don't give her all her babies back." she says with a smile. "But, but, he likes me...OK, you're right." And once more across the highway and up the hill she went.

As we pulled away I could see the little doggies prancing off towards the house and away from the highway. "Is that what we were meant to do? Had fate delayed our trip to save those puppies? I don't know. But, I bet no one else would have bothered to stop to help them.

Feb 5, 2008

Wish Me Luck

This coming Thursday I have an interview with The Art Institute Of Indianapolis.

I spoke with a very pleasant gal named Bobbi from admissions this afternoon. I told her about my goals and trepidations of going back to school. I didn't want to be in high school let alone continue any further education when I was a teenager. Now, my thirst for knowledge and the desire to succeed is greater than ever before. But, that doesn't take anything away from how insanely nervous I am about the whole thing.

Bobbi asked about my Betrothed and her work schedule. Then she said that this was a decision for both of us and Bridget should be at my interview. I told her we had a two year old and before I could say any more. Bobbi said "Oh, good Bring him too. We have toys." Well, let me tell you, that certainly takes some of the sting out. She also told me that most of the student body was people my age.

"Bobbi, I've been out of school for over a decade. I never took the SAT's. I don't have a portfolio. And I have no idea how in the hell I'm going to pay for this."

I could actually feel her smiling over the phone.

"Great!" she says.

"Come in on Thursday and talk with me. We don't require any sort of portfolio or test scores. We have a full staff here whose job it is to help you with any financial aid you may need. I'll set down with you and your family and see if The Art Institute is going to be a good fit for you and then we'll proceed from there. And don't worry. We are an Art School. We have a different way of thinking around here."

So, wish me luck my friends. I really could use a break about know. And since don't have any rich relatives or play the lottery. It's up to me to provide a brighter future. I am under no illusion about the sacrifices that will be required. But, as long as the ends justify the means, it will all be worth it.

Thanks for listening.

Jan 30, 2008

With Your Back Or With Your Brains

Many times in my life I have come to realize one consistent truth. I don't know what I'm doing. I had another one of those moments about a week ago...

You see, my Dad would always tell me "There's two ways to earn a living in this world. With your back or with your brains". Simple truth. One thing my father has always been good at teaching. Often he may hide it within a riddle like some ancient Chinese parable. But, always the simple truth.

Well, so far I've chosen the hard route. It always felt like an honest living. You know earning your living by the sweat of your brow sorta thing. Man, have I been stupid. I kinda stumbled into this web design deal. Mostly out of necessity. But, I've found that I really enjoy it. In fact I enjoy it so much I want to do it for a living.

I've reached a point where I know enough to know that I don't know enough. If that makes any sense. I can't feasibly think I can take my little graphics company any further without first furthering my education. I've been poking around online at local schools that have web design programs. And as of right now I have an appointment with ITT Tech scheduled for Monday morning. I say "as of right now" because I'm considering canceling it.After talking with my friend Chris today, I think I should be looking at a better school. ITT Tech isn't regionally accredited. So, if further down the road I wanted to pursue a Masters somewhere else. I'd be screwed. Chris works in the field and has been a great friend of mine for years. He made a few other points that has made me reconsider that I won't go into right now. But, I think he's right.

I need to do something. We want more children someday soon. At least one more. And I need to be able to support my family. I need to be able to afford a college education for my children. So, they don't make the same mistakes I made. So, they don't have to earn their living by the sweat of their brow(s). I'm not going to last much longer working like this. I think about that every day I'm at work. What would we do if I slipped off this ladder and broke my leg? Or something worse. We live paycheck to paycheck. Taking a three day weekend involves three weeks worth of budgeting sometimes.

I'm still looking into schools right now. I have no idea where to start looking for grants and loans. I know there's got to be at least a few government grants I would qualify for. Cost is a really big issue. So, I need all the grants and free money I can find. The less student loans that need payed back the better.

Jan 12, 2008

Spammers, Porn Stars And Old Friends

I had two dear friends from High School find me on MySpace this week. I know it's become almost obligatory to have one of these things nowadays. And when I first set mine up, I was more impressed by the bands and famous people that accepted me as a friend. I thought "How cool is that for these people to reach out to the fans this way." HA! What a newbie!

Then, I thought what a cool way to promote my own band. Or my own business. I've heard it said that more bands have been discovered due to MySpace than ever before. Well, that makes sense. There's like a gazillion people with a MySpace. Everyone from Preachers to porn stars. But, really. Aside from making some great friends. THRIVE I'm looking at you. No, real breakthrough event for sure.

Then when I start feeling like swimming through the spam infested, gaudy, pink sparkle heart wilderness isn't worth the tedious task of signing in. Not, one but two people that I hadn't even thought about in years sent me messages.

In life we have so very few, true blue, friends. It's nice to reminisce about the glory days when gas was under a buck fitty and school just let out. When hanging out with friends meant 20 or so of us would find the nearest pool table. We'd laugh till our cheeks hurt and hustle the truckers that periodically floated through...

Man, those were the days.

Now playing: Frank Zappa - Dirty Love
via FoxyTunes

Jan 10, 2008

Camptown Races

I'm starting the first of two website designs for Custom Insulation today. The one thing that is very relaxing about this project is the creative freedom. I have been given full reign to do whatever I think will best represent their company.

I usually go for the rich colors and bold statements found in most "rock" type layouts. Being used to working with bands. So, this is a little different than my norm. But, I'm always up for a good challenge. I think I'm going to go with that "All American" lokk and feel. Their logo is a red bar with "Custom Insulation" written in it in white. Below that written in blue is "Residential * Commercial * Light Industrial" Red, white and blue.

The real challenge is going to be making it classy. I think it's a common practice (when one uses this theme) to be a bit gaudy. Or at the very least ill conceived. I have a couple of weeks before the official start of this project. Time they needed to get all the information together. So, I'm using it to get my concept down and the images and basic HTML structure completed.

I always feel a bit behind the bubble when it comes to web design. As I stated before, people go to school for this kind of thing. I'm sure it is a bit aggravating to those who have for me to even be attempting this. But, something has to give somewhere. This was a really crappy year for us. The end of the season fizzled out two months before it usually does. Leaving the Mrs. and I in a place that is barely above the poverty line. I can't afford to get a job and risk losing the minuscule pay the government (unemployment benefits) has deemed acceptable. I really miss my comics. This project may not afford me my comic bliss. But, it will keep the internet and cable on this winter!

Now playing: Red Hot Chili Peppers - Higher Ground
via FoxyTunes

Jan 9, 2008

Waiting For The Pitter Patter

Last night the Missus and I put up our toddlers "big boy" bed. A moment that was a little bit emotional for Bridget. He's growing up so fast. I for one have been waiting for this time in his life. It's finally ole Dad's turn to be cool! He loves it when we wrestle and my cheeks always hurt when we are done from smiling so much.So, last night went off with out a hitch. I'm not entirely sure he knows he can get out of bed yet. Right now is nap time and so far so good.

Xander truly has been an angle to raise. He never cries unless there is a good reason for it. He listens (for the most part) And I swear he must have swallowed a parakeet. The things that come from his little mouth.... I'm always like "Who taught him that word?" But, he just turned two and has his moments for sure. But, I know some parents who had it a lot worse too.

Jan 7, 2008

The Maiden Voyage

Hello. This is my first blog. Ever.

The over all plan is to use this space to clear some of the clutter. No rhyme or reason. Just random thoughts, maybe at times something worth reading.

Today was simply beautiful! Just great weather for January. Soggy, yes. But, none the less beautiful. I had a meeting with a new client today. By new I mean first. An insulation company here in Indy with the need for an updated website. I'm no professional by no means. I just got a wild hair last year and decided to try my hand at this whole "intranet" thing.

I started a graphics company of sorts called Steel Toe Studios I design MySpace layouts and fliers and such for local bands. I designed this really cool Press Kit for the band THRIVE Well, it landed in the hands of this insulation guy. As it turns out he also owns a concrete company and a record label. We agreed upon a price and and what was to be done. I'm doing two redesigns for him and the possibility of more work to come!

This makes me think I need to get schooled. I wonder if I would qualify for any grants...

Well, my fellow blogiphiles... Thats enough for today. I still need to work on moms website.