Thursday, January 21, 2010

THE MONSTER HAS ARRIVED

No, I don't mean Scott Brown, the "unknown" Republican who was elected Senator in Massachusetts Tuesday. (THAT is a whole notha topic...)

The Monster is my new (used, actually) synthesizer.
I am in the process of selling my two other toys and combining the best features of both of them in one instrument.
I have been wanting to do this for a couple of years but did not have the opportunity.

I wanted a machine that had an 88 key, piano-weighted keyboard, and a sequencer (a type of digital recorder).
A couple of years ago, an instrument with both of these features cost over $2,000.00.
I was not going to spend that much.
It was cheaper to buy two instruments, each having the feature I wanted.
Which I did.
So I had a 88 key, piano-weighted keyboard with no sequencer, and a 61 key non-weighted keyboard with a sequencer.
By plugging them together, I had basically what I wanted.
But it was not an ideal set up and it took up a lot of room.
That was three or four years ago, or so.

Then things changed.
Yamaha came out with new models with more features and priced them higher ($3,000+).
In addition to the new models, they reconfigured a couple of older models (taking out a few features) and lowered their prices.
One of the reconfigured models was/is renamed the MO-8.
It is basically the same as the "old" Motif 8 (minus the ability to add sampled sounds - which I did/do not care about).
The old Motif 8 cost $3,200.00 back in 2002.

The "new" MO-8 has an "official" list price of about $2,000.00 but almost everyone sells it for $1,600.00 or so.
That is almost half the price of the original Motif 8.
Getting close...
That was still a bit steep for me, but I found a used one at a music store for less.
I took the chance and bought it.
The beast arrived yesterday.
It is huge!



After checking out the keyboard to see if all the keys work (they did) I played it a little before going to church.
SWEET!



I spent about three hours this morning going through all the 500+ sounds to see what it could do.
As I expected, there is a lot in it.
Hopefully this one will last me the rest of my life.



Now all I have to do is modify my cabinet to accommodate my new, simpler setup.

In God we trust.
.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Some Comments About Skin Color

The following email exchange took place between myself and a friend regarding an article written by Ann Colter on the subject of Senator Harry Reid's comments about Barack Obama's race. The Senator's comments were intended to be positive and supportive. But some (many?) in the media and elsewhere have been critical of his comments. I, personally, do not find them reason for offence.

After reading the article I replied thus -

She is right, of course.
Personally, I am tired of white people having to tip toe around black-skinned Americans.
Many dark-skinned Americans need to grow up.
It is a fact that they look different than the majority of the American population.
They need to get over it.
They need to get used to others making jokes or comments about their color, just like we whities make comments about uncle Herman's big nose, etc.
Dark-skinned Americans need to deal with the fact that approximately one-fourth of them are criminals.
It is a large enough percentage of them that many other Americans do not trust/are not comfortable around many of them.
This is not Negrophobia.
This is common sense.

It is the dark-skinned Americans that invented Rap and its glorification of gangster behavior/mentality.
This genre of "music" also glorifies rape as a common activity.
It is the dark-skinned Americans that authored the baggy pants style/fad in clothing, that makes them look like former employees of Barnum and Bailey.
And they wonder why other citizens distrust them?

And many dark-skinned Americans need to learn how to speak English.
The word "for" has an "r" in it.
They need to learn how to say it.
It might help if they learned how to behave in school.
It also might help if they stayed in school and tried to learn something.

And many of them need to get over the idea that anyone of a different skin color that looks at them the least bit sideways is a "racist".
Some people may, indeed, be prejudiced against them simply because of their skin color.
That is their defect.
They will miss meeting many good people who happen to have dark-skin.
But it is also true that many dark-skinned Americans seem to work very hard at trying to portray themselves in an as offensive/isolated manner as possible.

My friend then responded -

The problem seems to be that rather than being PROUD of all these "accomplishments" some of folks seem ashamed of them and run the other way.
Yet, they don't stand up and say they have problem; just look for excuses.
Perhaps the funniest thing about this simply is that what Mr. Reid said is a simply statement of accurate political fact.
Perhaps some were offended at HIS using the word Negro (even though many Negroes wrote it in on the last census, so it is being included as an option this time around).
Other than that, what is the basis for any claim of offense?

To which I responded -

Current events of success among the race seem to work both ways for these people.
They brag/celebrate the success of their sports stars/singers/politicians but bemoan the disparity between their millionaire heroes and their own personal relative poverty.
Many (not all...) seem to not be able to draw inspiration from their heroes to apply effort to lift their personal accomplishments.

To which he replied -

It IS interesting that there exists a dichotomy and divergence of opinion on the meaning and interpretation of accomplishment.
If we are going to denigrate those who succeed, often referring to them as 'acting white" when such occurs, then that element of the black society will never succeed in anything other than complaining and failure. 
I suppose that is not a racially-distinct problem, however. :-)

To which I replied -

On your point, yes, there seems to me an ingrained sense of victimhood in many (not all) dark-skinned Americans accompanied by an expectation of entitlement to some vague general distribution of wealth to them, based on, again, some vague reparation for the slavery experiment in the early period of United States history.

But the words of (some in) the black community give them away.
If getting good grades in school, etc. is "acting white", then "acting black" must mean the opposite.
From this I see this as absolutely a racially distinct problem.
But it is social/philosophical, not genetic.

And if their measure of racial allegiance is sub-average performance, then they seek (as you said) to maintain and enforce a status quo of poverty, ignorance, dependence and self-perception of victimization.
This dichotomy is interesting in that it requires the dependence of the "poor" black community on the "rich" white community, the very ones they disdain.
This way of thinking is self-perpetuating - as we have seen in the near-constant percentage of "poor" people in our population ever since the "war on poverty" in the mid-60's.

To be sure, many dark-skinned Americans have escaped the poverty mentality and cycle (not just Tiger and his sports chums).
To me this is the best result possible.
It rescues an individual, who likely marries another individual of similar philosophy, who, in turn, have children who are raised with a different mindset, in spite of pressure they may encounter at school, etc.
Also, others looking on have evidence that such a perception of life can reap rewards that they could also attain if they changed their attitude about "blackness" vs "whiteness".
Success is colorblind.

And they call us racists.....

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Plan for 2010

The workout plan for 2010 (I know you both have been wondering about this...) will expand on the trend that started in 2009.

In 2009 I found that my body seemed to want more volume, the more I worked out.
Too much volume in a single workout caused fatigue after a few weeks, but spreading the same volume out over more days seemed to mitigate that reaction.

So in 2009 I went from three days a week, to four days a week, to six days per week.
And I did not become fatigued like I did around mid-year.

So.... for 2010 I am going to maintain the six-workout-per-week (Monday through Saturday) pattern.
I will work only one or two areas each workout, but, contrary to modern programs, I will work each body area twice each week.
I have been doing this for over four months now, and it seems to work for me.
So I will continue.

But NEW for 2010, I will increase my workout sets from three to four.
I tried this last week and it increased my week weight total to 205,196 pounds.
This will give me the option of increasing my load volume on certain exercises if I feel frisky some days.
Or not.

Well, time to hit the weights.
Today is Leg day - squats and heel raises.

In God we trust.
.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Statistics

I know you both have been waiting with great anticipation for this.

Last year I began to gather some statistical data about my spending to see if there was any areas of imbalance or excess.
The goal/plan was to adjust "things" if such a problem presented itself.
Well, the results are in, and here they are.

In my total budget spending the categories break out like this:

24.87% House (mortgage)
17.47% Alimony
14.57% Visa
11.73% Food
6.88% My stuff - tools, wood, stain, CDs, DVDs, electronics, toys, etc.
5.91% Utilities
5.73% Phone/internet/cable
4.90% Insurance - car, house.
4.56% Church offerings
3.69% Donations - to church and individuals, Rescue Mission, veterans groups, etc.
2.54% Car Gas
2.12% Medical/dental
2.08% Travel - one trip to Oklahoma, and one trip to Ohio campmeeting.
2.07% Car repair
2.06% Eat out
1.77% Other
0.86% Clothes
0.76% House maintenance

It is possible that some items in My Stuff are duplicated in Visa because I buy much of my toys on the internet.
I am still working on a system to better isolate Visa payments from other categories so they are not entered twice.

I also did a detailed analysis of my food shopping in 2009.
This was also to see where the bulk of my food dollar went.
Here are the results:

6.43% Milk, gallon
5.25% Beef, steak
3.79% Bread
3.63% Turkey breast, sliced
3.54% Eggs
3.44% Nuts, cashews
3.14% Tuna
3.13% Protein bars
2.84% Chicken
2.67% Apples
2.38% Nuts, peanuts
2.05% Hamburger beef
2.01% Salad/slaw
2.01% Ice cream
1.91% Soup
1.90% Cheese
1.72% Glutamine
1.68% Peanut butter
1.32% Beef, pot roast
1.10% Bananas
1.09% Cottage cheese
1.03% Lettuce
0.93% Various other
0.90% Bell Pepper
0.90% Milk, half-gallon
0.89% Jam
0.89% Salad dressing
0.81% Relish
0.69% Canned fruit
0.63% Spices
0.63% Turkey breast, whole
0.56% Bacon
0.56% Cookies
0.53% Buns
0.42% Oatmeal
0.38% Crackers
0.38% Chili
0.37% Spaghetti, canned
0.29% Orange juice
0.26% Steak sauce
0.26% Celery
0.25% Mustard/mayonnaise
0.24% Chips
0.21% Root beer
0.20% Tamales, canned
0.18% Butter
0.15% Sweet potatoes
0.12% Sausage
0.12% Cooking oil
0.09% Cornbread stuffing
0.09% Onions
0.06% Carrots
0.06% Rice
0.04% Tomatoes
0.04% Pork & beans
0.04% Potatoes
0.03% Worcestershire sauce

It is interesting, but not surprising, that many of the top items on my grocery list are high protein foods.
You can also see that I am not a big vegetable eater.
Of course, even if one was, carrots are cheaper than meat.

The good news for you vegetarians is that as GLOBAL WARMING! gets worse and worse, the warmer temperatures will make the vegetables grow faster and bigger. ("greenhouse effect")
This will also make hay and pasture feed more abundant for the cows, so they will get bigger also.
But, this will be offset by the federal tax on cow farts, which will make meat more expensive.
I am watching these trends closely.

In God we trust.
.