Playing guitar live

I’ve finally added pictures from this past month. During mid-June, my Uncle Dipak and Aunt Kari visited my family for a few days. We had a great time with them, and they had a lot of fun with the kids. We visited the Asian Moon Festival at Milwaukee’s Summerfest park, we went to a Brewers game, and we went shopping. I only have pictures that I took on the site right now, but I’ll add my Aunt’s pictures in the next couple of days.

Last Friday, I was in the Milwaukee area again to play guitar with my good friend Peggy Mueller. She’s a button-box accordion player (Steirische Harmonika). Recently, she injured her shoulder, so she hadn’t played in a while. But many of us were there to offer her support. We had a great time.

I’ve also updated some links on my list. TechTV and G4TV merged last month, so they’ve been slowly migrating everything to one site. The site is now up and has most of the previous TechTV articles out there. If you’re into games, gear, gadgets, and gigabytes, then visit g4techtv.com.

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Looking for work

Okay, I’ve mentioned that I don’t advertise on my site. But I couldn’t resist the Metallica tile on the left. I’ll keep it up for a short time, so click on it while you can. Metallica’s Some Kind of Monster is not a concert film, so don’t expect to watch them play on stage for two hours. Instead, it’s a documentary journey of what they lived through over two years up to the moment they released St. Anger. The film plays in Milwaukee on August 27, in case anyone’s interested. And in case you’re wondering, I am not receiving any funding for advertising it.

I’ve personally experienced some ups this week. I received a call from one potential employer, and I have an interview next week. I also spoke to my Department’s Deputy Secretary, and he is willing to let me use him as a professional reference and keeping his eyes open for possible opportunities. I have to admit that the support has been overwhelmingly positive. The Department’s Secretary has also given me permission to use him as a professional reference. I’m so surprised at the support that I’ve received from everyone in the Department.

Next week, I may commit some time to a piece of music that I started working on last month. The tough part has been working on the solo. Once it’s completed, I’ll post it out here.

Visit from Uncle Dipak and Aunt Kari

I can’t believe I didn’t mention this sooner! I spent a few days last weekend and this week with family. My uncle and aunt that live in England visited my family for five days, and we all had a great time. Their flight arrived on Friday evening, so we didn’t do much that night. On Saturday, we attended the Asian Moon Festival in Milwaukee. Sunday, we watched the Brewers lose to the Houston Astros, and Uncle and Aunt learned a bit about how baseball is played. Monday, we shopped at Mayfair Mall, Target, and the Home Depot (Uncle was interested in some tools). They left Tuesday to visit my cousin Aditi in Georgia. I think the highlight of their trip is seeing Karen’s children, Isabel, Madeline, and Charlie, and Aditi’s daughter, Savita. It was really great to get together with them again and spend some quality time together (remember that I stayed with them last year when I visited England).

Speaking of which, Savita celebrated her fifth birthday this week (she is exactly one month younger than Isabel). I think the best gift for her is not having to go through treatment, and I’m grateful to hear that she’s doing very well. As I’ve stated before, I hope her situation is resolved and that she never has to face another treatment. Perhaps I will have a chance to visit them next year (this year is pretty much out, considering my situation).

I also want to send my condolences to my friend and softball coach John, who lost his grandmother recently. He called me this morning and informed me that he just returned from Texas. John has been a very good friend since I met him at Bed Bath and Beyond a couple of years ago. My prayers go out to him and his family.

And since I’m on the subject of bad things happening, I also want to mention that my good friends Hansi and Peggy are having some difficult times right now. My prayers go out to them. Peggy recently injured her shoulder, making it difficult to play the Austrian Steirische Harmonika (button-box accordion). But she plans on playing a little, and another friend has asked to show up, support her, and play along (if skilled). In case you don’t feel like looking for her web site on My Links, here it is: Peggy Mueller – http://www.button-box.com (caution: a short tune will start blaring out your speakers when you click on the link; click your browser’s stop button to stop it).

I know you’re probably asking why someone who proclaims to be a huge Metallica fan would listen to German and Austrian folk music. Well, it’s very upbeat, full of life, and awesome when you hear Peggy play. Plus, I grew up on polka (since it’s the official State Dance in Wisconsin now). She currently has two albums out, and they barely capture the strength and heart of her playing. Watching her play live, though, is really a treat. When she plays, you feel the music, and when her husband Hansi gets involved, it becomes extremely fun. On top of that, I’ve performed with her a few times with my Seagull acoustic guitar… in fact, I really impressed them the last time after learning some of her songs and practicing to death. I just wish they’d let me bring my Jackson electric guitar and my Mesa F-50 amplifier. Speaking of which, I better get back to practicing if I’m going to play along with her next week. If you’re interested in learning more, please visit her web site and consider buying her music. Both CDs are really great.

At risk of lay off

Last week Tuesday, I was informed at work that my position is at risk of being eliminated. This basically means that I have until March 31 to find another job or face a lay off. But I knew that my position was at risk of being eliminated because it was determined by the biennial budget that my office would eliminate two positions, and I have the least seniority in my office. Yet, I was pretty scared. I mean, what if I don’t find another job? What happens to the stuff in my apartment? What about my lease? What will my next job yield?

Now you’re probably thinking, “wow, Brian, you have over nine months to find another position and work out all of the details.” That’s true, and I’m actually grateful that my agency decided to provide this much notice. Since I was put at-risk, I’ve found some good opportunities that I’m really pursuing. One is a supervisor position that I applied for before I was informed of my status. Another thing I thought about was moving near my family. There are times that I truly miss them, and after some recent events I would rather be near them than about a hundred miles away. Also, most of my friends live in Milwaukee. Finally, the opportunities I’m looking at are in line with the work I want to do, such as working in municipal government or supervising others.

So after a week of feeling a little blue about it, I’m feeling much better about things and realize that this is a push for me to move on. I still have time, but I’m not waiting until the last moment to act. I want to find something soon so I have a better footing and can really take charge of the next chapter of my life.

After over three years of working there, I have no regrets, and I’m really happy that I had the opportunity to work with so many talented and friendly people. I made many friends and acquaintances while living here, and I will really miss them if I move back home. I hope that I can continue using the skills I learned in my future endeavors.

In the meantime, I’m going to continue the job search, prepare myself for interviews, but also live my life. As I’ve stated, I have time, and I’m lucky that I was given this much time to worry about the future. But life’s too short for me to worry about it. I spent the last week going through the “grieving” process; now it’s time for me to look optimistically to the future.

60 years since D-Day

Today marks the 60th anniversary of D-Day, the Allied Invasion of Normandy, France. British, American, French, and Canadian troops attacked the beach early on June 6, 1944, to wrestle the front from the German forces and to begin the liberation of France from the Nazi-German Army. This was the single-largest invasion in all of World War II, where thousands of casualties resulted on both sides. The allies’ invasion led to the defeat of the Nazi-German invasion of Europe on the western front.

But this invasion was not only won by the soldiers that fought there. All people involved, including the citizens back home providing their efforts to the war, worked remarkably to provide the supplies and made sacrifices so that the Allied Soldiers could have their needed supplies. In the grand scheme of events, the Allied Invasion at Normandy on what we now call D-Day was the result of millions of people that pushed resources and wills to their limits so that the Nazi-German tyranny would come to an end.

Today’s blog is dedicated to the men, women, and children that fought, sacrificed, and supported the battle that led to the eventual fall of Nazi-Germany. As Tom Brokaw (NBC news anchor) has stated, they truly are the greatest generation. May we never forget their sacrifice, courage, and heroism so that we can continue to preserve their legacy.