Friday, December 21, 2012

Virtues, the importance of patience and foregiveness

The most important virtues of all are patience and forgiveness, and neither of these virtues is easy to hold onto and practice every hour of every day.

Some would say that love is a virtue, but without patience, you put your own wants ahead of another person's, which is a primary barrier to true love. Without patience, personal greed and selfishness takes over. Greed and selfishness destroys relationships because it puts yourself before the person you supposedly love. Patience is the virtue that keeps greed and selfishness at bay and permits love to walk in.

Forgiveness is the virtue that keeps hate and misunderstanding outside, and allows one be empathetic and understanding. Without forgiveness, how can two people or two parties come together to have actual discussion, make important and justified decisions, and compromise for the the greater good of the relationship and the people around them? Lack of forgiveness leads to loneliness or worse, revenge and spite. Lack of forgiveness is what tips the balance toward rash reactions, confusion, sadness, and a cascade of ill decisions going forward.

The most important virtues of all are patience and forgiveness. Live your life, your days with these virtues in place. It won't be easy, especially since many people you'll encounter throughout the day, at work, in stores, or even at home, fail to remember the importance of practicing them, if they even recognize these virtues and the meaning of them. But how you carry yourself is your own doing. What you do today and in life is of your own control, your own responsibility.

Live with patience and forgiveness, and those you care about will respond in kind.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Why my community opposes the Orapax sporting clay shooting range conditional use permit

Dear Goochland Board of Supervisors:

Here’s why the community opposes the Orapax sporting clay shooting range conditional use permit (CUP).

First, let me state that this is not an anti-gun vs. pro-gun debate, or even gun-safety issue, despite the current national spotlight on the Dec. 14th tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT. Many residents of Goochland County own guns, support our Second Amendment rights, participate in recreational shooting sports or hunting, and are even members of the NRA. In fact, my wife and I both proudly started our professional careers working at the NRA’s headquarters in Fairfax County, VA.

Second, this is not a new residents vs. longtime residents debate. The long list of households opposing Orapax’s CUP application are a mix of residents that have lived in Goochland all their lives, residents that have lived near Orapax for 20-plus years, and residents that have moved from suburban areas to Goochland is just the past 5 to 10 years, including the 90-plus families in the Holland Hills neighborhood adjacent to Goochland High School.

Additionally, the people who spoke in opposition at the planning commission meeting ranged greatly in age and various other demographics. We are not just new residents to the county who are trying to make Goochland less rural and impose more suburban zoning ordinances. Quite the contrary, we moved to Goochland to get away from that. We will not be complaining about the sounds and smells coming from farms next. We all enjoy our country-style living in Goochland County. But a sporting clay shooting range open 7 days per week from 9am to 5pm with up to 1,200 shots fired in a single day is not what we intended to hear from our homes when we chose to move here.

Third, we have no issue with Orapax’s existing hunting reserve activities. That shooting noise is limited and sporadic. In hunting, if you miss the target after your first shot, the target has most likely hidden, ran, or flew away so as to no longer be a target to be shot at again. In sporting clays or any other target practice sport, you simply pull another clay or set up another target; in essence, continue to shot as often as you want. Residents neighboring the Virginia Department of Corrections shooting range facility in Goochland County and residents neighboring the Boy Scouts’ yearly clay shooting fundraiser have given testimony to residents neighboring Orapax of what we are in for if the CUP application is approved.

Professional and technical sound studies are nice, but should not be solely used to determine nuisance to the community. Measuring equipment does not account for the human factor. If it did, we’d have robots provide public statements to the planning commission and board of supervisors. But since we are human, there are many variables that could impact a one-hour sound study:

·         vertical and horizontal direction of shot,
·         elevation of shot location vs. topography between and elevation of surrounding properties,
·         leaves on the trees or not,
·         amount of existing ambient noise that day or hour (compared to other days or times) due to wind, train schedule on nearby railroad track, amount and type of traffic on Rt. 6, aircraft, nearby construction and landscaping equipment,
·         location of sound study equipment in relation to all the above,
·         grade and material of shot used,
·         how the gun is constructed, such as barrel length,
·         and everybody has different levels of hearing loss and some people are more sensitive to high vs. medium vs. low sound frequencies, so the findings from a sound study are very subjective compared to what people actually hear and consider a nuisance.

At the county planning commission meeting, Linda Trice presented a compelling map of properties around Orapax that have signed the petition opposing the sporting clay shooting range. It is compelling because the majority of the surrounding households oppose the CUP application. The Board of Supervisors is voted into office by us, the taxpaying public, those same people that signed the petition. So for the Board to approve the Orapax permit is to vote against your own voting constituency.

Still highlighting the map of properties that signed the petition, I have to ask why a business would go against the surrounding community, even divide the community, that it wishes to do business in and with. This is socially irresponsible, a bad business practice, and casts doubt over Orapax business ethics. Orapax has been a responsible business up until now, but pursuing this permit after public outcry leads me to believe that we cannot trust what Orapax says about the number of potential customers, low noise impacts, minimal lead pollution impacts, and positive economic impacts to Goochland.

The direct economic impact to Goochland County is actually a loss of about $3,400 to the county budget. Four acres of land taken out of land use will bring about $73 per year to the county, but assessed real estate around Orapax could decline by at least $658,375 resulting in a lost of $3,500 in tax revenue. Orapax will pay a $25 business fee, but pay not local sales tax. Orapax customers would have to spend $1,000 at other Goochland businesses in order for the county to bring in $10 in revenue. And Orapax stated they would not be hiring new employees to support the shooting clays range.

Indirectly, continuing to pursue this permit is likely costing the county money is county administration costs, and if the permit is approved, will probably cost the county money due to an increased number of noise complaints being called into and filed with the Sheriff’s Office and Goochland County Administration.

At the planning commission meeting, Orapax stated that they would not be aggressively advertising the new sporting clay range and that they expected only about 4 people or parties per week to use the range. In contrast, Orapax said they have an active client list of about 1,400 and their website ( states they are currently Virginia’s #1 quail hunting preserve. Surrounding property owners are having a hard time believing that Orapax will not advertise this new capital investment and product offering to their entire client list and advertise via every shorting sport and hunting media channel in Virginia.

If this permit is approved and Orapax thrives from the additional business traffic and customer base, what stops Orapax from applying for a handgun or rifle shooting range later? What precedent does this set for other property owners across Goochland County that decide to apply for similar permits?

Additionally, the county administration should be partnering directly with the EPA and the Virginia State Park Authority to perform an environmental impact study due to the lead found in gun shot that will be used at the sporting clay shooting range. The range is on a flood plane into the James River, an already noted polluted river. And the state has plans for a state park across the river in Powhatan County that includes cabins and water sports landings. Not to mention, what would municipals and residents down-stream think of the potential environmental impact. Orapax stated that they copied “standard EPA language” into the CUP application, but that is just not good enough.

I hope you can see why approving the Orapax CUP application would be the wrong decision. It violates the property rights of residents around Orapax. It’s bad business for Goochland County. And it would not be politically advantageous to members of the Goochland Board of Supervisors. Please listen to your constituents. Thank you.

[NOTE: The above is the full version of my letter sent to each Goochland County Supervisor. The abridged version has been published in the Richmond Times Dispatch's Goochland Gazette here:]

For more public opinion on this issue, please see the following Letters to the Editor on the Goochland Gazette’s website.

“Sound study shows Orapax failed a more important test” by Linda Trice

“Shooting range would be a financial negative” by Ed & Claudia Lawton

“Planning Commission deserves a thank you” by Tucker Hill

“New residents oppose range” by Eric & Toni Halstead

“Wouldn’t have moved if range had been here” by John Keffer

“Another sound study needed” by Tom Crowder & Carrie Camp

School Shooting Prompts Legislation To Study Violent Video Games

Yes, you read that headline right.

Adam Lanza was a gamer, so that must be the reason he did it. And we already know that guns are what made him do it, too. What's next? He listened to death metal or gangsta rap, so there'll be legislation to study violence in song lyrics? He watched Braveheart, Gladiator, The Patriot, Kill Bill, and Saw, so there'll be legislation to study violence in movies and television?

There are millions of kids (and adults, men and women) that play video games, listen to "adult" lyrics, and read or watch violent books and movies, but we're not surrounded by a horde of murderers. I listen to heavy music and love a good action flic, by I could never do what Adam Lanza did. I don't have it in me. Most people don't have that type of confusion and hate in them.

I understand that it's part of the morning process; people want "a reason," people want to help prevent another tragedy. But we need to stop spending taxpayer dollars on finding a scapegoat.

Adam Lanza is to blame. He chose a weapon (was a gun, but could have been a sword or bomb) and committed an unspeakable act, just as others have unfortunately done throughout history.

Maybe friends and family could have seen the signs of what was to come and gotten him help, but each person is responsible for their own path, whether it is one of love or destruction.

I know that's not easy for some people to read, and some of my friends may be angered but this post, but that's how I feel, this is what I believe to be true. Life is hard, and the only person that can make it easier, make you happy, is yourself, with a little help from friends, family, and when necessary, professionals.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

There's lots of fun to be had with Uranus!

Ran across this headline today, and could not help reverting to the status of child and laughing out loud at my desk: The Most Detailed Images of Uranus' Atmosphere Ever

Reminded me of the childhood joke: "Where did the Star Ship Enterprise find Klingons? On Uranus!"

So I had to wiki Uranus, and my coworker and I couldn't help but laugh reading some passages of the entry out-loud. I have highlighted the funniest. Trust me, read these out loud with friends around.

  • Uranus has a ring system.
  • The wind speeds on Uranus can reach 250 meters per second (900 km/h, 560 mph).
  • Uranus had been observed on many occasions.
  • The French astronomer Pierre Lemonnier observed Uranus at least twelve times between 1750 and 1769, including on four consecutive nights.
  • In 1845, Urbain Le Verrier began his own independent research into Uranus.
  • The rotational period of the interior of Uranus is 17 hours, 14 minutes, clockwise (retrograde).
  • Uranus has an axial tilt of 97.77 degrees.
  • Uranus rotates more like a tilted rolling ball.
  • At the other side of Uranus...
  • Uranus reached its most recent equinox on December 7, 2007.
  • The polar regions of Uranus receive a greater energy input.
  • Uranus is hotter at its equator than at its poles.
  • The reason for Uranus's unusual axial tilt is also not known with certainty.
  • From 1995 to 2006, Uranus's apparent magnitude fluctuated between +5.6 and +5.9, placing it just within the limit of naked eye visibility.
  • Uranus is visible to the naked eye in dark skies, and becomes an easy target even in urban conditions.
  • Uranus's interior is not precisely known.
  • Uranus's structure ... consists of three layers: a rocky ... core in the center, a... mantle in the middle and an outer gaseous ... envelope.
  • Uranus's heat flux...
  • When Uranus was hit by a supermassive impactor, which caused it to expel most of its primordial heat, it was left with a depleted core temperature.
  • The outermost part of Uranus's gaseous envelope that is accessible to remote sensing is called its atmosphere.
  • [The] extended corona is a unique feature of Uranus. Its effects include a drag on small particles orbiting Uranus, causing a general depletion of dust in the Uranian rings.
  • William Herschel described a possible ring around Uranus in 1789. This sighting is generally considered doubtful, as the rings are quite faint, and in the two following centuries none were noted by other observers. Still, Herschel made an accurate description of the epsilon ring's size, its angle [and] its red color.
  • Uranus has relatively well developed aurorae.
  • Uranus's atmosphere is remarkably bland.
  • On August 23, 2006, researchers ... observed a dark spot on Uranus's surface.
  • Good data on Uranus's atmosphere have existed for less than 84 years.
  • Uranus displayed elevated levels of brightness.
  • Uranus's hemispheres lie alternately either in full glare.
  • ...probe encountered Uranus.
  • ...closest approach to Uranus.
  • Its irregular structure, its tilt and its unique corkscrew magnetotail [are] caused by Uranus's sideways orientation.
  • Uranus was evaluated during a mission extension planning phase in 2009.
  • a 13-year cruise to Uranus.
  • Uranus entry probe
  • Colonization of Uranus
By the way, this guy...

...discovered Uranus using this device...

Ouch!  And Uranus is named after the Greek god of the sky, Ouranus. Really. And originally, Uranus was named Georgium Sidus. At least it was George's Star, not George's Moon!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Walk in, walk out

Second time in one week's time that I have entered a public restroom and immediately turned around and walked out to find an alternative. Not because the facility didn't look clean, but because, without going into much detail, I could not imagine holding my breath for the minute I needed to be in there.

Reminded me of this classic cinema moment, granted, I was entering a men's restroom, not hiding in the women's restroom!

Thursday, September 06, 2012

#nowreading Anthony Boudain "Get Jiro!"

If you are a fan of Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations" television show and you even remotely like reading comic books (graphic novels, for you snobs), then you need this book. It's not the best comic book in the world, but if you go into it recognizing Bourdain's humor, thoughts on what good food is, and how important food is to Bourdain emotionally, psychologically, physically, and even romantically, you'll get and love the ridiculous storyline and witty humor. And pay close attention to the Langdon Foss' illustrations, cause the subtle but stereotyping humor is all over the cityscape. There are severed heads and limbs right from the beginning and the humor is geared toward foodie adults, so not for kids. Otherwise, highly recommended.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Muay Thai, Into Eternity, Down, The Deadstation, Jorn, and Jon Oliva's Pain

Keeping it on the heavier side for the past 48 hours. Need the energy to start my Muay Thai training. Need extra skills to fight off the supes and mutants in our dire future.

Listened to Into Eternity "Dead Or Dreaming" (2001) and "The Scattering Of Ashes" (2006). I have to say, while the newer stuff is heavier, more experimental, more technical, and downright amazing, I'm still more a fan of the "Buried In Oblivion" (2004) and earlier. "Dead Or Dreaming" just has that perfect balance of heavy, progressive, and melodic.

Totally digging the new Down single, "Witchtripper." Great to hear Phil Anselmo's voice again.

For some great new but familiar sounding prog-metal, download The Deadstation "Episode 1" EP for free:

Listening to a partial discography of Jorn: "Unlocking The Past" (2007 covers album), "Lonely Are The Brave" (2008), "Spirit Black" (2009), and "Dio" (2010 tribute album). Jorn Lande puts out a lot of music.

And when did Jon Oliva get so fat! He was a skinny bitch in Savatage. Oh well, Jon Olivia's Pain "Festival" sounds great.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Janus, Poison, Rage Against The Machine, 7Lions, Judas Priest, The Gaslight Anthem, and Heaven's Cry

Woke up this morning around 6:15, wiped off the vamp blood from last night's hunt, tapped the vein with some V, chased with a shotgun bomber of oatmeal stout (black gold breakfast of champions!), all resulting in a crazy high-low ride into work...

, back to paying bills and farming babies.

Yours truly,
Jekyll Hyde Human-Skinned Lizard Autobot-Slaying Decepticon Dude

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Response to Paul Cusick's "Copyright - Copywrong"

My response to Paul Cusick's "Copyright - Copywrong"

BTW: Buy Paul Cusick's "Focal Point" and other songs at his website,


At the end of the day, your main points are (and I agree with them)... (1) "if my music adds any value whatever to your life then support me directly so I can make more." and (2) "if my music adds no value to your life, then delete it from your life, and take yourself of my mailing list / fanbase. We are of no benefit to each other."

I do think the "big record companies had it coming, they were ripping us of" argument is lame and immature. Sounds like a rebellious teenager. Cost points are cost points, and pricing is based on what consumers are willing to pay for a CD vs. a DVD vs. a book. Funny thing is, CDs are often the same price or cheaper than buying songs via iTunes when you can buy a 15-song CD from Amazon with free s&h, but on iTunes you'll pay $1 per track, or $15.

Regarding the "I use illegal downloads so I can hear the full tracks and decide whether to buy the music" and "I've bought more music because of illegal downloads because I've been introduced to more artists" and "Buying music is just too expensive" arguments, I think all 3 excuses are related and there's a larger story to tell here.

Internet and portable devices in general have, in my opinion, lead to a media overload. We, as consumers, take in more media, more often, in more places, and from more sources than ever before.

Just in music alone, the combination of SiriusXM, Pandora, Slacker, LastFM, Spotify, BandCamp, iTunes, Amazon, music blogs, artist and label websites, streaming radio, MP3s, next day concert downloads, etc. is just diluting the attention span and where consumers decide to spend money.

Local music stores, a few local FM radio stations, and less portable music formats limited what music a consumer was exposed to, to the benefit of big label releases.

For example: 10+ years ago, if you asked me what my favorite bands or albums were, I would have easily rattled off 10 to 20 bands or albums that I listen to 90% of the time. And I would have known most of the lyrics to most of the songs on those albums.

Fast forward to today, and ask me that question, I need 10 minutes to think of the 100 or so bands or albums that I listen to 90% of the time, and I barely know the choruses of many of the songs on those albums.

There's a reason Google Music offers for the customer to upload 20,000 songs. That may seem absurd to some people, but that would not cover my entire iTunes library on my PC!

I have access online to SO MANY new artists, indie artists (like Paul Cusick!), which further fuels my desire to hear it all, that I find myself rarely returning to an album a second or third time.

Now, bolt that onto the fact that music competes in my monthly budget against not just increasing mobile phone, broadband internet, and HD TV subscriptions, but also Pandora or Spotify or Netflix subscriptions, and movie or book or video game purchases. Never mind that clothes, food, utilities, and fuel cost most now while salaries have not increased in lock-step.

So the short story is that (1) consumers have more options that ever on what to spend their money on, (2) subscription services are a great way to save time hearing new music constantly and remain portable via wifi/mobile internet, and (3) there are so many different business models being tested and exploited right now by both big labels, indie labels and directly by artists.

The past 5 to 10 years have been painful, and the next 5+ will be painful until 1 or 2 business models sticks with both consumers and businesses/artists.

Now, what do I find myself spending money on in the music space these days (and lots of it, by the way)?

-SiriusXM in two cars
-Special edition or deluxe packages CD releases from my favorite bands
-Fanclub only releases or fan-funded pre-sales from top 5 favorite bands
-used CD sales at local record stores, which has been my primary MO since high school!
-and a couple concerts per year

...and I have to limit myself to these from a money perspective. I can't order every new album that I previewed and liked online. Nor would I have the time to repeatedly enjoy that many purchased albums.

I'm not writing all this to argue with you. You make valid points. I just wanted to give you the music fanatic (prog, rock, metal, country, jazz, et al), average consumer, middle-income, 30-something, single bread-winner, married with children perspective.

Keep making music. Try all kinds of models at once until one or two work. Get your music in all of the music services/subscriptions (even though some of the royalty schemes are in painful infancy, think: Spotify), keep asking your best fans to pre-fund releases, and get crazy with higher-priced deluxe packages.

Hope this was all helpful,

Friday, September 17, 2010

I Am Not Lefthanded fights spying teddy bears in video introduced me to London-based band I Am Not Lefthanded today. Music is average mild alt-rock, but it's this video for "Everybody Sleeps" that caught my attention for its oddness. Granted, do you remember play fighting with your stuffed animals as a child? Or pretending that they were spying on you and your siblings? Watch for some simple entertainment.


Ever search Google for "worst bands ever"?

Responded to another person's Twitter post this morning pondering the worst band they've ever heard. I responded with Kittie or REO Speedwagon because they are popular band names that came top-of-mind, even though there are much worse, in my opinion.

But then I searched Google for further inspiration of horrible artists and albums. Here is a list of some entertaining "worst" lists out there. I agree with some of their entries, but vehemently disagree with others, such as the Maxim 30 Worst Albums of All Time list that had the Beatles "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" as the #1 worst album of all time. I'll pretend that list creator was trying to be funny or controversial, cause several coworkers and I consider it one of the Beatles better albums.

Also check out...'s "The 50 Worst Artists in Music History"

Yahoo Music's Rob O'Conner's "The 25 Worst Hair Metal Bands"

Uncyclopedia's humorous "Worst 100 Bands of All Time"

And's long-winded 2004 analysis "The Worst Rock Band Ever" that documents his thorough process that led to identifying Motley Crue as the #1 worst band ever. Psst, whatever!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Review of Within Temptation "The Heart Of Everything"

Within Temptation bridge the gap between the eccentric Nightwish and the commercial Evanescence. Some songs here have operatic notes and choir harmonies, but the choruses and melodies could easily appeal to the popular music crowd that has embraced Amy Lee's more universal vocal style. Actually, that puts Within Temptation a little closer in comparison to Lacuna Coil, but only the melodic, less ambient/electronic side of LC (think "Karma Code" album). I've seen a lot of people online label Within Temptation as a the best "goth" band currently on the metal scene. I can easily see how female-vocal bands like this get lumped into the goth sterotype and see how goth teens would embrace this album's lyrics and sound, but this album has so much more to offer to a far broader audience. The melodies are absolutely amazing, especially on the first four or five tracks. The opening "The Howling" is a scorcher. The single "What Have You Done" is catchy but still strong. "Our Solemn Hour" with its backing choir chants is magically addictive. I mean, did you ever think growing up as a kid that you'd ever love a song with "opera" vocals in it? And then closer "Forgiven" is one of those ballads that can stop you in your tracks, force you to pull out the lyric sheet, spin the track on repeat, and truly bring you to introspection for its duration. Maybe that's the goth element hitting home? End of the day, this album is a 9 out of 10, which is very high regards in my book.