And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by

It has been 9 years since we lost you, Dad. I love you and miss you, so much. Thank you for raising me to be a responsible and accountable man. I could not have survived the past month without your example. Thank you for the example of strength and owning my decisions. I hope I can be something resembling the great dad you are to Van Jr. and Vivie. I also hope I can be a great husband to Abbe like you were to Mom.

They need me.

Thank you, Dad.

Van Sr.

I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,

And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face and a grey dawn breaking.

~ Sea-Fever by John Masefield

Happy birthday, Vivienne

I can’t believe she’s a teenager. I can already feel the avalanche of gray hairs and worrying about her. Ahh, that started long ago, like maybe 13 years ago to be exact.

Viv, you have changed me. Although you’re not always perfect, you make me want to be for you. I love you, Punkin. Now, I need to remember to get out of the way, let you make and learn from your mistakes, try to stop worrying so much, and then like you have told your audiences many times… sit, back, relax, and enjoy the show!

Funny/Interesting Links…

Book Review: Encore by Tara Kelly

Full disclosure: I’m 45. I’m far from a young adult, ergo, reviewing a YA book should probably be taken with a pound of salt. All of that said, I was more than happy to review my friend, Tara Kelly‘s latest book, Encore. I originally knew Tara as Miss Volatile from collaborating with her musically online. We worked together with Israeli darkwave musician, Skiza on Butterfly Dance, with Canadian electronic artist, Acumen on Gravity, Our Enemy, and she supplied a short vocal sample (I messaged her with a request to record herself saying “Oh My God” like she had just found a dead body in the woods… you know, typical recording request) for my song, Sugar Spider.

Since making lots of weird music, Tara went on to be a fairly accomplished YA author. Her first book, The Foxglove Killings was a Junior Library Guild Selection for December 2015. Her second effort, Amplified, introduced the character, Jasmine Kiss, and went on to win an Oregon Spirit Book Award, ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults, Bank Street Best Children’s Books of the Year, and named a Cybils Awards Finalist.

Encore, finds the band, C-Side about to embark on a risky, but once in a lifetime tour supporting a bigger name act. Jasmine Kiss is the 17 year-old lead guitarist with a strained relationship with her father, that really wishes she would skip the band and go to college. The journey leads the band into inner-strife, intra-band-romance, and even some life-threatening situations.

I couldn’t help but notice the parts of Tara that she writes into Jasmine – I remembered Tara asking me about my own Paul Reed Smiths, when she was about to get her own purple-sparkle PRS (just like Jasmine plays in C-Side). That said, I hope the self-entitled attributes of Jasmine aren’t true of my friend, there were points in the story that I wanted the tour bus to crash.

Encore is a quick read, for sure. The dialog moves the story along effectively, and I really appreciated the book tackling tolerance of LGBT lifestyles, body image issues for young women, and cyber bullying. To any parents considering this for your own YA reader, be sure to make yourself aware there are some adult themes in the book.

For a “quick read,” Encore has deceptive depth. I think my friend has created some characters that should provide interesting stuff for her readers for many books to come.

Funny/Interesting Links…

Vanimal 4.0

During my five miler yesterday, I noticed something wasn’t quite right. I had enough cardio, nothing hurt… I was missing “kick” during my run. My pace wasn’t atrocious, but an average pace was requiring more work than normal. It dawned on me as I tried to push more, I need to get back to working the glutes and quads. I’ve got no juice.

Ergo, I swapped out the push-ups (that were step 5) for burpees (my preferred burpee version includes a push-up anyway). So instead of doing 125 push-ups in one workout, I’ll end up doing 25 burpees. I think the next change I may make is to swap the deep body weight squats for some 45 pound kettlebell swings.

Vanimal 4.0 (repeat 5X)

  1. 1 min plank
  2. 1 min DBW squat
  3. 10 pull-ups (I’m linking to this video on proper form, this fixed pull-ups for me in a big way)
  4. 20 Russian twists
  5. burpees
  6. K2Es

Funny/Interesting Links…

Your call

I am entering week 5 of my training for the  Coastal Delaware Marathon, and something hasn’t felt quite right. I am running without fundraising. I do realize that many runners run without bothering friends and family about one cause or another, but well, that ain’t me. My bib is already paid for, so… why not?

Ergo, I wanted to poll everyone where they would like to see some efforts? The survey below has the charities that I supported in the past, but I’d also like to understand what is important to you. The charitable organization will need to be human-interest related and have some sort of online mechanism to facilitate handling donations directly (i.e. I’d prefer not to handle the donations myself).

Create your own user feedback survey

Funny/Interesting Links…