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Below are the 8 most recent journal entries recorded in GM Steffen's LiveJournal:

Thursday, June 8th, 2006
4:25 pm
Memory Issues
Let's see...what was I doing, oh yeah, journal. Band practice was fine, (as was the Guinness), I made the grade 4 competition practice, first one this year! Which means I am so far behind I may actually be ahead . . . anyway... Yesterday I was getting the sheet music in order and realized I have a total of 15 tunes to memorize! FIFTEEN - from marches, to reels, to strathspeys, to jigs, to slow aires! I am overwhelmed with the plethora of musical notes I must learn. Of course they needed to be memorized yesterday...whatever...

I know I can do it, though it may take a few years, I am supremely confident. I have been spending a couple hours a day practicing them, playing them over and over on the practice chanter until it feels like my lungs are twice their normal size. Oh well, I suppose I shall endeavour to persevere.

I start Summer semester next week, yeah! Something to do. The school has worked out a solution for my dropped class that will allow me to still complete the degree before fall. I shall attend a similar class with the same Prof. who will assign additional work on an independent basis. Upon completion I will be given credit for the required class.

This is good since I am already registered, orientated, signed-up, financially approved , and blessed to begin Empire State in the fall. I'll start with a history and an arts/music course, both on-line. I'll also need a language, Spanish would be the easiest since I have already been exposed but not infected. I would prefer Gaelic but the hoops needed to jump through to accomplish that are far too many, perhaps later I'll try to work something out.

Well, I guess I had better get back to practicing and memorizing tunes.

Current Mood: artistic
Tuesday, June 6th, 2006
12:02 pm
The Best Laid Plans...
The thing is I had planned to finish the Paralegal degree this summer; I only need 9 more credits. I had registered for all the classes I needed and was somewhat amazed that I could actually get all the remaining classes I needed. So naturally I got a call from the college yesterday, they are dropping one of the classes from the summer schedule due to lack of sufficient registration. Nooooooooooooooo…. Now I’ll be short 3 credits, unable to complete the degree this summer, my plans are in ruins! What class was dropped? Why the critical and all-important word processing class, of all things.

I suppose I could pick up a generic word processing class at Fulton-Montgomery or find something in the on-line catalogue in order to finish the degree. Because this Fall I start on my next degree endeavour at Empire State College. I hate loose ends and not completely finishing one thing before I begin the next; it makes me fell all…icky, like I’ve forgotten something and am unsure what it is I’ve forgotten. I’m sure there is probably some type of mental disorder for feeling that way, something like: ‘IMTED’ (Inability to Multi Task Effectively Disorder). “Yes, I have been stricken by IMTED.” “No no, nobody named Ted struck me…it’s a disorder…oh, never mind.”

Oh well, at least there is band practice tonight. I believe I will indulge myself in a savory, and scrumptious Guinness.

Current Mood: annoyed
Sunday, June 4th, 2006
1:33 pm
Pipe Band Action
Well we played for Skidmore's Alumni day festivities yesterday. A good showing by the band, there were about 10 pipers, 4 side drummers and a tenor drum as well as the bass drum.

It rained vigorously throughout the whole gig. The rain caused the folks putting on the reunion to reshuffle and reschedule a bit, which caused a bit of confusion amongst our ranks. We started at the usual meeting spot and due to rain moved to another location, we all drove there in a convoy, only to find on arrival we needed to be somewhere else. After some vehicle maneuvering we managed to get to the next spot without anyone crashing or going missing. We all parked at a side entrance to the main gym, and hustled our pipes and drums and such inside as quickly as possible.

Our Pipe Major, who was in cell phone communication with the event organizer, then tried to find out what was next. Seems we were off track from the usual procedure. After being advised someone would fetch us when they were ready, we just hung out. I got my pipes assembled and did a basic tuning. The gym was huge and someone began to play catch with a strange basket sized ball that would go in odd directions when thrown. Last time there was a whiffle ball batting session, some odd things go on while we wait to play.

We soon got a heads up, and needed to get ready, so the pipers circles and tuned whilst playing a 2/4 set. Then off we trekked, across campus to our starting point. Our starting point was the Tang museum, and we needed to march about 200 yards to another gym, a smaller one, which was our destination. All were wearing their rain capes, which was good as we marched in a downpour, though I thought we still sounded good - maybe a bit flat. Fortunately we only needed to play one set after that (indoors) and were finished. All present cheered us and I think we got a bit of the sympathy factor due to our drenched look. We then went back to the main gym where we had initially tuned. I got dried off and then hung out for an hour or so, drank a few beers and had fun visiting with everyone.

Next Saturday is the Union College graduation, which I hope will be a bit drier.

Current Mood: satisfied
Friday, June 2nd, 2006
2:13 pm
Belated Memorial Day
I started out the Memorial Day weekend with the parade in Stillwater. A fairly sizeable parade for a small town. I miscalculated the time to drive there and traffic, but still made it on time. We (the band) wandered about for a bit until we found out where they wanted us and then drank beer until it started. It was a fairly long parade, both in time and distance. At the end they had more beer! Yeah, we were all thirsty and hot as it was most humid. We drank some more, hung out, played a set afterwards, drank some more and then left. I made sure I had an appropriate wait time before driving.

I missed the Gloversville parade on Monday due to massive allergy crap. I am up all night coughing and have sinus headaches and so on during the day. As a result the majority of the weekend sucked.
I did do some contemplation on what the holiday was about. I guess for most it's just another holiday to go and do something...or not. But I thought about the people who sacrificed for this Country, so we could have a holiday and do the things we like. I thought about the guys I served with and my own brother currently in the Marines, who has served one tour in Iraq. Why were we willing to serve at risk of life and limb? To preserve our government? Our way of life?

I can only speak for myself. A lot of the guys I served with and probably my brother would disagree with me, but that's ok. Personally, I enlisted in the Marines rather than be drafted into the Army. I had no lofty ideals or thoughts on the matter of going somewhere to fight someone I didn't know much about. I was just there cause I had to be, well, sure I could have gone to Canada or any other number of things, but I didn't believe that was right. So basically what you had was a dumb kid who didn't know any better. It just seemed like the thing to do.

Today I am the same person, but I certainly don't think the same. I write and say what I say now because I did serve in the Marines in Viet Nam, and I served as a cop for 28 years, so I earned the right to say whatever I bloody well please. (I would say whatever anyway as there are no prerequisites to claiming First Amend. Rights). I think the whole Iraq thing is yet another blemish on the US. It is total insanity, but what war isn't? Anyone want to answer me that? What war is truly necessary or just? The only one that even come close to being justified was WWII, and even then the concept of total war and bombing civilian and non-military targets was a horrible idea. So even a so-called just war is a horrid waste. I think I have made it clear I hate war, and can find no real justification for it, other than the actual boundaries of ones homeland being physically invaded.

So what happens if one dislikes war and disagrees with the US being involved in war, and says so? There are called unpatriotic, traitors and told to love it or leave it. The irony is that it is usually the people who did not serve in the US military, in any of it's nifty little wars who have this opinion. Take the Dixie Chicks for example, they expressed their displeasure and disagreed with the current President and has actions and are treated as anti-American, complete with death threats and all. I guess the First Amendment didn't apply to them.
There are some I don't agree with, like Jane Fonda. I thought the manner in which she protested the war in Viet Nam was poorly done. Being the poster child for the NVA was not one of her brightest ideas. Strangely, and unlike John Lindh, she did not have to account or accept responsibility for her actions. Nevertheless, I believe she had a right to dissent.

Those two examples are quite different in a number of ways, both in the context of history and the typical belief system of most Americans, but the principal remains the same. The common ground for both is the governments attempts to create amd focus the fears of the citizenry, distracting them from their agenda. The thought of using fear as a methodology to control is nothing new. There is always a threat or fear hanging over us, (if not one will soon be created), the Germans, Communists, Nazis, more Communists, Cold War, Y2K, economy, and now terrorists. These terrorist types are great though cause they are so ethereal. Who can even find any? Even when we know where they are we can't find them. Five years later and Osama is still running around, and so what if he was caught, it's not like there won't be anyone to take his place. Of course there is the old saying, "One mans terrorist is anothers freedom fighter." The thing is these terrorists or freedom fighters are more like religious zealots, and how many wars over the past couple thousand years have been fought in the name of God or Jesus or Mohammed? That's right, about 90 percent of them. When will it end? When were all dead.

Don't forget:
WAR IS PEACE FREEDOM IS SLAVERY IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH
Thursday, March 25th, 2004
9:00 pm
I asked.
I was lamenting some of the blocks being thrown my way when I came across this.

I asked God to take away my habit.
God said, No.
It is not for me to take away, but for you to give it up.
I asked God to make my handicapped child whole.
God said, No.
His spirit is whole, his body is only temporary.
I asked God to grant me patience.
God said, No.
Patience is a byproduct of tribulations;
Patience is not granted, it is learned.
I asked God to give me happiness.
God said, No.
I give you blessings; Happiness is up to you.
I asked God to spare me pain.
God said, No.
Suffering draws you apart from worldly cares and brings you closer to me.
I asked God for all things I might enjoy in life.
God said, No.
I will give you life, so you may enjoy all things.
I asked God to help me LOVE others, as much as He loves me.
God said...Ahhhh, finally you have the idea.
-unknown.

God has purpose and reason for everything even though we may not understand or comprehend.
Thursday, March 4th, 2004
5:21 pm
Brothers and Sisters
I should clarify that the brothers and sisters in the Lord at Fulmont are not the only brothers and sisters I have. I also have brothers and sisters who follow God, but not in the same manner as I do. That their beliefs differ from mine makes them no less of a brother or sister. They too have given great comfort and compassion, to me and others. I only hope that I can return their compassion as I believe Jesus would have done. Believe me, I am in no position to judge others when their beliefs differ from mine. That we disagree is unimportant and matters not, that we treat each other and other human beings with respect and compassion is what matters.
11:42 am
I have been spoiled, to a degree, by my brothers and sisters at Fulmont. They are always there for you and ready to help with anything within their power. Their concern and compassion for others is boundless. I don't just mean other church members either, I mean everyone. I say I have been spoiled because for the last several weeks as I recover from surgery I have been exposed to this love and compassion on a regular, daily basis. How has this spoiled you one might ask? Well, it seems that every time I deal with a non-church person I am disappointed by their complete lack of concern for my welfare.

My primary target here are some of the medical types I have had to deal with over the past weeks. Don't get me wrong, the doctor's and nurse's have been 90% wonderful and competent. I am speaking about administrators. You know, those people make appointments and handle paperwork. The one's that your mere presence seems to upset their whole day.

About three weeks ago I had visited my cardiologists office to hand deliver some insurance paperwork that needed to be sent off as well as to refill prescriptions. I was honored that they acknowledged my presence. I was told the form would be taken care immediately and the medications should be available at the pharmacy at 3:00 p.m. Being a trusting person I believed her.

Of course at 3:00 p.m. there was no one at the pharmacy who could help me as nothing had been phoned in. I called the doctor's office and spoke with my friendly clerk who assured me they would be available at the pharmacy by 5:00 p.m. That's right once again they were not there. Ana contacted the on-call doctor who helped us obtain one of the prescriptions, the other took a few more days.

When Ana contacted them the next day to let them know we had obtained one of the prescriptions, the young lady whom I dealt with was quite defensive and explained it was somehow our fault for what occurred. Neither Ana nor I were interested in placing blame, we were trying to avoid a repeat in the future. Is this the end of the story, of course not.

That's right the insurance papers. These prolific little forms must be completed and sent in if we were to receive disability insurance. Just today I received a second notice on the form I had hand delivered weeks ago. I hate to be a cynic but my guess is the form is still sitting on the young lady's desk!

So you see I have become spoiled. Spoiled by people who do what they say they will do. As far as the others go, I can only pray that the Lord would grant me patience and compassion in dealing with them. That I would not lose my temper, nor be sarcastic but to show them the same love and compassion that we received from the Lord, the same love and compassion that we too never deserved.
Thursday, February 5th, 2004
12:48 pm
First Entry
My first entry, an experiment in the internet. It is now two weeks since surgery, I gain each day though sometimes it seems to be two steps forward and one back. At least I move forward. The worst is awakening in the middle of the night, unable to breath, sitting bolt upright, gasping for air, not just once but many times during the night. Hope this passes soon!

Our church family is so much more than the words imply. Cards wishing recovery, calls of concern and compassion, and those who give of themselves to aid us and comfort us. In my entire life I have never encountered anything like this, even after becoming a follower of Jesus 20 years ago I have never encountered such a church as Fulmont. My desire to serve and give to others what I have received is most strong. God is truly great! He has so richly blessed us by bringing us to this church.

Current Mood: Awed
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