Saturday, January 31, 2009

Friday, January 30, 2009

Moon over Lowell.

Returning to the scene of the crime... Umm... I mean our first date.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Grrrrrrr Traffic

I hate traffic. 93 minutes today, thank you very much.

The roads were bad in some places but for the most part they were pretty clear. However, every soul on the planet Earth decided that today they would avoid the highways and take the exact back road route that I take every day.

9 minutes stuck at a stop sign trying to get onto Lowell Rd in Concord, MA. Another 8 minutes trying to cross route 2. General backups at every other light, stop sign, and intersection on the way.

Special thanks go to the town of Lincoln, Massachusetts for the fantastic job they did plowing and cleaning off route 126. Last night on the way home it was clear that they hadn't touched it at all. I figured they would have a chance to actually make the highway passable for their citizens over night, but they did nothing. There were ruts and ice everywhere. It was almost impassible. When my suspension system falls off I will be sure to send those pricks the bill.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Saucy

I am going to end up rewriting this post at some point, but for now you'll have to settle for this...

http://www.newstimes.com/latestnews/ci_11557716

The story itself is pretty funny, but the video is a masterpiece. It's riveting. Watch it and be dazzled by it's incredibleness.

I assume you can tell I'm being sarcastic with this one.

Early Afternoon Goofiness

You might find this one offensive. I found it funny, and offensive.

It's a story from CBS's Bill Geist. He visits a restaurant called Heart Attack Grill in Chandler, AZ. It's offensive because we as a society (and me as an individual especially) are fat assed enough without having shite like this to contend with. It's also offensive for the hooters-esque staff.

But I didn't find it offensive for those reasons. Nope, not at all. I found it offensive due to the massive amount of cheese they put on everything. Is there anything more offensive than cheese? It's curdled milk for crying out loud. It's gross and horrible. This place caters to the unrepentant fat-ass, like me, and yet has nothing on the menu that I would even want to be in the same room with.

Enjoy......


Watch CBS Videos Online

And here's a link to something else that some may find offensive. I would guess the 25% or so of the nation who actually thought The Boy King was doing a good job might be offended by this. As for me, it's just another example of how I like to kick politicians when they're down... and how I probably won't ever stop doing so. George II is probably going to be my whipping boy for years to come.

This is fun as well as funny. Enjoy...........

http://www.aksalser.com/game.htm

More boring...

Last night was the American Hockey League All-Star game. It is the other most boring professional sporting event in the universe. It comes in a close second behind the NHL All-Star game. The only difference is the AHL game is boring for fewer people.

The game was played in Worcester, MA at the DCU center, or the building formerly known as the Centrum. Jen and I talked about going but decided not to as the schedule was a little too tight, and we could better spend that little bit of money on Mac related stuff.

The only interesting thing about the game as far as I can see is a little coincidence. The winning goalie in the NHL game was Boston's Tim Thomas (also known as "The Man")... or, the goalie from the team I root for. The winning goalie in the AHL game was Lowell's Jeff Frazee... or, the goalie from the team I root for. Nice going guys. The AHL game was won by the Planet USA team... they are still sticking to the NHL's lame ass make-the-all-star-teams-based-on-nationality gimmick. In the NHL it was North America vs. Everyone Else. In the AHL it's Canada vs. Everyone Else. The PlanetUSA team (aka Everyone Else) scored 9 goals in the third period to win the game 14-11. Yeah, that's entertaining hockey.

That's about it for now, but in closing I will once again put up a myflashfetish mp3 player because I love the stupid little buggers. This time it's in honor of Bill Bruford's retirement from live performing. I don't have a lot of his music on this particular computer so we'll have to go with King Crimson only. Three songs. A live version of "The Great Deceiver" from The Great Deceiver box set, an improv called "Providence" from Red, and a improv called "We'll Let You Know" from Starless and Bible Black. Again, thanks for the music Bill. Keep 'em coming.


Monday, January 26, 2009

More OS Madness

Jennifer is absolutely brilliant.

She somehow fixed whatever was wrong with my laptop so that we can install Windows on it again. She's amazing. Thanks Jenny!

But why just reinstall Windows XP? Why not be more creative? I've been having fun with Linux for a few days now so I figured I would at least create a partition on the hard drive to allow me to duel boot. As for Windows, sure we could go with XP. That would be the easy thing to do. I am sure has hell not going back to Vista without being dragged into it kicking and screaming. There is another option though... the beta version of Windows 7.

Jen created an install disc, got an activation key, installed a few drivers that would make it possible to load onto my laptop, and installed it. She wiped out the Linux install I'd been using for a couple of days, but that was okay with me.

This machine now has Windows 7 installed. That's the good news. The bad news is it can't use the driver for the internal wireless receiver so we can't get it onto the network just yet. We could, but that would require going into the office where it's frosty cold. We'd rather stay here in the living room where it's just plain cold. hehe

So I repartitioned the hard disc using one third for Linux and two thirds for Windows. I reinstalled Ubuntu and was able to connect to the network again. I am typing this post on my Gateway laptop using a Linux OS.

Jen is also going OS nuts on her new MacBook. She has Windows XP installed in the Bootcamp application, which lets you run Windows on your Mac. She also has XP and Windows 7 installed in the Parallels application, which runs a visualization of Windows on your Mac. She is going to install Linux into Parallels too. I was afraid the world would spontaneously combust if we had all three OS's running in the same house... but she's going to have all three installed on the same machine.

As Samuel L. Jackson once famously said...

Hang on to your butts.

Monday... urgh

It's Monday already. No, it couldn't suck more. The holidays are over and we're back to nothing but full work weeks. It's a nightmare!

I managed to get a good nap during the NHL all star game last night. Here's the highlights. The league's corporate showcase event was it's usual boring snore fest. This year the pointlessness was increased by the fan balloting and the four Canadians in the starting line up. We got to see a traditionally pointless affair that showcases the best players around that was turned into a pointless affair that showcased the ordinary players.

The game went to a shootout so the last few minutes of the third was at least mildly interesting. Tim Thomas was in net for the East at the end and he stood on his head... as usual. He is the man after all. Overtime was about the same with the exception of a penalty. The first penalty called in all-star play since 2000. It was called on a Montreal player, of course. The shootout was okay with the only real notable point being that a very undeserving all-star selection, Alex Kovalev, scored the winner and was awarded the MVP. That probably means there won't be any fan balloting (ballot box stuffing) changes for next year's game. Yippee.

Complete change of subject......

I was on google reader this morning plowing through the ten thousand or so blogs I subscribe to and I saw an entry from Bill Bruford's page. He has retired from public performance. No more gigs for Bill. The post is here, but you have to scroll down a ways to read it.

Bill played in some of my all time favorite bands. He was in Yes at the beginning and he played on both of my favorite Yes albums. (Fragile and Close to the Edge) He was in King Crimson on three separate occasions. He did one tour with Genesis in 1976 when Phil Collins became the front man. He played in UK for one record, and had an excellent fusion solo band along with Alan Holdsworth and Jeff Berlin. It's been a long and storied career for Mr. Bruford.

I saw him twice, both with different incarnations of Yes. The first time was in 1989 on the Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman, Howe, An Evening of Yes Music Plus tour, or whatever they called it. The show was absolutely mesmerizing. The ABWH record wasn't very good, but the new songs came off well onstage, and the old 70's Yes songs were unbelievable.

The second time was on the 1991 money grub Union tour where the Euro version of Yes (Jon Anderson, Bill Bruford, Rick Wakeman, and Steve Howe) hooked up for a few months with the US version of Yes (Chris Squire, Alan White, Tony Kaye, and Satan... I mean Trevor Rabin) for a cash grab of a tour. Despite the awful reasons behind the event, the shows were beyond brilliant. (even Trevor Rabin was tolerable... most of the time... especially when he kept himself safely hidden behind Steve Howe's magnificentness) I saw them at the Worcester Centrum. The show was done in the round with a revolving stage. Band members came and went throughout the show, but the performances were as close to perfect as I've ever heard with my own ears. "Close to the Edge" was even better than it had been in '89. "Awaken" was so amazing I can't even describe it. The only word that comes close is orgasmic. People were sitting through the whole show, but the tension in the music first had the entire audience leaning forward, then pulling up onto the edge of their seat, and then when the song climaxed everyone fell back with the release. It was brilliant, it was amazing, it was breathtaking, it was incredible.

And now Bill is retired and we won't ever see anything like that again.

Thanks for the memories Bill Bruford. Keep the music coming. You are one of my all time favorite drummers. I am honored that I got to see you live twice. Thanks



Saturday, January 24, 2009

Embrace the Differences

Suddenly I am a Linux user marrying a Mac user. Embrace the
differences!

Cupcake boutique

Wedding Cake? Check!

We just ordered our wedding cake from the cupcake boutique in Andover,
MA. Really really good stuff.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Operating System MishMash and Laptop Fun

Jenny bought her MacBook!

She's sitting next to me setting up parallels and bootcamp so she can play Warhammer and remote to her office Windows box. How unbelievably cool is that?

Oh and the MacBook kicks 3,652 flavors of ass. Go to an Apple store and play with one.

While she was in the laptop frame of mind she also took it upon herself to try and revive my seriously injured Gateway. The Gateway was running Vista and some how it had a driver get corrupted and it would only run for a couple of minutes (if it booted up at all) before it crashed.

I had tried to install Windows XP over Vista but it couldn't find the hard disc, which was odd seeing as it could find the disc when it would occasionally actually boot up. I tried to run Linux (Ubuntu) off of a boot disc and it didn't do anything.

Today, after a couple of hours of failure, Jen passed it off to me. She found out just about everything that was happening because she is a friggin' Windows GENIUS. A MASTER. A GURU in the extreme.

I gave up after five minutes and decided to give Linux another shot. This time I just installed it and set up the partition at 100% of the disc. Lo and behold it worked! My Gateway is now running Linux. I struggled a little getting it onto our wireless network, and I am having a bitch of a time getting the f@#$%*g adobe flash plug in to work on Firefox. I got so pissed that I even installed Opera in the hopes that it would have the plug in pre installed. I am currently writting this on my Gateway laptop running Ubuntu and using Opera as my browser. It's a whole new world.

Of course I am going to blow away Ubuntu tomorrow in an attempt to set this machine up as a duel boot between XP and Ubuntu, just like my desktop. That way I can pretend I am a cool open source type while still being a Microsoft slave.

We are a a couple of computer geek masters and we love it. Now we can be 'net nerds in every room of the house. We are sooo cool.

Our pet hawk

Who needs better lighting when he's sitting on our ledge.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I Love the Onion


Apple Introduces Revolutionary New Laptop With No Keyboard

Is the Mac fact finding mission turning into an aquisition mission?

We are on a MacBook fact finding mission at the apple store

Bruins, RPM, FAWM, and Dentists

For the first time this year the Bruins came back to win a game that they were trailing after two periods. It was also a rare event where they won in a shoot out. They beat the Maple Leafs on the road last night 4-3. Click here for the highlight video.

The first half of the season (as denoted by the all-star break) has come to a close and the Bruins are tied with the San Jose Sharks for the most points in the NHL with 73. Boston has played two more games, so the Sharks winning percentage is better... but still... tops in the NHL at the all-star break. I am, of course, stunned. What a year! Let's hope the break will give them time to heal up some of the injuries so they can come back strong in the second half and continue to stun me.

February is right around the corner. Less than two weeks away. That means it's time for me to start thinking about writing music again. For the last couple of years I've tried and failed to complete the RPM Challenge. That challenge is to record an album within the month of February. It doesn't have to be perfect or anything, all that matters is that on January 31st it doesn't exist and by March 1st it does. There is also another songwriting event that happens in February called FAWM, which is short for February is Album Writing Month. The idea there is to write 14 songs within the 28 days of February.

There once was a time when I could have hammered out both of those things easily. When I was in college (the last time... the seven year time) I twice made up challenges for myself to write and record one song per day during spring break. I nailed it both times I tried it. 1999 and 2001. Five days off, five new songs. It wasn't quite easy, but it was definitely doable.

I first heard of RPM in 2007, just after it started. I was very far from being in good playing shape so I decided to take the challenge once using old songs, and then after I had my chops back I would do it again with new songs. I ended up with 10 new recordings of old songs, and 7 unfinished recordings of 7 new unfinished songs.

In 2008 I was playing okay, but I had a girlfriend in the first time in... well... forever and ever, and I was much more interested in being with her than doing anything else. I had planned to work on the project on any evenings I didn't spend with Jen, and on the nights I did spend with her I would work on the project after our dates (we weren't living together then and I was still going home at night). When it was over I had 3 unfinished recordings of 3 unfinished songs. None of the total of 10 new songs has had any more work done on them since the respective challenges ended.

I also took a shot at a different challenge this year called November is Solo Album Month, which challenges you to write and record a complete album by yourself during the month of November. That one ended with one unfinished recording of one unfinished song.

This year I am waffling between wanting to try RPM again and not giving a shit. I don't have time to do it, it's that simple. I leave for work a little after seven in the morning and I get home a little before seven in the evening. When I am home I have no interest in doing anything other than spending my time with Jen and the kids. That's it. I'll do anything, any time, so long as Jen is doing it with me, and if it's a kid night I want the kids doing it with us too. Weekends are the same. I want to spend as much time as possible with Jen and the kids. If something comes up that keeps us away from each other for a while that is okay, so long as we spend as much of our free time together as humanly possible. I can't help it. I'm in love with Jen and I love her kids as if they were my own. So that pretty much eliminates my chances of completing any songwriting challenge goofiness unless I take time off of work.

But this year I thought I came up with a good angle on it. If not during the day, and if not during the evenings... what about the morning? What if, instead of getting up at six in the morning, I got up at 5 and spent an hour a day working on music? I'd have to stick to a headphones only set up so as not to disturb the neighbors, and that would probably mean I'd take a vacation day or two to do anything that makes actual noise, (aka singing)... but I could do it.

I decided I would spend January getting up early a couple of days a week and working on those unfinished old songs (there are the 11 already mentioned as well as 3 or 4 more that came up on their own) in order to get into playing shape, and get used to getting up early. Then come February I would do it as often as my sleep schedule would allow. I would also set my arrangement goals a tad lower and spend less time futzing with my drum machine, and maybe try to keep my horrible lyric writing at a minimum and leave a few songs as instrumentals. It seemed like a good plan. I was all ready to give it a shot.

And then January came... it is now January 22nd and I haven't gotten up early once.

There is still time, and I could always just start cold on February 1st. I really want to... but I also really don't want to. Who knows. We'll have to see if I can get my motivation up and try something. I'll keep you posted.

One more thing before I post. This morning I woke up with a song stuck in my head. It is a song I honestly haven't heard in years. It's from Monty Python's Flying Circus. It's the little theme song that gets sung at the end of the Lemming of the B.D.A sketch. I can't even begin to imagine what it was that caused that particular little song to get stuck in my particular little noggin on this particular little day. The only thing I can think of is that I must have been having nightmares about Dentists. (notice I said nightmare, not dream. I can't imagine anyone anywhere ever having a dream about Dentists that isn't a horrifying nightmare.)

Here's the sketch. Enjoy.


"There. Poor Flopsy's dead, and never called me Mother."

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Day After

Yesterday I was sitting at work listening to a CBS Radio stream. I had a couple of sites open that were streaming video of the Inauguration, but my office's network wasn't quite up to it and the results were terribly choppy. The radio feed was working nicely though.

During Rick Warren's invocation, just as he was starting the Our Father I lost the stream. I had a couple of live blog pages open too and I lost those. I lost the CNN/Facebook page. I lost the Internet. So did everyone else in the building. So did everyone else in a total of three of our buildings.

Jen was wonderful. She was working from home due to a power outage in her office building so she turned on the TV to NBC and DVR'd the entire ceremony.

I got to put my fantastic little iPhone to work by checking Twitter and Facebook to see what people were saying. It didn't quite make up for missing the speech live though.

The Internet never came back at work, so when I got home Jen and I watched the entire thing together. I felt something that I haven't felt at all since the mid-90's. At least since the first time I heard of people named Lewinski and Trip. Something I hadn't felt since the mid term election in 1994. I felt proud of my country. I felt my political cynicism melting away. I felt like maybe this time, we as a nation may have done the right thing.

The best part of the whole experience was the same as the best parts of all new experiences for me. All new experiences since April 5, 2007 at least. I shared it with Jen. The best part of everything in my life now is sharing it with Jen. I told her that the world we are married in will be a different world than the one we were engaged in. That thought fills both of us with hope. Thank you Jennifer. I love you.

You can read President Obama's Inaugural address in it's entirety at this site.

I have listened to it and read through it a couple of times and thought I'd end this by just quoting some of the moments that impressed me, or touched me, or moved me the most. He didn't sugar coat anything. He didn't talk down to us. He gave it to us straight. Things in the United States of America are not terribly good right now, but there is no reason why we as a people have to settle for it. We can rise above our current struggles and restore our greatness. For today at least, I agree with him.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.

the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works

a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous.

we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus - and non-believers.

To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West - know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy.

the world has changed, and we must change with it.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed - why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

They told him not to swipe the pen

Jen and I just watched the Inauguration on our DVR.

I'm proud to be an American again. It's been a loooong time.
I am sitting here basking in the glow of a Bush-free White House...
Again.

Testing... does this get you Inaugural video?

Inauguration Day!

Oh Happy Day!

The peel a page calendar Jen got me last year that counts down the days until the end of the Bush Regime says, "THE END IS HERE!" Oh joy oh rapture today is the day we remove him from office!

Although, according to CNN the Bush family has actually been out of the White House for some time.

If you're like me you're probably going to be keeping an eye on the news today so allow me to help you all out.

First, for those of us who live in Boston and prefer our news local, the Boston Globe's coverage is here. The Boston Herald's coverage is here.

For fans of national news, or fellow Bostonians who like to see what people in other cities are saying, CNN's coverage is here. The Washington Post's coverage is here, and the Los Angeles Time's coverage is here. I'm sure if I looked a little harder I could find something like this one for every news outlet, but MSNBC is going to be streaming video coverage here.

I will probably spend a few minutes at each of those sites, but the one I am going to hit most often will definitely be this one. Starting at 11:00am Eastern Time that site will be streaming video of the swearing in ceremony. Until then you can go to this site to get even more news.

Today is one of the ultimate American news junkie days (probably second only to the Presidential election) and I hope you will all join me in wearing out your web browser's refresh button to follow along with all of the events.

Happy Inauguration Day!

Happy Hey-George-Don't-Let-The-Door-Hit-You-On-The-Ass-As-You-Leave Day!

Can I get a WOOHOO?

WOOHOO!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Foccus

This beautiful woman is about to take a should-you-marry-that-doofus
test. I am that doofus.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Countdown to Spring



HURRY UP DAMN IT!

It's c-c-c-cold

When I got up this morning it was cold. That's nothing new, it was cold last night. We had the thermostat set at about 85 but the temperature only hit about 70. We seem to have a well insulated home. (that was sarcasm kiddies)

This morning though... it was cold. Really cold.

I went to weather.com and checked the outside temperature in Methuen, MA. -4 degrees Fahrenheit. That was at home. I checked the temperature in Framingham, MA too. (that's where I work) It was -6 degrees Fahrenheit.

I hate cold, but I can deal with it. I love New England so much that I know I will never ever want to leave. If the ice caps melt and the jet stream changes and New England turns into a frozen tundra they are still going to have to drag me out kicking and screaming...

But -4 degrees? Gimme a break. That's too cold for me. That's wrap-yourself-up-in-a-blanket-and-stay-in-bed-until-spring kinda cold.

Brrrrrrrrr

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

On-call blues

I am on-call, watching the Bruins, and reading Juliana Hatfield's book
while R2-D2 patrols the room.

Time for Timer

I was singing this jingle to Jen the other day... I love youtube.



I can't post that without posting this too...
Odd, the embed tag isn't working... here's the link: Robolar

and here's one for the road...

Ramblings

I got this cool little iPhone app that lets you upload photos from the phone directly to photobucket. It seems like a nice idea, but it's really... really... slow. I got it because it has a nice feature that lets you take new pictures and save them directly to photobucket. It's nice... but it's really... really... slow.

It works though, and here's proof:

I suddenly have this urge to take dawn/twilight pictures of the moon. Weird.


Yesterday the hawk that lives near our building landed on the ledge right outside my window. I took this (and the one I posted yesterday, and one other too) while sitting at my desk.


What else...

Last night I did something I don't know if I've ever done before. I talked in my sleep. I started telling Jen that the kids were doing the homework assignment that she told them to do. It came from some woman in Pittsburgh (do I know anyone in Pittsburgh?). The assignment was to come up with a homework assignment for Kindergärtners. I guess I started telling Jen all about it and she had no idea what I was talking about so I started arguing with her that she in fact did know what I was talking about. Then she told me to roll over and go to sleep so I did. Shortly after that she said she had the same dream.

Weird.

What else...

Jim Rice is in the Baseball Hall of Fame. No, he probably doesn't belong there based on his numbers. He was the most feared hitter in baseball for a while, and in 1978 he had one of the most monstrous offensive seasons ever, but he fell off the edge of the world in 1987 or so, and he could never play defense very well. Still, he was a Red Sox lifer (still is. He is a commentator on the Red Sox broadcasts on NESN) and I wanted to see him get in. I still remember reading the stats pages in the early 80's and seeing Rice and fellow Sox outfielder Tony Armas dominating the power stats with right fielder Dwight Evans never far behind. Sure the team was never all that great in those years, but they were still fun to watch.

Congratulations Jim Rice!


What else...

Wedding preparations continue. Last night we bought another box of invitations so that we can have the freedom to make mistakes while printing them out. We also got a couple of items for use as favors. We've flip flopped like a Congressman on whether or not to bother with favors. Last night we walked into a store to buy supplies and were totally 100% sure we weren't doing favors. By the time we got to the check out though we were 100% sure that we were. (For the record, "flip flopped like a Congressman" is going to be my new saying. I'm going to use it so often that everyone will get to the point they want to punch me when they hear it. Good times!)

Jen printed out a test invitation on Saturday and took it to Mary's birthday party for some feedback. A couple of changes and an addition were suggested and we will incorporate all of it. Then the only issue is getting the damn printer to print the damn things. The process is annoying. Jen also ordered some tissue papery stuff and some lined envelopes last night. She is awesome.

Oh, and Jen and Mary are going out tonight to pick out Mary's maid of honor dress. I get to stay home and be on call. Nice! (That was sarcasm, I hate being on call.)

What else...

Nothing. That'll do for now.

Monday, January 12, 2009

For the Birds

Tweeeeet

I'm supposed to write something here

I said I was going to update this daily, so I better get crackin'

What to write about?

ummmmmmmm... what to write about.

Well there are only eight days remaining in the Bush II administration. Back when I was still in college I often referred to him as Bush II, or Bush the Second, or Bush the Younger, or silly things like that. There was a guy who worked for Dr Canning who also ran a radio show on WUML called SBS named Joss who coined the perfect phrase to use as both a title and a description of President George W. Bush: The Boy King. Absolutely perfect.

I have also always been fond of a statement made by a member of Mission of Burma, I think it was Peter Prescott. I can't remember if I heard it at a show or on a tape of a show, and I can't recall if he actually used an expletive or not so I won't use quotation marks, but it was something along the lines of: He's not my president. My memory likes to think he thew an f-bomb in there too.

Anyway, eight days away from the end of the regime. Eight days away from a potential fresh start. Eight days away from President Obama. I will not give the new President carte blanch (did I spell that right?) but I hope he digs right in and starts making changes for the better. I can't imagine him, or anyone else for that matter, being capable of making things worse.

I was thinking about taking a vacation day on January 20th so that I could watch the innaguration live. More spefically so I could dance and sing and scream with elation at the top of my lungs when Barak Obama takes the oath of office... officially removing The Boy King. That's going to be a beautiful moment in American History. I already took a day off this month though so I don't think I will. I'll be cheering in spirit though.

So check out the transition team's website, change.gov, and see what the new administration is planning on for the first few days in office. Like I said, it can't be any worse than what we have now. Two foreign wars, totally ineffectual responses to major natural disasters (what did George II say? You're doing great Brownie?), and a nearly collapsed economy. The state of things in the USA today is sort of like starting the new President off with two strikes against him, and while I generally have zero faith in any politicians, I have to have a little bit of faith in President Obama.

Why? Because I may be wrong about it not being able to get any worse.

Speaking of elections, Ricky Henderson will be elected to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame today. (Did you see how I steared the topic away from the seriousness of the Presidential transition to something frivolous like baseball? Pretty good, eh?) It is also Jim Rice's last chance to get in via the baseball writers association ballot. I lean toward the he-is-not-worthy side of the Jim Rice question, but I still want to see him get in. It is definitely a home town decision for me, but I don't care. I want to see Jim Rice in Cooperstown.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

What the hell kind of animal is that supposed to be?

Wedding Stuff

Yesterday was bridesmaid dresses. Today is flowers. Here we see
Jenny waiting for the florist.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Hotels are Booked!

First we go to a bed and breakfast in Woodstock, VT. We "discovered" this little town during a road trip to see Rush in Saratoga, NY and fell in love with the place. We'll stay here a couple of days and just. do. nothing. This is the relaxing, calm, peaceful portion of the honeymoon.

Then the site seeing vacation part of the honeymoon begins.

From Woodstock we go to Gettysburg, PA and be history geeks for a couple of days. From Gettysburg we go to Washington, DC and be touristas for a few more days. Including in the touristaness will be a day in Mt Vernon visiting President/General George's old place, and maybe (but probably not) a day in Monticello visiting Tom Jefferson's digs.

Then we have a few days that we are leaving open for anything. Technically these days are reserved for driving home from DC, but if we decide to stop somewhere or visit someplace, or if something catches our eyes from the road we will stop and enjoy. The final few days will be spent at home recovering and just enjoying the fact that we are officially hitched.

We booked our honeymoon.
>insert giddy smiley face here<

Honeymoon

Here's a photo of my fiance checking out hotels for one stop on our
road-trip-honeymoon.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Are you kidding me?

I love hockey. It is one of my favorite sports. It has long had the stigma of being a game where a bunch of gorillas beat the crap out of each other. Sometimes that is justified.

Like last night when Jarkko Ruutu of the Ottawa Senators bit Andrew Peters of the Buffalo Sabers.

Ruutu is a pest. An agitator. Peters is a goon. He's on the team specifically to beat the holy hell out of opposing players. Those two roles are what generally gives hockey it's bad reputation, but I don't mind either of them. Ruutu is one of those guys that everyone alive loathes except for fans of his team. They love him totally. Peters is a guy you can almost root for because he was able to ride the one thing he can actually do, fight, and make a pro hockey career out of it.

What happened last night though... that was just beyond stupidity. Peters stuck his glove into Ruutu's face and Ruutu used his teeth... yes, his teeth, to pull Peter's glove off. Aparently biting him on the thumb hard enough to break the skin.



Fighting in hockey doesn't bother me. This bothers me. Ruutu should be suspended forever. This was stupidity on par with Mike Tyson. Give me a freakin' break.

Ottawa plays the Bruins tomorrow night. If Ruutu somehow avoids a suspension for this (as he actually avoided a penalty on the actual play) I hope every Bruins player takes the opportunity to drill him at least once. Slam the moron into the boards once for me.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Macworld

Changes to garageband, and iMovie, and iPhoto, and some iWork programs...
A new macbook...
And some changes to the iTunes store.

That was the macworld keynote today, given by VP Philip Schiller.

Jen wants an iMac. I do too. My first computer was an Apple. I used a Mac at Northeast Broadcasting school and learned a few good things on it. I used a Mac for a couple of classes at Middlesex Community College and did some cool stuff. I used a Mac in the Systems Lab at UMass Lowell and got to the point where I was just as good with it as I am with Windows (which admittedly isn't all that good.)

We were hoping for some swanky new iMac upgrades that we could plan on getting at some point after the wedding, but Apple thought otherwise. I think I might prefer to get a macbook so I can use it all over the house (specifically in the cellar where my little wannabe recording studio is set up) but looking at the specs... the desktop is the way to go. It's so much better.

I'm not really up on their software packages so I don't know what to make of their iLife and iWork upgrades. I do know that the last time I was a Mac user (2001-2004) iMovie was the coolest video program in the universe. It was basic and very easy to use, but still very powerful. I guess at some point they let it slide and then last year rebooted the whole thing, with mixed results. It sounds like they are adding back all the things that were missing. As for iPhoto, it sounds like they are making the same changes google made to Picassa.

Garageband sounds really cool. They added functionality to allow you to take 9 lessons on guitar or keyboard, including lessons from famous musicians... for a price of course. That sounds pretty awesome. I am not sure what that program entails, but when we eventually buy a Mac for Jen I plan on using it every time she steps away from her desk.

The new laptop is a 17" Macbook Pro. They made a big deal out of the battery. Sure it lasts a long time. Sure it can be recharged 1000 times... but it's still not replacable. That's the major downside of all things macbook. If something goes wrong you can't replace the offending part.

Music downloaded from the iTunes store is now free from Digital Rights Management restrictions. Finally. All it took to get this was to cave in to the blood suckers running the RIAA and let them charge more for music. That's all. The Recording Industry has been trying to get their filthy mits on iTune's pricing forever and now they have it. New, hit songs will now sell for $1.29. Back catalog songs will sell for $0.69. Yippee. So the songs that almost no one wants to buy are cheaper and the songs that almost everyone wants to buy are now more expensive. Great. Thanks for dropping to your knees Apple. Removing DRM was not worth letting those pricks dictate your pricing. Not even close. Especially when anyone with iTunes can easily figure out a way around your DRM. Good move.

I still want a Mac though.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Jen and I are at

Jen and I are at a dealership buying a 2008 Grand Caravan.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Deja-Vu

As I drove in to work this morning my mind hearkened back exactly one year to January 2, 2008. What was I doing on that day? How was I feeling?

I was Frickin' Pissed Off at my Car, that's how I was feeling. Jen and I had not moved in together yet but I was spending the holiday at her place in Salem, NH. I was on call for New Year's Eve so we just stayed in and let the kids stay up until midnight with us. At 12:30 we were heading to bed (I am a lightweight) when the phone rang. There was a work issue I had to take care of. Unfortunately I could not connect to the customer's system and was of no use to anyone. Some one did something to calm the customer down and put off the trouble until the next day.

The next day I still couldn't connect from Jen's. It was an issue with the client on her machine so I went to my house and tried it on my computer. Nothing. I went to my father's office and tried it on his computer. Nothing. I called my boss to ask for help and he couldn't connect. I called his boss and she couldn't connect. So the issue that was important enough to bring in the on call staff was left unhandled until January 2nd when we could all get back into the office and connect from there.

That wasn't what pissed me off one year ago today though. That pissed me off one year and one day ago today.

January 2, 2008 came and I got up early to go to work. That day may have been the first day that I went to work from Jen's place. Normally I would have gone home the night before as home was a little closer to work, even though it was still really far from work. That night, however, I stayed at Jen's. If it wasn't the first time it was one of the first times, and within a couple of months I was pretty much living there full time anyway. But I've gone off subject... what was I talking about?

Oh yeah, my car.

So on January 1, 2008 my car had a tough time starting. On January 2, 2008 my car just plain didn't start. My family has been using one garage for all of our car repair needs for as long as I can remember. A&B Auto in Tewksbury. So when my car was sitting there dead on the road in Salem I did what I always do. I called AAA and had the car towed to Tewksbury. Normally in cases such as this my father would meet me there and loan me one of his cars for the day so I could get to work. That didn't happen that day and I'm not sure why. I ended up calling in sick. I am stretching my memory a bit here, but I think I actually was pretty sick that day anyway. That's it. I called in sick from the garage and told the supervisor I spoke to that I tried coming in, had lots of car trouble, but as the morning had rolled on I felt worse and worse and just went home sick. That's it.

All of that piled up and made me one pissed off red head that day. I wanted to throw my car off a bridge and go live in a log cabin on top of a mountain like Ted Kazinski. I'm overstating my feelings a tiny bit here for dramatic affect. Just in case you didn't notice.

So what is it about January 2, 2009 that makes me think back so nostalgicly to January 2, 2008?

My Frickin car, of course.

This time it's all my fault. One of my tires has had a slow leak for a while. I fill it up once a month or so and it's fine. When it gets low I just fill it up again. Today when I went outside to go to work it wasn't low... it was almost flat. It was Loooow. So I drove a couple of blocks to the gas station I normally go to to fill the tires and dropped my $0.75 into the machine and pulled the hose over to my tire... and that was when I saw that some chimp posing as a human had snapped the end off the nozzle. Thanks a ton you douchebag.

So I drive another couple of blocks to another gas station. This time a full service garage. They have their air pump all set up for use. I pull up to it and the one attendent tells me it doesn't work. Thanks a ton. If it doesn't work please take the frickin' hose off so that chumps like me don't get their hopes up. Thanks. So, this being an actual garage. A "service station" as it were, I ask if they can fix a tire. I am told that they can't because no one is there. Thanks again.

There are a few more gas stations in the general area that I could have gone to to fill up my tire, or at least tried to go to... but by this point the clock was ticking and there was no guarantee that I would be able to complete my automotive task. So I bit the proverbial bullet and changed the tire myself. I have had a ton of tire changing experience over the past year. I had a normal blow out, I slid on ice into a curb and broke a rim, and on (I think) two occasions just walked out to the car and had a flat. I have become one of the Planet Earth's fastest car tire changers. I have a future in Nascar kids, I am not lying. I have a donut spare tire and the cheapest little jack you could ever imagine, and I jacked up my car, popped off the flat, put on the donut, lowered the car, and hit the road in record time.

Straight to A&B Auto in Tewksbury. I wanted to bring the car in there anyway for a couple of checkup type things, but the car just said to me that I was doing it today. My father met me there, I drove him home, and then took his car to work. I had planned to leave home around 7:15 and get to work so early that it was just plain silly. As it turned out I left my parent's house at 8:25. The normal drive to work is about 75-80 minutes. Today (thanks to it being both Friday and the day after a holiday) I punched in at 9:03. 38 minutes. Not a record (that would be 37 minutes on a Friday in August) but close.

Even though there is nothing wrong with the car itself, this is another little thing on top of a series of other little things that make us think that the time to buy a new car has arrived. I'll keep you posted, oh loyal readers (both of you).

2008 started off in a very frustrating fashion and ended up being one of the best years of my life. 2009 is bound to end up the same way... only 2009 will be better than 2008, 2007... and every other year.

Happy New Year.
Happy New Tire.

Thursday, January 1, 2009