Saturday, February 28, 2009


This photo was taken at noon on Saturday February 28, 2009. Exactly
ninety-one days before our wedding.

Friday, February 27, 2009

My tax return figuring out sweety.

Red light blues

I hate this light. Routes 126 and 27 crossing route 20 in Wayland, MA.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Shining New Level of Lame

This is a milestone post.

This is my 100th post.

Not my 100th post over all, just my 100th post in... February. 100 posts this month. 26 days. That's an average of almost four posts a day 3.846 to be exact, and there are still two more days left in the month.

Man, do I need a hobby.

Just watch this and hope I don't post again...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Today is one of my favorite days of the year!

Today is one of my favorite days of the year.

Everyone hates winter... at least everyone who lives someplace cold and dark and dreary hates winter, if only a little bit.

One of the many, many, nearly countless things I hate about winter is that it's dark when I leave work. For a chunk of the season it's actually dark when I leave home at 7:00am and it's still dark when I get home at 7:00pm.

But today is the day when the darkened evening commute starts turning around.

Today is the day that the time the sun sets is the same as the time I go off the clock. I work until 5:30pm. Check out this image from

Check out the time the sun sets. 5:30 babie!

It will still be dark by the time I get home, but those days are officially numbered!

Happy Days are (almost) here again!

Nothing much today

First things first:

You might have to click on that to blow it up so you can read it, but it might be the best comic ever.

Hairy Fishnuts?

Second things second:

Cinematic Titanic. It's Mystery Science Theater 3000 without the robots, but with some of the robot voices. There are six episode DVDs. We have the first three. We watched "The Oozing Skull" almost as soon as it came out. Over the last couple of nights we've watched "Doomsday Machine" and "The Wasp Woman" (still working on that one) and we've been laughing almost non-stop.

Even better... if you're lucky you might be able to see them do it live. We missed them in Boston last week, but I am hoping this becomes a somewhat regular thing and we get another chance in the future.

Third things third:

As the producer, engineer, record company president, songwriter, guitar player, bass player, vocalist, and percussionist of my 2009 RPM Challenge attempt I have decided to make a command decision. It isn't going to be finished by 2/28. I am extending my personal deadline by a week or two. I'm going to finish it, just not in one month. So now the album-in-a-month challenge is an album-in-six-weeks-or-so challenge. I was much too beat this morning to get up early, and I was much too interested in just hanging out with Jen to work on it last night. The same will be true tonight and every night. I will stick to mornings. Also, I don't want to miss time with Jen and the kids on Saturday. All along I was expecting to take a day off from work to record the vocals. (the day off from work allows me to do all of my terrible singing while the house is empty of potential listeners.) I've had a little too much going on to miss a day this week, so I will put in for a vacation day early in March and nail it all then. When it's done I'll post it at alonetone, and maybe virb too, and probably a song or two at myspace to go along with it. Then no one can ever listen to any of it at their leisure and all will be well.

Fourth things forth:

Jen and I have a date scheduled for tonight. A pick-the-songs-to-be-used-during-the-various-important-dances-at-the-wedding-reception date. Send your suggestions as comments. Thanks!

Fifth things fifth:

I want to go on a vacation. I have the itch like you wouldn't believe. We have a two week honeymoon coming up in a few months that will take us to three different vacation destinations, but I want more. I want to go somewhere and do something, even if it's just going somewhere and doing nothing. I don't want to spend money on it though, which poses a dilemma. Maybe an overnight trip some weekend? Something simple? Maybe just a get away day trip or something? I don't care. I want to go somewhere. I have discovered that I like traveling. I like stocking up on batteries and taking thousands of pictures that are meaningless to everyone on Earth except for me and Jen. Post comments with day trip/overnight trip ideas here too.

Sixth things Sixth:

President Obama (still like the sound of that) is going to give the State of the Nation address... why not State of the Union? I know we're all about change now, but that seems rather a piddly thing to change. Anyway. CNN and Facebook are going to do another joint broadcast deal. You may see the little twitter feed thing on the right side of this page go through a ton of updates. Just in case you're watching. Both of you.

Seventh things seventh:

There is no seventh thing. That's all for now folks.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Mmmmmmmm baptism cake

Last night: Venus over Chelmsford.

What time did I get up? On a Sunday?

It's Sunday.

I was out of bed at 5:21.

Emergency? You ask? Bad dreams? Had to piss wicked bad?


I had to play bass guitar.

What am I, nuts?

Yesterday was supposed to be 10 bass guitar parts recorded day. I didn't make it into the cellar at all. Today became 10 bass guitar parts recorded day. I got up at 5:20ish and worked until 7:15ish and only got six of them done. Still, six is impressive seeing as I haven't played a bass in something like two years.

I consistently forget just how badly those humongous strings hurt my fingers. Fricken' Ouch babie!

Today is Patrick's Christening. No more bass playing tonight. I now officially expect to fail the RPM challenge, but I won't stop working on these crappy songs until they're done.

Really? 5:20am on a Sunday? To play bass? But I don't play bass.

Friday, February 20, 2009

In Case You Were Wondering

Almost forgot to post this one.

Are you curious to know when Jen and I are getting married? (and the counter on the bottom of this page isn't clue enough?)

Click here to see how much longer we have to wait before we get hitched.

Now you can carry on with your regularly scheduled 'net surfin'.

Great picture

Ever visit NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day site?

I saw this one recently. Check it out...

The original post is here. It's not fair. It takes less than half a second for the International Space Station to cross the face of the moon, and some jerk who isn't me nailed this.

Just thought I'd share my jealousy.

Carry on.

Ten (10)

First... screw you mother nature. There, I said it. I friggin hate winter. I have had it. I am done. I am packing up my family and moving some place hot. I'm thinking really hot. No more of this Florida talk, or the Caribbean, or any crap like that. I'm talking Northern Africa hot. I'm thinking Ethiopia. Somewhere we can go to never ever ever never ever ever never ever see snow and ice again.

All of the mountains of snow we got in December and January were pretty much gone. Only the snowbanks remained. We had a full week of temps in the 40's and higher. It felt like the end of the horror was upon us.

Then we got a little on Wednesday. That sucked but it was all right. It was only a little and it was gone quick (lots of Thursday rain helped). Yesterday I checked to see what the next 10 days worth of temps were. I saw one day with a high of 32, everything else was well above freezing.

What I didn't look at was the actual forecasts themselves. Jen mentioned a chance of snow on Sunday. Noooo says I. Then just before bed I looked out the window and everything was covered in snow. Noooo says I again.

I opened the door to go outside this morning and there was only about an inch of snow. It looked much the same as the last accumulation, that is to say, nuttin. Then I got to the car and grabbed the snow brush and tried to clean the car.

The inch of snow came off easy... but it revealed about a quarter inch of ice. It took me almost 20 minutes to scrape the ice off of the two cars, and even then it was a piss poor job. Noooo says I yet again. It sucked. Cars were sliding all over the place. Traffic on route 93 South was nightmarish. The only upside of this friggin' commute was that the storm stayed up North. Once I got into Lincoln it was fine.

Screw you mother nature. I hate you and your winter.

Now, what the hell was I going to talk about again? Oh yeah, RPM...

The RPM Challenge is to record 10 songs or 35 minutes worth of music during the month of February. There used to be a push to write your 10 songs during February too. I have always put my focus there over a high quality recording.

This morning I put together the bare bones of song number 10. I went into this thinking I would try to write quick and easy songs, including some that would just be a guitar/vocal kinda thing. I found myself this morning with nine songs, all of which will end up with at least two tracks of percussion (drum machine cop out style), a bass, at least two tracks of guitar, and anywhere from one to three vocal parts. So today for the 10th and final song I went with a simple quiet 12-bar (a cop out, yes, but I had planned to throw a couple of those in this time for speed's sake and this one makes two) that probably will end up with a bass, one guitar, and one vocal. Simple. There. I might use the little tiny bongo drums type thing I bought at the Moroccan Pavilion at Epcot center too. As for now the percussion consists of a click track. Watch, it'll end up being the best song of the bunch.

Now I have to figure out 10 bass guitar parts (again, quick and easy is the key), rerecord 10 rhythm guitar parts, ad-lib 10 lead guitar parts, write 10 lyrics, and write and record 10 melodies... and I only have eight more days. Yeah, I'm gonna finish this thing.

Wish me luck.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Why is Hockey the Most Enjoyable Pro Sport to Watch?

This is why...

Can you say "Best Player on Earth?" I can.

Never mind the scoring-a-goal-while-sliding-on-your-ass finish, how about that spin-o-rama pass off the boards to himself?

Proof that aliens are among us? Quite possibly, yes.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Noteflight lets you write music scores and plays back what you wrote. I'm just messing around, music theory 1 style.

Three Months and More RPM Crap.

Three months ago today I launched this useless blog. If my math is correct this will be post number 263. That's approximately 2.86 posts per day. I am up to 873 hits. If I were an egotist I would calculate the number of hits per day, but way too many of them are actually me so that number isn't a good representation. Still, when I check where the hits come from there are a lot that aren't me. That's kinda nice, even if there are only two or three people hitting regularly, including me. It warms the cockles of my heart, so to speak. Leave a comment. Share the love. If you have a google account you could always follow me too. If you use twitter you can follow robertjames1971, and if you use tumblr, all of my posts here and all of the crap I post to twitter are RSS'd to my account here so you can follow that too.

When did I become a content whore? Have I always been this way? Well... I did get 10,000 hits on the myspace blog I don't use anymore... maybe I have always been a content whore. Who knew?

Enough shameless self promotion... on to the shameless self promotion!

I got up early to work on the RPM project, but not quite as early as I wanted. 5:20 instead of 5:00. I still managed to work out Lame Song #9. I am running into difficulties or two sorts.

First, yesterday the tape I am using errored at about 35:40. I was about 10 seconds into a take and didn't notice for about three minutes. I hate when that happens. I rolled the tape about 10 seconds past that point and tried again and all worked well. Today I was at about the 38:40 mark when one of the tracks somehow printed all sorts of weird extraneous noise. It sounded like digital distortion, but the input levels had been really low. It almost sounds like the track was out of sync with itself. Because I failed to get out of bed at 5:00 I didn't have enough time to do another take. So tomorrow the first thing I will do is dig out another tape and re-track today's Lame Song. Not a big deal. I just can't hit snooze twice again.

The other difficulty is that the well felt pretty dry today. I make no bones about the fact that everything I have written during this challenge has been crap of the highest order. I am working through multiple time constraints and running with whatever musical drivel comes out of my head. For Lame Songs #1-8 I came up with something usable... awful, but usable... very quickly. Not only that, but I have been coming up with (usually) three separate ideas that I have been working into these horribly lame songs. Today, not so much. I was noodling for a while without hitting on anything that was awful but usable. Everything was just awful. I ended up going the gimmick route and messing around with drop D tuning. It worked, I got something out of my pea-brain, but I am a little worried about tomorrow.

Furthermore, RPM is just one February music challenge and I was trying to nail another one too. FAWM (can't forget about that one) challenges you to write 14 songs in 28 days. All along I have been trying to get 10 new songs recorded, but aspiring to actually get 14. I'm worried about pulling that off now. 10 would be outstanding, but suddenly it would also be a little disappointing.

Still, optimism abounds! I will be back at it tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Keys are Fun

Yesterday was just awesome.

After cranking out two RPM ideas and taking the kids to their father's Jen and I spent the rest of the day just flaking out and being together and recharging our batteries.

We went to Breakfast at Sammy J’s in Salem, Nh. It's a typical little greasy spoon/ice cream store on route 97. It's cheap and it's not bad, so on the rare occasions we go out for breakfast we try to go there. The downside is that it has a small parking lot that fills up very fast. It was a good day to go though as we got a spot right in front of the door.

After breakfast it was pretty much a watch movies and flake day. We had started watching Zoolander Sunday night but didn't get very far so we went home and rolled it back a little (so that we could get back into the groove) and watched the rest. We then, obviously, spent pretty much the rest of the day talking only in Zoolander quotes.

I'm pretty sure there's a lot more to life than being really, really, ridiculously good looking. And I plan on finding out what that is.

A eugoogoolizer... one who speaks at funerals

So join now, 'cause at the Derek Zoolander Center For Kids Who Can't Read Good And Wanna Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too, we teach you that there's more to life than just being really, really, really good looking

I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!

You can read minds?

Male models don't think for themselves.
That's not true!
Yes it is, Derek.

Obey my dog!

How can we be expected to teach children to learn how to read if they can't even fit inside the building?

Listen to your friend Billy Zane, he's a cool dude!

There was a moment last night, when she was sandwiched between the two Finnish dwarves and the Maori tribesmen, where I thought, "Wow, I could really spend the rest of my life with this woman".

If there is anything that this horrible tragedy can teach us, it's that a male model's life is a precious, precious commodity. Just because we have chiseled abs and stunning features, it doesn't mean that we too can't not die in a freak gasoline fight accident.

Dallas. 1963. John F. Kennedy.
Lee Harvey Oswald wasn't a male model.
You're goddamn right he wasn't, but the two lookers who capped Kennedy from the Grassy Knoll sure as shit were!

(this is my favorite) I'm a hand model, mama. A finger jockey. We don't think like the face and body boys... we're a different breed.

...just to name a few.

From there it was off to lunch (I sense a food/movie trend here) at Harrison's Roast Beef in... in... Andover? North Andover? Where the hell is that place? Any way, it's a little roast beef sandwich shop near Jen's office, which is also near Merrimack College. We go there on weekdays when it's possible to have lunch together. ie: When I take a vacation day and she doesn't. We even have our own table. Sort of.

Then it was back home where I finally put the universe back in order. Everything on the planet has been slightly off kilter for the last few months. The reason is simple. There existed a Kevin Smith film that I had not seen. Now I have seen it. All is right again.

Zach and Miri Make a Porno is not Kevin Smith's best movie. It is however one funny flick. We were laughing our asses off from start to finish. It is also possibly the only movie ever made that successfully manages to bridge the gap between chick flick (which it is) and hardcore porn (which it is about).

Two words: Freakin' Brilliant.

Of course when you watch a Kevin Smith DVD you can't just budget yourself 90 minutes to two hours to watch the movie. You also have to spend a couple of hours watching the extras. Cut scenes, outtakes, and random other wicked funny stuff. I think we spent something like four hours on it.

After that it was time to order out dinner from Oakland Ave Pizza in Methuen, (this has turned into quite the commercial post. I should get kick backs from all three restaurants) some Family Guy and South Park, then a little quiet reading before bed.

It was just a great day.

This morning started off setting a personal record. I am up to crappy song #8 for the 2009 RPM Challenge. That's my best showing in three tries, and there are still 11 days left. I'm also still not anywhere near being done and I haven't even thought about the hard part yet. But progress is good and this is still very much a fun thing. Onward and Upward.

This morning we had a practical demonstration of the magic of Massachusetts February School Vacation week. We have two cars. We also have two key rings. We have two keys to the van, one on each ring. What we don't have is two keys to the Saturn. One key ring has one, the other key ring does not. This morning at 7:00am Jen took the van to work. I was ready to leave about 10 minutes later. I grabbed my key ring and froze... the Saturn key was on Jen's ring and Jen's ring had probably made it all the way to North Andover by then. Crud.

I called Jen's cell phone... went to voice mail. I sent her a text, no response. I went on my computer and checked google talk (another commercial right there) and she wasn't logged in.

I figured she just hadn't gotten to work yet and I'd give her a few more minutes. I answered an email and then called her again. I got the voice mail again but she beeped in while I was leaving it. She didn't call back when I called the first time because her phone was acting weird and needed to be rebooted a couple of times. She was on her way home.

She got to the house, we traded key rings, I got a couple of extra bonus kisses goodbye (which made the whole thing totally worthwhile... we should take the wrong keys more often!), and I headed off to work. I knew all along that the Saturn was almost out of gas so I had to stop on Pelham Street to fill up. I started the car to leave the gas station at 8:01am. About 45-50 minutes later than I would have liked to have left for work. I got on the highway, drove a tad on the fast side. (cough cough, just a tad) and decided to play the percentages.

I have long given up on taking the highway to work. I drive on the interstates for about 10 miles and then go back roads for about 25 more. Today, however, is the day after a three day weekend... which hopefully means a noticeable chunk of morning commuters would take today off to make it a four day weekend. Also, in Massachusetts, it is school vacation week... which hopefully means a noticeable chunk of morning commuters would take the whole week off to stay at home with the kids. It was a risk, but I decided to go all highway.

It worked. Normally that route would have taken 80-90 minutes to get me to work. Today I was sitting at my desk, punched in, at 8:45.

I love school vacation week.

Monday, February 16, 2009

My very messy RPM workstation. Six songs underway.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

OT this has been a great game. Now we go to the shootout

Damn it I love hockey! Too bad Lowell is down 4-3 to the Portland
Pirates after two periods.

I do so hate the Portland Pirates.

More Hockey!!!

What's wrong with my Bruins???

Please don't let the bubble burst. Please??

They've lost four in a row. I am panicking. PANICKING I TELL YOU!!!

Please don't let them come unglued the way Ottawa did last year. Anything but that. Anything but that. Please let them be good enough to win a playoff round. Please? Please?

Slightly related note: We're going to our second Lowell Devils game in the last week. They play Portland tonight. I hate Portland. A win today coupled with a Worcester regulation loss puts us back into a playoff spot. It's almost impossible to imagine, but it's true.

Even better, some one just suggested that we go to the Border Cafe for lunch. That pretty much makes this a perfect day.

Last night we spent Valentine's Day visiting the Geyer's. We thought we were cool when we took the first game of 45's. Then Mike and Tammy taught us the true meaning of betting free card games when they pasted us twice. It was a lot of fun. I hope we do it again soon.

That's it for now. Expect hundreds of mobile posts today.

Bye for now.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Friday, February 13, 2009

The clouds part and there is Venus saying hello. Note there is still
a little light in the sky.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy Birthday Abraham Lincoln

200 years ago today in a one room log cabin in Kentucky Abraham Lincoln was born. 51 years later he would be elected as the 16th President of the United States of America. He did a few other things too... he won the Civil War (not personally of course, but he was Commander in Chief of all US armed forces), restored the Union, and put an end to the darkest chapter in the history of our nation by ending slavery. Sadly he was also the first President assassinated. Some believe that had he lived to finish his second term in office the reintegration of the Southern states into the union may not have turned into the painful experience we call reconstruction, but who knows.

I am a bit of a fan of Civil War ear photography, and Lincoln is always a good subject. There are portraits of him that we're all familiar with, like this one...

...but have you seen this one or a much younger Abe?

Portraits are nice and all, but I prefer the candid shots. Have you ever seen this one?

Proof that he really did dig those tall hats. (another reason I am a Lincoln fan is he was almost as tall as I am. A bit less than two inches shorter, but still the tallest President yet.) Here's another one, but I am not 100% sure that this is a photograph. It looks a little like a painting in spots.

Two more pictures, this time of The President in action. This is a photo of Lincoln's first inauguration, in 1861. I have seen other pictures of this day that show just how unfinished the Capital building was. They were still putting on the dome. This one is closer to the podium than any other I could find with a quick google images search, although you can't make out the President at all.

For the final picture, my favorite of all Lincoln or Civil War shots that I've ever seen. This is Lincoln's second inauguration. I love this shot because when you blow it up you can clearly see John Wilkes Booth standing on the balcony to Lincoln's left. This image isn't a high enough resolution to make it out, but I think I can remember where he was.

On a totally unrelated note, Jen said she was going to be busy at work today and I haven't seen her on google talk at all. I miss her terribly.

I love you Jenny sweetie.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A New Interpretation of an American Hero

I hope these things don't autoplay. I can't tell, I have a firefox extension blocking flash so I have to click on them to play them... maybe you do too?

If you're at work, make sure you have headphones on. Otherwise definitely Not Safe for Work.

Random Crap

This is one of those Random Crap type posts that will mean nothing to anyone other than me. Kind of like every other post I've ever posted.

The Bruins lost to the San Jose Sharks last night. I watched parts of the first period and all of the second period. We were having dinner at my parent's house and we left after the second. I had the beginning of the third period on the radio. It was 2-1 Boston when I got in the car and 3-2 San Jose when I got out of it.

Up until that point it was a great game. The second period was high energy, fast skating, awesome passing plays, and out of this world goal tending. The final score was 5-2 Sharks, which is why I am not posting highlights.

My gut has been telling me all year that San Jose is the better team. I am still expecting to see either San Jose or Detroit winning the cup this year. But still... the Bruins have been so over the top good I am, despite last night's game, starting to see them at least taking the East. I don't know if I'm getting too excited though. They will probably tank in the first round again, just like San Jose will probably tank in the second round. Dallas could be the winner for all I know.

Speaking of Hockey... it's uber-nerd time for Robbie. I have a fantasy hockey team in one of the free yahoo sports leagues. My team, which I named "Neely is God," is in first place for the second week in a row. I'm far enough ahead that I am guaranteed to be in first next week too no matter what happens in this weeks games.

I had the second pick in the draft, which means I have Sidney Crosby, which means that I am almost guaranteed to win the assist stat each week. My goal tending has been stealing points left and right. Tim Thomas is definitely the man.

I can see you oozing with jealousy over that lineup. I just hope Steve Mason gets over Mono quick so that I can move Tomas Holmstrom to the IR and pick up another right winger. I told you this would be uber-nerdish.

I haven't written the obligatory RPM update in a few days. I left off on Thursday with three songs started. I didn't work over the weekend (as expected) but I got back into it yesterday and today. I am now up to five songs started. One of them uses multiple time signatures as part of FAWM's challenge of the week. The song itself sucks though, as expected.

I still have a cold. It's getting better though. I thought I was over it on Monday morning but it came roaring back on me. Stupid cold. Stupid, stupid cold.

That's it. Maybe more later.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Stoplight Astrophotography

This has got to be the lamest little drive-home-time-waster I've come up with yet. Taking pictures of big empty rocks in space while stopped at stoplights. Or occasionally while stopped for other reasons, but mostly stoplights.

Last night was a full moon and it looked pretty cool to me. I took a few on the way home, and then took out the real camera to take one from our icy driveway (see the previous post). I slipped taking that one and fell flat on my fat ass, and I think I may have damaged the camera too. It was in the padded bag when I fell, but it acted a little strange.

Anyway, here are last evening's stoplight astrophotographs...

Moon over Liberty Street in Concord, MA

Moon over Maple Street in Carlisle, MA

Moon over Bearse Ave in Methuen, MA

Monday, February 9, 2009

Is that Full?

I took this with the real camera after taking a bunch with the camera phone (that'll surely end up here later).

All it cost me was a fall on the icy driveway. Way to be graceful ya dumbass.

Click on the image to see the full size file.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Venus over Wanalancit. Celebrating Lowell's win


We're going to see the Lowell Devils tonight. We have a 10 game pack this year and have missed almost every game that we bought. It's been almost surreal how every time a game day comes around we have something else that is very important come up. It's like the universe itself wants us to miss all of our games.

We actually have tickets for today and the next two Sundays but, case in point, Patrick's baptism is going to keep us from the third game. We'll make it today, and hopefully next week too.

The Devils are where they always are, outside of a playoff position. They are in 5th in the Division, but only four points out. I haven't been paying a lot of attention over the last few weeks, but during the times I have been watching they've been terribly streaky. A shit load of wins in a row followed by a shit load of losses. They won last night, let's hope that's the start of a new streak.

Go Devils!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Earlier today

Missed this one earlier today. Downtown Rochester, NH.

Deviant Slide Show? Maybe?

Does this work?

Looks like it does.

I don't remember what it was that made me start posting at Deviantart. I think it was the fact that the site hosted images and didn't have the word "bucket" in it's name. Eventually I gave in and started using the "bucket" (as in photobucket) for hosting images that I would post on various blog sites, and I stopped going to deviant. I do know that I tried not to put any real crap there (meaning pictures that aren't as crappy as usual) so it was going to kind of be "the best of me" type of site.

I don't know what possessed me to go back to that site this week, but I have been checking out some of the new features that have popped up in my absence. One of which seems to be the slide show you see here.

Hopefully those pictures suck less than usual.

Friday, February 6, 2009

I visited for the first time in ages the other night and put up a bunch of pictures taken this past year. I'm just curious what the embed code looks like.

Day Trip to New Hampshire 1 by ~blathering-idiot on deviantART

Yet another embed

Does this work?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Moon Over Nines

The moon over the parking lot at the 99 in Tewksbury, where we ate
dinner after learning we had kicked ass on the foccus test.

Venus Over St Williams

Yet another camera phone picture of a pixel-sized Venus. This time
overlooking the church we will be married in this May.

Throwing Muses in Sydney... Again

It looks like this Moshcam site has the full January 16, 2009 show. I'll be tossing up clips whenever I get the urge... which might be kinda regularly.

Can I embed Applets?

The answer is yes, however it messes up the formatting, so just click here instead.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

RPM Update or Screw You Steinberg

I have officially begun working on the 2009 RPM Challenge.

Let the failure commence!

As noted last night, I reinstalled the USB interface drivers and the Steinberg Cubase software. I plugged a mic into the interface and recorded two tracks of me mumbling. It worked fine.

Today I got my fat ass out of bed at a little bit past 5:00am and went into the cellar. My first task was to get a load of laundry going. After that I grabbed my Les Paul, a tuner (terribly important), my Line 6 Pod, my Alesis drum machine, my hand held tape recorder, and a few cables.

I went up to the kitchen table where my laptop awaited, pulled out the guitar (and the tuner) and started noodling. The plan is to take the first two or three ideas that pop out of my pea-brain and work them into something. I plugged the guitar into the interface and recorded the first idea. I then stayed on the same track and tacked the second idea onto the end of the first.

That's as far as I got kids.

Cubase informed me that it had suffered a "serious error" and requested I save my project as a new name, close the program, and reopen. Fat chance. I closed the error message and it immediately came back up. I closed it again and Cubase crashed. Nice!

I then went into Audacity to see if I could record my noodles there and it did not recognize the interface as an input device. Odd, thinks I.

The last time I installed this crap I tried reinstalling the drivers at this point and that was when whatever corruption happened happened. So I uninstalled everything I had installed Monday night, and then reinstalled it all. While that was going on I programmed the lamest drum machine patterns ever.

Once the reinstallation was done I opened up Cubase for the first time and wouldn't ya know it, it hung. I went into Audacity and it was seeing the audio interface as an input device. I quickly recorded my crappy drum machine program and a bad scratch guitar... which were out of time because Audacity has serious latency issues... which is why I wanted to use the piece of crap Cubase shit in the first place.

So... it's back to my ancient, completely obsolete ADAT 8-track. I uninstalled Cubase and all of the Steinberg crap but left the Lexicon interface drivers installed. Hopefully I will be able to use that for mastering purposes. It would be much much more convenient than using my CD burner rack. Cheaper too as I can't get the Music CDr's it writes to anymore.

What did we learn by this morning's events? A few things.

First, I can actually get my fat ass out of bed at 5:00am to try and write music.
Second, My adventures in RPM/FAWM have officially commenced.
Third, Steinberg doesn't just make ugly, shitty sounding guitars and basses. They make shitty, useless, crap-o-la recording software too.

Thanks for nothing Steinberg, you suck.

Good day!

Monday, February 2, 2009


Some months ago I purchased a USB audio interface made by Lexicon called the Lambda. The unit would allow me to record stereo audio onto a computer using only a USB port. It's a nifty little unit.

I installed the drivers and the Steinberg Cubase LE4 recording software onto my laptop and started trying to record music.

Two days later my laptop was dead.

Jen and I (as mentioned in previous posts) decided to try and resurrect my dead lappy and she managed to make it happen. We tried installing Windows XP (it used to have Vista) but XP was no go. We ended up having a duel boot with Linux and the Beta version of Windows 7.

Tonight I reinstalled the Lambda drivers and the Cubase software. I want to use this friggin' lappy for the RPM Challange damn it and I do not want to buy a new interface.

So far so good. I haven't done anything other than test drive, but the computer is still running and all seems to be happy.

If it fries windows again I will go back to my original plan and only use my 8-track. Hopefully things will go better this time.

But I am afraid to unplug the unit and I am afraid to shut down the computer.