Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I would do anything for love, including that.

Baby loves her boy bands

Nothing of Interest Today

I'm working a half day today. That's always fun. I am planning on spending an hour or so recording. Only two more songs to finish and then I can start mixing. It's 31 days late and counting.

Jen just let me know that we have a viewing set up for a big house in Methuen. Looking forward to that.

The wedding cake contract is signed and in the mail. We're setting up meetings with various vendors to set schedules and things. Last night we finished picking out the music for the special dances and entrances and stuff. I kept flip flopping like a congressman over whether we should use all Rush music or all Beatles music. In the end we compromised.

I installed a new app onto my iPhone last night. It lets you put together panoramic pictures. You take two shots and line them up, then take another and line it up to that, and so on. The results are kinda crappy, but that may be my fault. Here is one I put together last night. Click to enlarge.

I was hoping to get a little more of each picture into the final image. Here is the raw image that I exported out of the panolab app, before I cropped it in picasa.

Here is a youtube clip that went around the office yesterday. Stephen King fans are mostly dying for something like this but, as the clip shows, this is not real. It's a fake trailer for a nonexistent Dark Tower movie.

So those are the interesting things today. Not much else going on. Nothing important. Nothing to see here, please disburse.

(note... lots of inside jokes there.)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Things to Come

Check out the little countdown clock near the bottom of this page. I'll give you a few seconds.

>whistling random Beatles songs for a few seconds<

Did you see it? It says we are less than nine weeks away from the wedding. That's nice, but even better is this: Today is March 30, 2009. The wedding is May 30, 2009.

We have exactly two months to go.

Two months from today, my former girlfriend and current fiancé will become my wife. Two months from today I will officially be some one's husband. Two months from today I will officially become two some ones' step father.

I'm ready.

I need a weekend to recover from my weekend... again

What a full weekend that was. I need about three days worth of 24 hours a day sleep to recover.

On Saturday, we got up and piled into the car and headed to the post office. Why? Well, to mail the wedding invitations of course. If you're on the guest list you'll be getting your invite soon. If you're not it doesn't mean we don't love you, it just means we were successful in staying on budget. The goal was to keep the guest list small. We managed to do that.

Next stop was the kid's father's house. We dropped them off for the day.

After that was the thrill a minute fun of an oil change at Jiffy Lube. My thought at the time was what is the definition of "jiffy" because I thought I knew what it meant but the minutes ticking by obviously meant that my supposed definition was inaccurate in some way.

With our freshly changed oil Jen and I headed up to her mom's house in Rochester. There were two reasons for the trip. The first was wedding related. We are going to try and have a table full of old pictures of the two of us so everyone can laugh at my long hair. Jen's mother had a huge box full of old pictures and we were there to sort through them all and get a stack of younger Jenny pics.

With that completed we moved on to the second reason for the trip. We were going to see The Beatles in concert.

Sort of. We saw Beatlemania Now at the Opera House in Rochester. I have a long and storied history of looking down my snooty nose at cover bands and flat out loathing tribute bands. There are two exceptions to the loathing. Elvis Presley and The Beatles. You can never have enough Elvis impersonators or Beatles tribute bands. Keep 'em coming folks.

They played two sets each with two costume changes. The costumes were song-period appropriate. They started off doing songs through A Hard Days Night in the Ed Sullivan suits.

Then they moved on to the Help era stuff, through Rubber Soul.

Next up was the Sgt Pepper outfits for songs from Revolver through Magical Mystery Tour.

And finally, the Let it Be looks for the White Album onward.

Musically they were pretty good. The harmonies were spot on. "George" was very accurate with his leads. "John" was accurate in his lack of soloing skill, but "Get Back" seemed to show a lack of ability to bend strings and stay in tune. It was a little painful at times. With the exception of a moment where "Paul's" voice vanished from the mix during "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," and a synth that can only be described as "cheezy," they handled the more complicated late-period songs very well. The best songs for me though were actually the lesser known ones. My personal highlights were the 2nd set closer, "I'm Down" which frankly just rocked, and the encore closer, "Long Tall Sally" which may have been the tightest, most energetic song of the whole night.

The consensus of the evening was the show was a blast. Ironically, we overheard some Opera House staff talking about the ticket sales for the night. It turns out that Jen and I may have attended the two highest grossing events this season. Beatlemania Now, and Bob Marley. That's Bob Marley the comic, not Bob Marley the dead reggae legend. There were no sheriffs shot that night, nor was there any getting up or standing up for anyone's rights.

This brings us to Sunday. The kids came over a little after eight, and we fed them and piled everyone into the car again so we could go view a couple of houses.

The first one was down south near the Merrimack in Methuen. It's a little close to Lawrence for my taste, but the house instantly won us over. The street is nice, not overly congested like most of the streets in that part of town. The outside is well kept, the fenced in yard is awesome, the deck on the back of the house is perfect, every room downstairs was beautiful, and there was a huge basement with high ceilings that could easily hold a 5-6 piece band. (hehe) The only downside was the second floor. It looked like they took a two bedroom cape and added an upstairs to it for two more bedrooms. The rooms themselves were huge, and the kids were practically drooling over them. The problem was the ceilings were about 6 feet 4 inches high... in other words, about two inches too low for me to stand up straight. They were also steeply slanted on the sides so near the walls it was even too short for the kids. All of that is very doable, it just means that when it comes time for getting stuff done upstairs I won't be of much use.

The second house we looked at was much much bigger. It was heaping with potential. Too much so. In other words, it needed work. The kitchen was a little sketchy, the dining room was beautiful but the floor needed some work and none of the walls were painted. The living room was also beautiful but there was some sort of heating issue and one of the baseboard radiators had leaked crap all over the hardwood floor. The second floor was perfect except for the banister that was ripped out of the wall. The cellar was huge but the ceiling was too low for me to stand up straight, and there was another banister ripped out of the wall issue as well.

It is too soon for us to start thinking about actually putting in an offer on any house. We are just in information gathering/education mode right now, but in these early stages the first house we saw yesterday is going to be hard to top. Jen and I both had the same thought as we walked in. "We could live here."

After the house viewing was done for the day it was chores time. Neither Jen nor I are neat freaks by any stretch of the imagination. We both have a very high tolerance for clutter. On Friday we both simultaneously reached our clutter threshold. The result? Cleaning. Massive amounts of cleaning.

Jen had to go food shopping, which is something we tend to forget about for long stretches of time, so she dropped me and the kids off and we started digging into the mess. After about five hours the living room, dining room, and kitchen are as clean as they've been at any time since we moved in. The kids did a fantastic job helping. They were actually sometimes fighting over who was going to help with what jobs. They both wanted to do everything. It was great. Their new favorite activity may be dusting with Pledge.

That pretty much sums up the weekend for us. After the cleaning was done Jen cooked an awesome Indian dinner for us. Chicken Tika, Naan, the works. Then we watched Lilo and Stitch two, which we brought back from Disney last June and then it was off to bed, with clean sheets for everyone. The perfect end to a very busy fun filled weekend.

I now need to take a moment to sing the praises of a good friend of mine. My 80 gig iPod classic. At about 11:00am I popped the iPod into the Bose dock player we have in the living room. I chose a playlist that consisted of at most one version of every Beatles song. The playlist is titled, Beatles - no repeats. I set the iPod to shuffle the playlist and hit play. Six hours later when the chores were finished it was still going and it never repeated a song. Can a vinyl record do that? Nope. Can a cassette tape do that? Nope. Can an 8-track do that? Nope. Can a compact disc do that? Nope. The iPod may be the greatest invention in the history of the human race.

That is all.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sunday Preview

Viewing houses in Methuen. At least one, maybe more if the agent has them set up.

Spring cleaning.

Waking up.

I should have done that last one already, but I am just sleeeeepy.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

At the Opera House

Yes, the balcony is slanted.

Bring on the (faux) Beatles!

At the Rochester Opera House. Beatlemania just finished their
soundcheck. They were playing U2 songs.

Off to Beatlemania


I got up at 5:30am and hit the basement. Three more songs are now
set. Only two more to go before my February album is finished.
Should be sometime in April.

Tonight we are heading up to Rochester to see Beatlemania Now. I have
lots of Beatles on my iPhone to warm us up during the long drive.
Should be a fun night.

Tomorrow we are checking out houses in town. Again, should be fun.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Our First Viewing

What a shit hole!

But seriously... what a shit hole!

The pictures were nice. There was a cool deck on the side of the house. There was a swimming pool in the back. It was fenced in by a nice tall wooden fence.

We got there...

The deck was so rotten I thought I was going to fall through. The swimming pool collapsed and was rusting on the ground. The tall fence was almost as rotten as the deck and was missing in large sections.

And that's just the start!

Add to that the fact that the wiring was terrible and the house is probably minutes away from burning down, and a small little detail of the roof needing to be replaced.


Here 'tis

The asking price was just shy of $220,000.

The decor gave us such a nice warm and fuzzy feeling as well. The mountain of neon beer signs. The poster of a naked woman in the master bedroom closet. The monster truck in the driveway.

Our little duplex is a huge step up from that little house.


Who cares, we viewed a house. We are officially in the house hunting game. We have real estate agents trying to get our business. People are starting to compete for us. We're still not going to be interested in making any offers until after the honeymoon at the earliest, but we are officially in the housing market game.

It is wicked exciting.

I was just going to write a little bit about the grande plan to dump cable television in favor of the internet. The only things I really watch on TV are Bruins games, Red Sox games, South Park, and Family Guy.

South Park is available on line through the South Park studios website. Family Guy (I believe) is available through Hulu. (sorry no links. Rob is lazy. Rob is also unsure if he spelled Hulu right but doesn't care)

Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League both offer television broadcast packages online. I was going to say that we could order up those two packages (they even have a bundle where you can buy them both!) and plug my laptop into the television and say screw you cable.

Unfortunately black out restrictions apply.


I can't live without NESN.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Jupiter Goes Behind the Sun

Jupiter goes behind the sun and meets the forever man who says, "hurry up, she's waiting!" (sorry... joke for Eric Clapton fans.)

Town Hall

Watch the President's online Town Hall meeting at


Note: Legalizing marijuana will not, in the President's view, stimulate the economy. There ya go.

100 Questions and Answers About Buying a New Home

Jen just sent me a very interesting article from the Housing and Urban Development Department's website. If you're like us and just starting to poke around the housing market it could be a good read for you.

100 Questions and Answers About Buying a New Home

Have I run out of things to say?

I am 100% blocked on what to write about today. I can't think of anything.

Three days ago Jen and I were not considering entering the housing market. Tonight we are going to view a house in Tewksbury. Sunday we are going to view houses in Methuen. We are not ready to start dropping offers yet. We need to get the wedding paid for and then save a little more on top of that, but we're ready enough to start getting our feet wet in the process.

It's scary. Prior to 2009 the largest purchase I made was an $8,000 used car. Now this year we've bought a new car for much more than that, and now we're looking at houses for more than 10 times the new car. Yeah, that's scary. It's also exciting as all hell! I can't wait to get into this! Realistically we'll be in the current residence until the late summer or early fall. More like fall probably. Who cares, this is going to be fun.

On the home front, Jen was still sick this morning but she was better than yesterday. I hope she continues to feel better. I love her.

No music this morning. I was way too comfortable snuggled up in the bed. Looks like album-a-month is going to be album-a-three-month. Who cares, it's still a blast.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Ballistic Rask

Do you follow hockey?

Have you heard all the ruckus about Don Cherry badmouthing Alex Ovetchkin for his over the top goal celebrations?

What would Grapes think of Tukka Rask?


I love taking pictures of stuff.

I love looking at pictures of stuff in the sky.

I hate the person who took this picture because he's awesome and I am not.

Here is the link to the full story.

Here is the source of my jealousy:

The space station with the shuttle docked to it... photographed from the ground. Jerk.

Finally Up to Date

Almost didn't make it though.

I ordered the Dead Like Me direct to DVD movie, "Life After Death" prior to it's release on February 17, 2009. Amazon shipped it that day and I had it in my mitts a few days later. I did not, however, actually watch it then. I put it down somewhere in the living room and waited for a good opportunity to sit down with the Soon-to-Be Mrs and watch the foul-mouthed post-mortem goodness.

Last night the time had come. Jenny was feeling very sick, sick enough to stay out of work, and we weren't going to be doing anything strenuous or requiring thought... so Dead Like Me sounded perfect!

Unfortunately it was also missing in action. I looked where I put it when I took it out of the delivery box... nope. I looked on top of the DVD rack... nope. I looked on the bookcase, where DVDs tend to congregate... nope. Where the hell was it? I needed my Reaper Fix!

Finally I found it. Somehow it had migrated to behind the playstation. How it got there I will never know. Honestly I don't care. I popped it in to watch it, sat down with dinner while Jen was on the couch looking at real estate listings online, and I watched it.

I'm not good at writing reviews beyond saying it was good or it wasn't. This wasn't great. It wasn't terrible though. I expected it to be terrible. No Rube? It's going to be terrible. It wasn't funny enough, although there were a few laughs. Too much drama in the dramedy. They wrapped up George and Reggie very nicely. It was nice to see that. It also answered the seemingly unanswerable question, "How do you kill some one who is already dead?" My main beef was that I just couldn't get behind the new Daisy. She just wasn't good. I want more Dead Like Me direct to video releases, I just want to the old Daisy back. I'm sure the new actress (I am way to lazy to look up anyone's names right now) is a nice enough person and all, and I'm sure in the right role she'd be awesome... just not this one, thanks.

I would suggest anyone who likes offensive humor laced with eff-bombs should check out the two seasons worth of Showtime episodes before checking into the movie. The show itself was better, but the movie does fit in pretty well. Even if there is no Rube.

Today we are sick. Jen is much sicker than I am, but we are both under the weather. I hope my sweetie feels better soon. I hate to see her feeling bad. Get well Jenny. I love you!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

House Hunting?

We have a couple of friends who are getting into the rental property business. They just bought their second condo.

I have another couple of friends who just put an offer in on a house.

My sister is just about to sell the condo that's been vacant since she got married in '07.

They say the way to succeed in any market it to buy low and sell high. Things are definitely low these days, and there seem to be a lot of properties available.

We've been casually looking at real estate listings for a while now. The ultra low interest rates coupled with the massive tax credits, plus the reduced cost of homes...

Are we in the market? Are we house hunting?

Something tells me we are.

And I like it.

Tuesday Already

Last night Jen and I met with Fr Flater, the priest who is going to perform our wedding ceremony. We were supposed to go over everything we have chosen for the ceremony, readings and when to do what and so forth. We did all of our prep work with another priest because Fr Flater is technically retired but still does a lot of traveling work.

The meeting turned out to essentially be a waste of time. He asked us a few general things, we answered them, and then he said the specifics will be covered at the rehearsal. Boom. Done.

So what to do then? How about get fat celebrate at the Border Cafe (again). So we drove to my folk's house and dropped off Jenny's car and then drove together to tex/mex paradise the Border. We made it into a date night and had a great time hanging out and chatting about everything. We're just a week or so shy of our second first-date-aversary and we can still just sit and chat. I love that, and I love Jen.

You may have noticed that I have now twice annoyed the piss out of you struck out text in this post. You can indirectly thank twitter for that. I checked out the top 10 twitter trends this morning and one of them was "Rare HTML Tags You". I clicked on it to see what it was referring to and saw a mountain of tweets and retweets referencing an article called 10 Rare HTML Tags You Really Should Know. There I learned about the ins and del tags. I'd just the other day been wondering how to strike through text in HTML. (really... I was... honestly) and twitter lead me to the solution. Del tags. Very cool.

Another twitter top trend was an article called The Ultimate Guide for Everything Twitter. I'll have to peruse that sucker as well.

This morning I got up at 5:30 and did a little more recording. Lame song #5 is now completely tracked. I had enough time to start working on lame song #6, but that song isn't really a song, more like a continuous loop of stupidity and I'm not sure where to take it next. It's going to need more time than the rest of them. Still, five songs done, five to go, and then mixing... which should be painful. Will my album-in-a-month end up as an album-in-two-months or will it stretch out even further? Stay tuned!

Monday, March 23, 2009


This morning on route 495 South there was an accident in the median on the Northbound side. My side of the road had a curiosity delay. Figures, the accident was literally on a different road and we had to stop too.

Or so it seemed.

After the accident the traffic didn't clear. After less than a quarter of a mile I found out why.


That was fresh too. No emergency vehicles were on the scene yet. There were a lot of people standing around looking at it. It would seem that no one was hurt. That's good news.

Don't you hate it when you have those weird black out moments while driving? I don't mean literally blacking out or anything dangerous like that. I just mean when you are driving along and suddenly ask yourself something like, "where the hell am I?"

I had one of those moments today. I was just wrapped up in the music I was listening too and lost track of where I was. Serious auto pilot. I thought back and could remember most of how I got where I was, but I still cannot for the life of me remember crossing route 117. That's pretty scary.

Speaking of scary, I found this story on twitter this morning. It seems an online data storage company had major hardware failures that ended up losing over 7000 customer's worth of data. My question is, if you're in the backup busines... why don't you have a backup. Just a thought.

I had a really rough time getting to sleep last night. We went to bed a little late, but it took me a long time after that to doze off. The result was no recording this morning. It also resulted in me being really tired this morning. We had a full weekend.

First on Saturday we hung some wall board at Larry's. I am not cut out for manual labor. Later we went to The Border Cafe for a big get together with 11 people. We're so busy now leading up to the wedding that we might not get another chance to spend time with most of our friends until after the honeymoon. This was great.

Yesterday we had my Uncle Johnny's first anniversary mass. It was brutal. The mass was also celebrated for a group of men returning from some sort of men's retreat. The holy rolling was almost unbearable. Almost as bad as the group of 50-60 men on the alter singing and clapping on one and three like the worst ever stereotypical soul-less white people.

Afterward we went to my parent's house with the whole family and had the annual St Patrick's Day boiled dinner. It was gooood. Salty and goooood. We all hung out for a while and watched the Bruins beat the Devils to clinch the Northeast division and hopefully get off the terrible schnide they've been on.

Now it's Monday and I'm really tired and I have to work.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Almost corned beef time.

So... Hungry... Must... Have... Salty... Corned beef...


Today we go to Johnny's anniversary Mass and then to my folk's house for corned beef dinner.

mmm mmm mmm good!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Continued from Yesterday

The original promo video for La Villa Strangiato.

Bask in it's amazingness.

Rush live on a sound stage in 1978.

Three More

I got up at 5:30am today and finished recording the leads on lame songs 2-4. Four songs done, six to go, and only 21 days late!

Busy day today, off to a good start.

Friday, March 20, 2009

5 minutes to the weekend!

I get off work for the weekend in five minutes.

Let's celebrate with some Rush.

At the Pinkpop Festival in Holland in 1979.

Uncle Johnny

One year ago today my Godfather passed away. He was a diabetic who spent most of the last months of his life in and out of the hospital dealing with circulation problems in his leg. He had a surgeon who was very quick to slice him up like a roast in attempts to get the blood flowing. Johnny loved the guy. Eventually he lost one of his legs below the knee. He had seemed to be on death's door a number of times (we almost lost him Christmas Day) but after they took his leg he recovered quickly.

Except for one seemingly minor thing. One of the incisions in his thigh from an earlier operation was not healing. Every now and then it would just split open on him and he'd be back in the hospital again. One year ago this morning it split open and opened up one of his main arteries with it. It only took a couple of minutes for him to bleed to death. He had a life alert necklace on and hit it, but in the few seconds it took for them to respond he was already fading out.

The life alert folks called my father. It took him a little less than five minutes to get to Johnny's house, but by the time he got there it was already too late. Johnny was gone.

I was also on the list of people for life alert to call. I work more than an hour away from Johnny's house, so I was the last person on the list. I never leave my cell phone ringer on at work though and I didn't catch the call coming in. I did catch the voicemail popping up though and I listened to it and called my father. I was terrified that if something was happening and no one else was available to get the call then maybe not hearing the phone vibrate when it was 10 inches away from me might turn out to be a horrible thing.

I called my father's cell phone and he answered right away. He was already at Johnny's house and it was already over. He was crying when I spoke to him. I hope to never hear him cry like that again.

My boss and I sit next to each other so he heard everything that was going on. When I hung up with my father I told him that my uncle had died and that I needed to go be with my father. I think I was calm. I might not have been. I might have been a jittery basket case. I made it as far as the car before the tears started. I got in and tried for a few seconds to calm myself down. I knew that my father was going to need us all to hold it together and I wanted to be strong for him. I called Jen to tell her what had happened and I lost it. I balled my eyes out for about five minutes.

Eventually I pulled it together and headed to Johnny's house. My father was there with a couple of cops. They were waiting for some one to come and bring the body to the coroner's office. I saw Johnny through a crack in the bathroom door. He was slumped over in his wheel chair with his back to me. There was blood everywhere. Part of me wishes I hadn't seen him. Another part of me is glad I got one last look at him. I can't tell which part is right.

The last time I saw him alive was the Sunday prior. We had had our annual Irish boiled dinner at my parent's house. Johnny wasn't feeling well enough to go so some of us brought some to him. I think it was me and Jen and my sister and her husband. Jen and I only stayed for a few minutes. We had to go to Larry's house for a surprise birthday party for Nawal. We also had some big news to share with him. That was the day Jen and I rented the duplex. We got to tell him. He looked old and tired that day, but he was happy. He was happy for us. Lisa and Ken stayed with him for a couple of hours just hanging out and talking.

One thing I knew for sure was that Johnny loved Jen. When he was going through the long hospital stays Jen and I tried to visit him at least once a week. He used to beam at her. He introduced her to a friend as his niece. He clearly thought the world of her and through all the pain he was going through he made sure I knew how happy he was that she and I were together. There are only two things I regret with regard to Johnny. One is that he never met the kids. The other is that he died before Jen and I decided to marry. I know both of those things would have made him very happy. I wish I got the chance to share them with him.

This weekend there is an anniversary mass for Uncle Johnny at St Williams. The whole family is going to go, and afterward we will have the annual corned beef and cabbage dinner feast at my parents house. I wish Johnny could be there. I miss him very much.

Today is the first day of Spring. Some how that seems fitting. It feels some how symbolic of things moving on and getting better.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Time to Get That Pilot's License!

This is an excerpt from a blog posted in bostonmagazine.com.

I really want to get a sport pilot's license and get me one of these things. Screw you 80 minute commute!

In non-Logan-related aviation news the much lampooned Terrafugia Transition, a flying car “roadable aircraft” did something most people (Boston media included) were skeptical it would ever do. It flew. On Wednesday the car plane, er, car-plane flew over 3,000 feet for 37 seconds at the Plattsburgh International Airport in Plattsburgh, NY.

Instead of the Wright brothers, the creators of the first roadable aircraft were the husband and wife team of Anna and Carl Dietrich. The pair, both pilots, met while students in MIT’s graduate program in aeronautics. Along with three other MIT engineers and pilots, they founded Terrafugia in 2006 in Woburn. Carl and Anna were married about a year later.

The challenges facing the small start-up were daunting. After years of work on the design, dating all the way back to their grad work at MIT, they still needed to construct the Transition piece by piece, secure funding and comply with regulators, all while ignoring the taunts of skeptics. But after watching the “stunning” liftoff, Richard Gersh, the VP of business development (and the only non-engineer in the 10-person company), tells Boston Daily that it was all worthwhile. “The huge celebration we had reminded me of the Sox winning the World Series in ‘04,” says Gersh. “We knew it would happen eventually, but it was great when it finally did.”

The Transition is classified as a Light Sport Aircraft, which means it only requires a sport pilot license to fly. The license requires less flying time, only 20 hours of in-flight training, and is only valid for one or two-seater planes that don’t exceed flight speeds of 138 mph.

Terrafugia’s roadable aircraft was designed to avoid many of the pitfalls associated with owning a private plane. Rather than renting a hangar at the airport, where some airports have five-year waiting lists and most charge significant amounts of money, the Transition can be stored in a normal two-car garage. Its wings fold up in about 30 seconds for highway driving and storage.

Future owners could easily take the aircraft out to Nantucket for the day. Just drive the Transition to the closest airport, glide down the runway, and fly over the traffic at speeds of 115 mph to Nantucket for lunch. No car rental necessary. And in bad weather the plane can land at any airport and take to the highway. The aircraft also uses regular automotive gasoline and is good for trips under 500 miles.

Gersh says, “One of our goals is to put the excitement back in flying for all ages. We want to put the interest of becoming a pilot back in the minds of many people who never thought they could become pilots.”

Terrafugia looks to have a vehicle in customer’s hands by 2011. They are already taking downpayments of $10,000 toward the estimated cost of $198,000, which is less than the standard Cessna 172. Gersh describes the test flight as a “mile stone” and acknowledges that it was necessary to muzzle, temporarily at least, naysayers. “If you are making an airplane and it hasn’t flown, you don’t really have an airplane,” he admits.

But, to be sure, this aircraft is only for certified pilots. Gersh says it might replace their plane, but it’s not meant to replace their car, a la “Jetsons.” There is also still a significant amount of work left before the aircraft hits the market. It needs to undergo additional flight and drive testing and a pre-production prototype must be built and certified, according to the company’s press release. Still the fabled dream of transitioning seamlessly from land to air and back is a tremendous step, er, leap closer. Gersh says, “We are all tired, but it’s a good tired.” He adds, “And my kids are proud of me.”

Underwater Volcano Eruption

Dig this:

Embeding Music

Great, now I'm in an embedding mood. Thanks google.

I wanted very much to be done with my RPM craptastic album this week. I'm not even close. So I'll just embed Break Even's second CD instead.

(I didn't play lead guitar on "Turn Away" or "Suicide". I co-wrote "The Right Place" sort of, barely, and "The Sun", and the craptastic "Four Walls" was all mine babie.
Jeff Bisset - Vocals + Drums on tracks 1 & 2
Dave Gammon - Bass
Bob Sullivan - Drums on 3 - 7
Steve Wyka - Guitar + the tiny bit of Keyboards you might hear
Me - Guitar + backing vocals)

Screw Google Book Search

So I read an article on mashable today that said you can embed books from Google Book Search onto your web page. There is even a nice code generator available to do all the work for you.

I searched for Moby Dick, seeing as it was probably in the public domain which would legally allow me to post the whole bloody thing without owing anyone money, and went to the generator.

It gave me a spiffy little script to embed into an html page. I tried it. It didn't work. I tried it again with a different reference and it didn't work. I took one of their example jobbies and copied the source code, then used the ISBN numbers from the book I wanted and it worked!

I then came over to blogger to add it to a post here in order to give myself a little shot of snooty culture and it didn't work. I then refreshed the page it had worked on 2.6 minutes prior and it didn't work.

Screw you Google Book Search.

Anyway. Internet Explorer 8 came out today. Do I wanna? I have a version of it with Windows 7 on my laptop at home, but I am such a Firefox fanboy I have never even opened it. IE ranks fourth in my browser standings.
1. Firefox
2. Chrome
3. Safari
4. Internet Explorer.

Actually, I recently installed Opera on my linux machine so I would rank that ahead of IE. So I guess I'll hold off on IE8 for now.

Back to your regularly scheduled 'net surfing.


This photo is a symbol of the first 36 years of my life:

This photo is a symbol of the last two years of my life:

Stuff from the Road

Last night. Driving home from dinner. Junction of route 28 and route 213 in Methuen.

The photograph sucks. Here's what we actually saw. Large blinking left arrow sign telling us that the right lane was closed and to move to the left. 10 feet after that was a diamond road construction sign telling us that the left lane was closed and to move to the right. Even better, 10 feet before the blinking left arrow sign was another diamond construction sign that said, "Left Lane Closed."

I worry about this. Really, I do.

Here's another one. This was on route 62 in Bedford, MA this morning.

There is nothing particularly interesting about the photo itself, just notice the school bus at the front of the line of traffic. That school bus had just stopped and picked up kids at Four Consecutive Houses. All on the right side of the road. Let me reiterate: FOUR. CONSECUTIVE. HOUSES.

May I state here publicly that I am not one of the retarded twitter users who fell for this article stating that twitter was going to offer premium accounts? Ummm... people actually believed the fail-whale tuxedo offer? (the fail-whale hoodie is another story) People actually believed that a writer offshore would embellish your tweets? Really? People actually believed the black level account stating that JK Rowling and Stephen King would write your tweets for you? Really? Not me. I'm a sucker, but I'm not that sucker.

Can the Bruins right the ship tonight against Los Angeles? They better, the Kings suck.

No RPM this morning. Robbie needed sleep.

Tomorrow, I promise.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Nightmares and Weigh Ins

Sounds like a Stephen King title doesn't it? Oh that was Nightmares and Dreamscapes... close enough.

Last night was Weight Watcher's weigh in number 3 for me. Don't ask me how, but I managed to come in down 3.4 pounds for a two week total of 8 pounds even. Huh? Didn't our scale which last week was reading less than half a pound off of the WW scale tell me I was up two pounds yesterday morning? Huh? What?

Being down a few instead of up a couple doesn't change the fact that I have to start taking the entire process more seriously. Two reasons, one: I am less than 6 pounds away from being at the lowest weight of the entire decade. (approximately, I took a physical in August or September of 2000 so I could restart taking classes at UMass Lowell. I remember the weight. I also remember flunking the tuberculosis screen. That was a fun day.) That's a goal in my book. Of course, after reaching that goal I have to get the 5% weight loss goal, and the 10% weight loss goal, and then to get down to my recommended weight I have to drop something like 120 pounds total. That's not my end goal by any stretch, but wouldn't it be nice to be able to walk up two flights of stairs and not have to worry about having a heart attack? The second reason to stick with it is that it's expensive and I don't want to piss away this money without any results.

Anyway, enough about weight watchers for now. What about RPM? How about nothing about RPM. We went to bed at a decent hour last night and I fell asleep quick, but around 2:30 or so I had a nightmare that woke me up and kept me up for over an hour. I changed the alarm clock to let me sleep as late as possible in the hopes I'd not be a basket case today.

The nightmare was weird. It started out with me walking home from the weight watchers meeting. (a short 15 mile walk) A few steps after leaving the building one of my teeth fell out. I was pissed. By the time I got home almost all of them had fallen out. I was completely paniced (in the dream) and completely freaked out upon waking from it. Could it be my subconscious telling me to stop being a moron and get my fat ass to a dentist? Or is it my subconscious telling me that weight watchers will rot my teeth? Hmmmm could be either one.

So the result was, no recording today. We'll try again tomorrow.

Now for the lame ass ridiculous why-does-this-red-headed-doofus-keep-posting-lame-shit-like-this part of this morning's post.

Camera phone shots!

Police activity on route 126 in Concord, MA, right near the high school. There were two police cars. One cop was searching the suspect's trunk. Note the guy sitting in the dirt to the left of the cars. Is that the suspect or just a passenger in the suspect's vehicle. I couldn't tell.

Later, coming home from the meeting, we saw more police activity on 495 North. We couldn't tell if this was an accident or a construction site. It was quick, and there were yellow lights and red flares, but we really couldn't tell.

Totally unrelated note:

Yesterday was the Apple demonstration of the next iPhone operating system. I followed a couple of live blogs to see what they were going to do to make my awesome phone even better. There are a lot of things that other smart phones do that iPhones don't, and we were hoping to hear that some of those features were coming our way.

They are. Some of them at least.

You can't send/receive multimedia messages with an iPhone. Text messages, yes. Picture messages and video messages no.

Yet. OS 3 will support picture messages but not video messages. A humongous step in the right direction.

iPhones do not have text cut/copy/paste functionality.

Yet. OS 3 will not only let you cut/copy/paste text in text based apps, but across all apps including Safari. Very cool.

People have been hoping to get the ability to run processes in the background. In other words, multitasking. Not going to happen, but we will be able to get notifications when an app that isn't running needs to be updated. The example they gave was an espn app trying to update you that a game you're interested in had a score change (at least that's what I think they were demonstrating... it was hard to tell over some one else's blog).

Another addition is a change to the development tool kit that will allow for turn-by-turn GPS apps to be written. That is awesome. Ridiculously awesome. It wasn't on my wish list at all, but as soon as I heard about it I was thrilled.

Another great addition is that Apple's Spotlight Search applications will now be standard and work across all apps. No more paging through mountains of emails looking for the right one. Gmail does this better than anyone I've seen so far... far better... but that capability is not available when you port your gmail account into an iPhone like Jen and I do. Spotlight should be a big help.

There were some down sides though. A couple of things from the universal wish list were left off. Still not video messaging or video recording, and still no flash capabilities in the Safari web browser.

There was also a change to the app store that I am pretty upset about. Right now there are two types of apps. Free and not free. When the new OS comes out the not free apps can become subscription based. (I don't know if all of them will, or if it's just a third option. That wasn't made very clear to me) Meaning instead of paying $X for the app when you install it you will be charged $Y per month through iTunes. That sucks. Good for developers and for Apple, but shitty for the users. I think I only have one or two paid apps anyway so I don't think it will affect me much, but that doesn't change the fact that it sucks. Oh and you know any turn-by-turn GPS apps will be subscription based... so it probably will affect me. Damn it.

There were other changes announced too that don't really interest me. It seems they are trying to turn iPhones into the next big gaming platform. You will be able to play multiplayer games over a blue tooth connection. It sounds cool, but I don't think I'd bother with that much. I don't even play online with my playstation 3, I'm not going to suddenly do it on my phone.

Over all there were lots of good stuff for we iPhone users. We'll have to wait a few months before the new OS becomes available to us, and that will probably coincide with the release of the next generation iPhone which will probably have some new hardware added as well. Jen will probably upgrade this time. I'll try and wait a couple of years. Maybe by then they'll have iPhones that can chauffeur us to work in the morning. They already do almost everything else. I'd go for that.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St Patricks Day/Happy Evacuation Day

Happy St Patrick's Day to all of the Irish including all of those who just act Irish one day a year. Also if you are from Boston Happy Evacuation Day!

First things first: The recurring series on this page, iPhone Astrophotography has taken a major step back recently. It seems that when you leave for work after sunrise and get home before sunset it is difficult to take bad pictures of big giant empty rocks in space.

I lucked out today though!

See it? The Moon? Do you see it?

Last night Jen did a kick ass job of finishing off the invitation printing by cranking out the reception cards and the directions. She is unbelievable. She also officially replaced her desktop computer with her MacBook by getting a new keyboard and mouse and hooking the lappy to her gigantic monitor.

We took it for a test drive by playing a little World of Warcraft. I managed to get it up and running on my laptop on Sunday (by taking the fully patched install from my desktop and just copying it onto my laptop. Why didn't I think of that first?) but I played on the desktop last night. It was the first time seeing the game on my own super awesome monster monitor. It looked so good I kept ducking when the big cats jumped at me.

Later this week we are having an evening of invitation envelope stuffing, and then we send them out. I'm looking forward to that. I hope that once the invites are in the mail I can stop flip flopping on who we should or should not invite. We want to keep the guest list as small as possible, but it is continuously creeping up. We set a maximum number of guests to invite and have done a good job of keeping below that, but we're at the point now where we are saying, if we invite couple A we have to not invite couple B. That's a little stressful.

Of course once the invites are out and the RSVPs start coming back we have to set up seating arrangements. I expect that to be stressfully fun too.

Tonight is my third weight watchers meeting. I promised myself I wouldn't weigh myself at home at all. I have broken that promise twice this week. The first time was Friday (I think... or was it Saturday? No, Friday) and I was WAY down. So far down that I got lazy and stopped watching myself. Sunday we had our St Patrick's Day boiled dinner and I absolutely sowed on the corned beef. I broke my no-weighing-myself-at-home promise again this morning and I am two pounds over last Tuesday's weigh in. Uh Oh. I need to get on track and start taking this thing more seriously. Starting right now.

This morning it took a lot of effort, but I did it. I kept the promise I made to myself on this page yesterday. I got up early and did some recording. Poorly.

The alarm went off at 5:00am. I snoozed twice and dragged myself up at about 5:23 or something. I had three reasons to get up early. 1: laundry. 2: it's trash day and we had a ton of it to get out. 3: Recording guitar leads.

After starting a load of laundry I gave myself about 30 minutes to work, and that was it. After that it was takin' out the trash time. I have tried to keep with the RPM spirit during this project and by that I mean, don't get caught up in perfection. Just get it on tape. On the RPM message boards you often see people talking about struggling with their internal censor, specifically with trying to either turn it off or somehow ignore it. The lead guitar parts are where I have by far the most trouble in this regard. I strive for the perfect solo, but I am no where near good enough to come even close to it... so I re-record over and over again.

I told myself that if I could get through a solo without hitting any bad notes, screwing up any pick attacks, or falling badly out of time I was going to keep the take. Lame Song #1 is only about a minute and 55 seconds long and there is only an eight measure section that needs lead guitar. It took me three takes to get something I can live with. Check that song off as finished. (although there is a huge amount of ground hum on the guitar tracks and I may have to do them all over again using a different setting on my Pod. Probably not though, I'll probably just mute the track on the few parts where the guitars briefly drop out so there is no noticeable humming... that's going to be a bitch to do in the mix, but it should work.)

Lame Song #2 has a ton of room for lead parts all over the place. I started out working on the first eight bars of the song and must have re-recorded 10 times. My goal of ignoring the internal censor was obviously not met in that respect. Finally it was 6:00 and I had other stuff to get to so I just did a run through of the whole song adding leads whenever the vocals dropped out. Most of it sounded good, but there was one badly flubbed attack during the solo that can't be left there, and there were about 16 bars worth of noodling around the vocals at the end of the song that were missing all together.

ADATs at their best have a bad reputation for occasionally just not printing to tape. It's very much like a drop out on a cell phone. One minute it's recording perfectly, the next it's not recording at all, and then later it's working fine again. That's what happened at the end of the song. The track was in record ready, the signal was getting to the tape nice and strong, and the record light was very much red. But after about three minutes of working fine it just stopped recording. I need to do almost all of Lame Song #2's leads again tomorrow.

I will do it. Oh yes, I will do it. While I'm at it I'll crank through songs 3 and 4 too. I'm feeling it again folks, I am feeling it again.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Throwing Muses are once again reunited for a brief tour. They stopped at the Middle East over the weekend. We weren't able to make it this time as we're happily in money saving mode and are putting live music on the back burner for a while (with one exception later this month).

My love for this band cannot be understated. To me there is Rush, then Throwing Muses, then everyone else. I've been lucky enough to see them a few times and each show holds a special place in my memory. I saw them in '89 (yes I am old) at Great Woods opening for R.E.M. and my rocker friends still look at me funny for being so into them then. I saw them for free at the Hatch Shell in '95. I saw them twice the day their Limbo album was release. Once at an in-store at Newbury Comics in Harvard Square (my copy of limbo was duly autographed) and then later at the Middle East. I saw them a year later on what was more or less their farewell tour. They all sat down on stage and played requests all night. It was an amazing show. I then saw them a couple of years ago on their previous short reunion tour. Just a fantastic night.

(I took lots of pics)

The following (along with the picture at the top of the post) is copied from this Boston.com review of the show.

Staying in touch with her Muses

Kristin Hersh performed with the Throwing Muses and 50 Foot Wave on Saturday.

CAMBRIDGE - Never mind that Throwing Muses originally formed in Newport, R.I., more than 25 years ago with a different lineup before settling into its latest configuration as a trio. Boston (and Cambridge for that matter) has long claimed the mercurial indie-rock icons as their own, and Saturday night, a sold-out crowd packed the big room at the Middle East to welcome back some old friends who'd been away awhile.

It's been six years since the last Muses album (word is they've got a new one due out next year), but you would never have known it from the band's majestically brooding, viscerally arresting performance - a 90-minute whirlpool of dark dreams, darker nightmares, and poisonous beauty, with frontwoman Kristin Hersh's voice at its vortex. It was a voice as sour as vinegar and venomous as strychnine - wickedly narrow in range, but labyrinthine in its ability to coil around the Muses' baleful melodies.

From the first coalescing guitar notes of "Devil's Roof," whose opening moved from pensive and almost psychedelically pretty into a measured groove of stealth and sinew, Hersh and Co. - namely, bassist Bernard Georges and drummer David Narcizo - proved as bracingly magnificent as ever. A clutch of cool, strangely glittering selections - "Start," "Hazing," and "Shimmer" - from one of the band's best albums, 1995's "University," followed (another, the full-blooded and furious "Bright Yellow Gun," would come later).

Ultimately, coupled with Georges's and Narcizo's dense yet elastic sense of rhythmic thrust and predilection for off-kilter time signatures, the set - drawn from various stages of the band's career and catalog, and spiked with two encores - offered potent proof of Hersh's enduring, enigmatic power as a singer and songwriter. Her penchant for throwing her demons, as well as muses, into a stormy sky and letting the rain come remains undiminished, and at age 42 she continues to sound like no one else.

There also aren't many artists who can open for themselves, convincingly or otherwise, but that's exactly what Hersh did with her noisy punk outfit 50 Foot Wave. Also a trio, with Georges on bass but with Rob Ahlers on drums, 50 Foot Wave did not sound like a side project or Hersh's new main muse, but rather something of a malevolent alter ego.

The songs? More like fiery blasts of corrosive energy, really: Hersh's shredded screams, metallic guitar chords, and vicious stop-start rhythms felt like a Band-Aid being ripped from a fresh wound, and taking some skin with it. Its 30-minute set, sandwiched between the, er, headliners and kinetic openers Screaming Females (also a female-fronted trio, this time from New Jersey) was all about finding pure release.
© Copyright 2009 Globe Newspaper Company.

Now... did some one mention an album next year?

Nerd Pride!

I mentioned here once before that I have a fantasy hockey team in a free yahoo public league.

The regular season ended yesterday and the playoff bracket was officially placed onto the league home page.

Here's a look. Remember, my team is named Neely is God. (click on the image to blow it up)

Yup, I won the fantasy nerd league equivalent of the President's trophy for coming in first place in the regular season and I get a bye in the first round of the playoffs.

I'll probably lose in the second round.

Fantasy Sports Nerd Pride!

Weird Morning

This morning was a weird one. I guess seeing as it's only about 9:00am it is still a weird one, but the weirdness appears to be over... I hope!

For the sixth consecutive business day morning my alarm went off at 5:00am and I failed to drag myself out of bed to work on my ridiculously late RPM project. I am so close, yet so far.

Each night I set the alarm for 5:00 knowing that I will be getting up (after maybe a 10 minute snooze) and heading down to the basement to work on finishing up the recording. I am 100% sure that I will do it. I pump myself up a little. I cheer for myself, "Let's go Rob! Let's go Rob!" but when that alarm inevitably goes off the next morning... I might hit snooze once, believing that my 5:00 appointment with music is only being pushed off to 5:10. But then at 5:10 I reset the alarm to 6:00 and go back to sleep.

Tomorrow. Tomorrow I will get up. I promise!

This morning was a little different though. I just couldn't wake up. I can't remember the last time waking up was such a struggle. I popped awake a couple of times during the night (stupid leg cramp) but generally slept really well. I just couldn't come around this morning. I was on such a good roll getting up early. I hope I can get back on it. The plan once the recording is done is to go back to my older unfinished recording projects and start finishing those suckers off. Also, with weight watchers in full swing I am hoping to do a little exercising before work too. I need to cross over the lazy bridge and get back to the self motivated shore.

(thank you Talladega Nights.)

Wedding planning plans for this week: Print out the reception cards, finish up the registry, start stuffing invitation envelopes. Throw in a weight watchers meeting and Rob's insatiable need to follow the imploding Boston Bruins and you have a pretty full week.

Now get to it!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

I take it back about Steve Montador. I am watching the Bruins and Penguins in the third period and twice in the last few minutes someone from Pittsburgh made him look like a chump.

More on Blasphemy

The other day I said something about Blasphemy...

This is just too fricken' funny.

Who ya gonna call?

St Patrick's Day

We're going to have a boiled dinner in celebration of St. Patrick's day today. Also known as corned beef and cabbage.

Although I do not like cabbage at all (bleck!) I do love me a good corned beef dinner. We generally only eat it once a year so as to save up the goodness.

Corned beef is traditionally supposed to be salted. By salted I mean kept from spoiling by burying it under a mountain of salt for months on end. The purpose for boiling the corned beef is sucking some of the salt into the water and thus making the beef itself edible.

I say to hell with that! If the corned beef isn't crunchy then it needs more salt!

Could you please pass the salt?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Do You Love Live Rock Music?

If you like your rock and roll live and to some extent bootlegged, check out this site:

Wolfgang's Vault Concert Vault

It's streaming audio of a slew of bands playing live. It seems to come from a combination of archived Fillmore concerts as well as various syndicated FM radio concert shows like King Biscuit Flower Hour and Westwood One Concert Series.

I haven't dug too deep into it, but it seems to have a decided bent toward classic rock. Right now I'm listening to a Yes show from '74. Earlier I checked out a Procol Harum show from '68, and the two Derek and the Dominoes shows that make up the Live at the Fillmore album.

It's pretty cool. Search around and see if there is anything to your liking.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Happy Friday the 13th!

Two months in a row... yet only one of those months had a Friday the 13th movie open on Friday the 13th. March sort of seems like a missed opportunity when you look at it in that light, doesn't it?

Two things from the road. First, from this morning...

So Rob, what's so funny about that? Well I will tell you what is so funny about that.

The bumper sticker. Click on the image to blow it up and see if you can make it out. You probably can't so I will just tell you what it says. I think it was taken directly from my gmail spam folder. It says, "For Penis Enlargement Call" blah at blah blah.

Some dude has a Penis Enlargement Bumper sticker on his freakin Ford SUV! I find that to be absolutely freakin' HYSTERICAL! On his CAR!!! I kept looking at it trying to see where the joke was but I couldn't. I suppose it's possible that the phone number is the joke. Maybe it's a fake phone number and you have to call to hear the punchline... then again maybe it really is an advertisement for penis enlargement done in bumper sticker form. Why not, they already bomb everyone's email, why not branch out into reality. I almost pissed myself laughing.

The one question I had was his destination. He turned into the Billerica House of Correction. I wonder... is he meeting clients? Or (more likely) is the penis enlargement company his, and was he... how can I put this... checking in?

Okay... now that I have stopped laughing again...

Here's picture number two. This one leads me to a serious question that can probably never be taken serious because it's following a dick joke on the back of an SUV... but here it is anyway...

This is probably just me nitpicking, but here goes. We're going to focus on the sign in the picture. This is a church on route 113 in Methuen. I pass it on the way home. You can click on the image to blow it up and you can probably make out the writing on the sign, but I will be nice and not make you do all of that work. (you're welcome) it says, "Is this the sign you have been waiting for?" and it is signed "God".

So... a church... put a sign on it's property... and the writing on the sign is attributed to God Himself... But God never actually said those words... so... some one in the church is putting words into God's mouth... and how is that not blasphemy?

No, seriously tell me. How is putting words into God's mouth not a disgusting example of blasphemy? I don't get that. It's breaking a commandment to take the Lord's name in vain... but putting words into his mouth and literally signing his name is just good advertising? I don't understand.

Yeah... the dick joke was much funnier.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

She is wearing my sweater.

I am Officially an Apple Fanboy

My first computer was an Apple 2e.

When I was a student/employee at Northeast Broadcasting School in Boston I used a Mac. I don't know anything about the unit itself, but I think it was running System 7.

When I was at Middlesex Community College I took an elective that I think was called Intro to Computers that basically taught you the basics (used basic twice there... now three times) of office packages. They used Clarris Works (been a while, did I spell that right?) which meant I lived on the Mac side of the computer lab.

When I was at UMass Lowell (the second time... computer science, not music) working in Dr. Canning's Systems Lab I needed to be able to edit audio easily so while everyone else got a Linux box on their desk, I had a Mac.

Since graduating in 2004 I haven't been much of an Apple guy.

iTunes for Windows and the iTunes store changed that somewhat. My first iPod (2 gig nano) changed that a little more. The second iPod (30 gig video) changed it some more. The third iPod (80 gig classic) changed it even more. The iPhone however has found me firmly back on the Apple wagon. I haven't used Jen's macbook much, but I have used it enough to feel good about life just having it in our house, and it (and garage band... and my quickly becoming ancient ADAT setup) has pretty much sealed the deal that at some point in 2009 I will personally own an Apple computer. (I was thinking about burying a macmini in the cellar with my musical stuff. Jen thinks I should go for the full iMac experience, but if I go with a real system I want to be able to cart it to the cellar easily, so that would probably mean getting the next generation of macbook.)

Today however I found out just how much of an apple fanboy geek I am.

I saw a twitter post that said Apple will be previewing iPhone OS 3 on Wednesday March 17th.

I started to drool.

I went to search.twitter.com and saw "iPhone OS 3" at the top of the list of trending topics. Most of the tweets referenced this article from engadget.com.

The overactive imagination immediately took over. What will it include? Multi-media messaging? Copy and Paste functions? Video recording?

Probably none of the above... but I'm still drooling.

ISS Disaster Approaching!

Well... probably not. Forgive me for getting caught up in the network news' habit of phrasing every news story in BE AFRAID! format.

The crew of the International Space Station is at this very moment locking themselves into the Soyuz capsule as a precaution against a piece of orbiting debris that is within possible collision distance.

Here's the release from NASA:

Station Crew Takes Precautionary Measures due to Space Debris

International Space Station Expedition 18 crew members are taking precautionary measures due to space debris that has been determined to be within the range where a collision is possible. News of the close approach came too late for flight controllers to coordinate an avoidance maneuver. A portion of a spent satellite motor is within the distance of the station's debris avoidance maneuver requirement "box."

Crew members are entering their Soyuz TMA-13 capsule and soft-locking the hatches, in case the debris should affect the space station and they are required to undock. The closure of the hatches ensures the safety of the crew and the ability to quickly depart the station in the unlikely event the debris collided with the station causing a depressurization.

The time of closest approach of the debris to the station is 12:39 p.m. EDT. Once the object is clear of the station, the crew will exit the Soyuz and reopen the hatches.

The crew will be in the Soyuz from 12:35-12:45 p.m. EDT. They will remain in the Soyuz until the debris risk has passed. Moving the crew into the Soyuz is a precaution, as the probability of impact is low. The crew is currently putting space station into an unmanned configuration, including several interior station hatches.

I saw this posted on twitter at 12:28... they will be in the capsule at 12:35. I love this new media stuff. Up to the second news reports. It's enough to make a news nerd's head fly clean off his shoulders.

Good luck to the crew. Let's hope this thing flies right by and goes on it's merry way.

Motivation gone... Sleep good

Before we do anything else please click here:

Top 100 reason why Captain Kirk is better than Captain Picard!

There, now that that is over with. My last post promised I'd get up at 5:00am today and do some recording. Yeah... right. I got up at 6:30 and did some scrambling to not make everyone else late. So much for RPMotivation day. I'll try again tomorrow.

We're having company on Saturday. Our house is not cleanly enough for company, especially when one guest will be a toddler. Our mission for the next three days is to Clean The House! This is a mission that will be successful. It would be easier if I could keep up with the 10,000 tons of laundry. One of the downsides of being a ridiculously oversized person is that your clothes take up a ridiculous amount of space in the washer and dryer and therefore more loads must be done.

But again, we will succeed!

Okay I can't resist... here are some favorites from the Kirk vs Picard link:

7. When Sisko met Picard he told him he hated him. When Sisko met Kirk he got his autograph.

11. When Kirk screams it echoes across the entire planet.

12. When Kirk blew up the Enterprise, Starfleet built him another one and had it ready by the time he got home.

13. Kirk collects antique guns. Picard collects antique matrioshka nesting dolls.

4. Picard’s Enterprise was destroyed by a couple of Klingon chicks while he was stranded on a desert planet. Kirk’s Enterprise was destroyed when he blew up a crew of Klingons, stole their ship, and resurrected Spock from the dead.

5. Kirk has caused computers to self-destruct by out-thinking them on three separate occasions.

1. When Data died, Picard had a funeral. When Spock died, Kirk reconstituted the body, forced it’s soul back in, and even got him laid along the way.

2. When Picard senses that Wesley is having emotional problems he sits down and talks with him about it. When Kirk sensed that Charlie X was having emotional problems he took him to the gym and threw him around on the mats until he got over it.

3. When Picard went back in time he brought back Data’s head. When Kirk went back in time he brought back a blonde.

28. When the evil aliens use a stun ray on the crew, Kirk always stays conscious for a minimum of 15 seconds longer than everyone else.

31. When Sarek mind melded with Picard, Picard cried a lot. When Sarek mind melded with Kirk, Kirk decided to hijack the Enterprise and bring Spock back from the dead.

48. Kirk has punched out at least one member of over three thousand known alien races.

49. Kirk would never allow his first officer to get more tail than he does.

50. No matter what world Picard goes to, Kirk was there first and probably has an illegitimate child somewhere on the planet.

Right, I have to stop before I just copy and paste the entire freakin' list.

Good Day!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Musical Motivation Needed

RPM(extended)... I haven't done a single second of work this week. Why? Why is my motivation gone after the hard (and lets face it, with my voice the embarrassing) part is done?

All that's left to do is overdub the lead guitars and mix the damn things. Those are the fun parts damn it!

I am getting up early tomorrow. 5:00am (ok, probably more like 5:15 with the snoozing) I am going to start recording guitar leads damn it! I am!!

I know all 10 of these songs suck royally but that's never stopped me before. Just listen to the garbage I have posted on alonetone. Granted, the new stuff is worse, but how much worse can you get?

Right. Motivation. That's it.

Now, to go to bed and get some sleep so I can function at 5:00am.

Night folks!

As Neil wrote and Geddy say: Endlessly Rocking

(okay, that's the lamest closing I've ever done. Ever.)

Space Shuttle Bummer

I just found this on twitter...

The Space Shuttle launch scheduled for tonight has been scrapped. There is a leak in a gaseous hydrogen (GH2) vent line. Don't you wish you knew what that meant? I do.

Hopefully it won't take long to fix.

Good luck NASA.

Hey, what's going on here?

Before Jen and I met I used to keep a pretty regular blog on myspace. She said that reading it was one of the things that first made her interested in me. I liked it. I would write about whatever came into my head and put it out there for anyone to read it. I really enjoyed watching the hit counter rise. I never gave any thoughts to who was reading it, because I was writing it for myself and any potential audience was irrelevant.

Once I started dating Jen and things got serious it became time for the kids to get involved. Along with blogging like a demented retard I also tend to take pictures of everything I see. I asked Jen if she had a problem with me posting picture of the kids and she said no. So... there are pictures of the kids everywhere.

When I started writing here I wanted it to be a daily thing at least. I wanted to be able to spout off everything I thought of or did here. If I saw something online that interested me it was sent here. If I saw something worthy of a quick picture, the picture came here. If something went down in my daily life that I thought was interesting, or at least would be fun to write about, it made it's way here.

Recently however we've been feeling a little uneasy. Let's face it, I over do it here. I've let things slide into the text that shouldn't be public. I've posted tons of pictures of a bunch of little kids who should be allowed anonymity. There are a lot of scumbags out there, and while I while I steadfastly refuse to curtail any of my rights on account of the scumbagged fuckery of others (you are reading this publicly after all) I have decided that those who are two young to really decide for themselves if they wish to be included in this ramble will no longer be included. Any post that includes any references to anyone I know who is under 18 has been deleted.

Also, my myspace page is now completely private. My facebook page is even more private than it already was. Tumblr and friendfeed were set up just to see how they worked, and they are now gone completely. I'm 50% through with twitter too. Everything is private there. I see that being more of a news feed now. I will follow anyone who catches my eye (that is the point of the service after all) but no one will be following me and I will not be updating it anymore. I see twitter as more of a newsfeed kind of site now. (I actually heard about Guy Carbonneau getting fired by the Canadians on twitter before any of the major sports outlets or newspapers had it.) So all that I wish to keep out of the public eye has been deleted.

Sort of.

I don't want to stop posting here (obviously, I'm posting this aren't I?) I just want to be less private. Jen suggested I just make this private and I did an exceptionally poor job telling her that, while that is a very good idea, it sort of defeats the purpose for me. I want to spew all of this on the unsuspecting public. I want some random person on the other side of the globe to accidentally come here and maybe laugh at what a twit I am, or get thrown into a jealous fury at how much happier I am in my life than he/she is. (just kidding about the rage part) I love knowing that Jen is reading all of this, and it is written as much for her benefit as for mine, but if I wasn't going to profess all of this publicly it would be no different than sending her an email. I send her email and instant messages all the time, I wanted this to be a place where I am overhead telling her how happy she makes me and how much I love her by potentially anyone anywhere. That's the appeal of this for me. It always has been.

At the same time, writing all of the stuff I write here without including anything about my family is a huge let down. I want to write about how awesome the kids are. I want everyone to know how much I adore them. I want everyone to know how amazing my siblings and friends kids are too. Not being able to write about any of that sucks.

So I decided to compromise. Anything that is fit for public consumption will be posted to this blog in my usual blather fashion. Anything that is personal and dealing with the inner workings of my family will be posted some where else. Somewhere that is not open for public viewing. A private blogspot page with the spur-of-the-moment-no-thought-put-into-it-at-all title, "The Inside Scoop on Rob." (catchy, ain't it? no? not really.) Click that link. I dare ya!

The new blog is open by invitation only. If you want an invite you have to ask me. I sent one to Jen and that's the only unsolicited one there will be. Wanna read it? Gotta ask me. Simple as that. (and I think you need to have a google account too, but that's easy to get) If you ask to read it and I know you I will probably give you an invite. I say probably because I reserve the right to say no. If I do say no it doesn't mean I don't like you, it just means I think you're an evil scumbag. I AM KIDDING!!! Seriously though, if you know me and ask for an invite and I say no it's nothing personal, it's just me being as kid-safety conscious as I can possibly be.

Last night when I set the new page up I found out about a very cool blogger function that allows you to export your entire blog as an xml file, and then you can import that xml file into a new blog. So the inside scoop (gonna regret that name real soon) was born as a copy of importance of being (already regret that lame name) as it was before the decision to change things was made. After I finish this I will probably post something similar over there just to mark the place where the one blog became two. (it'll be shorter though... and probably a whole lot less confusing and lame.)

Anyway, if you like reading what I post here you are welcome to continue. If you are a friend or a family member and want to read all the stuff that was deleted and any new family related posts that will be added in the future send me an email. If you don't know my email you can leave a comment here with your address. If you know me on facebook or myspace or any other site I may have linked here you can send me private messages there too. I am hoping I'll get a few followers for the new page, but if I don't it won't stop me from writing there.

Hope this isn't too confusing.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Yet Another Geek Moment

Yup, its time for another embarrassingly geeky moment.

NASA has set up a webcam feed from the International Space Station. The release I read said that during the astronauts' off-work hours (roughly 1:00pm central to... I think it said 1:00am central) you can view the Earth from the station's point of view.

Right now however it is showing an external view of the station, and I believe I just saw two cats spacewalking.

This brings geekitude to a new level for me... oh who am I kidding, I've always been this much of a geek.

Click the link.

Warcraft Blues

Jen is a World of Warcraft fan. She played it a lot before we met. Not long after we met she wanted to play again and I said I'd play with her. I like games where you get to kill lots of stuff. It's fun.

We played occasionally for a while and then scrapped it in favor of Warhammer Online. The games were virtually identical. The graphics on Warhammer were a little better. Jen likes to say that Warcraft is cartoonie. That's an accurate description. They were equally as violent, but Warhammer was a little more graphic with splashing blood and what not.

The downside of Warhammer is that while it was really popular right after it's release, it is losing subscribers at a seemingly fast clip. Every time we log in we get a message saying that the server we logged in to has been merged with some other server. It sounds to us like there aren't enough people playing to justify the hardware. (I suppose it could be due to outright hardware failure, but that doesn't seem as likely.)

So Jen decided she wanted to go back to Warcraft and it's 11,000,000 subscribers. (that's eleven million) The other night she installed it onto her Macbook. I installed it onto my laptop which runs Windows 7. It doesn't work. The launcher opens up and starts patching and crashes at 612KB every single time. Okay, screw Windows. Jen then takes on the awesome challenge of installing the game onto Ubuntu. She gets Wine running, she jumps through a few dozen hoops and gets Warcraft installed and it starts patching. When we ran it last night though... the graphics card and the Ubuntu drivers can't seem to keep up with it and nothing renders much at all. I was so impressed with how far she got that I was swooning. I love that woman, and her mad hacking skills are only one of the billion or so reasons. Still... in a nerdy way, it was sexy as all hell.

Next we're going to try and just dump a fully patched and installed Windows version of Warcraft onto an external drive and dump again onto my laptop. Some people have posted on WoW forums that they successfully used this method to get the game running on Windows 7. If that works I'll just play on my desktop while she plays anywhere she pleases on her macbook. It's just a matter of time before we're killin' stuff again.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Good Music News!

This makes me happy



I am so afraid that the Bruins are turning into last year's Senators and tanking in colossal fashion. Please say it ain't so. Please?

Anyway, the GM meetings are starting up today. They are supposed to be taking a new look at fighting in the game. I am in favor of fighting in the game. I love it. I love the way it electrifies a building. I can't really speak of it from the player's point of view, but for this fan it should stay.

I am also in favor of players not getting hurt in fights. I like the idea going around that fighting players will be forced to leave their helmets on. That is a good fighting restriction, as opposed to the instigator rule which is evil.

There are two other topics rumored to be on the table that are very interesting. One involving tie breakers and the other involving delayed penalties.

Here is what NESN's newswire had to say about the standings:

Red Wings general manager Ken Holland's new proposal would give the higher seed in the standings to the team with more regulation wins rather than overall wins. The change in the rule would put an emphasis on winning games in regulation as it would hold more value than an overtime or shootout win.

I think that's just bullshit. In the current system I really like the idea, I just hate the current system. It is frankly offensive that a losing team can gain a point in the standings. I don't care how long it takes you to lose the game, you lost the game. You cannot be rewarded for losing. The two point win system worked great when you needed something to give to teams for tie games. Fine, one point each. Happy day. In today's game though, there is no such thing as a tie. The two point system no longer makes sense, and don't get me started on the ridiculous crap people are spouting about going to a three point win system. That is retarded. How about give the winning team one point and the losing team nothing. There are only two outcomes in a game now, there should only be two possibilities of points given. All or nothing, and why should all be two? One point for a win, no points for a loss. It seems so simple that even a schmuck like me can think of it.

Here is the other idea NESN reported on:

The St. Louis Blues general manager Larry Pleau has proposed an idea on changing delayed penalties. Pleau's change would make teams with a delayed penalty against them have to completely clear their zone for a stoppage instead of just touching the puck.

Now that is a good idea! Thank you Larry Pleau! You want more scoring but fewer penalties? Sure, we all do. So implement this and make it easier for a team to score before the penalty is called. I really like this. They've already added the rule that makes all face offs immediately following penalty calls to happen in the power play team's zone. This is a great extension of that.

It's snowing like crazy again. It's not quite a white out outside of our window, but it's getting there. This sucks. I want spring right freakin' now.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Best Hockey Fight Ever

Just wanted to share this. Last night we were out and talking about hockey fights. Goalie fights are of course the most fun. I was at this game when the Boston Bruins and the Washington Capitals went all out. All 12 skaters were ejected. Even the coaches were jawing.

The most historic part was the duel between Byron DaFoe and Olie Kolzig. Both teams goalies who also just happened to have been the best man at each other's weddings. Watch close and you can see them laughing as they are trying to pull the jersey's over each other's heads.

Classic, Classic, Classic.

and I can't believe the Bruins lost again. I checked the score against Chicago last night and it was a big win. I breathe a sigh of relief... and then they blow a great come back against the friggin' Rangers today. Crud.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Said it before... There is no parking in Harvard Yard.

How much do I love her? Enough to go make-up shopping with her. (it
is okay though, after this we are going to Daddy's Junky Music for
guitar strings and browsing/drooling and then Newbury Comics for the
new Rush CD with the two Vapor Trails remixes.)

Friday, March 6, 2009

She's the girl of my dreams and she just introduced me to Tai food.

This is a picture of me, taken by my love Jen, eating duck for the
first time ever.

Trekkie Bliss

Ah Friday

Last night we went back to the jewelery store we bought Jen's engagement ring and the wedding rings from. Hannoush Jewelers on route 28 in Salem, NH. We brought our wedding rings there to get them engraved. Also, Jen had her diamond cleaned. Every time we go there she gets that diamond polished up nice and it sparkles like new. It sparkles so bright it actually can hurt your eyes. Really.

After that we did what we always do when we go to Hannoush, we crossed the street and had dinner at an Indian place called Kashmir. Jen introduced me to Indian food. I am very much the Irish meat & potatoes kinda guy, but any ethnicity's meal that includes chicken is going to go over well with me. Tonight the kids are sleeping over Nana and Papa's so Jen and I have a date night. She's going to introduce me to Tai food. Embrace the spicy, says I.

I had to drive to Canton this morning instead of Framingham, which means I spent the whole drive on the highway. (93S -> 128S -> 93N... no... really) I took a picture from the road that needs some comments. Here it is:

Note the truck. The name on the back is Severance. I see these trucks every day. They are driven by the biggest morons on the road. They change lanes without looking. They take exists from the second lane (every friggin' day). They drive so slow they cause traffic jams. I hate them. They must give an incompetence test to all prospective employees. Every time I see one of these assholes I expect to see some one die.

Die the way the Bruins might be dying that is. They lost 2-1 to Phoenix. Phoenix who had so many cast off rejects on their roster after Wednesday's trade deadline that the players had to wear "Hello My Name Is..." name tags during practice. The B's are scaring the hell out of me. Lately they have no sense of urgency. No energy. No drive. I can easily see them getting bounced in the first round of the playoffs right now. They just seem so beatable. I am very afraid.

I will wrap this one up with another addition of Camera Phone Astrophotography!

Venus from near Concord Center last night.

and finally the moon over our house again.