Saturday, June 30, 2012


The house is GORGEOUS! We are all here in one piece. Everyone is tired and in need of a nap, especially me.

Once we all get our rest tonight, we will be ready for a wonderful week on a beautiful lake.

If anyone in this house sets an alarm clock tonight I am writing them out of the will. Just saying.

I'm Never Leaving This Place

Lucky Dog

New Record

A new record for stuff stuffed in our trunk!

Friday, June 29, 2012


Like I said the other day, we're not going to the ocean.  We are going to a lake.  I don't, however, have any pictures from any lakes in Maine, I only have pictures from the ocean.


I wanna go now!

2012-05-26 to 28 - Bar Harbor 054

2012-05-26 to 28 - Bar Harbor 284

2009-07-03and04 190

2009-07-03and04 363

Time to Visit Connor

While driving to work this morning I noticed a mosquito sitting on my dashboard.  It was out of my reach, but it was casually walking toward me.  When it was close enough to take a swat at I did so.  As I did so, a snippet of music jumped into my head and I silently sang along in violent triumph.  Freddie Mercury and I belted out the line, "Here I am!  I am the master of your destiny!"

That's when I noticed that I hadn't killed the bug.  It was still sitting there on the dash, broken but alive.  This time when I swatted at it a different thought went through my head.  "There can be only one!"

Yeah... I think I need to see Highlander soon.  Real soon.

I wonder if the TV series is on Netflix... and I wonder if the kids would like it... and I wonder if I would like it because I kinda didn't when it was on the air.  Maybe I should give it another try.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Patches is a Lap Kitty

Patches is sitting on my lap.

More Rush and Billy Corgan

I finally got around to listening to this during lunch today.  It is Billy Corgan interviewing Rush.  Good stuff.

  Inside Rush: Clockwork Angels hosted by Billy Corgan by FMQB Productions

Smashing Pumpkins and Rush

I've been all over Smashing Pumpkins for the last week or so. I picked up the new album and the reissues of the first two albums. All of it is excellent.

It's always nice to see the leader of a band I really like getting totally fanboyish over Rush.  It's nice to know I'm not the only one.


2009-07-03and04 104

I've got nothing to say this morning. Too busy to think. So I am posting a picture taken in the state of Maine. Why? No reason other than we will be going to Maine on vacation in a couple of weeks. Granted, this is Old Orchard Beach which is no where near the lake we will be visiting on our vacation, but what can you do. I've got bug fixes to patch.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Great Article About Yahoo Mangling Flickr

I can't remember where I found this, but I read a great article on Gizmodo today titled, "How Yahoo Killed Flickr and Lost the Internet".

It's a great history on how Flickr was kept from reaching its potential by Yahoo's corporate machine.

Yahoo is a mess.  I can't imagine them staying afloat for all that much longer.  When they go under Flickr will go under too.  I am somewhat dependent on Flickr at this point.  I've got way over 20,000 images stored there and I do not see any viable alternative that has everything I want.

What I want is:
unlimited storage
ability to set privacy levels on a per-picture basis
a social structure that is open to both users and the public

Facebook is close.  Google+ is close too.  Neither does everything that I want though.

What the hell am I going to do when Flickr goes down with the Yahoo ship?

Hopefully Yahoo will either spin Flickr off into its own company and let it become independent again.  Fat chance of that as Yahoo will lose money that way.  They could also sell it.  If they do, hopefully it will be to a company that does not have its head firmly implanted in its ass.

Long Live, Flickr.  (please?)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

One of Those Days

Do you know what today is?

Today is, "one of those days."

It has been, "one of those days" since about 4:30 this morning.

Do you know what last night was?

Last night was AWESOME!

My step daughter was involved in a rank promotion ceremony last night. She is now officially a black belt.

Yeah, you heard me. My wife's amazing 11 year old daughter is a freakin' black belt in karate!

I'm so proud. I swear my face hurt from smiling so much. What an accomplishment. It's incredible. 1000 times, congratulations!

For the record, her nine year old brother is scheduled to test for brown belt soon. If he continues to work as hard as he always does, I may be writing a post like this about him in a year or so.

I've said it before, I'll say it again: I am the luckiest step father alive. These two kids are amazing. I love them both so much!

Monday, June 25, 2012


These grow in our yard. Hopefully they won't kill the deer.

Afternoon = Gone

Welcome to the Registry of Motor Vehicles!

Kevin Youkilis

I wonder if Billy Beane came calling about the Greek God of Walks.

Kevin Youkilis has been traded.  Everyone on Earth new it was coming, but it's still kinda sad.  What's even sadder is what we got in return.

I have to confess something.  I have not watched or listened to a Red Sox game in at least two weeks.  Life is pretty hectic right now and the Sox have taken a back seat.  I still try and catch the scores, and I still pay attention to the standings (hello 4th place!  WooHoo!) but I haven't been watching games and I haven't been following the story lines, although I know David Ortiz got pissed at the press the other day.  Good for him.

Kevin Youkilis, to me represents, all of the things that were bad about the Red Sox prior to 2004.  Hold on, let me finish.  The reason I say that is because he was the polar opposite of the prototypical Red Sox player.  Over my life there have been 100s of Sox players who gave the impression (accurately or not) that they did the bear minimum and cared more about their own stats than the team's success.  I'm not saying all of them were like that.  Nomar wasn't, in his prime. Yaz certainly wasn't either.  Most of the players though seemed that way. 

Not Youk.  Never Youk.  Youkilis was not the kinda guy who made it to the majors on talent and then did only enough work to keep his job.  To me, he seemed to be 10% raw talent and 90% hard work and determination.  If we had had a few more guys like Kevin Youkilis back in the 70's and 80's the curse of the bambino (urgh, I am so sorry about mentioning the retarded "curse" that was complete bullshit written up by a hack of a columnist and then bought hook line and sinker by the masses) would never have lasted for as long as it did.

The press had been implying that there was a certain lack of warm and fuzzy feelings between Youk and Schmucko the Clown Valentine.  I fall squarely on team Youk in this matter.  Valentine is a joke.  I don't blame Youkilis for any ill will that there may have been, in fact I sympathize. 

So the Sox had a less than completely healthy third baseman in the last year of his contract, who didn't get along with the new douche bag of a manager, and they had a young, up and coming star of a third baseman who was ready to take the reigns.  The result is that Kevin Youkilis has been traded to the Chicago White Sox for a bag of pucks.

I wish you the best, Youk.  You are a hell of a player and it was a joy to watch you playing for my team for all of these years.  Good luck in Chicago.  I hope you put them over the top.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

There, You See

We did it, lawn mower. We put aside our differences and got the job done. I'm proud of you. I'm proud of us. Now get the hell outa my face for two weeks.

See the Height Difference? That's why you shouldn't wait 4 weeks to mow the lawn

My 36743267321th Cat Picture on Instagram


Okay, now listen up lawn mower. I don't like you, and you don't like me. But let's put that aside and get this shit done so that we can go back to ignoring each other for the next two week, okay? Okay.

Saturday, June 23, 2012


Lately I have been very serious about putting an end to my life as a Windows user, at least outside of work.  My Mac came upstairs from the cellar and is now living on a new desk in the living room.  I have shut off my old Windows XP desktop and am going to do my best to not use it anymore.

I am a Mac user from this day forward*!

I have some experience with Linux.  I ran Ubuntu on a laptop for a while and liked it, but I didn't delve too deeply into it.  While I was in college I used Linux and Unix quite a bit.  I got some level of skill living in a command line world while working off of a Unix terminal.

Ever since the release of Mac OSX, the Mac operating system has been built on top of a Linux operating system.  One result of this is that Macs kick 10999 flavors of ass over Windows.  Another is that many of the things you can do via the Linux terminal can be done via the Mac terminal as the Mac terminal is literally a Linux terminal.

Unfortunately for my hacking skills, I haven't been living in a terminal world at all since 2004 and I forget everything.  So earlier tonight I did a Google search for "Mac terminal commands".  One of the pages it retured is titled Top 50 Terminal Commands.  It's not really what I was looking for.  It's just a collection of commands that can change the way things work on your Mac.  What I was more interested in is using the built in Linux utilities.  Still though, there are some interesting things...

and one thing that may be the most amazing thing ever done by human beings.

This is the line you enter into the terminal's command line.  I did it from my user's root directory:

What you get when you enter that command is a telnet connection to another machine somewhere.  For that reason alone I should have ignored it, but the teaser the webpage gave it was too much for me.

The command connects you to another machine somewhere, and the program that runs when you connect is...


I can't even believe how awesome it is...

Star Wars episode IV... rendered entirely in ASCII characters.


Awesomeness beyond all that has ever been awesome before.

*At least until I get tired of being a Mac user and decide I want to be a Windows user again... or a Linux user.

Living in the Future

I love this whole living in the future thing.  Today I installed Parallels onto my Mac.  I then installed Windows 7 into Parallels.  I then installed a 3rd party VPN client that the company I work for uses and connected to their network.  I then remote desktop connected to the Windows machine sitting on my desk at work.

So I was sitting in Methuen at a Mac, running Windows 7 on a Compaq computer that sits on a desk in Framingham via a network that is set up in Westwood.

If I was actually working from home I could have then used the remote desktop program on my work computer to connect to other machines on various customers networks all over North America.

As I write this I have shut all of that stuff off and I'm just running my Mac on our home network.  It seems so simple now.  Yeah, living in the future kind of rules.

Prepping for Maine

Camp chairs and cheap fishing rods.

Programming Dreams

I guess I was having a programming dream last night. My wife, Jen asked me to roll over in the middle of the night and I told her I had to zero out the list first.

Stupid dreams about programming.

Friday, June 22, 2012


I had to take a four day course for work.  In Canton.  Yesterday's drive home from Canton to Methuen took 90 minutes.  Today's drive from Windham to Framingham on route 495* took 65 minutes.  Canton to Methuen is a touch less than 50 miles.  Windham to Framingham on 495 is a touch more than 50 miles.

Our group is dangerously short handed.  There are two people doing five people's work.  I wasn't able to contribute much during my four day class.  My task count has doubled in the last four days and it was ridiculously huge to begin with.

This sucks.

*People in Eastern Massachusetts know that the phrases, "route 495" and "the really long way" are interchangeable.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Bedtime Reading

More Clockwork Angels Goofiness

Just when you thought you were finally safe from all of the Clockwork Angels fanboydom...

I'm burning a copy of it.  I'm not sharing it or giving it away.  We have two cars.  Both cars need a copy of their own, don't you think?

I'm making both cars' CD players very happy.

Book Store Blues

This is why we don't go shopping at Barnes & Noble very often.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Hot Enough for You

I took these during my evening commute.

Weird Dream

I had a weird dream. I was at the polls to vote for mayor of Methuen. I took my ballot and walked into a large, dark, cavernous room to fill it out. Imagine a very large gym in a long abandoned high school with only one small light shining and signs of recent flooding.

There were only two other people in the room and they were standing at the same voting table. One of them was one of the mayoral candidates. He was telling the guy he was with some secret story about some shady back room political dealing. At one point he said, "now I told them straight out, 'I am a liar.'"

The liar of a mayoral candidate was Newt Gingrich. The man he was telling the story to was Al Gore.

Please don't let this turn out to be some weird political omen. Please?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Someone Call Websters

I have coined a new term. What do you call someone in a restaurant who is both drunk and obnoxious? Drunknoxious. You can all start using that word now. You are welcome.

How am I not the Mayor of this Place on Foresquare?

Flickr Backup - Again

The Flickr backup script I started running last night was still running when I got up, but I checked it before I left the house and it was finished.  I did notice during a couple of spot checks yesterday that it failed to grab the occasional image.  I have to look through the documentation and see if an error report is included.  Probably not. 

I will have to peruse the results after work tonight, and then find a place for the expected gigantic folder full of crappy pics.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Annual Test of Strength

As you can see by this photo, I have once again successfully passed the annual test of strength.

My parent's 999 pound air conditioner has been installed!

Swan Lake

My company's Canton office has a little pond with a mating pair of swans. They don't always hatch babies. Sometimes they do and the kiddies don't make it. This year has been successful and as you can see in the pic, the babies aren't quite babies any more.

Flickr Backup

I'm always in the market for a good way to back up my exceptionally vast Flickr account. I just started running a python script from the command line on my Mac. It seems good so far. If it works well I'll link to it and sing it's praises for all to see and hear.

More to come.


Here's another view from the Museum of Science. I took this one from the garage.

Here's a lame point that is even lamer than yesterday's post about using iPhoto. This picture was taken with the awesome lens my wife bought me for Christmas. The one from yesterday was taken with the lens that came with the camera. Why is that interesting? Because it's the first time I used both lenses in the same sitting.

I took a couple from outside with the new lens because I love it and it's better than the kit lens. When I got inside, however, I realized it would be better to have the wider view that the kit lens offers.

Wow, am I a dork, or what?

This just shows me that my next lens will be nice and wide. The new lens is a Nikon 55-200 mm F/4 5.6G ED-IF AF-S DX VR Zoom. The kit lens is a AF-S DX VR Zoom-Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED.

Fascinating, eh?


Highway Traffic

For most of this week I am working in the Canton office instead of the Framingham office.  There is no easy back road route to get to Canton like the is to get to Framingham, so I am all highway this week.

This morning I dropped the kids off at their Dad's at 7:23.  That meant I had 97 minutes to cross the state line and get to work.  It usually takes about 75-80 minutes to get to Canton.

I got to my desk with only a couple of minutes to spare.

I fear this is going to be a long week.

Modern Science

Modern science has provided society with many a modern miracle. I want to give quick acknowledgment to one of them:

Liquid Plumber.

Thanks for fixing our sink in 0.68 seconds! Now please don't burn me?

Sunday, June 17, 2012


I have been meaning to do this forever, but haven't gotten around to it.  I have been meaning to start using iPhoto as my photo sorting/editing program of choice.  You see, I have always taken 10 times more pictures than I actually keep.  I shoot multiple copies of everything and then load them all into Picasa and sort out the keepers by exporting them into a separate folder.  Then I upload them to Flickr using the web app.

I want to do it all in iPhoto, but iPhoto makes a copy of each image imported in (at least I think it does... it did in the past, didn't it?) and I don't want that.  I want 90% of what I take to get trashed, not copied and stored somewhere else.  So today I used Picasa to sort out the keepers, and then imported the keepers folder into iPhoto, used the "Enhance" function, and then uploaded directly to Flickr without going through the web.  I still had to adjust some of the permissions, and I added tags through, but otherwise everything worked out.


Upstairs with the Cool Kids

We bought me a new desk today so that my desktop computer could move upstairs and play with the cool kids. It looks so grown up, doesn't it? Awwww.

Happy Fathers Day

Happy fathers day to all the fathers out there, especially my dad.

Everyone wish your dad a good one, okay?

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Museum of Science

It's fun to find out what makes an ocean wave, wave.

It's fun to find out what it's really like in space. This is the captain speaking, come in Earth.

T-Shirt Win

There is a kid at my step kids' piano lesson wearing a T-shirt that says, "I'm too busy being EPIC."

Best t-shirt ever.

Retina Display

Jen and I visited the Apple store in Salem, NH last night. We checked out the showroom models of the new MacBook Pro with the Retina Display (that's a long name for a computer, isn't it).

The display is nice. It's definitely clearer than any other MacBook, or any iMac model. But is it that much clearer? Is it enough to justify the cost?

I don't think it's quite that much better. The difference between the images on an iPhone 3GS (without retina) and an iPhone 4 (with retina) was pretty huge. The same with the iPad 2 and the New iPad, which we also took our first real look at last night. It's a night and day difference.

On the new MacBook Pro it was not a night and day difference. You can see the difference, mostly when looking at the desktop or launch pad, but it didn't blow you away like it did on the iPhone or iPad.

We are both thinking that it might be a good idea to hold off on lusting after the new MacBook Pro for a while. Let's see how non-Apple applications handle it for a while before thinking about taking the plunge.

So it's back to lusting after iMacs again! Heh heh heh.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Apple Store

The Apple store is so nerd heaven, isn't it?

Did you hear about the Apple I that was auctioned for almost 400K? We had an Apple IIe when I was a kid. Makes me wish we got on the wagon sooner.


It's Friday and I'm exhausted.  I was up very late last night doing laundry.  More to the point, I was up very late waiting for the laundry to finish.  I didn't exactly "do" anything other than put it in the washer and then move it to the dryer... damn I'm rambling about laundry.  I need a vacation.

Fortunately, that trip to Maine is coming soon.  Not yet, but soon.  Not soon enough, but soon.

What was I talking about?

Oh yeah, it's Friday.

So much to do, so much to do... and so wanting it to be 5:30 and the weekend.  Today is the kids' last day of school.  I think my mental state right now boils down to jealousy.  I want a summer off too.

Lucky kids getting the summer off.  grumble grumble grumble.

seven hours and thirty nine minutes to the weekend.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Not Good

I just went down cellar to flip the laundry in the washing machine into the dryer. As I pulled out the last of the wet clothes I saw something pink sitting in the bottom of the washing machine. It was small and pink and had an apple logo on it.

Someone's iPod nano went through the wash. Uh oh.

Stanley Cup Finals Predictions Recap

I've been meaning to write a post about the Stanley Cup Finals, but it's just depressing.  I was all excited for it when the series opened, and when the Kings won game three I was very happy.  Then reality set in.

When the finals end, the Bruins are no longer the reigning champs.  

That just made me sad.  I was happy that the Devils made it to the finals.  I was thrilled that the Kings made it to the finals.  Even more than that, I was overjoyed that the Rangers, Canucks, Capitals, Penguins, Red Wings, Coyotes, ect, ect, did not make it to the finals.

But I still need to recap my final prediction, so here it is:

I picked the Kings to win the Stanley Cup by defeating the Devils.  I predicted six or seven games.  I was right.  The Kings took the Cup in six games.  Good for the Kings.  An eighth seed finally wins it all.  My score for the 2012 playoffs:  11 correct out of 15.  That's 73%.  That might be the best I've ever done.  My goal is always getting more right than wrong, so 8/15 is perfect.  11/15 is better than I would have imagined.


After the Bruins magical run to the Cup in 2011, this was just sort of... flat... boring... uninteresting... not that much fun.  I would have greatly preferred to go 4/15 if all four of those correct picks were Bruins wins.

So, congrats to the Devils on a great season, and congrats to the Kings for winning it all.

Now let's have the Bruins take that Cup back in 2013.

Ear Plugs

I'm in the market for some kid sized ear plugs.  Anyone have any suggestions?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Bring on the Tour

When I posted the last picture I wanted to find one that had either the Caravan or BU2B backdrops.  I didn't find one.  You'll have to settle for these video masterpieces.  Oh the camera phone!

Bring on the Tour

So... now that Clockwork Angels is out and I have listened to it 20-30 times and I have declared it to be at the very least the best Rush album in 30 years and quite possibly the best Rush album yet...

Now what?

Well that's obvious. Now we start freaking out in anticipation of the tour starting in September.

Oh yeah, we have tickets to opening night.

They had better play all of the new album. Seriously. The album is 12 songs telling one story. I would kill to hear that whole story live. Besides, all 12 songs are good enough to make it into the set. Easily.

This is going to be one hell of a show!

Black Belt Bonanza

First an aside, then the real post.

It is raining this morning.  My morning commutes over the last 4-5 months have been running a little less than 70 minutes.  I've been lucky.  Today it was a little more than 90 minutes.  I was not lucky.  Gridlock on 93 combined with school buses in Tewksbury and one complete asshole who never even got into the same zip code as the speed limit through the three whole towns that I was stuck behind him combined to make me late today.  Then when I finally got to my desk I sat down and logged in.  As the computer was doing it's thang, I opened up my glasses case and...

My glasses are still on the night table where I left them last night.  The case is here with me, but the glasses are at home.


Now for the real topic of this post.

Tonight is a big night for my step daughter.  She is testing for her black belt in karate.  11 years old and one test away from having her black belt.  That's amazing.  She's amazing.  I approve of this for a number of reasons, mostly because it's such a huge achievement.  Many people learn karate, but most don't get as far as she has gotten.  She has so much to be proud of.  I also approve of this because when she's a teenager it is going to guarantee that all of her suitors behave like perfect gentlemen at all times.  Anyone gets out of line and our girl gets all Chuck Norris on their ass. 

Everyone wish my step daughter the best of luck for her black belt test tonight!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

More Release Day Interview Fun

Here's another Geddy Lee television interview, again for the CBC.  Not being Canadian, I have no idea what these shows are or who the interviewers are.  Sorry about that.

And All was Right with the World

Rush on the Radio

Here is about 40 minutes worth of Rush on the radio.  The show is called Q and I think it comes from the CBC.  Here's a link.

Geddy Lee Interview

Geddy Lee explains that in order to be as inhumanly awesome a bass player as he is, you need to calm yourself down.

Not really, but watch the interview anyway.

Happy Rush Release Day

Happy Rush Release Day to all of my clinically obsessed maniacal fanatical Rush fan friends.

Clockwork Angels hits the stores today. I'll be going out at lunch to grab a copy.

It's celebration time!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Sad Hockey Face

The Bruins are no longer the reigning Stanley Cup Champions. The world has moved on.

Congratulations to the Los Angeles Kings.

More Goofing with Photoshop Online

Between the iPad, iPhone, and web apps I really need to stop goofing around with photoshop.  Someday I'll learn how to actually use photo editing software so that I don't turn my images into cartoons.  For today though, it's still fun to turn my images into cartoons.





So... I've completed an RPM Challenge.  I've completed a FAWM.

What's next?

Well... there is always the 50/90 challenge.

What is that, you ask?  During the 90 day stretch between July 4th and October 1st, write 50 songs.


I think I'll sign up for it, but I doubt I'll actually do it.  There aren't enough hours in the day.  Nor are there enough vacation hours banked for me to take off time from work to hide in the cellar doing vocals.  There is also a vacation falling in their somewhere.  I'm just too busy to do it.

But I think I will sign up, just to see what happens.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Catching a Flick

Errand Day

Step 3: Grocery shopping. Aka, fighting the urge to buy tons of junk food.

Errand Day

Step 2: Get my shaggy hair chopped off.

Errand Day

Today is errand day. All errands all day.

Step 1: Get the Nissan's oil changed.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Playing with PS Express Again

Go Kings Go

I think that tonight is the night the Los Angeles Kings win the Stanley Cup. The Devils had their game 4, that's enough.

I'm happy to see the Kings win because I picked them early on. I'm sad to see them win because they aren't the Bruins.

Wait 'till next year.

Playing with PS Express for iPhone

Mowing the Lawn

Mowing the lawn is almost painful enough to make me miss renting.


Not quite, but...


Just Playing with PS Express for iPad

Friday, June 8, 2012

We Haven't Been Here Since We Were Just Dating

Cubs Win! A Comeback for the Ages!

Me and the Patches

Clockwork Angels - First Listen

I dropped off the kids, drove down the street to the gas station/convenience store, picked up a coke and a pack of mini donuts, got back in the car, plugged my iPhone into the car stereo and started listening to Clockwork Angels.  The mini donuts and the coke were ignored.  The music was not.  When I pulled into a parking spot at work I still had 1:56 left of the last song.  I let it finish before walking inside to my desk and typing this.

I cannot write an objective review of anything Rush does.  Somehow or other my brain has been hard wired to practically worship anything those three guys do together musically.  Honestly, I am sometimes a little weirded out by how they always, and I mean always give me exactly the music that I need at any given moment.  It's almost as if I were hypnotized at some point and a post hypnotic suggestion was placed into my unconscious mind that commands me to absolutely love each new piece of music Rush releases.  It's like some weird voodoo or something.  It sometimes feels like they read my mind and find out what I want their music to sound like, and then give me exactly what I want.  When I stop and think of it, it's a little creepy.

What that means is that any review I might try to write should be ignored by everyone.  More than any other musical artist, my feelings about a Rush release really only apply to me.  I can share my thoughts, and I can try to influence other people's opinion, but it's a waste of time.  No one seems to be able to react the same way I do.

Having said all of that, this new album comes on a wave of hype that is unlike anything Rush has ever experienced.  At least to my knowledge.  Maybe Signals in 1982 might have had something similar as it followed 1981's Moving Pictures album which until now probably stands as their high water mark.  Still, I have never seen anything like this.  Mainstream media, new media, fanboy sites, everything, everywhere, people have been anticipating this album with the expectation that is would blow everything else out of the water.

After one listen, it easily lives up to the hype.  I started listening to Rush in late 1981.  When Signals came out in 1982 I didn't notice.  By the time of the release of Grace Under Pressure in 1984 I owned everything Rush had published.  Grace Under Pressure was the first album I had to wait for.  My expectation for Clockwork Angels was that it would be the best first-listen experience of any Rush record that I had to wait for.  It was.  Easily.  By Far.  The riffage is Black Sabbathian in it's intensity.  The hooks are magnificent.  The performances of the three individual members is so far over and above awesome that I really can't figure out how to describe it.

But what does that mean?  Let me give you an example...  Carnies (track 5) opens with a slow, gloom-and-doomy guitar riff.  After repeating for a measure or two the drums and bass come in and the volume goes up to about a gajillion decibels.  It's the musical equivalent of getting hit by a train.  At the moment the bass and drums came in I first let out a yell of triumph and then immediately realized I had chills from head to toe.  That's what I'm talking about.  I have been listening to these three clowns for 30 years, hanging on every note the whole time, and they still produce an honest to goodness physical response from me.  It's like their music hooks directly into my nervous system and just takes over.  After all this time, when the band members are at an age when they should be thinking more about retirement than setting off musical dynamite in some fat red head from Boston's little pea brain, they still completely kick my ass.

And that is why I need to write stupid posts like this, and it is also why you should completely ignore my posts like this and go out and listen to the record for yourself.  It's available for streaming on Grooveshark.  There are a few torrents out there if you prefer that.  The release date is June 12th if you want to wait for the official release (and if you can't wait for the official release please make sure you buy a copy on the 12th.  Don't be a dick, please).  As soon as you can get it, get it, and reassure me that I am not the only one who is this completely blown away.

Clockwork Leakage

I caved. I found a leaked copy of the new Rush record, Clockwork Angels, last night and I downloaded it. I haven't given it a listen yet but it's all queued up on my iPhone and ready to dazzle me as I drive to work today.

You see, they made the title song available on Soundcloud yesterday and I played it in the car, using the neat little Soundcloud app, while I was out running an errand last night and... well... All resistance drained out of me. Resistance is useless, as the Vogons say. Resistance is futile, as the Borg say. You know how it is, right?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Flashback - Five Years

For the second time ever I am reposting something from my old myspace blog.  All this looking at old pictures stuff has me digging around the old blog looking for more and I just stumbled on this post... sort of sounds a little like the last post I made here.

 From May 1, 2007:
New Rush!

Rob is in kid-in-a-candy-store mode again.

Snakes & Arrows, the new Rush record hit the stores today and I'm well on my way to wearing out my copy.

Consider me impressed.  It's darker, without being heavier than the more recent releases.  Lots of acoustic guitars, but it's still heavy.  (I know I sort of contradicted myself there, but it is Rush after all.  Count to seven for a while, you'll understand)

Musically there are a couple of new twists.  Some of the songs are almost sort of bluesy.  That's not something I think we've ever been able to say before.  Furthermore there is a sense of the psychedelic.  Again, Rush has never encroached on the world of Acid Rock before (the Feedback ep is kind of an exception).

Personal favorites in the early going include, "Far Cry" (but we've had our mitts on that one for over a month now), "Armor and Sword" (although if you're of the religious nut persuasion you are absolutely going to disagree), "The Larger Bowl" is another one.  It's heavy on the acoustics, and may in some weird way pass for Prog-Folk.  It's a strong song though with one of the better hooks.  "Good News First," and "We Hold On" are also high points for me.

It's been five years since Vapor Trails, and as of today I'm thinking it was well worth the wait.

Robert is a happy Rush fan.

Bring on the tour!

The original post had an image, but the link is now broken.  It was not my picture though, I am not sure what it was.  Regardless, there will be another similar post made next Tuesday.

Clockwork Angels is Coming

The word on the Rush fanboy street is that the entire Clockwork Angels album, whose official release date is Tuesday June 12, has been leaked onto the internet.  I have thus far resisted the temptation ("I can learn to resist anything but temptation."  Yes, I just dropped a Rush lyric into a parenthetical aside in the middle of a sentence.  Who's a fanboy?) to get my grubby mitts on a copy.  My resistance is waning though.  I may not make it through today.

It turns out that the band is streaming the title track on its Facebook page.  I just caved and listened to it.  The simple review is that this particular song is totally worth the two year wait we had to endure to hear it.  That's the first thought I had on the first (and so far only) listen.  As it meandered through it's seven plus minute run time a second thought came to mind.  This thought is much harder to convey considering it's a song by a band that makes Rock music on the heavy side and that my personal taste in their music can sometimes be described as the heavier the better.  The song isn't terribly heavy, although it has a nice and heavy monster of a riff that comes and goes, but it is... what's the word... it is... Beautiful.  As hard as it is to reconcile using that word to describe a song by this band... that's the proper word.  The song is beautiful.  It is a rock song, yes it is, although it is a rock song with a nice and swinging 6/8 groove... and it's beautiful.  I've never used that word to describe anything by Rush before, but there you have it.  I'm guessing 7 billion humans will think I'm a retard, but I call them as I hear them, and the song Clockwork Angels by Rush is beautiful.

Old LG Camera Phone Pics

I mentioned yesterday that I found some old pictures buried in the depths of my gmail account.  Here are some more.  My first couple of camera equipped cell phones were little LG flip phones.  The only way to get the crappy lo-res pictures off of the phone was to email or text them.  I had a label set up to keep them all grouped together, but not long after the purchase of my first iPhone came the joining of Flickr which begat a series of Flickr uploader apps.  I stopped emailing pics to myself years ago.

I went through the LG pictures this morning.  They range from mid-2007, which is probably when I bought the second of the two phones and they stop in early 2008.  I took a few of the better ones and moved them over to Flickr.

If you know my history then you know that mid-2007 was when I started dating a certain gorgeous, brilliant, wonderful woman who a couple of years later became my wife.  The best pictures in the batch were taken on dates.  I love her, and these bring back some happy memories of when we were first falling in love. 

I think this one was from just before seeing The Police at the Boston Garden.

This one was from a Rush concert.  I think this one may have made it to Facebook too.

Here we are at the Tsongas Arena watching a Lowell Devils game.  How could I not fall in love with that smile?

I can't quite place this one.  Is it the Applebees in Tewksbury?  I hope not, I hate that place... but I think we went there once.  Might this be from our trip to Wisconsin?  I don't think so, I think it was older than that.  This is one of the oldest pictures I found. 

This one was absolutely taken during our 2007 trip to visit Mike and Tammy and their baby in Wisconsin.

I want to say we were seeing Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, probably at Jordan's in Natick.  I am almost positive this was a 3D IMAX theater and this is still one of my absolute favorite pictures ever.

This was such a happy little find.  Hopefully I'll wait another five years or so and then find them all over again and feel this great giddy feeling once more.

I love you, Jenny.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

July 28, 2005? My First Digital Camera!

IM000713 by robj_1971
IM000713, a photo by robj_1971 on Flickr.
This picture is important for two reasons. Well... not "important" per say, but interesting to me.

First:  After years of using an email service that was designed and built inhouse, the company I work for has just switched all email to a business version of gmail. Thank you!

Because of this we've all been sending gmail hints and tips type articles to each other. I've been a gmail user since 8/11/04, but it's always good to learn more. One article today was advanced search keywords. I knew most of the ones discussed, but I did not know about the has: after: and before: searches, so I tested it out in my personal account by looking for emails sent by me that had attachments and were within the first year of my gmail life.

Second:  I found some pictures taken with my first ever digital camera! I thought those suckers were gone forever! Most of the pictures were of the day the tree fell on my parent's brand new mini-van. There were a few from 12/31/2000 but within the email thread I was told to destroy them, so I won't be sharing those. There was also an example of my old band getting their name in lights.

That old HP camera had less than three megapixels and no zoom and the memory card I had could only store 20 pictures at the highest resolution (80 at the lowest) and I never used it as obsessively as I would the Kodak that I bought after my first pay raise in 2005, or the Nikon that I love so much now, or the iPhone that I photo bomb the holy hell out of everyone with... but it was my first digital, and now it's represented here on my ridiculously overused blog.


The Old Band Played Some Big Gigs

Yup, back in the old days my old band played some mighty big gigs.

Star Trek Poll Question

A couple of nights ago I asked question:  Which Star Trek series was better, Deep Space Nine or Voyager.  Well, here are the results so far.

I asked the question on a number of different sites, Blogger, Facebook, Twitter, Quora, and Google+.  The results were interesting.

On Facebook I got six votes.  Three for Voyager, and three for Deep Space Nine. 
On Quora I got one vote for Deep Space Nine.
On Blogger I got one vote that ranked them equally.
On Twitter I was not posting about hockey or the RPM Challenge so I got no responses.
On Google+ I got the expected nothing at all.

So, as it stands now the vote count is four for Deep Space Nine and three for Voyager. 

Deep Space Nine wins!

I knew it would!


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Los Angeles Kings: An Apology

I feel I owe the Kings an apology.  Yes, I picked them to win the Stanley Cup Finals.  Sure, I have picked them to win every series they've played this post season, and so far I have been right each time.  Statistics show that, given the current state of the Finals, I will be right a fourth time too.

But still... I short changed them.  I gave them less credit than they deserved, and I feel I need to make amends for it in some teeny, tiny, internety way.

In the first round, the Kings beat Vancouver in each of the first three games to take an all but insurmountable (I'm a Bruins fan, note I did not make any guarantees there) 3-0 lead in the series.  In the second round, they beat St. Louis in each of the first three games to again take the same all but insurmountable lead.  In the third round they did exactly the same thing against Phoenix.  Three games in, three games to none lead.

Here is where I let them down though.  When I posted my Stanley Cup Finals predictions I picked them to win the series and the Cup, but I also predicted that New Jersey would put up a fight.  How could I not, after the way they fought against the Rangers in the third round?  If memory serves, I specifically said that the Devils would not allow the Kings to take their fourth three games to none series lead.  I do believe I said if not exactly that, then something very similar.

Well, don't I look stupid now.  Last night was game three of the Stanley Cup Finals, and last night the Kings won the game to take their fourth three games to none lead this post season.  Boy was I a fool.  Egg all over my face. 

Sorry about that, Los Angeles Kings.  I should have had more faith in you.

Go Kings


Date: June 5, 2012
Temp: 51 degrees
Weather: raining... again

If memory serves, the start of summer is two weeks and one day away. Nice of all the worst parts of Spring to be so forceful and persistent, isn't it?

(unrelated note: the new Rush record, Clockwork Angels, will be released one week from today. I'm thinking of buying it from iTunes as soon as I get out of bed (if it's available, of course) so I can listen through it all on the way to work, but then stopping to get a physical copy at Target in Framingham before work starts so that I can listen to it sans compression in the car on the way home. That's the thought at least, although I hear rumor that the full album was leaked onto the 'net yesterday. To peek ahead or not to peek ahead... That is the question.)