Monthly Archives: July 2003

Canoe Trip ’03

This past weekend was the annual LaRouche land canoe trip. There was a pretty good turnout this year. Our part of the crew consisted of Jon and Michelle, Andre, Chris and Lana and two of her friends, Bob, and myself. We staggered up to the property, with Jon and Michelle arriving first, followed by me at about 8:30, then Chris and crew around 11ish, Andre around 1am, and Bob around 5:30am (ouch!). Jon and I took an opportunity to break in the new beirut table. We got one game in before darkness took over, and then we went on to drinking in a more standard manne – from the can. Jon and I had a pretty good jag on by the time Chris showed up, and plenty of good times were had. I honestly don't remember if I was awake when Andre showed up, but it doesn't really matter. Apparently after I passed out, Chris and Andre kept the night alive for quite a while apparently.. Michelle said something about them being up until 5am or so. I was passed the hell out, so I don't wouldn't be able to say either way.

The morning of the canoe trip started off kinda crappy, with dark skies and rain, and a bit of thunder. Being the (foolish) troopers that we are, we went anyway. The first half of the trip was kinda rainy, but the thunder wasn't present thankfully. The second half was much nicer, with the sun breaking through the clouds for a while. Good times were had in the evening as well… we set up the beirut table again and played a few games before it got dark, and before the drinking beer ran out. Bob brough bottles of some nicer stuff, and Jon and Bob played a 1 on 1 game with some of it, but it was determined that it wasn't suitable for beirut. After the sun set, we sat around in a circle being merry and talking… pretty cool. We all passed out pretty quickly that night. Well, I did anyways.

Today was rather uneventful. We got all packed up and headed home. Only took me two hours to get home, which is pretty good. Overall, a good time.

And a movie to pass the time…

Today was pretty slow… there were a couple mind benders at work involving email, and I knocked out this weeks compliment of chargebacks. The datacenter is coming together – the first couple of rows of racks are in place, just awaiting the power whips and ethernet. The OC3 is due to be lit up sometime this weekend, so hopefully we'll be in business in the next few days.

Didn't do much today at home… I got ready for the canoe trip this weekend, and watched Star Trek Nemesis. Good flick, but they didn't need to kill off Data. Assholes. Oh well. Won't be back until sunday… will post then. As if anybody will be waiting on the edge of their seats…. heh

Damn you SMTP authentication!

Work was pretty hectic for a while today since the nice folks at CPanel decided to require SMTP authentication instead of using the relayhosts method they've been using in the past to authenticate outgoing mail transmissions. It took us a while to figure out what the deal was, but once we found it, it wasn't so bad. That problem, along with the mailman issues we've been having, is making me really hate email, at work at least.

Yah, and it rained a ton again today, completely obliterating any trace of the cleanliness on my car that may have been spared by the storms yesterday. Thanks a lot mother nature…

Beirut 2.0, New Do

This weekend turned out to be pretty productive, and annoying in one aspect… Friday night, while trying to get my new hard drives installed and formatted, one of my monitors decided that it didn't like the 22uF capacitor on it's main circuit board, so it blew it up. Made a nice pop and a puff of smoke, so I unhooked the monitor with a quickness. My dad took a look at it, and thinks that replacing the cap will probably fix the monitor, so that's good. Now I have to suffer without my dual monitor setup on this computer for a few days, but I think I can manage.

Yesterday was pretty sweet. I slept in nice and late – almost until noon, which is a feat unheard of for me these days. I didn't do much for the afternoon, but I hung out at Chris's with said friend, Jon, and Tom, along with their respective others, Lana, Michelle, and Lindsay. We cooked out and had some good eats. Then, Chris, Jon, and I went to work at making beirut table 2.0… We went up to home depot and bought a nice sheet of Medium Density Fiberboard, and had them cut it to our specs. Once we got home, we disassembled the old table, and built up the new one in 70 minutes… We dubbed the new table “THE NOMAD.” We played one inaugural game to test things out, and it performed quite well.

Today had some accomplishment and frustration at the same time… I took a couple hours to wash and clean out the inside of my car, only to have it rain and mess up the wash. I was mad. Oh well, I'll get over it. I went out and bought a couple new Queensryche CDs, Empire and The Warning, in response to the great vibe I got from the concert the other night. So far I like them a lot. This evening I did something I've been considering for a few weeks now – a change long overdue… I got out the clippers and lopped off all of my hair, down to about a 1/4 inch. Looks a lot different. I was ready for the change though. Had that old style for like, 10 years. It needed to go, at least temporarily.

Dream Theater + Queensryche, 7/17/03

I had been looking forward to this show for quite a while, and for good reason… it was a great show! We had a decent sized group that went – My dad, cousin Alex, my friends Jon and Matt, and myself. Alex got stuck in traffic so we got a bit of a late start. After grabbing food at Burger King, we made our way out to Pine Knob. The place was suprisingly empty… perhaps it was the threat of thunderstorms, or just that nobody knows good music when they hear it.

We missed Fate's Warning which was kind of a bummer. We came in right during the set change, so we didn't miss any of Queensryche's show, so it wasn't all bad. I wasn't quite sure what to expect out of Queensryche since I've only been a fan of theirs for a few months… Well, they didn't disappoint. They came out rocking and didn't really let up. They led off with a couple heavy songs… I think they were Empire, Damaged, and Walk in the Shadows (in no particular order). The heavy songs absolutely rocked. Then they made me very happy by breaking into a few songs off of Operation Mindcrime (Anarchy X, Revolution Calling, Speak, and Eyes of a Stranger), and those were all way sweet as well. After that, they played Silent Lucidity, Jet City Woman, N M 156, and a few other songs I didn't recognize, plus a new song off their upcoming album. The new song was pretty cool, except there was a pseudo-rap type part in it that was definitely out of place in their style. Overall, they rocked. Geoff Tate has an amazing voice, with the ability to go from the low to high with no difficulty or loss of clarity. Simply a phenominal vocalist. Both of their guitarists are excellent, and played off each other really well. There were quite a few times where they would get together and play harmonized lead lines, and they nailed them. There aren't too many things cooler than when two sweet guitarists are in sync and excelling at their craft. Grade: A.

Dream Theater was the main reason I went to this show. I've been a huge fan of theirs for about a year now, and they certainly don't disappoint in a live setting. There are plenty of bands who sound good in the studio but can't carry that precision and intensity on the road. Dream Theater certainly isn't in this class. They come out with the energy of a hurricane and never relent. they opened up with one of their best songs, Metropolis Part I, and then carried the theme on by playing the first couple songs off of Scenes From a Memory (Overture 1928 and Strange Deja Vu). That was a good solid 15 minutes of sheer prog-metal bliss. Jon was quite impressed, since they played Metropolis and then went straight into the other songs, without stopping. It is pretty amazing that anyone has the stamina to do that, since all those songs are very lead oriented and would probably turn the bodies of mere mortals to jello in short order. After that, they calmed things down a bit and played Hollow Years. After that I don't remember the exact order, but they played a good selection of songs… They played the whole Mind Beside Itself trilogy (Erotomania, Voices, and The Silent Man), Under a Glass Moon, Solitary Shell, Pull Me Under, one song I didn't recognize (could be off When Day and Dream Unite, I don't own that one and have never heard it… also could have been new!), and maybe one other song. The only thing that disappointed me about their set was that the mixing seemed a bit off… The keyboards and vocals seemed a bit too loud, and the mics on the drums were too quiet. Mike Portnoy's double bass runs were hardly audible, which is quite a shame. They bring a lot of energy to the songs. John Petrucci was on (as per usual). It's really not fair how good he is. His playing is precise, effortless, and incredibly fast. John Myung's bass was just as amzing… He plays without a pick on a six string bass, and can probably keep up with Petrucci in just about any circumstance. He's got to be the most active bass player I've ever seen. Portnoy was his energetic self, dropping synchopated rhythms and bass drum heroics with no effort at all. Jordan Rudess's keyboard was also pretty incredible… he totally Wowed Alex with some of the lines played. Grade: A+

Dream Theater finished up at about 10:25 with the usual “Thank you goodnight, see you in 45 seconds for the encore” spiel, and I expected to see them come out and play another couple songs and then call it a night… Well, they did, but I was very plesantly suprised when Queensryche came out and took the stage with them!! All 10 people from both bands were out there playing… The first song they played was Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd, and they nailed it. Geoff Tate sang the Roger Waters part, and James LaBrie took care of the David Gilmour Part. Their voices were a perfect match, almost as good as Waters and Gilmour. One of Queensryche's guitarists handled the first solo beautifully, and Petrucci took care of the second one with authority. I would have loved to have that one on tape… Next, they all played The Spirt Carries On (a Dream Theater tune). The studio version of that song has a female voice singing for a while in the middle of the song, and Tate took that part on and nailed it. I wouldn't have expected a male voice to sound right there, but it sounded great. It's another tribute to his voice that he can sing in such a gentle way. That song is quite long, with lots of solos… The cool thing was that Petrucci was the one handling the rhythm for the most part, and the Queensryche guys were playing his solos! Quite a cool display. The last song of the night was a Queensryche song, but I'm not sure of the name of it (maybe Best I Can?). It was quite a jam, and the hightlight of it for me was seeing both drummers playing along side of each other inside of Portnoy's Siamese Monster drum kit in perfect unison. They also did the reverse of the Dream Theater song here, with Petrucci handling the solos and the Queensryche guitarists holding down the rhythm fort.

Overall, I couldn't really ask more out of a concert. Sure, Dream Theater's mix could have been a bit better, but that could also be a result of the spot where we were sitting. Seeing two incredible bands perform their best material would have been good enough, but seeing them together for the encore made it truly memorable. Grade: A+++

Matt also posted a review, and it can be viewed here.

Operation: OFFICE FURNITURE

Heh, it's not some government project or a underground movement, it's just what happened at work today. We got some more cubicles delivered and set up today at work. Steven's quite happy, since he can claim one now instead of having to sit at a table. Now we'll just make Ben sit at the table when he comes in. Muahahaha. That's about all that happened today really. Well, I suppose I went and picked up Taco Bell for lunch, and took a nap on the couch after dinner. Umm, and the hard drives I ordered are on their way. Should be here tomorrow by the looks of it… Just in time for me to not be able to install them because I'll be at the Dream Theater/Queensryche concert. Oh well. Not like hooking them up one day late will kill me… or will it????

A day in the life of …..

Wow. That title could almost make my life seem interesting. Well, it's pretty boring… There is some notable news though – Jon proposed to Michelle, so they're engaged now too. That brings the non-engaged count in my main circle of friends to two – Andre and I… and since Andre is in Indianapolis, yah, it's just me around here. I'm happy for all my friends, but I'm feeling more and more alienated by everyone elses happiness… I obviously don't have a significant other, and there isn't even a remote one-in-a-million prospect. I work in a sausage farm, and White Lake isn't exactly fertile female country, and I'm essentially a hermit. Sucks a bunch. :-\ “Good game Mike, thanks for playing the game of life. You don't even get a lousy copy of our home game. Now GTFO.”

I'm also quite pissed… I ordered a couple of hard drives for the mythbox on saturday, and the damn order hasn't even been processed yet. WTF. Charging a debit card and putting two drives in a box and giving it to Brown (what a stupid slogan for UPS btw…) is not terribly complicated.

On a bright note… I played some guitar tonight and my fingers weren't stupid. On a not as bright note, I shot baskets out on the court behind my house, and I sucked. Fun.

No news is… no news

Well, the past couple days have been quite boring and uneventful, as the last few months have been for the most part. Yesterday was busy at work, which is unusual for a friday. It probably just seemed more busy since the crew was lighter than usual. Whatever the reason, I noticed I answered more calls. Also, I seemed to get all the lame customers from hell asking stupid questions about stuff we're really not supposed to worry about (i.e. how to design their websites), but they never took the hint to just bugger off. Argh.

Today has been pretty slow too… I played CS with Matt for a couple hours today… We always seem to find a way to own the servers we play in… maybe it's just because we've both played for a long time, and pick easy servers… heheh.. I might do some website stuff tonight since I'm bored, but then again, I may not.

New look, sort of

I got a bit bored with the look of the site, so I updated it a bit. Also added a couple links, and updated a bit of content here and there.

Argh!~

Man, I had to go back to work today. 5 Days off is enough to get you spoiled on not having to work. The alarm going off at 6 was a rude awakening, that's for sure. Today kinda sucked other than having to work… I went to bed last night feeling kinda sick, with the aches and pains and a headache, and I woke up with the headache and it never really went away all day. I was butt-tired at work today, and caught myself drifting off a few times at the desk… My head hurt, so it wasn't like I was energetic and highly productive anyways. I came home, watched Knight Rider (5PM on SCI-FI, woohoo!) and then laid down because my head hurt. Well, it still hurts, and I'm about to go to bed. Maybe it won't hurt when I wake up tomorrow. That would be nice.