Monthly Archives: November 2003

Wow, I’m tired again.

Yes, the title says it all. I'm freakin exhausted. And once I finish this last godforsaken midnight shift, I get to drive down to my aunts house for Thanksgiving part deux. I probably won't get to sleep until like 9 or 10…. if anybody's counting, that's 27 hours of being awake, barring any naps or falling asleep at the wheel. Good thing I have monday and tuesday off – I'll probably wake up sometime tuesday once I get to bed tonight.

I've been working on the Gentoo install on my laptop over the past few hours… (it's probably the only thing keeping me awake!) I've made a bit of progress, but there are few things that I need to get working still before I'm happy. I've got sound, video, and the synaptics touchpad/usb mouse working right, but I still need to get the wireless ethernet working. There seems to be a couple open source projects that have drivers that are still in their infancy, but they don't seem to be very stable yet. There's also DriverLoader, but I don't have my WLAN drivers here at work and I couldn't find them on the web. Blah. Once I get wireless going I'll be happy, and can go onto other things, like installing MythTV on here and using it as a mobile frontend system… 😀

That's all for now… let's hope I don't pass out at the wheel or something.

Laptop goodness!

After a bit of confusion, my laptop has arrived. I was spamming the UPS tracking site with requests to see where my laptop was. I saw it come into lansing around 6:40 this morning, but it didn't update after that. I stuck around work until 9:30 or something, hopeing it would show up. Well, it didn't, so I went home. I checked the status when I got home, and I noticed something – the ontime status changed to “Rescheduled” and the delivery date changed to Monday… I was quite pissed. I called up UPS customer service to see if there was any way to pick it up, and the lady said that it was probably still on a truck, so there was no way. I was mad, but I dealt with it and went it sleep. When I woke up, I was very suprised to see that there was a message from Steven saying that my laptop had arrived. That made me quite happy.

I've got XP installed on it, and my windows environment is pretty much moved over on to this machine. It's quite fast, although the 4200 RPM drive is noticeable. It takes a little while to access stuff from the hard disk. Otherwise, it rocks. I may start the Gentoo install tonight or tomorrow night, depends on how bored I am.

Freekin tired (again)

Four and a half nights down, two and a half to go. I'll be glad once this crap is over. I haven't adjusted to the night shift this week like I have in the past, and it's really sucky. I'm so tired right now it's not even funny. I drove home to my parents house today right after I got off work, and only slept for about 3 hours before I was woken up for Thanksgiving Dinner, and I didn't get any sleep after that. Combine that with the Thanksgiving food coma, I'm pretty much screwed when it comes to staying awake.

No update on the Laptop yet… it's supposed to be here today, but UPS hasn't updated the status in about 22 hours. Probably just giving people the day off for thanksgiving. I'm sure it'll still make it on time. I'll probably stick around and wait for it to get delivered, since I'm impatient, and nobody's scheduled to be in until 9am. Lets hope UPS comes before that.

Freakin Tired

The title says it all. I'm here again, tired as hell. I only got about 3-4 hours of sleep today before I was woken up by the guys below us bumpin some lame ass dance/trance music. I was pissed, but it was 1pm, so I couldn't really be all that angry. I woke up for a while, then zonked back out around 6 and slept until 10ish. I guess I got my sleep for the day, but I don't feel rested, that's for damn sure. Night shifts suck like that. I can't wait until I'm back on days next week. I looked at myself in the mirror when I got home today, and the dark circles around my eyes made it look like I got punched or something.

Laptop Update: My laptop shipped last night, and is somewhere called 'OSHTEMO, MI'. Ever heard of it? Yah me neither. UPS says it'll be here friday. I'm geeked. I'm thinkin I may put Gentoo on it earlier than I was planning. I work two 12 hour shifts this weekend to finish off my week of midnight hell, so I'll have a lot of time to kill. Installing Gentoo would probably fill that time nicely. Or I'll just install some games on it and play around to keep myself occupied… 🙂

mike.neir.org ready for syndication

Heh, I got bored and decided to make a RSS news feed for the dynamic content on my site. If you have a RSS capable news reader, point it at mike.neir.org/rss.php and you'll get the last 10 posts (sans website updates) that I've made. I'm sure this will get TONS of traffic…. right. I've tested it in Evolution and in a phpNuke block, and it seems to work quite well. Let me know if you have any problems with it.

Random Music Stuff

Got a few disjoint musical notes here. Most people won't give two shits about this stuff, but its my site, live with it. First, I went out and bought the single for the new Iced Earth album tonight. It's pretty cool, but nothing extraordinary. I do believe they're holding out the extraordinary stuff for the release of the real album – “The Glorious Burden” – so I'm not all that disappointed. There are four songs on the disc, with two typical Iced Earth metal-fests, and two slower songs, one of which is completely unplugged. I really wouldn't think of IE making an unplugged tune, but this is more of a ballad-y tune, so it's cool. This is the first material I've heard with the new vocalist Tim “Ripper” Owens, formerly of Judas Priest. He's not the same vocalist that Matt Barlow was, but he does add a lot of flavor to the songs. Speaking of Matt, he hasn't completely severed his ties with the band – he sings backing vocals on some of the songs on the single. Even though he's off doing his part for our country, it would be cool for him to get back in the studio with IE and have both vocalists rip on a few tracks.

I also picked up an Iron Maiden disc tonight when I got the IE single. I picked up their official greatest hits disc – “Edward The Great”. After seeing them in concert this summer and enjoying it, I figured I should pick up some of their stuff. This seemed like a good place to start. I recognize a bunch of the tunes from the concert this summer. Great stuff. They aren't total metal like I'm used to hearing in bands like Metallica, Anthrax, or Slayer, but it's very easy to see how they paved the way for the next generation of metal bands. I'll be picking up more Maiden albums soon.

I read something today that kinda suprised me, and I was pretty pumped about it. About two years ago, one of my favorite bands at the time, Fear Factory, broke up. I was bummed. Well, I just read that they're back together sans guitarist Dino Cazares. I'm hopeful that it will be cool, but Dino was the princpal songwriter for all of their past stuff, so who knows.

I also read a blurb quoting Dimebag Darrel as saying that Pantera was officially done as a band. I guess it really isn't current news, but I hadn't heard it. For better or for worse, Pantera wrote some pretty sweet songs, and I own all of their albums except the last one, and they're all good. They got a little too “GRRR I'M TOUGHER THAN YOU!” in the last couple discs, but the music was still badass. I gues s Dime and Vinny Paul are going on with another band, so perhaps the sweet musical end of Pantera will live on without the raw testosterone that Phil brought to to the band.

Wow, just read another article about Anthrax… apparently they're going to record an in-studio live album consisting of 12 of their old Belladonna era tunes, and they're letting the fans vote for which tunes to use! That is totally cool, because John Bush is like 6.02e23 times better than Joey Belladonna. Vote here.

There’s snow on the ground…

Yah, as much as I would have liked to sleep through it and pretend it didn't happen – it snowed today. Normally the first snow of the year doesn't really stick, but it did today. I used to like the winter, but then I got older. I used to be able to go outside and play in the snow, make snowforts, pelt annoying neighbor kids with snowballs, sled down hills, go ice skating…. the list goes on. Now winter is just an extended period of freakin cold weather where I have to bundle up all the time, freezing my butt off while my car warms up and accumulates a covering of salt from driving down the road. Or, in the case of the Camaro, I could just be driving and hit black ice, careen off the road at 60MPH and hit a tree. No thanks. Give me ice-free roads, a bright sun, warm air. Give me shorts and a T-shirt. Give me summer. I have no use for winter anymore.

I'm on the night shift again this week and so far it's been pretty uneventful. I set up a server yesterday for Zac… that's about the only non-boring thing that's happened. I updated my website a bit tonight. I could be working one of a couple of projects I'm involved with here at work, but my attention span is quite short from being so damn tired. There's a monster glass of Mountan Dew within an arms reach, and that's just about all that's keeping me awake right now.

One cool thing did happen today though… After literally years of unwavering patience (read: lack of money), I finally ordered myself a laptop today. I'm pumped. I can't wait for it to get here. Eventually I'll install Gentoo on it and join the Elite Liquid Web Gentoo Linux Laptop Club (ELWGLLC), but I'll probably just put Windows on it at the beginning until the novelty of having a laptop wears off. Then I'll install Gentoo and dual boot. It needs to get here soon, because I'm crazy patient like that.

Buttons! Buttons Everywhere!

I updated the layout of the site a bit, added the Featured Links section. Now everybody can link really fast to what I check out regularly.

Dream Theater – Train of Thought

November 11th marked the release date of the latest Dream Theater album, “Train of Thought.” I've been looking forward to this one for a while now, and I defintely think it was worh the wait. I don't know if it's on par with some of their other albums like Scenes From a Memory or Images and Words, but I don't think it was supposed to be one of those kind of albums. I read a blurb mentioning something about the band saying this was written as a Metal album from day one, and that it certainly is. They bring a bunch of sweet riffs and crushing rhythms to the table, and spice them up with their usual pizazz of sweet solos and time/tempo changes, albeit not as many. They seemed to be going for a record with more of an extended groove, instead of playing a sweet riif for 10 seconds then changing to another riff on a different time signature, then repeating. Combine that with the metal attack, and you get some serious headbanging potential.

As I Am – DT released the radio edit of this song on their website a few weeks before the album was released, and I snapped it up really quick. It starts out with some cool distorted bass harmonics, and then goes into a full 7 string swing. One of the things that made me happy about this album is that John Petrucci pulled out the 7 string guitar for this album and didn't put it away. Too many assclown bands today use 7 strings to be tough and cool, but they never really use any more than the two low strings. If they do make it to the high strings, it's just for annoying dissonant chords played over and over that just make your ears want to pick up and move out of your head. John Petrucci goes from low B all the way to 24 on the high E, and everywhere in between. One thing about this song it's definitely following a radio-type formula… lots of verse, chorus, verse-chorus, then the obligatory guitar solo (no keyboard solo, what a travesty), and then a couple more verse-choruses, then done. The song still has plenty of cool instrumental moments, and weighs in at 7:47, so it's not like its totally radio friendly. I actually heard it on the radio the other night though, so it's out there.

This Dying Soul – This song opens up freakin heavy. A big low B power chord followed by a thundering herd of bass drums, then it blasts right into a full blown guitar solo, then a keyboard solo. This is how it should be. They go lyrical after that, and the music for that is a little more toned back. By looking at the lyrics and listening to the music, the first part is supposed to be a revisitation to the song The Mirror from Awake. They even pull a short piece of music straight out of The Mirror and use it as a transition into the second part of the song, which seems to borrow a bit from The Glass Prison lyrically. There are a couple parts to this song where James LaBrie is doing the “screaming into a megaphone pointed at the microphone” vocals, and I don't dig on that too much. He kinda raps during that part, and it doesn't really work for me. The music behind it does though. It's this really stacatto rhythm with a lot of triplets, and it's sweet.

Endless Sacrifice – This song opens pretty slow, with some cool clean guitar lines, but then drops into a thundering rhythm for the chorus. The song builds slowly during the next verses, then goes nuts in the gratutious (and obligatory) extended instrumental section in the middle. Petrucci and Jordan Rudess have their fun while exchanging lead lines. Cool stuff. Once they've had their fun, they bust back into the main flow of the song with a peppier version of the chorus riff, and finish things off with a lot of energy. This is probably my favorite song off the album right now.

Honor Thy Father – This song opens up with a really off-beat rhythm, then slows down into a more subdued sound for the verses. Rudess brings out a huge sound for the bridges, laying a high synth line over the thunder of the guitar and bass. Sounds really cool. The jam session in the middle of the song is really sweet, but they have one of those White Zombie-esque tracks of weird conversation clips overlaying the music, and it's weird. Takes away from the sweetness of the jam. I never liked those talk tracks anyways.

Vacant – This is a very short by DT standards (only about 3 minutes), but it's also not one of their jam fests. Its a somber sounding tune, and it only has bass, keyboards, and a cello plus lyrics. It's cool sounding, and almost a welcome break from the fury.

Stream of Consciousness – This song is an instrumental, and with Dream Theater, instrumentals are always fun. They continue some of the musical themes and progressions started by Vacant and expands with drums and guitar. Very cool. A good portion of the song has a constant driving beat, perfect for flying down the highway at speeds exceeding the legal limit… 😀

In the Name of God – This one also starts kind of slow, but the rhythm has a 3 part harmony (or so it would seem to my untrained ears) between bass, guitar, and keys that sounds really cool. The verse riff in this one is sweet… pretty simple, but sweet. The song kinda gets a little drawn out in the middle, but they break into a much cooler section after that, and it sounds really big. They break into a solo section after that, which sounds really cool. The solos that stand out for me are the ones that are probably the easiest to play – a long series of hammer-ons and pull-offs that seem analgous to a trip up and down a hill, but it's really neat nonetheless. The song finishes quite slowly, and the album finishes with a cool piano lick.

Before you know it, 69 minutes and 21 seconds have passed, and the album is done. If you're like me you're already reaching for the remote to start the CD over again. There are only 7 tracks on the CD, but the album definitely isn't lacking. It's not the prog-metal masterpieces that some of their previous albums were, but I don't think they were aiming at that. Overall, it's sweet, and if you dig on heavy metal with a lot of parts and solos, you'll probably like this disk. Grade: A.

I’m alive! Really, I am!

Yah, been a while since the last post, and I've been kinda lazy, since some stuff has actually gone on. The most eventful day was last Sunday – I volunteered to work from 6pm-midnight to get a couple extra hours, and for the first 5:45 of the shift, it was pretty uneventful. Then like 15 minutes before I was supposed to leave, a server got all fubar'ed, and I had to stay later and fix it up. Sucked. I was there until 6am fixing it… needless to say I didn't come in that day.

The new Dream Theater album came out on tuesday, and it's pretty sweet. I'll post a seperate review about that in a minute. I also saw the Matrix Revolutions on the night it came out, but I don't want to post a review until I see it again. I was too busy watching to pay full attention to exactly what was going on… heh.

Friday night, I went down and hung with Jon, Michelle, and Chris, and we checked out this bar/pub that we've been meaning to visit for a while now. It's called The Box Bar, and it's down in Plymouth. It's a pretty cool place, and the beer selection is *stellar*. Like 650 beers on the list, with 40 on tap. We all sampled the exotic stuff, and also had a few old standbys. It was a cool place. The weekend was pretty calm… I worked a few hours on saturday for some extra hours, and nothing died this time, which is definitely good. I went down and visited the fam on sunday. I hadn't seen them for a month or so, and I was long overdue to clean the mess I left in my room when I moved out. It's nice and clean now, which makes my parents quite happy. My dad made some chicken chili for dinner, and it was great, as always. I've only been out of the house for a month or so, and I already miss a home cooked meal. I sure as hell can't cook for myself!