Monthly Archives: March 2004

Indy Pics uploaded

The pictures from the Indy trip the other weekend have been uploaded, and I finished out commenting on the pre-existing pics that hadn't been labelled yet. Exciting.

Indianapolis, Part 3: Scenes from a Blurry Drunken Memory

This past weekend marked my third jaunt down to Indianapolis to visit Andre, and it was also the third such trip where I was totally plastered for a good portion of the weekend… πŸ™‚ I went down with Darin and Lisa… Jon was supposed to go, but his grandfather died and he was obligated to go to the funeral in Iowa. That's the second time in a row his plans to go to Indy have been foiled by uncontrollable circumstances… the first was Michelle telling him that he couldn't go… πŸ™‚

Friday evening was dubbed the bar night, and bar night it became. Andre started off the night claiming that he would be the DD, but that didn't last very long. Lisa wasn't feeling so good, so she volunteered to drive, and Andre went with it. Heck, we all went with it. We hit a few local bars and the local BW3s, and closed out the evening with some obligatory eats from the omnipresent Jimmy Johns. It was wonderful.

Saturday morning started out much worse than friday night left off… after I woke up and took a shower, I went to gather my carry-everywhere things to put them in my pockets, such is my morning ritual, but I couldn't find my wallet. I looked all over the room, pulled everything out of my suitcase and laptop bag, but couldn't find anything. We looked all around the house and in Andre's car, but couldn't find anything. I looked around for a good two hours, and found nothing. We called all the places that we went to see if they had any wallets turned in, but nothing turned up. We called the police for that area to see if they had anything turned in. Nothing. We even went back to the bars to retrace our steps on the shred of a chance that it might be laying around somewhere. Well, it wasn't. We got back, and out of sheer desperation I started rifling through my stuff again, when I finally stumbled accross my clever drunken hiding spot. I had apparently thought it was a brilliant idea to jam my wallet into the handle of my suitcase in my drunken stupor. I felt pretty stupid, but incredibly relieved. I was about a half hour away from calling in to cancel my credit and debit cards. That would have been a large pain in my ass.

Other than the wallet fiasco, saturday was sweet. Andre gave us a little tour of Klipsch and some of their audio development facilities. Very cool stuff. I couldn't get over the fact that there were speakers literally everywhere. Some guys had like 30 speakers just laying on their desks in their cubicles. Definitely a paradise for an audiophile. Andre showed us some of the listening rooms, which were basically larger rooms with a couch in the middle and speakers all over the place. Some were treated with foam on the walls to cut down on the reverberations, and some weren't. We also got to experience a full sized anechoic chamber, which was very cool. It's very strange to talk and hear nothing of your own voice except the stuff that makes it to your ears by going through your head. All in all, that tour was very cool. I got a couple pictures of the experience, but not too many because I didn't want to get Andre in trouble or anything.

The rest of saturday was spent drinking and BBQ'ing… it was rainy earlier in the day, but later on in the afternoon the skies lightened and it became pretty warm, about 60, but with a bit of a breeze. Perfect weather for the cookout Andre was hoping wouldn't get rained out. There was a modest number of people that showed up, and we enjoyed the essential warm weather B's – Beer, Brats, Burgers, and Beans. And other stuff. Andre had whipped up some industrial sized vats of macaroni salad and potato salad, and we gorged on that pretty heavily. Many games of pool and darts were played while I wrestled with the music setup. We had my laptop playing music over Andre's wireless network from his computer through his amp in his pool table room, but the connection kept flaking out and made the music skip. Stupid technology. Oh well I guess. After most of the guests had departed, one of the guys from a hockey team Andre plays on showed up, and we ended up talking music and guitar for like 2 hours. It was pretty cool.

Sunday was prety much recovery day. Darin, Lisa, and I helped Andre clean up his place, and then we packed up and left. The trip home was uneventful. All in all, it was a sweet weekend.

Photos will be up in the gallery sooner or later.

An Evening with Dream Theater, 3/22/04

This show came with great anticipation for me. Not only is Dream Theater pretty much my favorite band, but seeing them at the State Theatre gave me the opportinity to see them up close without being chained to a specific seat. They were scheduled to do what few bands can pull off – play two complete sets – and considering the energy level at which they play, that's like four sets for any normal band. We gathered a pretty huge contingent for the journey… 7 people made the journey down with me, and Matt's group was 5 strong. I was prepared for a sweet show, and they didn't disappoint…

Dream Theater opened the show with a brief history of the band set to their music of the same vintage as the imagery. It started with their days as Majesty and progressed through the conversion to Dream Theater, and up to the music of today. They opened up their first set with As I Am and This Dying Soul from Train of Thought, and everything else after that is a blur. I found it hard to focus on anything else but the sheer musical madness going on up on the stage, so actually remembering what was going on is a bit difficult. One thing that stands out in my mind is their digressions from the normal song flow into extended and seemingly improvosational jams. The first was the most memorable… I think they digressed from a section towards the end of Beyond This Life if I remember correctly. Jordan Rudess opened it up with some completely insane classical piano stuff, and Mike Portnoy joined in with some off the wall percussion on the wood blocks and whatever else is in his Siamese Monster drum kit. The way they played off each other was really sweet. One guy would lay down a light-speed barrage of notes, and the moment he stopped, the other would let rip with a flurry of equal intensity. It was a spectacle. And as quickly as it started, it ended, and they started right back up where they left off in the song they digressed from. There were other such episodes with other members of the band, but that first one was the most memorable.

John Petrucci was simply incredible, as usual, and the set list the band chose seemed to be concentrated on letting him flex his muscles with the 7-string guitar. They played most of their 7-string songs, which made for a hard-crunching night. They played all of the Train of Thought album, which is recorded exclusively on 7-strings if I hear correctly, Caught in a Web (played a half step up if I heard correctly), The Mirror, and Lie. They weren't just dropping the bottom out though, they did play a few of their slower ballads, like Another Day, Trail of Tears, and Finally Free. A strange trend that I saw was that they didn't play any of the 'classics' that I would have expected to hear at one of their shows, especially since they played for a solid 3 hours. They didn't play Pull Me Under, Metropolis, Under a Glass Moon, Learning to Live, none of the Mind Beside Itself songs, Lines in the Sand, or Home. I can understand that bands get sick of playing the same songs all the time, but at least two or three of those songs are always in order.

Even though they didn't play all of the favorites, it was still an incredible show. A couple of the people that went with our groups had never seen Dream Theater before, and I do believe that they were sufficiently impressed. If you've got any appreciation for music, I don't see how it's possible to not to be in awe of the sheer skill level they posess. I can't wait for the next time they come around. I'll be there. Grade: A+

Family Guy Rules!

Yah, the family guy is hilarious. Some video clips for your entertainment.

Irish Heritage

George W. Bush is not a quitter!

Give a hoot, don’t loot!

Mike showed me this video earlier today, and I about laughed my ass off. I also had a bit of disgust, as stuff like this is one of the main reasons people around the world hate Americans so much. It's still pretty funny though.

Linkage: Don't Loot!

Ups and downs…

Yah, it's been a while. I don't really remember what was going on monday through wednesday, so it really must not have been that cool. It was MSU's spring break this week, so JDoss and MTerry were working every day, which helped to make things pretty slow and relaxed. Nothing memorable.

It was great that they were there thursday and friday though… sheesh. Both days there were significant security holes found in a sofware package that we use, holes so big that someone could have easily gained control of a server using that software just by entering a specially crafted URL into their browser that pointed to the server. Verrrrry lame. Thursday's bug was pretty easily fixed by deactivating a feature in the software, but Friday's wasn't as easy to lock down. It was a hole in the basic login functionality that lets people into the control panel for their account, so it couldn't just be deactivated. We had to completely block access to it at the router level, which blocked people from a lot of stuff. A lot of people called up angry, but were cool once we told them what was up. The biggest pisser is that we had to scramble bigtime two days straight because of some errors that should never made it off the computer the software was programmed on. Total bonehead programming fuckups, with a complete lack of testing. We're just lucky we had the whole crew in, or things may have got a lot more dicey.

Friday evening was much cooler though. Some of the guys at work put together a full-fledged bar crawl, complete with custom T-shirts and a limo. We started our festivities at the Peanut Barrel for food and drink, and then made our way downtown to Rum Runners. Rum Runners wasn't the kind of place we were looking for, so we made our way to Moriarty's after a few drinks, much to my happiness. They had a band playing, per usual, and they sounded sweet, as per usual. They had a real solid funk groove goin on, and the bass player had a phat 6-string bass, and it sounded sweet. Jeremy and I were very much diggin on that. We didn't stay around there too long, because it was a crawl, and well, crawls keep moving. So we headed back towards East Lansing and to Ricks, which ended up being our final drinking destination. Matthew was in rare form as the beer provider, and everybody got hella smashed. There were some tales of praying to the stainless steel (no porcelain in Ricks' bathrooms), and Josh has a very interesting story to tell, but I'll leave that up to him if he wants to tell it. We eventually got kicked out because (apparently?) Jeremy was belligerent and too drunk to stay in the bar because he asked for a cup of water… riiight. Zac was ready to brawl, but we left and ate some pizza at Georgios instead. Once we were done there, the limo took us all back to our places, and I would imagine that everyone passed out pretty quickly.

Saturday was kinda slow… I woke up much earlier than I would have liked, probably around 9:00-9:30 or so. I went to work for a couple hours to fill in a gap in the schedule, and worked a bit on my monitoring stuff. It's coming together, but the thing is, I'm going to get to a working state where it's useful at work, and then rewrite it to make it better. The way the data is stored currently sucks pretty bad, and I want to make it so it's as versatile as possible, and the only way to do it is with a rewrite. Josh and I are most likely going to tag-team on the rewrite, so look out world, it'll be sweet.

Today I lounged about the place for the most part, but I did do some constructive stuff like grocery shopping, which I hadn't done in like, 3 weeks. I had no food… πŸ™‚ I also got bored with the arrangement of my room, so I moved things around a bit. This arrangement should also help with the annoying sliver of light that makes it in behind the blinds and wakes me up in the morning with its brightness.

Pictures of the bar crawl and the new room arrangement will be posted in the gallery, along with some more random pictures.

Ouch, my head hurts

Yah, that seems to be a common theme for the past few weekends… I've actually been going out on the weekends lately, and it seems like I get hung over every time now, even if I don't have a lot of beer. I always seem to drink labatts, so I'm wondering if my body just doesn't like labatts anymore. That would really suck, because I like labatts, and everyone seems to have it. It might also be the cigarette smoke that is always present in the bar environment, because the post-bar headaches I get always seem to be limited to my sinuses. Whatever causes it, it's no fun.

The work week was pretty uneventful I suppose… Phil was back on days this week, which helped out the light-staffing problem, and also helped lighten the mood a bit. He's pretty good at making people laugh, which is cool. I guess the mood around Liquid Web is never really that heavy, so lightening it is pretty much like adding good things to good things…

Friday night was pretty fun… My buddy Matt came up and, along with Joe, we met up with Phil at Moriarty's in Lansing and had a few drinks and shot the shit. Both times I've been there, there's been a band playing, which is cool. Not some crappy band, but real players who can jam with the best of 'em. Cool shit.

I had the aforementioned hangover yesterday, so after Matt left, I slept a lot. It was good. I went down to Jon's place for the evening… his birthday was on Friday, so he had a little shindig in celebration. It was mostly people he knew from work, but Darin and Lisa were there as well. There was much food to be eaten, and games to be played. We played a few games of beirut and pool, and in the process Michelle got totally trashed. It was pretty funny. I don't think I've ever seen her that wasted. She is definitely a hoot when she gets intoxicated!

I don't really have any plans for today… I might go pick up some groceries if I'm so inclined, but then again I may not. Laying around and being a bum has a real nice ring to it.

New Pics Posted

I just posted the pics of the new pickup configuration for the Carvin in the Random Digicam Images area. They were taken in February, so they'll slip in to the archives once I take some pictures in March… πŸ˜‰

Work Wars, Episode 5: The Schedule Strikes Back

So here it is, about 10 minutes to midnight, and I'm laying on the floor of my bedroom typing on my laptop… Due to a nice 2.5 hour nap earlier this evening, there's no way I'll be in bed anytime soon. Oh well, I needed the nap.

Work sucked yesterday, and it sucked even more today. The scheduling hiccup that reared its ugly head last week returned again this week and made both yesterday and today really sucky – only two people doing the work that four people should be doing. Sucky. A lot of the calls were really easy, but dropping everything every two minutes to answer a phone call is a real pain in the ass. When I'm working on something, I like to focus all of my attention on it and knock it out, so having distractions all the time is highly frustrating for me. I can't count the number of times the phone rang while I was doing something and I just yelled at it in the futile attempt to make it stop. Well, it didn't. It eventually calmed down enough for Joe and I to get something done, but I still left almost two hours later than I normally would. We had to wait for Josh and the other Joe to arrive before the phone load was light enough to get some stuff done.

For those of you interested in guitar stuff… My buddy Phil from work has started playing with Garageband, and has started doing some recording stuff. His first clip is up, and sounds -really- good. You can definitely tell that Phil has been playing for a lot longer than I have! Keep up the good work man! Check out his Garageband writeup and the first sound clip here.