Monthly Archives: April 2004

Sick and tired on midnights

Yup, those words pretty much describe the last few days of my life. I'm on the midnight shift for two weeks, and I came down with a cold sometime monday. Blah. I was pretty miserable during the day yesterday, with a fever and a case of the shivers. I took some tylenol which seemed to help a lot. Today when I came home I went staight to bed and slept a solid 8 hours, and when I woke up all signs of the fever were gone. Looks like it broke some time during the day, which I have absolutely no problem with. I've still got a lot of congestion, a screwed up voice, and a bit of a headache, but I'm feeling a lot better.

Work has been pretty slow the past couple days, which is fine with me. Being sick and busy would just be a total pain in my ass. Being sick and not busy is much more bearable. Once my mind and body are well again, I'd like to start work on the new version of the monitoring stuff that I've been brainstorming for a long time. It probably wouldn't hurt for me to lay out a plan of attack, since the flow of the project will probably need to be kinda linear, with a few things happening first, and then other things building on that.

ARRRGGH!!

Damnit, I just looked out the front window and SNOW FLAKES WERE FALLING. IT'S ALMOST FREAKING MAY! I hate Michigan weather. It was 75 degrees out the other day.

Oh yah… Joe gave me his cold too. Freakin' grand.

Much respect for Portuguese music fans

Alex sent me this video showing a bunch of people at a Nickelback concert in Portugal throwing stuff at the band and getting them to walk of the stage and cut their concert short. I don't condone the throwing of rocks at people, but they defintely had the right idea…. Nickleback sucks. It's about time people started realizing this.

Stable Release? Never.

It would be nice, but there are some things a computer should never be able to do…

(18:21:00) Greg: oh gentoo2 install
(18:21:08) Mike: lol
(18:21:16) Mike: home or work?
(18:21:20) Greg: both
(18:21:23) Mike: wow
(18:21:28) Mike: diving in headfirst
(18:21:33) Mike: I commend your courage
(18:21:40) Greg: bsd still on my servers though
(18:21:44) Mike: bah
(18:21:49) Mike: you'll change
(18:22:39) Greg: will see, gentoo better cuddle with me after to change that
(18:22:58) Mike: yah
(18:23:11) Mike: they don't mention that in the install manual
(18:23:36) Mike: you'll just have to “emerge cuddle” for it to cuddle with you
(18:23:41) Mike: then you're all set to go
(18:26:52) Greg: sweet, can I emerge hummer ?
(18:27:02) Mike: I don't know if there's a stable release of that yet
(18:27:24) Greg: come on, will there realistically ever have a stable release of that ?
(18:27:31) Mike: lol
(18:27:32) Mike: good point

Iced Earth, 4/24/04

Being one of my favorite bands, I had anticipated seeing Iced Earth for quite a while. I caught about the last 10 minutes of one of their shows when they opened up for Megadeth at St. Andrews a while back, and that 10 minutes planted the seed that made me want to look into them more. I did, and the rest is history. I went to the show with Jon, Matt, and Alex. We did the fasionably late thing, and missed the great majority of the first band's set. That's fine, because they didn't sound that great.

I'm not sure what the second band's name was, but when they said it, I couldn't hear exactly what they said. Chalk that one up to metal-show-ears. We think it's something like Bound or Mound or Pound. Whatever it is, they were pretty sweet. I don't know if they were local or were on the whole tour, because they're not listed on the Iced Earth site. Oh well. They kinda made us nervous for their first song… the singer came out and just started belting out the ball-grabbing shrieks that can turn your ears to jelly in no time, but that was the only song he did that in. They sported the 5-man power lineup – a singer, two guitarists, bass player, and a drummer. The drummer kinda looked like the main guy from Radiohead, which was kinda funny. They had a really heavy sound, and were very tight and crisp, which caught our attention right away. They did a decent amount of traded leads between the two guitarists, and they did some cool harmonies as well. There were also a few songs with really cool off-beat rhythms, which is always neat when you can pull it off, and they did. I'd like to find out exactly who they were, because they were really solid, and I'd definitely check them out further. Grade: B+

The third band was Evergrey. From what they said and what I saw on their website, they're from Sweden. The first thing we noticed was how freakin tall the frontman was… the dude had to be at least 6'5″. The guitar looked like a freaking toy in his hands. They had a really cool sound. They could thrash with the best of them, but they also had a very melodic side, which is very cool. There were a few songs where they would combine both aspects – opening up with a insanely fast sequence, then calming down and doing some really cool melodic stuff. They also had a good amount of dual lead responsibilities between their two guitarists, with a lot of harmonies. Since I know who they are, I'll definitely give these guys some further attention. Grade: B+

The last in a long series of opening bands was Children of Bodom. They were pretty sweet musically, but their singer/lead guitarist had a vocal style that grated on me pretty heavily. It just sounded like a bark, and he didn't vary it at all. He should definitely stick to his guitar playing, which was very sweet. He did tons of crazy lead stuff, and in most of their songs, did some awesome harmonized lead lines with their keyboard player, who was also pretty damn good. I may check these guys out further, but the constant barking vocals kinda turned me off. These guys had a pretty large following in attendance, which kinda surprised me. A good portion of the crowd was chanting for them before they came out. It must be pretty cool to be a Finnish band having people chant your name in Detroit before you come out on stage. Grade: B

After 4 opening bands, Iced Earth came out, probably around 11:00pm. They opened up with Declaration Day from The Glorious Burden. Following that (in no particular order) were Angels Holocaust, Violate, Vengeance is Mine, Burning Times, Melancholy, Dracula, When the Eagle Cries, Greenface, and Red Baron. They closed out the 'main' portion of their show with the Something Wicked This Way Comes trilogy (Prophecy, Birth of the Wicked, and The Coming Curse). They finished that portion of the show and said goodnight at about 12:15, so we knew there was more in store. We weren't disappointed. They came back out shortly after, with Jon Schaffer in a Confederate soldier's jacket, holding a Les Paul with a Confederate flag painted on it. Ralph Santolla (I assume it's him) had a Union Jacket on, with the US flag of that time painted on his Les Paul. They proceeded to play the entire Gettysburg Trilogy (The Devil to Pay, Hold At All Costs, High Water Mark), which was a treat. They closed out the show with Iced Earth, which is pretty much a staple as far as I know. It was insane though – somewhere during one of the changes between a heavy part and a slower melodic part, Tim Owens belted out one of his trademark ball-grabbing screams, but he held the note for at least 30 seconds. It was insane. Everyone in the band was just standing there looking at him. Jon Shaffer was just staring at him with this awestruck smile, Richard Christy stood up in his drum kit and did the Wayne's World “We're not worthy” thing about half-way through, and the bass player (James MacDonough I assume) brought up a bottle of water and put it next to his mouth after about 20 seconds of the wail. It was great.

Overall, I think Iced Earth played very well, but the mix seemed a bit off from our vantage point. Jon Schaffer's guitar was a tad loud, and Ralph Santolla's guitar was a bit quiet, but only in the higher ranges. When he let a power chord fly, it smacked you in the stomach, but his leads sounded quiet to me. Also, the bass drums on the drum kit seemed too quiet, but the rest of the drums were fine. Tim Owens was at a perfect volume, and he was very clear and discernable, which is a credit to his voice. My suspicions about Jon Schaffer have to be true after seeing him play his triplet-riffing madness style in person – he's either got a bionic right arm or he's superhuman in someway. He played every song flawlessly, nailing every part that would turn the right arms of mere mortals into jelly in 10 seconds flat. Tim Owens sounded awesome. I had my reservations on how well his voice would make the Matt Barlow era songs sound, but he did an excellent job with them. The older songs (pre-Matt Barlow) sound like they were made for him, so there was no problems there. The song selection was really cool, and seeing both the Something Wicked and Gettysburg trilogies played in their entriety was a treat. As sweet as it was, I'm not convinced that the Gettysburg trilogy was a great choice for a live show. They played all of the orchestration and the miscellaneous sound effects as a track, while the band played the rather simple (for the most part) rhythms and leads. Owens nailed the vocal parts for it, but in my opinion, those three songs would be better suited to stay in their CD form, where they're nothing short of excellence. All in all, the show was very sweet, and well worth the 4 opening bands and the 6 hours of standing. Grade: A+

Up North pictures posted

I've got all of the pictures from my trip up north posted. No descriptions as of yet, but they'll come soon enough.

GHL #4: Back to reality

I don't remember the total details of what happened the last few days of the up north trip, but I do remember the highlights. Carl, Ethan, and I did some yard work thursday while my dad and Rick were out looking for mushrooms out in the woods somewhere. We got a good portion of the yard raked and dragged the leaves and pine needles across to the other lot, so they'd be off our main lot, temporarily at least. We had some killer eats that night… Rick had found a whole tenderloin at Krogers or something for really cheap, so we all had bacon-wrapped Fliet Mignon steaks for dinner that night. They were excellent. We watched the Big Lebowski that night too on DVD, which is always good.

Friday started off pretty nice in the food aspect as well. Carl took the leftovers from the steak, and cooked up some potatoes and eggs with it, and we had a great steak and egg breakfast. It was excellent. I spent most of my afternoon working on the monintoring project for work. Yah, I know, all work and no play, right? I was bored. The rest of the crew spent a couple hours shooting skeet out in a field somewhere, and there was rumblings that Rick had the coolest shot ever – hit both clay pigeons in the same shot. I'd have to see it to believe it. Ethan also caught himself a steelhead friday. It was probably 26-28″, and around 8-10 pounds (we forgot to measure it before we started to prepare it for dinner). Rick and Carl couldn't agree on how it should be prepared, so they compromised and fried one half of it in batter, and broiled the other half. Both were excellent. There was a Star Trek marathon on SpikeTV, which provided entertainment for our evening. Once that was over, I started packing up all of my stuff.

Saturday morning claimed me early, around 8:30am. I did the rather sizeable pile of dishes from the previous nights fish feast. Soo many dishes. I swear they used just about every pan in the place to prepare that meal. Once the mountain of dishes was done, I cleaned up, got the remainder of my stuff together, and left. I had a concert to go to last night, so I took off before everyone else. I left around 11:40, and made it home a little after 3, so I made pretty good time yet again. Last night was occupied with the Iced Earth concert, which I'll talk about in a seperate post shortly.

GHL #3: Not quite the Allman Brothers…

Last night turned out to be pretty fun indeed. After the fishing trip, we had some tacos a-la Ethan, and they were pretty good. A bit later, Rick started complaining about Ethan and I both bringing all of our guitar crap but not playing anything, so Ethan and I started playing some stuff. I'm not sure what all led up to it, but either Rick or Carl went and got a plastic bucket to pound on in the attempt to keep a beat, and soon that turned into a 5 gallon bucket, a minnow bucket, and couple of kettles. Carl went hog wild on the 'drums' and busted a few of the pieces of wood he was using as drumsticks. It was pretty funny. There will be a couple of pictures in the gallery once I get home to post them. Loading up a single page up here can take minutes, so there's no way I'm going to even try to post a picture.

GHL #2: Fishing in the rain

Gotta love the excitement of laying around the cottage, not really doing anything. Yesterday was super windy and cold, probably in the mid 30s or so. Much colder than the nice weather we had a few days ago. It was pretty miserable, but I did get a few pictures of the lake with some wave action, which was pretty neat. I don't think anything else of interest really happened yesterday. I took a nap on the couch for a while, and then Quigley, Down Under came on the TV and we watched that. I was pretty rested due to waking up quite late and the nap, so I was up pretty late playing games on the laptop.

Carl tried waking me up pretty early today to go fishing, but I wasn't so willing, plus I didn't have any tackle set up, so I just slept in until noon. Excellent all in all. It was a bit warmer today, and some of the others did some cleaning chores. Carl, Ethan, and I went up to the upper weir on Ocqueoc River to do some fishing. It started off somewhat nice, but turned rainy after a half hour or so. We saw some pretty good sized Steelhead spawning a couple hundred feet down from the mouth of the lake, and we concentrated there for a while. Ethan almost had one, but it found its way off the hook. Carl and I didn't get much of shit. I moved farther downstream for a while, below the weir, and still didn't have much luck. I saw a guy pull something out, but it wasn't all that big. It may have been a trout of some sort, but it wasn't all that big. He had another one on, but it wrapped itself around another guy's legs and then got itself loose. Me, I caught nothing but a few sticks and and had much better luck getting my line tangled in itself. I think the line on my reel had a lot of twists in it, and that ruined my day pretty well. We stood in the rain for a good hour and a half, and then we decided to leave. Much to my dismay, Carl had another outburst when Ethan mentined that he hadn't picked up a bit of trash that Carl had left even though he had picked up the hooks and spawn sacks Carl had left. Well, Carl got all mad and was yelling at Ethan. Again, fuckin stupid. Sure, Ethan probably could have picked the stuff quite easily, but at the same time, he didn't make the garbage, and he didn't leave it. Both were right, both were wrong. There was no reason for so much drama. I hate all of the anger and yelling over something so stupid and pointless.

It's pretty sad. Carl used to be one of my favorite people in the world to be around, but now, I can't really stand to be around him all that much. It seems like he's got three states that he's always in: either drunk, high, pissed off, or some combination of the three. There are times and places for getting drunk, but unfortunately, it would seem that for Carl, the time is all the time, and the place is everywhere. I came up here to relax, but I'm almost contemplating going home a day early, just because I'm tired of hearing that beer can open every 20 minutes, soon to be followed by unjustified shouting. Seeing him drink so much makes me not want to drink at all. I think I'm starting to empathize a bit more with my mom's stance on drinking…

I've tried to take some more pictures, but it seems as though I've taken pictures of a lot of the interesting stuff around here. Perhaps I'll wake up early or go to bed reallly late so that I could get a few pictures of the sunrise. That would be pretty cool. Chances of that happening probably aren't very good. 🙂 I had the camera on the fishing trip, but I didn't really want to take it out of the case while it was raining. I'll go fishing again, and hopefully I'll get some good pictures then, perhaps of some fish!

GHL #1: Strange weather in Grace

Here it is monday night and I'm writing on the laptop from the Cottage up north. I got up here Saturday after a pretty fast trip, only about 3 hours 45 minutes. Much faster than any other up north trip I've ever had. I guess that's an advantage of driving from Lansing. And to think, if I hadn't stopped for gas and foodstuffs in Onaway, I would have been here a good 15 or 20 minutes faster. Crazy. I was the last one to get here. Rick, Carl, my Dad, and Ethan all got here friday night.

Saturday was a beautiful day – maybe one of the nicest April days I've ever seen up here, almost certainly the warmest. It was in the mid to high 60's for the whole day, and I was perfectly comfortable taking a walk on the beach in shorts and a t-shirt. Crazy stuff. I broke out the digital camera on my beach walk, and snapped a bunch of pictures. Digital cameras are good like that – I took probably 40 pictures, and all I needed to worry about was dumping them on to the laptop, and recharging the batteries. I'll have a ton of pictures once the trip is over, and there's probably about zero chance that I'll label them all. I've taken about 200 pictures and movie clips so far, and I haven't even really left the cottage area except for one trip down to the trading post. But… I digress. I was up pretty late Saturday night, probably due to the nap I took after dinner. I can't escape the naps… they always find me. 🙂 Oh well, I'm on vacation!

Yesterday started off pretty cold and chilly. I didn't emerge from my slumber until around 11:30. Carl had cooked up some breakfast burritos, which were pretty tasty. We all kinda lounged around the cottage drinking beer and watching the tube when the wind turned around and started blowing out of the south, bringing a total change in the weather. The weather had been out of the east (off the lake) and it was pretty damn cold – around 40-45 degrees. Well, when the wind shifted, it knocked temperatures up into the mid 60s within an hour or so. It was back to shorts and a tshirt and another walk on the beach. Ethan and I took Rusty for a run past the creek, but we didn't get too far because dinner was on. Rick made up some mighty fine spaghetti, and I enjoyed it immensely. I don't remember what we did after dinner, but the weird weather didn't cease. When I got ready for bed around midnight, I checked the thermometer, and it was 75 degrees outside. A 30+ degree shift in like 6 hours. Crazy.

The warm weather was gone when I woke up this morning, again, pretty late. There was a pretty big storm that blew through apparently, and it knocked out our power for most of the morning and early afternoon. It made things a bit more interesting around here, that's for sure. We had plans to cook up some chicken on Rick's rotisserie attachement for his grill, but we couldn't do that without power, or someone standing next to the grill for 3 hours. But, much to everyone's delight, I had brought along my power inverter so I could be lame and go Kismet/GPS stuff with my laptop while I was driving. The inverter provided plenty of juice for the rotisserie motor, so we were good to go as planned. The power came back on at about 4:00pm, about an hour after we had started the chickens. My dad was watching the chickens and trying to see when they were done, but apparently the thermometer he was using was defective. The chickens cooked for a good 4-5 hours, but the insides never really registered as being 'done' by temperature standards. Well, they were plenty done, a bit too done in fact. This caused a bit of drama when Carl woke up from his nap. Apparently it was his idea that the chickens be brought up, and he was planning on overseeing the preparation. Rick kinda took over for whatever reason, and Carl was pretty bent over it. Well, when the chickens turned out less than perfect, he got all mad, started shouting and swearin up a storm and got everybody else all mad. Totally fucking stupid. Other than the chicken being dry and burnt in places, the meal was great. Carl expressed his distaste by abstaining from dinner, sitting in the living room while we ate, and drinking more and more beer… as if he hadn't had enough. Sigh. Carl lightened the mood a bit by going to bed early, and the rest of us watched a movie in the living room.