Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Ok, Who Unplugged The Internet?

Yesterday, just when I had to do some news story searches for work, the Internet seemed to grind to a halt. Seeing as how our office is on a T-1 line, I couldn't figure out if it was our network or something else. Well, lucky for me and many other people, Meg gave us the heads-up that it wasn't just our office or a small section of the United States. This slowdown was World Wide, baby, or at least in a Trans-Atlantic sense.

You can read in comments various people's thoughts on what caused this. According to The Register, it was an undersea cable that's probably been broken/stretched. Do I really understand what all that means? Not really, but I feel better knowing it wasn't my fault!

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

When The Six Degrees of Separation Become Three in Music

Most of my friends know I'm a huge They Might Be Giants fan. So in the natural course of being a fan, I bought the new DVD, Gigantic: A Tale of Two Johns. This documentary about the Two Johns (Linnell and Flansberg) had several "Ohmygod, how cool!" factors in it including the realization that two of my current favorite bands have an intertwined relationship with TMBG.

First: Fountains of Wayne. Their new album goes way beyond "Stacy's Mom" and is quite the masterpiece. Watching Gigantic, I found out that Adam Schlesinger produced three songs on TMBG's Mink Car.

Second: Fountains of Wayne toured with OK Go and were featured in an article with them in CMJ monthly.

Third: TMBG and OK Go are both appreciated by NPR Show This American Life (see Ira Glass' bio for OK Go and this story by ABC. OK Go also lists TMBG in their liner notes of their self-titled cd. The two groups also toured together in 2002.

What does this all mean? Basically, it just means that my music taste is all connected. It's one big happy world that revolves, unwittingly in this case, around one of the greatest bands I know, They Might Be Giants.

When You Can't Sing It Yourself

I feel a meme coming on courtesy of Meg.

Here's a site that lets you plug in lyrics that you wrote and thenhas famous people sing those lyrics for you. One of the ditties I penned had everyone from Chris Isaak to New Order to The Righteous Brothers in it. Nifty thing, eh?

Monday, November 24, 2003

Pending the freezing of hell . . .

Cory Farley of The Reno Gazette-Journal wrote a great diatribe titled: Pending the freezing of hell . . .. It's hysterical. It should also make you think about what our so-called president is doing to this country. Think people!

Earthquake in Pacific Northwest to Cause Mass Destruction?

Have I mentioned that I never plan to live on the West Coast if I can possibly help it? This Wired News story about a big earthquake that could severely damage the Northwestern part of the U.S. and cause large tsunami's in Japan confirms my general thoughts that living in Western New York isn't so bad.

Warning: Anal Retentive Factor High In This Post

I am particularly pleased with myself this morning. Last night, I managed to alphabetize my entire CD collection. This is no small feat since my collection is in the hundreds. I have to count it someday to get a handle on where I stand, but I'm fairly certain I'm over 300 at this point. I know, I know... pointless materialism, but I love my music.

My ultimate dream would be to have a database of my CD collection that listed artist, album title, year of release, label, and genre. Of course the collection would have to be digitally placed on a hard drive dedicated to this purpose since I would also like to have lyrics and notes available for each CD. And because it's absolutely imperative when viewing the information for a musical group that you can be redirected to places of interested like a "see also" note for the group Electronic that that directs you to The Smiths, New Order and The The. It goes without saying that you would be able to listen on command to any song listed in the database since all CDs will have been converted into MP3 format.

The last bit is not too much of a stretch of the imagination since I had a friend who did just that and then put the hard drive in his car. He said the ability to hit shuffle on his entire music collection on road trips blew his mind.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

A Quick Guide To Rochester

The UofR campus paper came up with a quick guide to Rochester for the college age student and beyond. It's a pretty good guide with some nice pictures. I'd definitely pass along this link to anyone who's coming in from out of town and was looking for some hip places to go.

A Week Until Turkey Day

It blows my mind that Thanksgiving is less than a week away when you calculate that by this time next week, my family will have consumed dinner and dessert. This year should be especially interesting since Matt's parents will be coming up to spend the holiday with my family. They're even staying overnight, which has potential disaster written all over it seeing as how my parent's house isn't exactly dust-free and Matt's mom has bad asthma. I guess that's what oxygen tanks are for. In the meantime, I have to figure out how I'm going to fit my stuff, my grandparent's stuff, and my grandparents in my little Toyota Tercel two-door car for the ride to Rochester!

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Oh Hooray! The Trailer for HP3!

I finally had a chance to check out the trailer for Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban today. Visit this site to see it yourself. This is still my most favorite Harry Potter book and I'm really looking forward to the movie (June4June4June4!). On an HP-related note, Daniel Radcliffe, who plays Harry, has signed on to do HP & The Goblet of Fire. Guess he's sticking with a good thing. Let's hope he doesn't age too much to look authentic in the role. He's currently 14 years old and if I remember correctly, Harry is only 13 in Book 4. As long as they keep making these movies at break-neck speed he should be fine. And hopefully the quality doesn't suffer either.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Legal Online Music Services Do Not Meet Needs

A few weeks ago or so I wrote an optimistic post about Napster possibly being the answer to my prayers for having a source of new and popular music downloads that didn't rob me blind. I was mistaken. Sadly, the premium service that Napster has available allows you unlimited streaming and downloading, but should you want to actually burn a song to disc then you have to pay 99-cents a song or $9.95 per album. Feeling defeated, I went back to Emusic and signed up for the basic package which allows me to download 40 songs a month for $9.99 with unlimited burning. The selection is still poor in terms of popular music, but at least there's still enough there that I can take advantage of for a few months.

Microsoft has announced they're going "to give the online music service a whirl". I can hope, but I'm not as optimistic this time that they'll offer a service worth buying into. It just bothers me that Emusic is the only company that has gotten it "right" in terms of my needs.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Quick! Before It's Gone!

Please read this blog by A Marine's Girl. The content will probably disappear soon and the blog will be deleted. It's totally rediculous (why she has to take it down).

UPDATE: The blog is back up again thanks to some help from a Real Marine.

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Sabres In Rochester

A quick note on the Sabres game in Rochester this past Wednesday night. It rocked! Hardcore! Even though the game ended in a tie, it certainly had some quality moments. And we won't get into who made the "kiss cam" much to his almost chagrin. Yeah, we're not into PDA's too much but I think what made it worse is that I got an email from a friend a few days later titled "tonsil hockey". We still don't know how he knew about that since we don't think he was at the game. But anyway! Game was great. It certainly was awesome to attend a sold-out game in the old hometown arena. Especially awesome to be that close to the rink (closer than the 300s at HSBC!) and see Rory play. Good stuff!

If They Gave Medals...

I certainly deserve some kind of medal. Seeing as how that phrase is sometimes ended "..for stupidity", I suppose it still applies. Thursday Matt and I drove back to Jamestown from Rochester. I don't have to tell you how crazy that was with the high winds. It was more than crazy. Realizing this I made the decision to make a pit stop for coffee on the thruway halfway through the trip so we could regain some sanity before bracing ourselves against the gusts once again. Those who know me know I never stop for coffee on a road trip. I make sure my cd collection is close at hand and I drive until I need to get gas.

I didn't know the full extent of how crazy our drive was until a day later. That's when Matt told me about a moment of panic he had while we were driving on the free section of I-90 through Buffalo. We had just passed an accident where a tractor-trailer had been flipped over the guardrail from the I-90 Westbound side onto the I-90 Eastbound side of the road by a gust of wind. I was driving along, listening to one of the morning talkshows, totally oblivious to the fact that Matt had zoomed up behind me, frantically honking his horn to try to get me to slow down. What he saw, and I didn't, was that two car lengths in front of me in the next lane over, a tractor-trailer had only one set of wheels on the road and was tipping over into my lane. Matt tells me the trailer nearly jack-knifed before the driver was able to get the truck back on all sets of wheels. Had the truck gone over, I would have had no choice but to get into an accident. Worse yet, the truck would have fallen on top of the two cars in front of me. I'm an agnostic, for sure, but I believe there were some spirits out there that day looking out for me and the other people in the cars and that truck.

On a less strenuous note, all that wind knocked out power for thousands of people down here, causing my boss to declare a state of emergency. What that meant is that, I got out of work an hour early on Thursday due to no power and I didn't go into work at all on Friday due to lack of power. Of couse we never lost power at our house, so it was all good. It was a rough go of it for everyone else unfortunately.

What's So Unusual About This?

Ok. I'm going to snob out on this one. The D&C ran an article called Seeing the sounds of the Eastman School of Music. The premise is how most people don't see the inner workings of Eastman and how hard the students work there. I brushed it off while reading, saying, "What's so unusual about that? I spent plenty of time in those halls and witnessed all that first hand while in junior high and high school." Of course, the average person doesn't take music lessons at Eastman. I was just lucky enough that my violin teacher got a job there, so I followed her to the hallowed practice halls. It also meant I was lucky enough to perform on Kilbourne and Hanson Hall stages. And since my graduating class thought I had some talent, I performed a Mozart solo for our high school graduation on the Eastman Theatre stage. It all seems rather preposterous now seeing as how I rarely play my violin anymore, but the memory of it does bring out a bit of music snob in me.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Bridal Shopping & "Forced Marches"

Back from New York City. Here's a day-by-day run down:

Saturday: Flight left at 6:15am from Rochester and we touched down 50 minutes later at JFK Int'l Airport. We checked our luggage at the hotel, had breakfast at the deli across the street, caught bits and pieces of the Toys R Us Holiday Parade, and then made our way to the Fashion District to find fabric for my wedding dress. We were quite successful since we found my fabric (rayon-polyester for the main part of the dress, double georgette for my overskirt/train, and lace applique) and a beautiful tiara. We visited various bead shops since my mom and her friend, Susan, have taken up beading along with their many other hobbies. We then made our way to Macy's where I was overwhelmed by the nine floors of merchandise. Saturday night we grabbed a quick bite to eat at the deli across from the hotel and ran off to see Forbidden Broadway (link below) which was hysterical. A note about our hotel room: I was worried that it would be tight since there were four of us and we figured on only one bathroom. Well, we were upgraded to a suite, so we had two bathrooms and lots of living space. Quite nice! The only problem we had there was when we finally checked into our room they didn't give us a key to the adjoining bedroom. This meant that we were standing in a very nice living room wondering where the beds were. A quick call to the front desk cleared that up and a maintenance man came up to let us into the other room.

Sunday: Originally this was the day we were going to go to the Guggenheim, but that changed when we saw the street fair that stretched for blocks outside the hotel. We spent a few hours browsing around and then decided to pick up tickets for the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular. Before we did that, we took some pictures at Rockefeller Center and had a light lunch at Dean & Deluca. We also used our last half hour before the show to run through Saks Fifth Avenue and ogle the Bridal Salon dresses that started at $5,000 and went up in price. The Christmas show was awesome, but I mostly enjoyed it because I've always wanted to see the Rockettes. After the show, we met up with my Aunt Carol's friend, Margie, for dinner at Patsy's Pizzeria before I met up with old friend, Matt F. and his gf, Karyn. We had a couple drinks at Jake's Dillema before driving around to view the city at night. After some coffee and dessert, we turned in at 1am-ish.

Monday: Somehow, my mom and I reversed roles and I thoroughly enjoyed the James Rosenquist exhibit while my mom declared it the worst she's ever seen. We had lunch at a place that I can't recall but it was damn good. I'll look up the link later (riiiiiigggghhhhtttt). Then we walkedandwalkedandwalked down Madison Avenue and gawked at the various fashion designer shops. I convinced the group that we had to go into Barney's where we saw a really ugly dress that cost $9,000 and I sighed over an Armani suit and held a Prada shoe in my hand. I dare say that this trip brought out the fashionista in me. I bought nothing of course. Not even at Crate & Barrel where I would happily set up a wedding gift registry if there were stores in Western New York. After the shopping/browsing spree, we ran back to the hotel and caught a bumpy ride through rush hour traffic to JFK and made it back to Rochester by 11pm.

It was all good.

Friday, November 07, 2003

"'Cause Everyone's Your Friend In New York City!"

The next few days I'll be in Gotham getting some wedding stuff done (dress material and tiara), so no blogging until I get back. That may be as late as next Thursday or Friday since I'll also be in Rochester for a few days. In the meantime, you can take a virtual trip with me by clicking on the links below for things I plan to do and see while I'm away:

The Sheraton New York Towers & Hotel: Where We're Staying
Forbidden Broadway: The Show We're Seeing
The Guggenheim: The Museum We're Visiting
The Garment District: The Place We'll Find My Wedding Dress Material
Macy's: One of The Stores We May Shop In
Sabres in Rochester: The Game I'm Going to With Matt and My Dad

I'm Totally more 80's Than This!



Okay, I would have scored better on this one but I just didn't feel like using my whole lunch hour for an online quiz, and I didn't feel like singing out loud to really get the right lyrics!

Right. Fair Enough.


I am 72.5% British, just like
Michael Caine
Though you know your way around London you are most likely to retire to the West Coast of the USA.

Take the Brit Quiz at
www.darrenlondon.tripod.com/britquiz1.htm

Quiz written by Daz

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Two Passionate Pleas For Voting

Leah graciously asked me to submit a guest blog to her on why everyone should vote. To read my lengthy diatribe and Leah's thoughts, click here.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

The One About How I Interrupted the Mayor While He Was Voting

Leah convinced me to tell the whole blogworthy story about how I interrupted our mayor while he was voting in yesterday's elections.

It started late morning or early afternoon with a phone call from one of the campaign helpers who saw the mayor's opponent, let's just call him Eunuch, standing in front of a polling place and shaking hands with potential voters. Since Eunuch was less than 100 feet from a polling place, he was in violation of election law. Well, a local TV station actually did an interview with Eunuch while he stood outside one polling place, so it has been recorded on videotape that he was breaking the law. A call from an irate voter asking what we could do to have Eunuch kicked off the property of one of the polling places, led to me calling some of my media contacts to let them know what was going on.

Then we decided to contact The Mayor to tell him what was going on. The Mayor answered the phone and I asked him if I caught him at a bad time. He responded that he was in the middle of voting. I quickly got the information I needed from him and let him go. Later on that night, I asked him if I had really caught him while he was in the voting booth and he responded that he was going through his choices when his phone started buzzing. Instead of ignoring it, he chose to answer while he was voting. His wife was in the voting booth next to him and heard him answer his cell as well. After he told me that, I put my head in my hands and laughed. Fortunately, he wasn't mad about it, but he was pretty pissed about Eunuch's unethical behavior. Nothing came out of that in the media thus far, but he Mayor did get re-elected, so it all turns out fair in the end.

It's All About Soul... And Doing The Right Thing

I think I've found the perfect theme song to characterize this year's election.

"All About Soul"
by Billy Joel

She waits for me at night, she waits for me in silence
She gives me all her tenderness and takes away my pain
And so far she hasn't run, though I swear she's had her moments
She still believes in miracles while others cry in vain

It's all about soul
It's all about faith and a deeper devotion

It's all about soul
'Cause under the love is a stronger emotion
She's got to be strong
'Cause so many things getting out of control
Should drive her away
So why does she stay?
It's all about soul

She turns to me sometimes and asks me what I'm dreaming
And I realize I must have gone a million miles away
And I ask her how she knew to reach out for me that moment
And she smiles because it's understood there are no words to say

It's all about soul
It's all about knowing what someone is feeling
The woman's got soul
The power of love and the power of healing
This life isn't fair
It's gonna get dark, it's gonna get cold
You've got to be tough, but that ain't enough
It's all about soul


There are people who have lost every trace of human kindness
There are many who have fallen, there are some who still survive

She comes to me at night and she tells me her desires
And she gives me all the love I need to keep my faith alive

It's all about soul
It's all about joy that comes out of sorrow
It's all about soul
WHO'S STANDING NOW AND WHO'S STANDING TOMORROW!
You've got to be hard
Hard as the rock in that old rock 'n' roll
But that's only part, you know in your heart
IT'S ALL ABOUT SOUL!

The Good & Ugly

The Good News: Matt still has a job via his boss getting re-elected.

The Bad News: We're pretty sure we lost the majority on city council.

The Good News: We didn't lose any incumbents who were actually running in any of the city races.

The Bad News: We lost an incumbent who wasn't campaigning for reason I won't get into.

The Good News: We may still hold onto the majority in the County Legislature

The Bad News: It's going to come down to absentees.

The Ugly News: We lost at least one race Legislature-wise that we shouldn't have lost.

Some Funny News: I have the great distinction for unintentionally calling the Mayor on his cell phone while he was in the voting booth. It was a nice little laugh.

Added Note (1:55 PM): For full election results in our county GO HERE.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

VOTE!!!!

If you're registered, Get Out and VOTE TODAY! Otherwise, you lose all bitching rights for at least a year.

Monday, November 03, 2003

Only A Day And Some

We're winding down the hours before Elections. Perhaps that isn't the best way to categorize it since there's still a sense of urgency. That nervousness of waiting for it to get here, to make sure people vote (VOTE DAMNIT!), and then waiting for the results. We have a general good feeling about some of the city races, but countywide we're not terribly certain what will happen. We'll see.

Now for something completely different.

The weekend wasn't too bad. I don't remember much of it because I was either cooped up inside doing various election-related work or I was out delivering literature for our city-wide lit drop on Saturday. I'm cursing the weather centers for the bad read-outs they had on this weekend. Up until Thursday, this past weekend was supposed to be gorgeous. Partly sunny and warm. Well, the warmth did exist but the dampness from the mist that hung in the air from Friday night onwards was the killer. It's supposedly real nice out right now, but this ever-present fog makes it seem quite dreary. Tomorrow they're saying 70's and partly sunny. Again. We'll see.

Away, Away

We're on a mini-vaca in an area where they're experiencing forest fires (thanks asshole arsonist). It's an area that makes Clift...