Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It is my duty.. be called for jury... duty.

Thank you, thank you. I'll be here all week. Don't forget to tip your waiters.

NOTE: This is a boring recap of my experiences as a juror. It's pretty much for my own records (as the squishy, gray-matter version in my head does a shit job of remembering the details of these things...), but you're welcome to read through. I'll try to make it as interesting as being a juror can be.

c. April, 2009
I received a summons to report for Jury Duty. "It's your duty!" It says. I sigh and punch my dog in the slats, as I am wont to do when frustrated.

I respectfully postponed my service on the date it provided not out of a sense of anarchic or hatred for the government, but because I was due to be in Texas, installing a full-dome theater system on the same day. I was also, kindly, asked by my employer to postpone it, for the same reason. They aquiesced, saying, "You can only postpone once. Please provide a date you absolutly cannot postpone. It must be within 6 months.

I put in the date furthest out as that was where my calendar showed the least amount of activity.

c. September, 2009

Another summons appears in my mailbox. I had hoped they had someone forgotten about me.

This summons helpfully informed me, "This is the date you will appear at the jury commissioner's office. Since you've postponed your service once, don't even fucking think about not showing up. We'll, like, totally put a bench warrent out for your arrest, you asshole." I decided not to call their bluff.

I inform my employer I will not be able to work on the day I appear. I also remind them that they have to pay me for the first 3 days. HA! It is likely, I tell them, I will be cut from the list as they call many more than actually serve and I know of no one who has actually sat on a trial.

They reply with much of the same as before, "Why don't you postpone? You're needed elsewhere in the world!" I refer them to the above blog post and they remember, yes, that had I already postponed and to not show would result in being tossed in the pokey. (I love "pokey" as a synonym for "jail")

October 13th, 2009

Mandy wakes my up by sicking the dogs on me in bed.

I wake, wondering why this is happening. Then it comes to me: Oh yes. Today I have to get up at 6:30, to drive her to class, return home, shower, and head off to the court house. I do this.

They jury commission does not provide parking for the would-be jurors. They do, helpfully, discount our parking if we park in a lot that is several block away. I park in this lot and walk to the court house.

I pass the security (coat through scanner, wanded, frisked, asked to lift pant-legs (I assume to determine if I wore tasteful socks this morning)).

I proceed to the fourth floor of the building where I join something like 300 other would-be jurors. We watch a horrible video explaining that the man in the video is proud of us and we should grin and bare this itrusion into our busy schedules. Something about patriotism.

A womans voice on the PA says, "I will begin calling names for the courtrooms. We move fast, so shut up and pay attention." She actually said, "Shut up and pay attention." I laughed out loud and slapped the guy next to me on the shoulder.

My name third called out of the room of 300. 1:100 odds against.


We are marched to a courtroom and told to sit in the jurors box. Sidelong glances are thrown at the dude in the cuffs seated at the defense table. There are many more people than would actually sit on a trial. This confuses me, so I eat a small handful of the peanuts I keep in my coat for just such an occasion. I wonder why the number is so large. Usually, the number of jurors ranges from 3 - 12 depending on the nature of the case (criminal, federal, civil, corporate, etc). Hey! I've seen a few minutes of Law & Order once!


A bald, young judge enters and tells us each to stand and give some information about ourselves. We do this. He dismissed a few of the would-be jurors on basic disqualifications (one, literally, could not speak English beyond saying, "No... no eng... no eng... no.") Another was a retired cop, etc, etc.

Each time a juror was dismissed, another person from the overflow group would take their seat. This continued, in kind, until everyone had said their lot.

We entered a phase called voir dire (French: to say the truth). This is where the prosocutor (representing the State) and the defense (representing the person being tried) ask the jurors questions. Anything and everything they want. People have to answer honestly, under threat of perjuring (another way to go to jail in this process as everything we say is said in Open Court, so a matter of the court record and is a form of testomony... or something).

As people said things like, "I hate cops." and "No, I can't look past any biases I have." They were dismissed with the thanks of the court.

The defense guy, a smarmy bloke with no neck asked me, "How would you rate the legal system."

"I would give it a D-minus."

"Oh? Why"

"Because of prisons overflowing with people, the overwhelming majority of which are minorities and are there because of small drug convictions. Mandatory drug sentencing. A horrible appeals process. Prisons-for-profit..." He cut me off here, thanking me.

I did (and do) believe what I said and assumed saying it would go in favor of getting me released.

As time went on, more and more people were released and I kept staying where I was: In the juror's box. I am continually surprised by how candid these people are. Public speaking is usually rated as the #1 fear most people have (death being 4th or 5th). I'm amazed at the eloquence and frankness of these random people. Feelings of pride rise. I eat more peanuts.

After the question-asking period, one-by-one, both sides dismiss people for no reason. These are called peremptory challenges. In this way, the prosecution and defense kept dismissing people until there were thirteen of us left. The thirteen that would site as jurors on the trail. (But only twelve sit on a grand jury, you think. Ah ha! It's a mystery to be solved at a later time).

We were given "Juror" badges to put on our shirts and told, in no uncertain terms, "You cannot speak about the details of the trial with anyone until it's over--not your fellow jurors, spouses, children, or friends. The people in this building will see your badges, which you are required to wear anytime you are in the courthouse, and will only speak to you as little as is necessary. The people related to this case will not make eye-contact with you, let alone speak to you. This to protect you from making decisions not based on the facts of the case and for them to avoid even the appearance of impropriety."

We jurors are told to convene in the juror's quarters (a small room at the back of the courthouse that (true) no one except the bailiff and us are allowed to enter at any time during the trial) and to push a button when we are all there.

11:45-12:30PM - Afternoon (lunch) Recess
The court goes on hold while everyone goes and gets lunch and tells their significant others that they, in fact, will not be getting out early as they have been selected. Much sighing.

We all gather in the juror's quarters. Someone pushes the button on the wall when we've all arrived. The balliff pops her head in and says, "Follow me and be sure to sit in the box, don't stand."

We walk into the room. Everyone is standing. We head to our box and sit. Then, and only then the bailiff says, "Please be seated." Everyone sits. We move into "Opening statements."

Immediately, the prosecutor (a lithe and intimidating woman from the district attorney's office) stands before us and launches into a dramatic description of the crime (a drug charge). She waves her arms around and speaks with inflection. She makes claims about evidence and burden of proof and blah blah blah.

The neckless defense guy does the same thing, except in reverse. This man has the unfortunate goal of defending a guy who doesn't really seem to want to be defended (more on this later).

Then the real trial opens. The prosecution has the burden of proof, so they go first.

She calls her first witness, an undercover cop...

More to follow.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Email update

I am trying to update the blog by emaing it the entry. Hopefully this

I am currently in a Macys Mens Store (I didn't know it existed either).

Hope this works.

-Matt Fox
system engineer
(Sent from a mobile device)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Obama / McCain

(Editor: Going back through old unposted drafts. To hell with the consequences. I found this post from right around the elections. I don't know why I didn't post it, other than being concerned about the feeling of others. AHHH HAHAHA! Silly, naive Matt.)

Original Draft: 11/5/2008
McCain's concession speech was great. I derived personal satisfaction from it not only because he lost the race, but that he spent the last eight months solidly attacking Obama only to say, on the night of his loss, that he, "...had the honor of calling Senator Barrack Obama to congratulate him." Considering the vitriol of his ads, equating Obama with terrorism, pointing out how unqualified he is, and that he'll essentially climb into everyone's home, night by night, and eat their children, shouldn't he have spent his last few minutes of national attention ranting and foaming at the mouth that we're going to hell? If he actually believed the tripe he has been spewing (and we've all had to endure) these past several months, why didn't he remind us, one last time, that Obama once served on the same committee as Ari Flitcher or that he is an "elitist"? Was that all just politicking or did he really hold the same opinions as his attack ads?

In the end, who cares? He lost.

Epilogue (9 months later)
Turns out I was right. Big surprise there. Considering the things that he is still saying about every policy the current administration, I think the acceptance speech was the one and only time he ever said anything positive about Obama, other than as a back-handed compliment or when they both agree on the same issue.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ween - The Mollusk

Hot was the summer of '02. Especially the end of June, leading to the 4th of July weekend. A party hadn't been planned, they never really were. Chad and I had bought some meat at Meijer and some beer at the International Beer Store (or IBS, the same acronym as Irritable Bowel Syndrome... no coincidence). We had a geek-gathering planned for the next day. People would show up, hook their computers together, and stink. Beer would be drunk, music would be played, and Kleiner-1-Niner would kill us over and over. The night before, we thought, let's get set up for the party. Invite some people over, grill, and drink some beer.

Mandy showed up sometime late-afternoon. We had vacuumed and cleaned the empty pizza-boxes off the floor. This equates to the closest thing to cleaning we did, and we were damn proud of ourselves. So proud, in fact, we felt we deserved a beer. Sitting on the back porch, Djarum in one hand, a beer in the other, we looked out over Scum Lake and pondered the meaning of it all.

The 4th of July is the central point of the summer, the great climax and the greatest expression of pure summer-abandon. College was in full-swing. I was living with three other guys in a run-down house, working full time at a well paying job, and dating my future wife. Our pet cat Jabba hadn't grow sour on our collective insanity, and would still occasionally pop in and nibble on our scraps. These were the glory days. A time that seemed to last forever, yet, in retrospect, was only a period of about eighteen months. Life's possibilities rolled out before all of us, and we knew, simply knew, that we had to reach out an grab them. The first year anniversary of 9/11 still hadn't happened, and we were all reeling in the changes wracking the world around us. It was a time of change on every level, and in the center of that maelstrom of chaos, insanity, and fun sat a simple, unassuming house.


Say the name to anyone who lived through that period, and they will inevitably do two things: Smile and shake their heads. Next, they will say, "Remember when...?" And will tell the story of Tyler almost blew himself up with a roman candle, or the time we had 20+ people on the phenomenally dangerous deck rocking it back forth to see if they could get it collapse, or the time two here-unnamed people went across Scum Lake with arm-fulls of Class B fireworks, lightening them off in a mall parking lot until the entire neighborhood was crawling with cops.

So, in many ways, that weekend was much like any other. People, both invited and not, began to arrive as the air cooled slightly. Somehow the grill was lit, a half keg appeared at one point, and music began to play through any number of the sound systems that filled every corner of the house. I would be playing groove salad in my room, where the pot-heads would inevitably crash on the king-sized water bed. Dan would play a scratchy vinyl record he found at a flee market called "28 Truckin' Classics". Chad would burn crazy mix CDs and put them in the various boombox-style CD players throughout the house. All of this would blend with the various conversations, laughter, and occasional breaking of something expensive-sounding.

That night, through cacophony of noise, I heard a few small bits of music that caught my ear. Somehow I associated the music with this skinny dude wandering around talking to Chad and friends. I said hi and he eagerly responded, "Hey! How're you?" I think I wondered off. This happens often at parties. You meet people you're supposed to know, but due to the excitement or drinking or something, you can't place them.

Mandy and I woke the next morning on the downstairs couch. Dan, even taller than me, was crumpled up on love-seat completely covered by a blanket. The sliding door was wide open, and outside I could see Scum Lake sparkling. Today was the LAN party. All of our careful preparation from the day before had been laid to waste by the party held to celebrate the preparation.

Mandy and I went upstairs. Chad was making eggs and toast. He made us some and we sat on the deck discussing the night before.

"Who was that skinny guy last night? He looked really familiar." I asked.

Mandy said, "That was Andy. You've met him, like, ten times."

Chad, "Yeah. Andy. I've known him for years."

Me, "Andy?"

Chad/Mandy, "Sigh..."

"Ah, right. Andy."

Chad, "Did you hear the CD he brought? It's really good."

"I think so. I caught a little of it."

Chad, "There's this one song, it's an instrumental. Mid-way through, it sounds like you."

"Sounds like me?"

"Yeah. It sounds like you, groaning."

"Ahhh... what?"

"Here. Listen to the album."

I couldn't immediatly tell whether the band was suppossed to be humorous, dark, rock, or folk. I found myself laughing, kind of, and looking around to see if anyone was seeing me enjoy it. The experience was akin to listening to Zappa for the first time. You keep asking yourself, "Am I suppossed to be laughing at this?"

The key to Ween lies with the understanding that there isn't anything to get. The confusion, the humor, and strangeness is the point. Once I stopped trying to disect it and just listen and enjoy, I fell in love. A deep, musical love I've only felt with three or four bands. Experiencing Ween, obviously, is difficult to sum up in words. It's very challenging music, but the reward more than compensates for the effort.

If you haven't listened to Ween, or you've only heard the one or two singles that used to be played endlessly on MTV ('Push the Lil Dasies" or "Voodoo Lady") go out and buy / download The Mullusk and listen to it. Try not to figure it out. Turn off your brain and let them take you down the brown road, where mutilated lips, whales with pokadot tails, drunken Irishmen scream about cracking in your head. It's worth it.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Getting it all done

(Editor's Note: This was written before Matt left on a two week business trip, so the day ranges, etc, are not accurate.)

Over the past few days, we have made incredible progress solving (and creating) little puzzles around the new homestead. Solving these little problems is the greatest emotional reward I have experienced as a humble homeowners thus far. The process combines thinking in new and exiting ways, listening to people who know more than you, and doing enough research to not solve yourself into a corner.

As part of their yearly Harley Davidson US circuit, Mandy's parents have come out for a two-week visit to rest and relax. Of course, by rest and relax, I mean working 8 - 10 hours per day helping us get our shit in order.

Over the past seven days, we have accomplished the following items (this list is not exhaustive):

1. Purchase and plants several flowers and grasses
2. Plan out the backyard patio, dog run, privacy and chain link fences
3. Extend sewer vent to roof
4. Clean gutters
5. Repair gutters
6. Replace or repair swamp cooler parts (descale interior, paint and seal basin and siding, install new media (evaporative stuffing), replace drive belt / axle / bearings, clean pump, install new filter basket
7. Paint clock face
8. Flatten flower bed
9. Lay new bricks for walkway
10. Repair lawn mower
11. Purchase "little giant" ladder system
12. Repair buckled bead board in basement and staircase
13. Install 4 in-ceiling speakers, 2 RCA breakout plates, 1 8-connector speaker cables breakout box
14. Install 3 new electrical plugs, three lighting fixtures, new circuit breaker in box
15. Install bathroom vent fan and ductwork
16. Repair shower swinging door water sweep
17. Hang curtains
18. Laid concrete (150sq/ft(
19. Built two gates, a privacy fence, and 30 foot chainlink fence
20. Poured in 4 tons of pea gravel
21. Built shelter for lawn mower, more bricking
22+. Many other items I am missing

Back in November, we put up two posts as a walk through of the home in it's viginal state. Now that we've sacked, razed, and rebuilt pretty much everything, we've created another quick walkthrough that shows some of the changes. Enjoy!

Friday, August 21, 2009

2008 - Top Ten

I finally finished my collection of the top ten songs created in 2008. It is almost the 4th quarter of 2009, I know, but I enjoy making finishing these collection for the same reason I occasionally update this blog: To act as a kind of diary. Placeholders are important when looking back on events passed. Without these bookmarks, the years (music, stories, events) blur and become something difficult to parse, and since there is no working form of grep for the mind, I'll have to use these blogging and audio mastering tools to help collect and organize my history.

I'm not going to distribute this collection, except to people who ask for it. The year is long over and everyone (myself included) has moved on to new music. I'm definitely going to try to get the 2009 collection done by the December holiday season, so I can I can send it out and help spread my own personal form of holiday cheer to friends and enemies alike.

For those are interested (but not interested enough to ask for a mix), here are the songs in no particular order.
(Artist | Album | Track)

TV on the Radio | Dear Science | Crying

Flight of the Conchords |[self-titled] | Think About It

Vampire Weekend |[self-titled] |M79

Beck | Modern Guilt | Walls

David Bryne & Brian Eno | Everything That Happens, Will Happen Today | Strange Overtones

Kanye West | 808s and Heartbreaks | Welcome to Heartbreak

The Black Keys | Attack & Release | Psychotic Girl

Gnarls Barkley | The Odd Couple | Who's Gonna Save My Soul?

Dodos | The Visiter | Red and Purple

Sigur Ros | Med Sud I... | Gobbledigook

Hot Chip | Made in the Dark | Ready for the Floor

(Ok... so there are 11 songs... it was a good year!)

Here's the introduction to the mix for your listening pleasure (no video).

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A mile high

I am finally back in Denver after what seemed like the longest trip of my 2-year stint with Global. This install is overwhelmingly complex, making problems both fun to solve and mind-shatteringly annoying. At least the video chain isn't as complicated as some other installs (CAS), so it doesn't require a person starting over from the beginning with every single issue. I think the difference with this system, as opposed to the more common setups, is how wide the breadth of ad-ons are. There are so many different ways to use the system that we (and even the client) have no idea where to begin. This makes troubleshooting a bitch. A bitch with iron stiletto shoes trampling the balls of truth, or something.

The other unbelievably taxing aspect of this particular site is its being situated in central Texas. Next to an Army base. In August. To paraphrase Matt Daemon in "Syriana" describing the heat in the Arabian desert as akin to walking into a physical wall. It's an object you slam into. It is that hot. So, everywhere I walked, everyplace I entered, my body experienced the switch from 100+ (80% humidity) to dry, 70 degree A/C. If the heat is like running into a wall, the A/C was like having my lungs tore from my chest and dry-cleaned. The simple act of experiencing these temperature changes, really exhausted me. I felt perpetually out-of-sorts because of it.

Now that I am back in Denver (for a few days), I am really looking forward to coolish evenings and the simple joy of going to sleep before 2AM after working 14 hour shifts.

"I pay two hundred dollar for this!"

I am sea-sick sailor on a ship of noise, got my masts all backwards and my instincts poised, in a truth-blow gutter full of wasted years like blown-out speakers ringing in my ears... -Beck Hansen

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Facebook Status Arguments

What is the deal with getting in arguments about people's status messages on Facebook? I've chanced to see someone post, "Prez obama sucks!" receive thirty+ responses. These responses range from, "right on" to "I don't think you have considered all of the facts when making such an odious and ill-informed statement, sir." In either case, they are still responding to what amounts to a grammatically-terrifying drunken shout in a bar. I don't think it these statements (if one can be so generous to call them that) need to be debated, because there is nothing inherently debatable about them.

It seems, at first glance, there would be better forums for this type of rancorous debate, but maybe not. I think what confuses me most about the debates, or "firestorms" these statements evoke is how people, who one would assume know each other (it is Facebook, after all) can seemingly get away with the things they say that would normally require a good boot to the head if said in the real world.

People have often argued the reason people are such assholes online, and not in physical interactions with other humans is due to the perceived sense of anonymity. This kind of reasoning isn't without flaws (IE if people think they are in any way anonymous online, not only are they naive, but a good case could be made that they must suffer from some form of brain damage) but the whole idea of Facebook is to remove anonymity. The goal is to let people know who you are so they can seek you out and communicate directly with you. So, how do they get away with calling their wives a bitch or blatently disrespecting friends and family without any consideration of the consequences? It's a strange phenomenon.

Monday, August 03, 2009

The Head

(What have you done with her body?!?)

Monday, June 08, 2009

Like I need another reason for people to think I'm crazy....

We have been looking for months for a new buddy for Nikki and last week I came across the cutest 5 month old puppy on Craigslist and I decided to pick it up. The crazy part comes in when people find out that it is a Dalmatian puppy!!!

And her name shall be Tiny Enid...

Matt got me listening to this crazy podcast called Hooting Yard. There was a story that I really enjoyed that revolved around this character named Tiny Enid, thus our new pups name. If you want to read the story you can check it out here.

Nikki and Enid are getting along fabulously. I will leave you with a short video of them playing.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Dogs Tug'n The War

This was taken during the first week of moving in. At this time, we had agreed to doggy-sit a friend's dog while she was away for a family emergency. We were unpacking and dealing with a basement that would periodically fill with raw sewage. It was a stressful period. The dogs kept us sane.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The update...finally!

So, there we were last week Wednesday, getting ready to go back to GR. Everything seemed well and good. I was studying for my 2 tests and and Matt was packing his bags. He was a little stressed because he had found out earlier that week that he was going to be in Texas for 2 weeks.

I get really tired after 10pm, so I decided to go to bed and wake up early and study. I got up just before 5am and started to study. After a half hour or so I decided to feed the "kids". I got the food out and Nikki and Athena came running...what? no Fat Guy for breakfast? That is odd. So, I went around the house looking for her thinking that she was in a closet somewhere sleeping. Low and behold Fat Guy was not in the house. After for searching for a good 15 minutes, I decided to wake Matt up to tell him the good news and to start searching outside. For those of you that don't know Fat Guy - Ocyrus - she is a fat blob of charm with no claws, skittish, and a lover - not a fighter baby!

I started stressing because I had not studied enough, nor packed enough as I will know later. We also had no time! Our schedule was set up as follows
  • 7am - At school for 1st test
  • 8am - At school for 2nd test
  • 9:30am - Matt picks me up from school and we drive to the airport
We had no leeway to look for a cat and our friend Eric was house sitting for us but he wouldn't be over until after work. The search continued with Matt talking to neighbors and me looking close by. After looking for 40 minutes, and crying at this point, I heard this faint little cry from next door. I call her name and out she comes from the bushes! I take her inside and she immediately goes to the food bowl (obvi). I hug Matt and run out the door for my first test....the timing was really close as I got to school 5 min to 7am.

I took both my tests, we got on the plane, picked up the car in Chi-town (sat in said car in traffic for too long) and drove to GR. Hung out with Mom, Dad, Jess, Mike, and Dan and went to bed. Woke up the next day and found that I left most things, that I wanted for the run on Saturday, in Denver: my running rain jacket and my iPod. Well I was wanting to get a Nano for no time like the present! We drove across GR to Woodland (only Mac store in town) and found out that they were closed for renovations until Saturday. Really?!?! Anyway the trip was not all for nothing as Matt picked up a great bag for a steal and we were able to eat at Sammy's!

Friday afternoon was prep for Saturday parties. Mom did most everything herself, with me and Jess helping here and there. Matt and Dad went to Best Buy to get the Nano - GREEN!!! - and then they went downtown and picked up all our race packets. What sweethearts!

Plans for sushi out were scrapped as most of us were feeling that we wanted to lay low. We were chillin on the deck when in comes Crazy Dre'! After the sun went down and sky became dark (luckily not many mosquitos yet) we were enjoying the night when in walks THE Amanda Boes!! I think at this point no one would be surprised if Superman or Megatron dropped by.

Anyhow, we had a great relaxing night and then up early the next morning for the River Bank run. Mom's 5k started at 7:30 and she was warming up by walking briskly towards the people that had already begun the race....we should have left a few minutes earlier to compensate for the yahoo's that didn't know how to do the parking thing. My 10K started at 8am dry, but about mile 2 it started to sprinkle. By the time I was nearing mile 3 it was a raining, not hard just consistent. It took me just over an hour to finish, so Mom was ready to go by the time we found each other as she had been waiting for awhile in the rain. We were soaked, but it was a great experience!

Matt, Jess, and Angie met up that morning and did the 5K walk and then went to breakfast. Matt will need to add a post to tell you about their adventures...

Mom and I went home and got the house ready for the birthday parties for Matt. Party one started at 2pm with the party two starting around 7pm. Both turned out very well. Many people came, food was eaten, stories were told, laughter abounded!

Jess made Matt a great album for Matt that everybody signed. There were some outrageous pics in it - some that I hadn't seen in a long time! Thanks again Jess, you did a great job!!

Sunday came way too soon. We figured out the travel arrangements (long story) and packed up. We really appreciate Mom and Dad for opening up their house to us, Dan for keeping us company and providing great steaks, from what I heard from the beef eaters :)
Thanks to Jess and Mike for keeping us entertained - always! And to all the rest of our friends and family thanks so much for coming and celebrating Matt's 30th birthday! We had a great time catching up and creating memories!

We were sad to go, but glad that we were able to come back and see everybody. Thanks everyone for making it a great trip!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009


I can't help but think of "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" when I see the name 'Beethoven' written anywhere. Pronounced, of course, "Beeth" "Oven".

I've started getting into classical music again. I used to be a frequent listener of the classical music station in Grand Rapids. It was always first or second on my programmed radio stations. I've attended multiple symphonic performances over the years. I've even had some very famous collections given as gifts. Mandy and I donated money to the local classical station last year. Etc, etc, etc.

However, I never really got into it enough to recognize anything but the most famous pieces, though. And over time, I seem to have lost interest in seeking out a good classical music source and trying to discover pieces that really move me (as in "You gotta move it, move it!").

In an attempt to really get to know a couple of the most famous pieces by one of the most famous composer's in history, rather than download the entire discography (symphography?) of every major composer in history, I've only downloaded "Eroica" (Symphony No. 3) and "Pastoral" (Symphony No. 6). If I picked up more than these two selection, I think I would get lost and they would all end up blurring together. I'm hoping this hand-picked approach to reawakening my love for the form will help me get comfortable with one composer's style before I try another. The goal is to be able to hear the differences between the approach to the pieces so I can start to form a basis of opinion (like vs. dislikes) of various composers.

Wish me luck!

PS We're back in GR in 24 hours!

Monday, May 04, 2009

Playstion 3 and XBOX 360

I own a playstation 3. I don't have enough time to dig into the more unknown titles, so I tend to stick with the triple A games that sell in the 5 million+ category. Grand Theft Auto, Fallout 3, etc. Because of the exclusive titles you can only get on one system, I've also been considering picking up a XBOX 360 to play the other half of the triple A games. Halo 3, Gears of War, Dead Rising, etc.

I think I'm going to hold off for a bit, even though the online portion of the experience in the PS3 is lacking, when compared to the XBOX 360. Also, what the hell is wrong with their marketing department?

I think they would probably sell more PS3's if they didn't design their ads to scare the hell out of people.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Oh it's been too long...

I thought I would throw some thoughts up here since it's been a very long time since either of us has posted anything. I am currently working through my 3rd quarter at Bel-rea on my journey to become a Vet Tech. I am taking 20 credit hours which include Anatomy and Physiology 2, Sterile Techniques, Veterinary Science 2, and Parasitology. As if that was not enough to take up my time I have begun searching for a part-time job. More updates to come on this...

Nikki is doing pretty good. I am taking her into the Vet on Friday to run some radio graphs, get a cyst removed, get her a microchip, and have her teeth more closely examined. More updates to come after the appointment.

The cats are doing fabulous. I began schedule feeding them in late January/early February and both have lost weight! Ocyrus is always going to be "fat guy", she just is a little less fat. Athena on the other hand now looks like a normal cat with a waist and everything.

We moved in our new house about a month ago. Yes, we bought a house! My mom came out a week ago to help arrange and such. It is now starting to feel like ours and it wouldn't have been so if it wasn't for her help!

Matt is off carrousing the world - San Francisco, LA, Texas, NY, and possible South America soon! More on this to come also.

All in all, everything is well and busy.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Walkthrough 2

Walk through part 2! Enjoy!

Truncated walk-through of our new house!

This is Part 1 of the house walk-through.

Part 2!

Coming soon!

Friday, March 06, 2009


"I read the news today, oh boy, about a lucky man who made the grade.
And though the news was rather sad, well I just had to laugh.
When I saw the photograph."

Friday, February 06, 2009

Hello Mr. DJ - III

(Pardon me, but you can you direct me to the Soviet Em-m-m-m-mbasy?)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Photoshop as past:future connection

The link will lead you to an amazing collection of images this Russian Greek dude photoshopped of war scenes in St. Petersberg. His idea is to blend war and contemporary photographs together to show how connected history is to our current conditions--with specific emphasis on urban development. They are quite stark and impressive. Check it out!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Flash Classics: KAAAAN!!!

Before reading, click here

The first time I ever surfed the internet with a compete navigator, GUI-based interface (NetScape Beta v0.03b) instead of the text-based Lynx system used by fellow hackers computer enthusiasts, I didn't really see what the fuss was about. Sure, rather than typing "ATT=LFx (where x is the tab index for the link)" you could click on links with you mouse. There were images, tables, and, occasionally, bad MIDI music that would auto-load, but, overall, meh...

Then a friend emailed me (EchoNet at the time, natch) the IP for KHAAAAN!!!. At the time, DNS servers were unreliable beasts, often routing you to incorrect sites or throwing a 404 page cannot be displayed error, so you had to actually memorize the IP address for the host computer. The page that appeared was this. An animated gif of Captain Kirk screaming, "Khaan!" from the Star Trek film, "The Wrath of Khan".

I was struck. How could someone spend these incredible resources building a page that is a two-image GIF animation with a looping audio file? Then it struck: They did because creation and distribution of web-based content is essentially free. Here I was, sitting on my 386 (40mhz) in my room watching this animation created by someone out there in the ether. Why? Because the animation has a worldwide audience.

The KHAAAN! page since become a web classic. One of the first examples of a bit of content "going viral." I still occasionally look it up and relive that life-changing "Ah HA!" moment I had so many years ago.

This is a graph put together by flashman relating how many 'A's people generally search for when they are trying to find this historic clip. The evolution of the web continues to amaze and befuddle.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

New Zealand Nintendo Ad

Not only is "scare-the-shit-out-of-little-kids" creepy, it also wracks your self-esteem by repeating how you cannot win the games and will be beaten. I'm not sure why this would make me want to fork over $300 istead driving to the local game store and beating someone up.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Real World: Realestate World

"How do you like this place?" She asked, half-smiling.

"Eh..." I responded helpfully.

"It's big, I'll give it that." Mandy added.

"Yes, it's big. Maybe too big?"

"It's not that..."

"What is it?"

"Well, there sure are a lot baby shoes nailed to the wall." I offered.

"And all the surgical masks laying around." Mandy added.

"And an attic with a wet bar, toilet, shower, sink, and dishwasher in the same room."

"And the shower downstairs with three shower-heads on each side of the shower (making 6), one with a long neck, sticking halfway into the shower space, and the three shower heads on the top ceiling... making for 12 shower heads in one shower. With no lights inside..."

"The closing door is glass, I bet some light would get through." She tried, the smile almost totally gone.

"It doesn't help much if the interior of the shower is painted black."

"Ah, yes."

"I almost want to buy this place out of the sheer madness of it all. I could so be a crazy old man here." I said.

She laughed nervously and looked at Mandy for help.

"Ok, let's knock this one off the list." Mandy said and headed for the giant, 12-foot high door with the doorknob on the wrong side.

We've entered the world of real estate in a search for a home out here in the mountains, and if the above story is anything, it's true. This real estate world is a strange, quirky place where the laws of logic and reason have no authority. Our goal is to have the purchase wrapped up and be ready to move in by mid-Spring. I have no idea if this is possible, but I am having a hell of a good time just wandering through these houses of madness.

I expect the search for a home that is A) Cool B) Not going to break the bank is going to fraught with much peril, but I also think it will be entertaining to watch from afar. With that said, I am going to post a few entries about the crazy houses we see, put up pictures, and solicity for feedback. For those of you who've been through this process before, please give us tips and ideas. The more we know, the informed we can be when it comes to signing that dotted line.