Monthly Archive for July, 2005

links for 2005-07-30

Death or Glory

Head­ing out the door now for the Rhode Island scoot­er ral­ly, host­ed by Death or Glo­ry SC. We’re both still scooter­less now, so we’ll have to drink twice as much.

It should be a fun time, with some nice peo­ple… even if cer­tain scooter­ist friends aren’t com­ing. But, if you’ve got to have an excuse, the ole’ snip snip is a valid one. (Hope it went well, J‑man…)

Any­way, see you all on Sunday.


Mar­ci was in town for a job inter­view at Har­vard, so we took wednes­day off from work, and head­ed for the beach in Gloucester.

not crowded
So much less crowded on weekdays…


Having just finished Tipping Point, I dug into a couple
hundred pages of Malcolm Gladwell’s new book, Blink


…and, we enjoyed a big jug of homemade Sangria.

Ebert & Roeper Podcast

Seems like Apple’s deal with Dis­ney to lever­age con­tent into Pod­casts is building—I saw today that you can sub­scribe to the Ebert & Roeper (iTunes link) podcast.

C’mon NPR, let’s get Fresh Air and On Point on board.

links for 2005-07-28

John Doe Mexican

I received a mes­sage from our friend Kar­la today, about what her boyfriend Steve is up to this sum­mer. He’s a pub­lic-school teacher, and is cur­rent­ly work­ing to pro­duce a doc­u­men­tary titled John Doe: Mex­i­can, on bor­der crossers in the Southwest.

Sounds like an inter­est­ing project, which he will be blog­ging about:

John Doe Mex­i­can is an hour-long doc­u­men­tary that cap­tures the strug­gle to val­ue human life, even in death.

The dead have no names here. For Mex­i­can bor­der crossers, South­ern Ari­zon­a’s Sono­ran desert is an unfor­giv­ing and, all too often, mur­der­ous land­scape. John Doe Mex­i­can fol­lows a hand­ful of peo­ple who have made it their busi­ness to end these desert deaths and to name John Doe.

Kar­la said that he is look­ing for feed­back and ques­tions, so feel free to leave a com­ment on his blog.

links for 2005-07-26

Most Influential Modern Rock Albums, Part 3

The Clash, Lon­don Call­ing : When­ev­er I hear the open­ing bars of this album, my pulse quick­ens and my hand reach­es for the vol­ume knob. The range of musi­cal styles the group takes on is absolute­ly amaz­ing— Rock­a­bil­ly in Brand New Cadil­lac, reg­gae in Rudy Can’t Fail, dis­co in Lost in the Super­mar­ket, and even the Phil Spec­tor-ish Wall of Sound in The Card Cheat.

On Call­ing, the band bor­rowed heav­i­ly from the past, but fil­tered and sharp­ened the music through their late-70s, malaise-cloud­ed lens. Even the album cov­er design was an homage to Elvis’s first LP—however, the smil­ing por­trait of the 50s rock­er was replaced by a now icon­ic pho­to of Paul Simonon, smash­ing his bass on stage.

As you lis­ten track by track, Strum­mer and Jones’s vocal har­monies inter­twine like a twin-head­ed monster—completely synced, but so dif­fer­ent in tone. Jones’s Train in Vain sounds a lot like a bounc­ing McCart­ney tune turned sour, while tracks like Lon­don Call­ing and Death or Glo­ry strut Strummer’s lyri­cal wit and cool­ness. This jux­ta­po­si­tion of song-writ­ing per­son­al­i­ty always inter­ests me in the great bands—like Bono & The Edge, and Lennon & McCart­ney, Strum­mer & Jones seem like an odd pair­ing. But per­haps this ten­sion fos­ters an unusu­al cre­ative chem­istry, I don’t know.

I do know that there was a time in the late-70s, not short­ly after I was born, when the world seemed to be a mess. There was Three-mile island, war in the Mid­dle-East, Thatch­er, Rea­gan, and the demise of the polit­i­cal Left. In many ways, it reflects our times… which is why I think this album sounds as fresh and rel­e­vant today as it did 25 years ago.

Harry Potter 6

Well, it was yet anoth­er quick read, but Har­ry Pot­ter and the Half-Blood Prince was fun. I thought it was very sat­is­fy­ing, but not as enjoy­able as books 4 & 5.

I’d hate to spoil any­thing, but Design­wee­nie brings up one poten­tial incon­sis­ten­cy.

links for 2005-07-25

The End of The Connection

I’ve been mean­ing to com­ment on the can­cel­la­tion of the NPR morn­ing pro­gram The Con­nec­tion, and the fir­ing of host Dick Gor­don.

Though I’m sor­ry to see one local­ly-pro­duced show get axed, I can’t say that I’m not gid­dy to see Gor­don go. First, there is his thick Cana­di­an dialect, and predilec­tion for all things Cana­di­ana… hope­ful­ly we won’t be sub­ject­ed to anoth­er hour on Arca­di­an fid­dle music. But, it seems that fel­low ex-CBC reporter Jen­nifer West­away is get­ting a lot of air time recent­ly, and I think she is quite good.

So, if it’s not nec­es­sar­i­ly the hoser accent that turns me off, it must be Dick him­self — he’s always seemed a bit dis­con­nect­ed on air. While I won’t fault Gor­don for try­ing to embody the show’s high-brow billing, he nev­er suc­ceed­ed in hold­ing my inter­est longer than it took to switch the sta­tion. He may be an excel­lent reporter, but charis­ma is some­thing he lacks. Even his defend­ers are bor­ing, and quite obvi­ous­ly of a cer­tain age.

But, there is hope! On Point, which will move into The Con­nec­tion’s slot, is an excel­lent show. Host Tom Ash­brook does have an inter­est­ing radio voice, and the show top­ics rarely bore. Also, the pac­ing is quick, and Ash­brook is adept at man­ag­ing debate. Plus, he’s just a like­able guy.

Mov­ing for­ward, I won­der what (if any) changes will be made to On Point, as it tran­si­tions to morn­ings. And, whether or not the NPR affil­i­ates that cur­rent­ly broad­cast The Con­nec­tion will con­tin­ue once the switch to On Point is made.

Most Influential Modern Rock Albums, Part 2

Pix­ies, Surfer Rosa : Hav­ing been in Boston for 9 years now, I’ve lis­tened to and seen a lot of local live music — and none of it seems as good as it must have been in the late 80s. Rosa was the Pix­ies’ first LP, and though the fol­lowup Doolit­tle was more pol­ished, I pre­fer the raw­er debut.

Record­ed in Boston, at Q‑Division by Steve Albi­ni, there is some­thing spe­cial about this record — the way the drums thud, and the mis­matched vocal har­monies of Frank/Charles & Kim, it just seems so inti­mate… like you can sense the space where it was recorded.


Ves­pa just launched a blog called Ves­p­away, with the require­ment that the two posters “blog at least once a week about their life as a ‘scooter­er.’ ” Scooter­er?

My scoot is still sit­ting in Jason & Kim’s base­ment — since we took apart the engine, and put it back togeth­er, it won’t start. I’ve been told we need to adjust the tim­ing, but it should be fine.

I bet­ter hur­ry up, or I’ll miss the entire summer…

Site Header Tweak, II

I took a few min­utes today, to try and sort out my Flickr-inte­grat­ed site head­er issues… I found that by adding just two char­ac­ters to Nick Chap­man’s script, I can parse the orig­i­nal-sized images from Flickr.

How­ev­er, giv­en that I upload my pho­tos at full-qual­i­ty, it would­n’t be too advis­able hav­ing 2MB images embed­ded in my site. So, for now, I have to cre­ate these site-head­er images, and tag them as site­head­er.

I also squashed a back­ground CSS bug, which caused short pages to look a bit strange. Nice to have the time to final­ly sort these things out…

Most Influential Modern Rock Albums, Part 1

I haven’t had much time late­ly to think about post­ing much — in fact, I’m sure my Mac is feel­ing neglegted…

But, one thing I can do while work­ing and dri­ving to work, is lis­ten to music on my iPod. When I read Jason Kot­tke’s reac­tion to some recent Crit­ics’ picks for the best albums from the last twen­ty years, I start­ed think­ing about my own list.

First, it seems arbi­trary to draw a line at 20 years — I pre­fer to put the seper­a­tion between clas­sic rock, and mod­ern rock, since most of the impor­tant music of the past 20–30 years, (for me), falls into the lat­ter category.

For the next 5 days, (week­end exclud­ed), I will post my list for the Most Influ­en­tial Mod­ern Rock Albums, in no par­tic­u­lar order. Here is my first choice:

Blur, Park­life : Though today I more admire the ear­li­er Mod­ern Life is Rub­bish, I can’t deny that Park­life was a trans­for­ma­tive album for me. Released in 1994, when I was still in high school, it came to rep­re­sent every­thing that want­ed to be — clever, artic­u­late, sar­cas­tic, pop-aware, and paranoid.

Drawn large­ly on Mar­tin Amis’ char­ac­ters, espe­cial­ly from the nov­el Lon­don Fields, the album rev­elled in pre-Mil­lenial malaise, and got me to sing along… la la la la.

I’m still pay­ing for this Type­pad site… why?

Orig­i­nal­ly, I want­ed to test out the ser­vice, and thought it would pri­mar­i­ly serve as a place for off-site pho­to gal­leries… Flickr killed that need.

I think it’s time to cancel.

The Work/Life Balance

My main pro­jec­t’s cur­rent phase is wind­ing down this week, as I deliv­ered the final eLearn­ing cours­es last night. So, now I have time to reflect and hope­ful­ly resume post­ing on a reg­u­lar basis.

Today, I took a few min­utes to go through Blog­lines, and laughed when I saw Dan Ceder­holm’s Cur­rent Work/Life Bal­ance dia­gram

Why do we do this to our­selves? No mat­ter how many ven­dors I off­shore to, or con­trac­tors I hire, it always seems to come down to me at my desk, and 70-hour weeks. And, that’s where the “life” part tanks.

Well, it’s time for the sum­mer to begin. I want to go camp­ing for a week or so on the Cape or Islands. I don’t see any camp­grounds on Nan­tuck­et, but we’re con­sid­er­ing Martha’s Vine­yard Fam­i­ly Camp­ground.

Any­one know of any good places on the Out­er Cape?

UPDATE: This is more how I felt…

links for 2005-07-11

Site Header updates

Down with Flash! Say good­bye to SlideShow­Pro… I’ve decid­ed to use Nick Chap­man’s Ran­dom Images javascript class to pull the most recent pho­tos from my Flickr Pho­to­stream.

How­ev­er, the Flickr RSS feed does­n’t pro­vide the orig­i­nal-sized pho­tos, so I’ve got some tiling action hap­pen­ing above… any­one got ideas how to make a Flickr RSS Feed, with the orig­i­nal-sized Photos?

links for 2005-07-01