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.

Beach

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…

Blink

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

sangria

…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.

Vespaway

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.

Nedward.typepad.com

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