Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Why Tool is Cool

Saturday, September 23rd, 2006

I found this on Toolband: a VIDEO from ABC News and World Report about why Tool is so popular. Worth watching if you like Tool. Speaking of which, I was fortunate enough to attend their recent show at the Target Center in Minneapolis, and it was amazing, awe-inspiring, and plenty of other words that don’t even start with A. Seriously, this show (my 3rd tool show) did not disappoint. For the sake of those who haven’t gotten to see them yet on this tour, I won’t give away the secrets of their new live show, but I will say the guys did a good job at keeping everyone in the house entertained. And for the love of all that is holy go out and buy 10,000 days.

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Google talk in gaim

Tuesday, September 5th, 2006

For those of you who have gmail accounts, you may know about Google Talk, the service that lets you chat with other Google talk users. But did you know that you can set your gmail account up in Gaim (or any other Jabber-compatible client) and

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use it as a normal IM account? I found a very informative page by the folks at Google that walks you through setting this up in Gaim. Enjoy.

i did not make this theme

Wednesday, August 16th, 2006

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for a bit.. this one is ok. Also I made a new Inter.Lage, which is a sort of self portrait:

Cosmic Being

We’re baaack

Monday, July 24th, 2006

So we’re back from our honeymoon in Ireland, and have many (over 1400) pictures and a lot of great stories and memories. If you want to find out more of what we did, you can head over to woyak.com and check it

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Call an RIAA exec today!

Friday, June 23rd, 2006

Defective by design is organizing a Call in Campaign today.

It who sells flomax oral time and.

The idea here is that you sign up (it takes a lot more courage and caring to actually stand up, use your real name, and be counted), and they give you a phone number to call that connects you to the phone of some RIAA exec, so you can tell them what you think about DRM and why it is a flawed way to save a flawed (outdated) business model. Give your support, and maybe this will count for something. Or, just keep buying up your iTunes and pretending they’ll still work on another player when your iPOD breaks, and that the artists are actually seeing any of the money you’re spending on it…

Origins

Wednesday, June 14th, 2006

26 years ago today, I was born (via a midwife, according to the “old ways”) in a small house at 666 East 5th Street (corner of 5th and Fremont, I believe), Trempealeau, Wisconsin. Since that time I have moved around quite a bit, and become a much different person than I likely would have been had I stayed in that small Wisconsin town. Or would I? The question of “nature vs nurture” is an old one, and ultimately it seems impossible to do anything more than speculate about what could

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able to pinpoint what made us who we are. Ultimately, I think this question is a deeply personally philosophical one, with no “proof” ever really extending beyond the perceptions of the one doing the asking. In my opinion, this is really the answer: it is our “I”-ness, our ability to construct a “self” from the myriad overwhelming “other” that makes us who we are. ‘cogito ergo sum‘, Decartes famously said (or at least it’s a nice paraphrase), and, as far as my own existence goes, this is indeed the first certainty.

Assaulted, Alive and Seeing Red

Friday, May 19th, 2006

I am still alive. In that respect, I am lucky. Although many who know me have already heard the story, I thought it prudent to tell it myself:

So I was out around sundown, walking on the bike trail on the parkway near my house (about a half block north of St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church) talking to my friend and former bandmate Tomtom on my cell phone, when out of the corner of my left eye I saw someone walking wide (about 20′ away) around me. I turned my head to glance, and when I did, I heard shuffling feet behind me and was struck across the left eye socket. I never saw what it was that hit me. They then pulled my sweatshirt over my head as they slammed me onto the asphalt face first. In the process of this I may have stumbled forward five or six steps. All Tomtom heard over the phone was me yelling “what the hell” as it was happening. He immediately hung up and called Jill, and told her I was being attacked. They held me down (calling me a “piece of shit” and other such things) as they searched for my wallet, found it, and took off (I think I heard one say “I got the money” (I had about $6)). The last thing they said to me was “if you look up we’ll pop you” as they were running off. There are more details here, but to be honest the whole thing lasted about 20 seconds, and then I was left laying on the ground wiht a lot of my own blood on my face and clothes.

Then a lady who lived nearby came running out (her dog had started going crazy when I got attacked) and asked if I was okay and got me some ice. She said she had lived in that same house her entire life (30+ years) and never heard of anyone getting mugged there. She asked if everything was okay, and I sat up and told her I thought so. She then said “you’ve been hit before haven’t you”. I nodded yes. She said “I thought so. You’re taking it pretty well.” . What can I say? Trauma has a strange effect on people. Then an older black man with a greay beard rode up on his bike and said he thought he knew which direction they ran off in and that he’d follow them. He rode off. A moment later, a cop showed up and asked me what happened. I told him (he didn’t really seem that concerned, in my opinion). Then Jill showed up rather panicked and tred to comfort me. The cop then said “maybe I can still catch them” and went off in a vain attempt to find my attackers (what did he think? that they’d be walking down the side of the road holding a weapon?!). After the cop left, the black man rode back up and said he saw which house they ran into, and gave us the description, but didn’t seem to interested in sticking around to tell the cops himself. He left, and then the cop came back, along with another cop and an amblulance. Jill and the lady at the scence (and her husband) told the police what the man had told them, and I went and was checked out in the back of the ambulance. He basically said my head “wasn’t stitchable” and that I could go if I wantd to. I told him I was ok. The cop said he was going to check out the house, and Jill took me home. Once we were home, my head hurt a LOT. I blew my nose, and it was as much blood as mucus. I thought maybe it would be worth getting my head checked out a bit more thoroughly, so we asked Ben to drop us off at the hospital near our house.

Once at the hospital we checked in, I made a few one-eyed/pirate jokes, and we sat and waited for a long time. While we were waiting a woman came up and said that a

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very similar thing had just happened to her father (who was in his seventies) with the added pain of the bastards kicking the old man in the chest when he was down on he ground. She extended her sympathy and we extended ours, and soon after I was admitted. I was examined, and sent off to have a CT scan done. The end result: the lower orbital shelf (the bottom part of my eye socket) was/is shattered.

I spent til Thrusday in the hospital, and had reconstructive plastic surgery on the left side of my face. The plastic surgeon did a great job, and although I don’t open it much yet (the eyeball itself is blood red and will be for a while) I have vision and mobility in my left eye, and a piece of titanium mesh about the size of a postage stamp where the bone in my lower orbital shelf used to be. The doctor thinks that I will be nearly totally recovered by our wedding, and some of the stitches come out on Tuesday.

So what lessons have I taken away from this? First off, I am amazed at just how brutal and inhumane some people can be, and how caring and warm others can be. Second, apparently the Golden Valley police department really doesn’t care much about muggings (maybe this is why the mugging rate is going up?), at least not near the “Northwest Ghetto”. I’d bet that if this happened on the other side of Golden Valley, the upper class one near Minnetonka, it would be getting more attention (and have been on the news). Third, don’t walk around at night by yourself talking on your cell phone. This makes you an easy target. Either don’t go out by yourself at night, don’t talk on your cell phone while you’re out by yourself, or both. Seriously, I could have done a few minor things differently that probably would have saved me a lot of pain.

Please take it to heart. I’m not going to go around paranoid constantly now, or be afraid to leave my house, but you can bet I’ll meet my friends to go for a walk, or stick to walking during the day. Some things just aren’t worth risking. I’m lucky to be alive, and lucky I still have two eyes

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that can see. I’m also lucky to have so many friends and family that care so much about my well being. Thanks… it means a lot.

10,000 Days

Tuesday, May 9th, 2006

I had started to write a post that began with a review of our new Canon PowerShot A620, but there are a lot of those around the Internet, and what makes this camera great to begin with is that nearly all of it’s best features are immediately obvious when you pick one up, so I don’t need to say more about it. Tool’s new album, 10,000 Days, on the other hand, I could speak volumes on. Not only is the stereoscopic artwork very well done (note for Occult enthusiasts, there is a “code of sorts” hidden in the artwork…), but the music is, well, Tool. Much has been said about Maynard James Keenan’s mother (Judith Marie) dying before this album was made (or at least finished) and how the 3rd and 4th songs were consequently written about/for her. They are quite good, but the one that’s been in my head the most lately is the infamous “11 minute song” titled “Rosetta Stoned”. This track (which really makes more sense when you listen to the “lead-in” track before it, entitled “Lost Keys – Blame Hoffman” (a reference to the man who first synthesized LSD, Albert Hoffman)), is about a “slacker/stoner”-type who is “doing his regular thing” hanging out around the edges of the legendary Groom Lake/Area-51 complex when he is visited/abducted by EBE’s (Extraterrestrial Biological Entities ..AKA “aliens”) and told that he is the Chosen One and shown the fate of the world and the way to save mankind. The problem is that he is stoned at the time and the next day doesn’t remember what they said. Then you come to realize that he is telling this from a Psychological Trauma ward, strapped down to a bed. This of course leaves many unanswered questions, and is what makes Tool one of my favorite bands – they understand “normal people” and the problems they have in “real life” enough to be able to write from the perspective of someone whose life isn’t perfect, who is just a human, warts and all. To me this makes 10,000 Days a

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perfect follow up to the previous album Lateralus. In fact, I think that the chorus of the title track, Lateralus, pretty much sums up how these two records fit together perfectly:

“Swing on the spiral of our divinity, and still be a human.”

Comments on comments

Friday, May 5th, 2006

I have turned back on comments, now that I have some tools in place to deal with spam. I finally got around to installing Akismet, which will hopefully deal with things in

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Happy Beltane!

Monday, May 1st, 2006

Happy Beltane everybody! For those who don’t know what Beltane is, you can read the the Wikipedia article, but basically Beltane (otherwise known as May Day) was a “fire festival” – so called because it was on this day that the Celts would rekindle their hearth fires from the great fire of their kingdom. The most notable and historic example of this took place in Ireland, where every year a great fire burned at The Hill of Uisneach in County Westmeath. This was both the physical and cultural center of Ireland, and people would come from all over the land to take part in the festivities and rekindle their home’s hearth fire from the great fire at Uisneach. The day itself was so significant because it was exactly halfway through the Celtic year, which starts on Samhain (aka Halloween), and

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is halfway between the Winter and Summer equinoxes. Later on, the romans (whose 5 day festival in honor of the Goddess of Flowers, Florina, had it’s 4th day on Beltane) added the custom of the maypole, and the two have been as entertwined as, well, flowers wrapped around a maypole, ever since.

In more modern times, Haymarket Riot of 1886, which was the chief public protest that helped to create the 8-hour work day standard, has coupled with overwhelming Christianization of the Celtic culture to largely overshadow the original meaning of the Beltane day. While the day has become known and widely celebrated as International Workers Day in much of the world, due to the fact that the Russians celebrated May day, the day fell into disapproval in the US during the Cold War “Red Scare” times and has not gained much acceptance here since. Ever since the “(re-)emergence” of Wicca and “Neo-Paganism” in the 1980’s and 1990’s, however, the “old world” holidays have once more been in the public eye and mind, and it seems unlikely that Beltane will ever completely be forgotten. And rightly so…

broken, thematically speaking

Friday, April 21st, 2006

Somehow I tried to make a “quick” update to my blog and managed to break my theme so that it doesn’t display right at all. Hence, I reverted back to the previous theme. This will end up ok, as it is impetous to design a newer better theme (I’m currently thinking of “lightening it up” but we will see..). I will be down in Rochester over the weekend, so it will be sometime after that before I get to work on it. One thing I just noticed about

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this “older” theme is that there is no “home” button to bring you back from a page or post to the index. I will definitely add one in the new theme.

So much to do, so little

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dependencies, part II: the fix

Tuesday, April 4th, 2006

Today, as if to illustrate yesterday’s point, I have both my MP3 player

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Erin Go Bragh

Friday, March 17th, 2006

So I have blogged

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about this before, but… Patrick wasn’t the nicest guy and could easily be said to have had “vested interests”, but I *do* think that the Irish who have done so much for this country deserve a day. I prefer to think of it as “Erin Go Bragh Day” (which isn’t even a truly Irish saying and

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still is less of a bastardisation of “what it means to be Irish” than celebrating the guy responsible for helping stamp out the “national” religious practice of Druidism). I think even the fact that the Irish celebrate a person of “mixed quality” (he wasn’t as horrible as some other saints!) shows their strong, stubborn nature in a beautiful way. Truly, to be Irish is to know how to suffer and perservere (and to know the value of a good sense of humor!). And in that spirit, Ireland Forever indeed!

Phillip K. Dick, the Android, is MIA

Monday, February 13th, 2006

This has to be one of the coolest things I have seen in a

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Also check out Cthulego Rising! It is a wicked Cthulu tableau

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(along with a Dr. Who guest appearance) done in legos. Wow. Ahh, the Internet…

John Cage: pushing a piano down the stairs

Tuesday, December 6th, 2005

So this was the google “quote of the day” today, but it is by John Cage, who was considered by many to be one of the first truly “experimental” (in the “modern” sense… he did things like push a piano down a flight of stairs to record the sound it makes, and have a live show called “4:11″ where he sat dead-silent for four minutes and eleven seconds – the “music” was the noise of the crowd in the auditorium) musicians, and one of the main innovators who influenced (among many many other people) Throbbing Gristle to start the Industrial music movement:

I can’t understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I’m frightened of the old ones.

– John Cage

I couldn’t have possibly said it better myself…

music, work, and..cold

Monday, December 5th, 2005

OK so its really cold in MN right now. Every year at about this time I remember that I want to live someplace that is warm ALL of the time. Otherwise, I have been working (even worked for almost 4 hours on Saturday installing a Citrix server upgrade/patch) and working on a new song for Genome. For those who don’t know, Genome is the “industrial/electronic” project band I am in with my brother. We have some music fully recorded but not mastered and are still in the process of making and recording several others. This is all leading up to an eventual full-length CD and hopefully some live shows, so expect things like a new website and mp3 clips Real Soon Now. Speaking of music, I’m excited because I finally got to spend the gift certificate that my nice ex co-workers and friends at MGSH gave me on a new audio interface, and I may also finally get both my Arp Omni II AND my Ensoniq SQR fixed! Much music will ensue, but none of this is making it easy to concentrate on all of the other things I

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Excitement, Disappointment, Fatigue, and Stuffing

Monday, November 28th, 2005

Excitement
One word: BUZZLE. Ok so like 0.01% of you care about this or know what the hell Buzz is, but I have been using Buzz since the late 90’s, though development stopped on it in 2000 (source code destroyed) and only a handful of hackers and enthusiasts picked it up and done some hacks and mods since then. The problem here is that to get it to run AT ALL in Windows XP you need to run it in “98 compatibility mode”, and then it is still not stable. Running it in Linux in Crossover Office helps a lot, but it is still way out of date (old code is old code…) and suffers some video gliches and other minor issues. People still write machines for it, but as I said, there will never be a new updated version…. till now. The german musician and developer hotkey has recently released an Alpha version (beta out by Xmas!) of BuzzLE, which is

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a TOTAL REWRITE of Buzz with a really nice interface that plays all (well, most) of the old buzz songs and uses the old Buzz machines. There are MANY improvements in BuzzLE over the old Buzz (like a Piano Roll!) and it is under very active development by a musician who uses Buzz… and its freeware. And (from the mouth (well, email) of Hotkey himself) next under development will be a native Linux version! I could definitely go on, but I’d rather be using BuzzLE than telling you about it, but I can’t do either because I have to work…

Disappointment
Speaking of work, I have been planning and discussing for weeks now that this Tuesday and Wednesday I would be out of town in St Cloud gettting paid training on the customer database that we use (Skyward, in case you care). I was really looking forward to this, as not only would it be the first time I’d ever had training paid for by an employer, but it would be a great opportunity to have a sort of vacation. However, I am not to have a vacation. I just found out today that the training tomorrow and wednesday has been cancelled, and that instead a tech will be HERE to personally teach me on December 20th. If I said I wasn’t disappointed, I’d be lying.

Fatigue
So a while ago our basement flooded. Not “New Orleans” bad, but enough to water damage a bunch of stuff and cause a lot of mold. We cleaned up the part that was easy, that just had a bunch of boxes and shelves. But the other side had a person living in it, who has been busy. And we have bene busy. So it hadn’t gotten done yet. Then our cat (who had already been a litte sick since we moved into the house) became very sick, and would have asthma-like attacks several times a day and generally have a difficult time breathing. So we decided to redo the other (lived-in) side over the weekend. This should have been a matter of pulling up the carpet and washing the floor with bleach, then putting in the new carpet. The problem was that the carpet on this side was glued down with

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glue so strong that when we pulled up the carpet, it ripped up the floor tiles too! So then we had sort of ruts on the floor that needed to be fixed. So we bought some levelling substrate and levelled them, and i spent about 4 hours chipping with a paint scraper and sanding to get it all smooth and ready to be carpeted. The next day, Jillo’s brother Greg came over and with his gracious help, we finished the carpet on that side.

Stuffing
And if that wasn’t enough, the NEXT day (sunday) my whole immediate family and Jillo’s parent’s came over and we cooked a “thanksgiving” dinner of Stuffed Chicken Breasts, which

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came out very well and was quite successful. We ate a LOT of food and junk food and visited for a while before my family had to leave to begin the 3 hour journey home. It was sad that they had to go, but I consider the outcome of the day to be a success. Glad to see that at least something can go right for us.