Thursday, July 14, 2011


In the time before time, I listened to and even played a lot of jazz music.  I've played piano, electric piano, synthesizer, clarinet, bass and contrabass clarinet, alto and baritone sax, and even a little tenor (although I also wanted to play soprano - never had one).  I cut my teeth on such standards as Channel One Suite, Love For Sale, Caravan, Maleguena, Giant Steps, Chameleon, Birdland, and many others, especially Chick Corea, like Spain and La Fiesta.

Now I just listen to them.  Here's Buddy Rich's Channel One Suite - what some consider the greatest jazz music ever recorded.  I saw Buddy in concert and even though he had a broken foot at the time, still consider him the best drummer I've ever seen - and that includes Dave Weckl, Lional Hampton, Jeff Ballard, and a few others, although I never saw Max Roach, Art Blakey, or Gene Krupa, to name a few.  Buddy was 51 when he recorded this, live in Las Vegas in 1968.

Monday, June 27, 2011

So Much To Say

So I don't know how others work, but I am my most quiet when I have a lot of things to think about or are depressed.  I know everyone works out things differently, even though we are all much the same.  I also know that everything will work out in the end.  That's the way of the universe.  It may not always be in our favor, but it will work out some way.

Perhaps it's the irony that when I most need to say something is when I'm least likely to say it.  Whatever it means for me, I'm still here and still fine - it has to be that way.

By the way, two big 25th anniversaries in the news recently.  One is from thee April 26th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster - the nuclear plant accident in Ukraine was one of the two (now included with Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster) worse nuclear power plant accidents in history - and the only two classified as a level 7 event on the International Nuclear Event Sale.  The battle to contain the contamination and avert a greater catastrophe ultimately involved over 500,000 workers and cost an estimated 18 billion rubles, crippling the Soviet economy.

The other is the death of Maryland Basketball legend Len Bias.  Len passed away not 200 yards away me, in a dorm room at the University of Maryland, June 19th, 1986, of a cocaine overdose - two days after he was slected by the Boston Celtics as the second overall pick in the 1986 NBA Draft.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

More Peter Gabriel




I found this available on Amazon here - it really is a concert you can watch again and again, getting more out of the performance and music as you listen.  

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mercy Street

A beautiful rendition, live from Milan in 2003.  I remember first watching him perform this song on DVD in my basement home theater and crying.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Good Staff is So Hard to Find!

Indeed, one can search a lifetime.  Now if she just had opposable thumbs...

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Against the Wind

So two thoughts that have been running around in my brain.  One is from a song -"Wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then."  On one level, it's really simple - some things happen in life that we'd rather forget.  But it also calls to learned behavior and skill sets that only come with time.  Sometimes letting life happen, in the moment, right in front of you *is* what's important.  But as we get older, that can become more difficult.  Everything we do and everything we have done helps us be the person we are today.  And there's nothing wrong with that - it is what it is.  But it doesn't mean that we shouldn't sometimes take a step back and try to look at things in a new light, without preconceptions.

Another is "Live on Purpose."  So many meanings to this - often the simplest sayings are the hardest to understand.  To many, this means to live a godly life or to live under a common purpose.  What I've been considering is a different meaning - live your life according to a purpose and not simply letting purpose come to you.  I have struggled with this off and on my entire life.  I still don't have an answer, other than I strive to figure things out when I realize what I'm doing.

To put both of these together is far more difficult.  I need to be able to react to things with the knowledge that comes from experience, but without preconceptions that will cloud my judgement.  I also need to make judgments and plan according to my beliefs while keeping others from unfairly influencing my opinions.

And that's easier said than done.  But no one ever said life was going to be easy - well, no one that I trust.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Army Fields a New Sniper Rifle

So after many years, the army has procured a weapon not based on the procurement cycles of a huge organization, but based on real shooters' needs.  Switching to a non-NATO caliber is a big logistical change, but also a requirement for snipers to consistently hit beyond the 800m ranges common in Afghanistan.

According to The Armed Services Job Blog:
U.S. Army will be shipping new XM2010 sniper rifles to U.S. snipers in Afghanistan in the next few months. The new long-range weapon is capable of hitting targets up to 4,000 feet away—or nearly a quarter-mile farther than current sniper rifles.

Here's hoping to see a civilian version of it sometime soon - even if it will be quite a bit outside of my price range.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Let's Go Caps!

So my beloved tapestry is not a huge sports fan - other than the Ravens - but she does like watching sports with me. I grew up watching the Redskins and Bullets (the Washington Bullets, not the Baltimore Bullets - who were interestingly enough not related to the Baltimore Bullets from the 50's that folded). We watched the Washington Diplomats play at RFK before the MSL was formed and DC United came to dominate. We watched University of Maryland football and basketball well before I went to school there to root them on in person.

I don't consider myself a rabid sports fan, although I have been known to yell at the screen when there's a bad call or something's going wrong, or right. But that's all part of the American culture nowadays. It helps people stay connected, helps build camaraderie, and as long as it's good natured, is a positive influence.

Anyway, this is all just a long winded way of saying - yay! We watched the Caps come back from a 3 goal deficit to beat the Rangers in double overtime and bring the series to a 3 games to 1 advantage. Hopefully they'll be able to close it out on Saturday, as we drive up to see her mom. We're also bringing up mom's dog, since we're just making the 4 hour drive up and back the same day, so she can see her. I'm sure she misses the dog - we've been taking care of her ever since her mom moved up to Pittsburg. It will be a surprise to mom and to her dog and will make for a happy Easter weekend.

I hope everyone else has a great weekend too!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Love this!

My parents both loved M.C. Escher and kept prints around the house - this was one of them. You should definitely watch the video - a very impressive optical illusion.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

30th Anniversary of the Osborne 1

So it's no surprise that my father was a big influence in my computer development in the 80's. He was in information systems well before I had been born and helped me buy my first PC back in 1982 - an Osborne 1. It was a CP/M machine, and better IMHO than its most direct competitor - the Kaypro, even with the smaller screen.

The Osborne 1 was also an important addition to my dorm room for my first 3 years at school. Countless papers by me or my room mates were written on those lovely 5.25" floppy disks, along with hours of text-based gaming. It was portable, well, as much as a 25 pound computer is portable. It did have a handle and closed into a relatively durable bundle.

I can't thank him enough for his help in my early computer development. Even as I started learning computer programming (Fortran on paper card on the University's UNIVAC mainframe), I used my own personal PC on a daily basis. It made me more comfortable in the workplace during the summers, working for the Navy, around people that had not grown up with PCs.

Anyway, I look back fondly on my years with the Osborne 1, and am amazed with the things that Adam Osborne did in the early years of personal computing. Perhaps with a bit more business sense, his name would be synonymous with PCs, much like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

iPhone vs. Android

So in February, I bought me and my boss HTC Evo 4Gs to try out Android phones. Little did I know that his mind had already been made up to move to an iPhone, but we were already tied into Sprint and they offered to try the new phones, so we lived with Android for a month. A month later, I bought us 2 iPhone 4s and we got to compare and contrast.

I like both, and they both do a great job of being a smart phone - fast, all the necessary bells and whistles, and plenty of apps from which to pick and choose. The iPhone is smaller and with better (although not great) battery life, but that's because the screen is smaller and uses less energy. Both screens are very clear and very easy to read. They both also do multimedia very well.

In the end, I think I would prefer one of the new Android phones, like the Thunderbolt or the Atrix - they're a generation faster, have expandable memory, and Android is more personalizable. Ultimately, I don't dislike the iOS - it works, and it simplifies a lot of processes.

All that makes sense when you think of their origins - the iPhone is more solid and integrated because you're not dealing with multiple manufacturers. But for that price, you're losing some innovation, since fewer engineers and devs are working to improve the hardware and software.

I like to reward innovation and open standards. But I also need to work within the confines that I live in, and for now, that's the iPhone. I'll live.

Friday, March 25, 2011

I'm back

I need to post more, and not out of a need to just post, but to keep things from bottling up inside me. It's always been a problem. And don't look for much to be inspirational or even very deep, but at least there will be something to look at more often.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011



I've heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah

Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you to a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

Baby I have been here before
I know this room, I've walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you.
I've seen your flag on the marble arch
Love is not a victory march
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

There was a time you let me know
What's really going on below
But now you never show it to me, do you?
And remember when I moved in with you
The holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Maybe there’s a God above
But all I’ve ever learned from love
Was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you
It’s not a cry you can hear at night
It’s not somebody who has seen the light
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

You say I took the name in vain
I don't even know the name
But if I did, well really, what's it to you?
There's a blaze of light in every word
It doesn't matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

I did my best, it wasn't much
I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch
I've told the truth, I didn't come to fool you
And even though it all went wrong
I'll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

-Leonard Cohen