Month / June, 2004

An Open Success!

The show went off without hitch. It was the best yet and I had a definite swagger throughout the show. I was even so ballsy as to rock some some accapella. You don’t have to take my word for it, I recorded the show for all my digital friends out there in digital land. While the show was great, the recording is a little quiet, so volume is required.

# Forgive me love
# Can’t Bring Me Down
# When We’re All Alone

Convenient Logic

My thought is, if you’ve already bought the pint of ice-cream and you know you are eventually going to finish it… it doesn’t really matter if you finish it in a week, or today all in one sitting.

(Another added plus is I have more room in my freezer today.)

Trip to the Vet

So my adopted daughter Pepper had her foot all in her ear on Friday. And while her foot is in her ear, she’s looking at me with this look as if to say “Man I wish I could get my foot further in my ear, but I’m having real trouble doing that right now.” This is when poppa’ is put on *bring Pepper to the vet* duty. This is not how I would usually prefer to spend my Saturdays, but a dad has to do daddy things. If Daddy didn’t Pepper’s ears will eventually resemble cornucopias, but instead of overflowing with natures goodness they will be overflowing with animal nasties!

Onto the vet we go. Pepper, like many of us, is not a fan of being put into a little black bag. I’m sure she appreciates the vents and see-through mesh, but a bag is still a bag no matter how you decorate it. Pepper was crying up a storm, making rude gestures at me every time I looked in the bag, and not enjoying the process of walking 10 blocks under by unwashed arm.

Veterinary Hospitals are strange places. On one hand you have very serious sick animals and on the other you have the cutest little fuzzy faces ever. The feeling is like doing your taxes in a petting zoo, although you know you shouldn’t be enjoying it, you kind of are anyway. Boston terrier puppies, shaggy explosions of fur, kittens, a hound-dog wearing a cone; you name it, it was sitting patiently waiting for the alternative lifestyle doctors to see it. Very well behaved I might add.

Veterinary clinics are definitely different than hospitals. In a hospital you wouldn’t expect your doctors to wear puppy-print smocks, or have lavender highlights in her hair, but at the vets, it’s cool. Cause’ the pet’s don’t care and the parent’s don’t have a clue what’s going on. Do I call them doctor? Have they even gone to college for this? How often do people bring their fish I wonder?

Turns out pep has an inner-ear infection and is requires to have a few drops of medicine squirted in her ears once a day. When the doctor said it I thought “Well, that sounds very reasonable” I wasn’t thinking of course that the minute I tried to get near pepper with the drops she would hide under the couch until I had gone. “This is not helping matters pepper!” I would shout, but she only looked at me with the face she reserves for anytime I make a request at her.

In hindsight I really shouldn’t have fed Pepper the night before the vet. Sure it seemed like a well-natured idea at the time, but now looking back at the situation that could have been averted, I realize that it was stupid. Pep pooped in the bag on the way home. It was very stinky and not particularly enjoyable for either of us. Hopefully pep is feeling better now… hopefully for both of us.

Bye Bye Photolog, Hello Photostack

You may have noticed that my while my weblog’s entries are down, my photolog’s entries are… kaput. It’s not that I’m not taking photo’s, but the process of getting them ready to be viewed is a pain in the ass and only allows for 1 photo at a time.

*Untill Now*

Welcome into my life Photostack! With “photostack”:http://photostack.org/ I can create whole albums of photos, upload a few, add to albums… you name it I can do it. So be prepared for some fireworks… or at lead a photo or 2.

For all of those who were in love with the old photos, well I have moved them over into a past section which should supply you with a good 4 minutes of fun. I have edited out the photos that I don’t like anymore and the nude pictures of me.

So, onto the photos!

Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam…

How many spam messages do I get per week? Hundreds… sometimes thousands and it makes me mad. Very mad. Built in mail filters used to work for me, but then some idiots at some college did some research about how “If you rearrange the lterets in wrods tehy are stlil readable.” Shazam! The flood gates of spam were opened and my poor inbox was flooded. Then came the V1AGRA people and although some people got hard, my inbox went flaccid.

So, donning my military helmet I marched into war to find out what I, a private citizen, could do.

*Don’t give your address out.*

If you have a website, you have probably put your e-mail address on it so nice people can contact you. The problem is there is a multi-billion dollar business that sell addresses like yours to the highest bidders. So take them off an replace them with a link the spammers cant see.

“Encoder”:http://automaticlabs.com/products/enkoderform/ Takes your email address and encodes it so that address harvesters can’t see it. With no exceptions.

NEVER REMOVE!

That’s right, don’t remove yourself from the spammers lists. doing so will only confirm that your e-mail address is “active” and more spam will come streaming in. Spammers are not, regardless of what they say, honest or ethical people. If you push remove you will receive 10 more spam messages.

GA-FILTER FISH!

Good, but what about those of us that have already been sold-out? What can we do? We can add more sophisticated space-age filtering is what we can do, damn it! Filters that learn over time instead of get bypassed by spammers. I am using “SpamSieve”:http://www.c-command.com/spamsieve/ and it is ridiculous how much spam it catches.

Filtered Mail
65 Good Messages
2830 Spam Messages (98%)

SpamSieve Accuracy
1 False Positives
19 False Negatives (95%)
99.3% Correct

Corpus
411 Good Messages
2861 Spam Messages (87%)
62291 Total Words

Showing Statistics Since
6/2/04 9:15 AM

It let 18 spam messages in the first week and since then only one got by. SpamSieve has a complex Bayesian statistical filter (based on an “article”:http://www.paulgraham.com/spam.html by Paul Graham) that learns from all your e-mail for words that spammers use and words your good messages contain and figures out mathematically if it’s spam or not. Ss you can see by the “99.3% Correct” it’s doing pretty well at catching the spam. It only once thought a non-spam e-mail was spam and that was because it was from a website that sold sandals and since it had no data on sandals it assumed it was spam. Honest mistake. I mean how many times have you gotten e-mailed about your flip-flops?

PC users can try to use “SpamBayes”:http://spambayes.sourceforge.net/ but I have no idea what that does, or how it works.

In the end it comes down to how much spam you have. Most people get a few messages a month and that is alright by them to delete, but for us web old-timers, spam can bring your day to a grinding halt and make you wish you never gave your real address on that contest to win a free iPod the year before.

I Make a Lot of Websites

Where have I been again? Oh that’s easy, building websites. Yes, you heard me right I’m building websites. Weblogs to be exact and therefore so busy my posts here have dribbled to a pathetic hush. I am sorry.

But let me at least show you what I have ben up to. “Elizabeth Barlow Rogers”:http://www.elizabethbarlowrogers.com/ is my latest website, that I have been experimenting with weblogging to allow my client to post her thoughts without me having to do anything. The initial design was not mine, as you might have guessed, but I have completely revamped the website using my own flair for design.

I am also working on a photography website for my very good friend Mike “Cardinaliphoto.com”:http://www.cardinaliphoto.com/ which should be up later this week (finger’s crossed). It also uses the same software I use on my site to make his site up-datable by him. It will have some really stunning black an white photography. Check it out when it’s up.

It’s a lot of work and I’ve been slacking on my other responsibilities (playing music, writing here, watching my Kids In The Hall DVDS). I will endeavor to post more, but in the mean time I’m out of things to say does anybody have any questions?

*I need a subject.*

Second Open Mic Down!

Well, I’ve done it again! I am officially a performer.

This time, however, the show did not go as smoothly as the first one. I think it all started with being over tired after work and doing some last minute practicing before the show. I got up, first again, and started into an older song which I realized 1 minute in that I was playing too fast. To make matters worse, the drummer Renaissance was trying to keep up with me and I couldn’t slow down without a car crash. It sort of had a shift in gears and I found my groove

The second real problem was my new song _All Alone_ which is much faster than anything else I have written in both rhythm and lyric. I forgot the chorus once and made one up on the spot which was again hard to work in the second time around. by the second chorus I had things basically together and I finished strong shouting into the microphone.

“Uh-huh, Uh-huh, Uh-huh!”

I had planned on recording this show, but as it turned out the cheap batteries I had were total crap and didn’t last 2 minutes. This is really unfortunate, because I don’t remember exactly what I was shouting at the end of my performance and would have liked to have the playback. I will post anything, if there is anything to post, but I’m not very optimistic.

Things I learned the second time around:

# Buy real batteries not crap bargain-basement *PowerMax* brand
# when singing into a microphone make sure it is pointed at your mouth and not at your nose
# Memorize your songs and practice them until you get them right
# Look at the audience and not at the floor
# Slow it down, faster playing is both harder to play and harder to salvage if anything goes wrong
# Never apologize for screwing up, the audience doesn’t know
# Invite people to the show a week ahead of time

So, next open mic night is *10PM Tuesday June 29!* That should be ample time to book plane tickets, hire a babysitter, get out of rehab, and call your father on father’s day. I expect to see you all there… unless you have plans, then you’re off the hook. As always, if you want to know where I’m playing drop me an e-mail and we shall rock out like it’s 1999.

Actually that’s kind of interesting, I never thought I would ever look at that song from the other side. Things were so good in 1999! Oh how I miss the Clinton Years.

Ronald, Meet Ray

I’m I the only one out there who remembers Ronald Reagan as a president? It’s like whole the country has amnesia. I’m not saying I’m happy the geezer is dead, but I’m not sad or surprised. I mean, he was 93! I thought he was going to keel over when he was our president and that was many moons (and several Bushes) ago.

So were is all this bullshit about him being a great president? As I remember we had no National Debt before him, and crap loads after. Remember _trickle down economics?_ Where you give huge tax cuts to the rich and hope the money makes it to the lower classes… That was also Reagan. Oh, and let us not forget *StarWars* his bullshit space odyssey! HELLO – IRAN CONTRA! Remember Oliver North? Reagan couldn’t remember shit?

*I hope it’s coming back to all of you!*

When it comes down to it, Reagan was a crap president and a crap person. I am going to go out right now and celebrate the fact that bastard’s gone! It’s not that I’m happy Reagan’s dead, just relived.

If you want to remember somebody, remember Ray Charles. That was an American.

The Working Week

You might have noticed a bit of a gap between postings. You know it’s bad when your girlfriend leaves a comment on your website asking where you’ve been. The good news is I am just working away and haven’t dropped off the face of the earth. The bad news is the work sucks.

The open mic night was fantastic. Not only was the bar I was playing at really relaxed, but the other performers were really excellent to listen to. I got to the bar about 9:40, half expecting the show’s slots to be booked up, but to my surprise the 9:30 show hadn’t started. I guess this is what people mean by musicians never being on time. Not only wasn’t I late, but I was the first person on the list.

First Person… gulp

The other performers must have been eying the list for some time, because as soon as my name went up so did another 7. If it’s one thing I learned doing improv _is always go first._ By going first you never have to go on after a great act and if you suck nobody will remember you by the end of the night. Luckily an open mic regular put her name above mine because she had to leave and I got a bit of a break. It was actually good she cut me in line, because as it turned out the host really knows how to capture an audience and I felt really amateurish in comparison. When she got up to play I was expecting everyone was a professional musician and that I…

TWANG! TADDLE, WONG!

She was nervous and was playing kind of like how I do sometimes. The pressure was suddenly taken off. I was going to fit in just fine. The interesting part of playing live is hearing your voice in a speaker. You know when you hear your voice in a recording and you say “I don’t really sound like that do I?” Well imagine that feeling in front of an audience! Luckily I just took a deep breath and struggled through my first song, rounded with a fast song and end with *Forgive Me Love.*

Set List

  1. Not The Game
  2. Row Upon Row
  3. Forgive Me Love

I had planned on recording the set, but in the rush to get myself together, I sadly forgot to instruct Diane to record the show. Sorry all, I will endeavor to record the new songs and post them on Monday to give you a sample of my new material. The next show will be recorded and I will post the track on this website, so even if you can’t be there you can enjoy my musical stylings. Next show is Next Tuesday June 15 at 9:30. I again ask if you want to see me, please e-mail for directions. Next show will have at least 2 new songs.

The open mic was a real turning point for me. It solidified that I am a musician at heart. It also proved to myself that I can sing and people enjoy my singing. It seems like a silly thing to say, but I feel as if creating music is open to me and far less daunting than it seemed. I feel like I can takes risks now, because the performance jitters are gone. Music doesn’t need to be crafted out of ivory and hued with bight jewels, it can just be a simple ditty. It doesn’t need to be perfect, it just needs to be made.

Life is too short to be precise about everything.

Sadly no panties were thrown on stage, nor did my pyrotechnics team get the visuals I had been planning for, but all in all, great show.

Sill Ours

Where do you put
these wasted whispers
that could have been said
aloud
these broken promises
that were broke
before
you gave them

Where does all the time go
while you watch the hands
that seem to go on
forever

These are the days
that no one seems
to remember
to forget

We are
the universal do-gooders
who forget that good
is subjective
and as such
subject
to tax, tariff
and interpretation

Walk with me
hand in hand
under the stars
while they are still ours.