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Muxtape 2

"When New York Was New York"

Get Songbird



A random selection from my archive:



Roberto Bolaño, The Savage Detectives


My Wishlist

Moment of Zen


Moment of Zen (inspired by Tim's Koans)

Courtesy of Timmay

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    Monday, May 31, 2004

    Holy Beinecke Batman!

    We chose the worst day, weather-wise, to get outside this weekend. No matter; we had a fun time exploring New Haven for a couple hours. We pillaged the salad bar at Gourmet Heaven, then strolled over to the new Beinecke Library on the Yale campus. The honeycomb building is the home of rare books and manuscripts. Built with very thin layers of marble, the library's exterior walls let in natural light brightly illuminating the bookworms inside.

    So I like Trivial Pursuit! So what?

    Find out if you're a geek with The Geek Test. You need to be a geek to finish the long quiz. I didn't make it all the way through, but I don't think I would've scored highly anyway. Although I'm a bit worried about scoring yes to "indexed and catalogued a personal collection" (CDs) and "Trivial Pursuit winner > 10 times."

    Once you get the results, treat yourself to the original radio broadcasts of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

    [EDIT: I mentioned to Alyssa that I just found The Geek Test. Her response: "Isn't a geek someone who bites the heads off chickens?" WHAT!? Well, apparently she's correct.]

    Saturday, May 29, 2004

    Blue Moon over New Haven

    A beautiful Saturday after a long winter and rainy spring can do strange things to a person. I found myself walking over a mile today just to buy a lemon. It'll be put to good use, though, when we have a couple Blue Moons this evening. Unless we decide to enjoy our homemade pizza with wine. Too bad that the Olfacom isn't available yet to help with the wine selection.

    Friday, May 28, 2004

    Want pie now!

    We can thank Chris for his help with the factorial answer in the previous post.
    We can also thank Chris for Weebl and Bob.

    Factorial Friday

    My iPod tells me that I have over 21 days of music loaded. That's an obnoxious 6841 songs. Since I use the shuffle feature regularly, I wonder how many unique 21-day mixes I could make. Ah! Fun with factorials!

    I always enjoyed working with factorials because the math involved is straight-forward. An example is the best definition. Say you have 4 dress shirts to wear throughout the work week (Friday being Hawaiian Shirt Day, of course). And you can't wear the same shirt twice during a given week. So how many different combinations of shirt-wearing do you have?

    The answer is 4 factorial (denoted 4!), or simply 4 x 3 x 2 x 1 = 24 different combinations. You'd have 6 months of different shirt-wearing orders to entertain your colleagues. In other words, a factorial is just a big multiplication party where everyone's invited.

    Now back to the iPod song factorial. We're talking 6841! or 6841 x 6840 x 6839 . . . ad nauseum. That's a hefty calculation! I've tried to get the answer using various online calculators, but all result in the same product: Infinity.

    Anyone want to figure that out for me? And while you're at it, can you explain why 0! = 1?

    [EDIT: Check the comments for the answer. Thanks Chris!]

    Thursday, May 27, 2004

    Would you consider this an improvement?

    Simone upgraded herself from a large tattered box:


    to a small new box:


    I wonder if she'd appreciate something more classy, like the Scratching Swirl from PostModern Pets?

    Wednesday, May 26, 2004

    WiFi, WiNot?

    WiFi (or wireless networking) has been gaining popularity for a few years. But just recently it's weaved its way into your local coffeehouse, airport terminal, library, and the waiting area of your favorite tire center. There's even excitement over a zany wireless network implemented 17,500 feet above sea level. And who can forget about New York's MagicBike!

    I've had some limited exposure to WiFi setup through a recent project. I've been working with vendors to provide a wireless network at an upcoming Technology Solutions trade show in Hartford. They're building a great spot with quality equipment at a low cost to the exhibitors. When you examine the basics of WiFi, you quickly discover that a good solution doesn't mean an expensive solution. Why just look at the Poor Man's WiFi courtesy of a couple crazy New Zealand innovators and a Chinese cookware scoop.

    Tuesday, May 25, 2004

    Now that's spicy!

    If you're a fan of the red hot heart candies, give Dragon Fire Gum a try. And when you're ready to cool down, take a peek at these ice photographs.

    Monday, May 24, 2004

    Gooses, geeses, and Tim Russert

    We're back from a very busy, and very fun, weekend. First, a fantastic wedding celebration in Andover for two of our Boston friends. Hey! Look who won the centerpiece!

    Who's got two thumbs and loves centerpieces? This guy!

    Then, this morning we attended the huge graduation ceremony at Boston College, where Tim Russert of Meet the Press addressed the 3,000 graduates. It then took over 90 minutes for the diploma hand-offs, but whoa, those deans are awfully efficient with the name-calling and the hand-shaking.

    And the weekend wouldn't be complete without some water fowl. We spotted a gaggle of baby geese as we left the hotel this morning.

    Gooses! Geeses! I want a goose that lays gold eggs for Easter.

    Friday, May 21, 2004

    North by Northwest

    This summer we plan to take a week-long vacation, most likely to the Northwest. I've visited Portland before, so we're aiming for Seattle and Vancouver. Alyssa and I have never been to this part of North America, so I'm wondering if you can offer some advice. While in Seattle, we'll certainly check out Pike Place Fish Market, the new library, and knock on the apartment doors of a couple friends. When we're in Vancouver, we'll be sure to see the... umm... errr... Canadians. Yeah, we don't know much about Vancouver, eh?

    Do you have any Northwest wisdom to share?

    Seattle and Vancouver will have to wait for August, as we're headed North this weekend for a wedding and a graduation. I'll be back next week, eh?

    Thursday, May 20, 2004

    The serendipity of sandwiches

    When you're someplace new, you explore. I've been spending most of my weekdays in Hartford over the last two months. On lunch breaks I've explored the surrounding towns searching out good eateries, like the Cookhouse Cafe. I thought I had exhausted my lunch options until I saw a colleague sipping a Panera lemonade this morning.

    I discovered a Panera location in the fine town of Glastonbury not 10 minutes away. Through a twist of fate, I bumped into a former colleague while waiting for my sandwich order. He has a job opportunity for me. How's that for crazy luck? I guess my explorations aren't over quite yet.

    Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese...oh! You're not a winner!

    Stumbling upon the Internet Museum of Flexi, Cardboard and Oddity Records reminded me of a McDonald's sweepstakes promotion from when I was a kid. Find the flexi record in your Happy Meal, drop your favorite quarter onto the record to hold in place, and listen for your chance to win.

    The McDonald's jingle had to make it through the entire song for you to reap the rewards. Of course it would always come close, but then the chorus of tone-deaf kids would fall apart near the end. The record looked similar to this McDonald's promotion, but not quite.

    Otherwise, most of the flexi discs on display I've never seen before, including the advertisements and the eerie record with a hole through Dick Clark's head.

    Wednesday, May 19, 2004

    Viva la beisbol!

    Let's see... The Red Sox beat Tampa Bay to regain first place in the American League East. The Yankees lose 1-0 in extra innings. And a 40-yr old pitcher throws a perfect game -- only the 15th in baseball's history. I'd say that's a good night of baseball, wouldn't you?

    The only way to celebrate is to roll around on the couch like a giddy monkey.

    Viva la beisbol!

    Tuesday, May 18, 2004

    Swap a tongue depresser and an ink well for a Gmail account

    Are Gmail accounts really in high enough demand to necessitate a Gmail Swap website? I was happy to give away my extra account to a lucky guesser earlier this month. However, for those of you reading this, you can cash in on some sweet swaps for your extra Gmail account(s), including "a personalized song," "$50," or "something in the mail from Japan."

    If you're dying for an account and afraid you'll eventually get stuck with a username like marzipan_noseflute_3223, then I suggest you post your trinket to Gmail's Swap List. Here are two more ideas: "a drawing, anything you want in french" and "an air guitar and a post card." Happy swapping.

    Monday, May 17, 2004

    A perfect day for CD shopping

    This gorgeous spring weather reminds me of afternoons I'd spend scavenging the CD bins in Harvard Square. First I'd hit Newbury Comics, Twisted Village, and Other Music. Usually I'd pick up enough new music at those shops to keep me busy over two slices of cheese pizza and a root beer at Cafe Avventura.

    I'd then wander through Tower Records and HMV, often passing up the overpriced selection, but occassionally finding a few gems. I suppose I'd stroll through Urban Outfitters too, though I'd rarely buy something because my eyes were always on music.

    If I was feeling adventurous, I'd make my way down Mass Ave toward Central Square popping into the tiny shops like Mystery Train and Pipeline looking for good used deals. Eventually I'd be worn out from the walk and the backpack of new music. After catching a train back to Davis Square, Disc Diggers would still be open for a quick gander through their bins. I'd end the day by flipping through the free 'zines like Tower's Pulse and the Weekly Dig while listening to my new finds.

    Sounds like a fine day to me. Instead, however, I spent today's lunch break at Subway, and later, stuck behind an old Mustang burning oil on my drive back to work. Good times.

    Sunday, May 16, 2004

    Jonesin' for a Jones

    Jones Soda is making a comeback -- or maybe they never went away? I remember the random black & white photos wrapped around the clear glass bottles back in the '90s. It seemed they made a splash around the same time as Coca-Cola's OK Soda.

    Jones has grabbed ahold of the new Splenda sweetener craze, and they're offering a variety of sugar-free drinks. This afternoon I enjoyed a Jones Cream Soda, and I'll try to hunt down more. Unfortunately they've run out of Turkey & Gravy though.

    Some of the suggested flavors remind me of times when my friends and I brainstormed the worst ice cream ideas ever, like Missing, Phone, and Yeoman.

    Saturday, May 15, 2004

    If you whine, they will come

    Interstate 95 has been plastered with new billboards advertising NESN -- New Haven's Sports Network. Yeah it is! Last time I checked, Connecticut was still part of New England. So I'm very pleased to see that my whining about the YES Network finally paid off and we're getting the New England Sports Network. Channel 58 is the new channel, however we don't currently get it. D'oh!

    Considering my decline in movie rentals lately. I think it's time to turn off the Netflix faucet and turn on the digital cable. I can't say no to those billboards of Timmy Wakefield (who's the centerpiece of a fascinating New Yorker knuckleball article this week).

    Speaking of billboards, what budget provided the massive sign at our town hall congratulating West Haven High School as the National Chess Champions?

    [EDIT: We're a new digital cable subscriber! Good deal -- 50% off the first 3 months so we took advantage of a higher package for less annual cost than the basic plan. NESN and On Demand, here we come!]

    Friday, May 14, 2004

    Internet-less and craving chicken

    I prefer working from home. No dress shirt; no commute. But the ability to be productive can be cut short without internet access. For the second time in eight months, my Comcast high-speed internet service went down. No connection this morning, but it seems to be rolling again this afternoon.

    On the other hand, some folks can work from home just fine without internet access. Case in point, Simone seemed to get her daily chores done with little effort. However she didn't lift a paw to help with my problem as she mocked me from her rotisserie chicken pose.

    I'm a cat... I'm a chicken... I'm a cat

    Thursday, May 13, 2004

    This quiz is pretty gouda

    Chris told me he's a shiny, soft mozzarella. Here are my results:

    I am cheddar cheese!

    What type of cheese are you?

    A derivative dream

    Last night I dreamt of San Pedro...No wait.

    Last night I dreamt of math exams.

    I was caught in a never-ending loop of solving math problems. Trigonometry, calculus, geometry. Anxiety set in once I realized my answers weren't neat and clean like you'd expect. Remember how you knew you were on the right track if your solutions turned out to be whole numbers after a long maze of computations? I knew I was in a nightmare once my word problem answer for two approaching trains ended up being -7.25 mph.

    To make matters more bizarre, Madonna's "La Isla Bonita" was playing somewhere in the background.

    And when the samba played
    The sun would set so high
    Ring through my ears and sting my eyes
    Your Pythagorean lullaby.

    Wednesday, May 12, 2004

    With a side of milk, please

    Over the years I've received a lot of slack for eating my cereal sans milk. I don't know where I developed this habit; it must have been at an early age. Just something about soggy cereal turned me off and I never quite understood the point. Until today.

    This morning I tried Trader Joe's "Flakes & Fruit" -- rice and oat flakes with sliced dried strawberries. The strawberries are freeze dried so they look like something you'd find in an astronaut's lunchbox. One bite into them and, yeesh, I was done with that. They were fruity but had the consistency of styrofoam. So, against my better judgment, I reached for the milk and forged ahead.

    ZING! The strawberries popped to life. It was a new day. I actually enjoyed cereal with milk. Maybe those milk-lovin' people who taunted me were right after all. Next up, milk with Rice Krispies!

    Tuesday, May 11, 2004

    From excitement to oh yeah...

    Y'know that excited feeling you get when you receive a package in the mail? An Amazon box arrived for me today and, for the life of me, I couldn't remember what I ordered. I was like Ralphie's dad from A Christmas Story when he tore apart the wooden box to find the leg lamp (otherwise known as "a major award!").

    My mood quickly leaped from excited anticipation to "oh's the Developer Edition of Microsoft SQL Server 2000." I'll be able to get crackin' now on a web development project, but I was really hoping for a Gameboy or something.

    Monday, May 10, 2004

    Thank You Thank You Thank You

    The Temporary Residence music label, based in Portland, Oregon, just released a limited edition compilation commemorating their 50th release and 8th year in business. Thank You includes 11 tracks and a nice 24-pg color booklet insert. If you're a fan of instrumental indie rock, you'll dig this compilation which offers up exclusive tracks by Fridge, Explosions in the Sky, and Parlour. The quality of music is excellent and you can't beat the $10 postpaid price tag. As if you and I needed more music...

    Sunday, May 09, 2004

    National Traffic Day

    Today is Mother's Day, and I got to spend a few hours with my Mom & Dad in Marshfield. A very nice, relaxing visit. However, apparently today is also National Traffic Day. I felt like I spent more time in bumper-to-bumper traffic this weekend than anywhere else. It was completely worth it though. I got to travel around Massachusetts visiting with family and friends.

    Now I'm back in Connecticut, making updates to this site. I just discovered Blogger relaunched its service with a new interface and features. At first glance, it looks cool but it'll take a little getting used to... like spending most of your waking hours in traffic.

    Friday, May 07, 2004

    $25,000 Pyramid

    A marimba. An architecturally stunning concert hall. Six bright-eyed musicians from New York City. A celeste. A couple hundred Wesleyan students. A classical piece with many entrancing movements. Circular breathing. An intermission. Throat singing. A crazy old man with a braided white beard. A crazy old man with a braided white beard seated next to you.

    "Things you'd find at a performance of Bang on a Can All-Stars with special guest Terry Riley."

    It was a mesmerizing show. Bang on a Can performed three post-classical, somewhat-jazzy, jarring pieces before Terry Riley got up from his seat next to us and joined the ensemble for a 45-minute rendition of his 1964 piece, In C. We had great seats in the third row. Or if you like, we were in Row C for In C.

    OK. Round 2.

    Homemade bread with carrot spread. Southern fried tofu. Garlic collard greens. Avocado and almond salad with maple-glazed tofu. My fork.

    "Things you'd find on our dinner plates at It's Only Natural Restaurant tonight."

    When cats panic

    What?! I slept through Cinco de Mayo *and* the final Friends episode?
    I didn't miss Mother's Day, did I?

    More pats please

    Thursday, May 06, 2004


    New Haven is spilling over with great cuisine - Thai, Italian, Eritrean, Japanese, French, Malaysian, the list goes on. But sadly, no good BBQ. Well, the search is over. I finally found a great BBQ place in Connecticut.

    Today I discovered East Hartford's Cookhouse Cafe. Adjacent to a Harley-Davidson shop, Fat Tommy's (as it's otherwise known) does great lunch business from local business folk. The pulled pork sandwich with "scary" sauce was terrific and the sweet potato fries were fantastic. Maybe not quite the caliber of Boston's Blue Ribbon BBQ, but definitely a worthy adversary of Redbones.

    I believe Brak said it best when he sang, "When you fall in love, it's like falling in love, it's like barbecue! Barbidee-barbecue!"

    Crossfader Blues

    Lately I've been using iTunes (in place of Winamp) to listen to my music library while on my PC. I'm loving the "crossfading" feature which blends the end of one track into the beginning of the next when you're shuffling songs. It's like a radio show that just won't end.

    I only wish my iPod could crossfade too.
    That's why I've got the Crossfader Blues:

    Oh lordy! It's so rough...
    Down on myself, down on other stuff...
    That other stuff, being no iPod crossfade
    Couldn't it be something that Apple Inc. made?

    [lengthy harmonica solo]

    Oh lordy! It's so hard...
    Maybe it's a limitation of the memory card
    Whatever it is, I've got the blues...
    Those pesky, good-for-nuthin' crossfader blues...

    I suppose an iPod crossfade feature might be an eventual firmware update. In the meantime, I'll be playin' my Crossfader Blues. Oh lordy!

    (By the way, I'm sure it took me far less time to write my song than it did to collect icons from around the web.)

    Wednesday, May 05, 2004

    Ladies and gents, we have a winner

    High noon has come and gone which means the Gmail contest is over. The answer is 39,623 miles.

    Avi Naveh, whoever you are, guessed 38,623 which is *exactly* 1,000 miles off. Avi, nice job, you get 1,000 points but you didn't win. Chris was the closest fella with a guess of 39,999, a difference of a mere 376 miles from the correct mileage.

    Congratulations Chris! Expect to hear from me shortly regarding your Gmail invite. Thanks to all for participating and maybe I'll post another equally silly contest soon. Happy Cinco de Mayo!

    Tuesday, May 04, 2004

    Hey kids! It's time for "What's my mileage?"

    Google has offered Gmail beta users the ability to invite two friends to try their new e-mail service. When I first posted my thoughts on Gmail, my Dad commented that he'd like to check it out. So naturally, he received my first invite. But I have one left! Now, I could go the greedy route and auction my invitation on eBay like many are doing at the moment. But that's not cool.

    So here's the deal: Whoever comes closest to guessing the current mileage on my car wins a Gmail account while it's still in beta. The rules are as follows: 1) Each participant is allowed only one guess, 2) The guess must appear in the "Comments" of this post to keep things neat and organized, 3) The winner will be chosen based on the closest guess, high or low, to the actual mileage -- so no need for bids of "Bob, $1 please," 4) All guesses must be posted by Wednesday May 5 at high noon (EST), 5) If the winner hits the mileage on the nose, then that person deserves something more than just a Gmail account. They'll get a mix CD or something because that's just too freaky.

    Before you pull out your calculator, here are a couple clues. I purchased my 2001 Toyota Corolla on January 26, 2003. At the time of purchase, the mileage was 26,444 miles. Start your guessing engines!

    Monday, May 03, 2004

    Chill out

    If you've had a rough Monday, check out the hour-long BBC Radio 2 documentary called "Moments in Love" -- an aural history of chillout and ambient music. You'll get a great dose of early pioneers like Tangerine Dream, Brian Eno, and Erik Satie, along with more recent artists like The Orb and Nightmares on Wax. The entire playlist is posted online.

    Conversely, if you've had a very easy start to your week, then you deserve a challenge. Grab some mp3 files from The Wire magazine's online gallery. You'll find artists like Autechre, Farmers Manual, and Kid 606. Great tracks but, yeesh, good luck.

    Gotta get back in time

    With an IPO announcement and an e-mail service in beta, Google is getting a lot of media attention these days. Take a peek at Google circa 1998 when it searched less than 25 million pages. While you're at it, check out this Amazon screenshot from 1995. You gotta love the Internet Archive for holding onto some classics. Did you know they also host old public information films, including many of the original clips used in the 1982 documentary The Atomic Cafe?

    Sunday, May 02, 2004

    Dare to dream

    Sometimes you stray from your favorite desserts to try something different. This time it involved cookies. We tried BP Gourmet's Chocolate Dreams. Allegedly fat-free and all natural, they were, in reality, taste-free and all terrible. The abnormally airy cookies could have been better if they spent more time making the chocolate flavor seem more like chocolate, and less like astronaut food. I don't wish to trash a fledgling gourmet food maker, so I'll stop there. After all, it's in poor taste, isn't it?

    Saturday, May 01, 2004

    A day at the beach

    It's May. Time to hit the beach then, right? Sure. That's what we did this afternoon. Spent the second half of the day loitering around the boardwalk and beach, listening to Sounds From The Verve Hi-Fi and catching up on New Yorkers, including this minimalist art article.

    A welcomed afternoon compared to a somewhat frazzled morning which found us at the vet. Nothing major, but Simone had an infection on her lip that needed to be examined. A quick procedure, a small vial of antibiotics, and we were on our merry way. Every cat needs a little adventure now and then, right? No. Not at all. Well, at least she can look forward to hidden pills in her food for the next few days.