Bringing you Nervous Music since October 2003



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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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    Tuesday, August 31, 2004

    Please enlighten me

    What's the difference between fictional and fictitious? And if the answer is "nothing, Sean" then why do we need both?

    Sunday, August 29, 2004

    It took me 234 minutes but I Finnished

    I've been eyeing an unopened 4 CD box set on my desk since I bought it a few months ago. I gathered up the courage today to break the seal of Pan Sonic's Kesto. Four hours of uninterrupted minimal electronic music/noise from the Finnish duo who's been doing this stuff for far too long. All I can say is: Ow. If you want a better, more descriptive reaction, then check out PitchFork's review. Kesto will make you go insane -- in a good way.

    To recover from the mechanized brrrpps and hums of Pan Sonic, I took in my first live show in New Haven tonight. We saw Shawn Persinger and a couple other guitarists play a round robin set in a church foyer. Very eclectic selections from folk to classical to rock to bluegrass to avant garde, all three guitarists were quite good. The evening was very mellow and with the church doors open, the crickets were a nice accompaniment.

    A full day of music, live and recorded, and now it's time for bed.

    Saturday, August 28, 2004

    Makes Hitchcock's "The Birds" look like birdie num nums

    We attract the most psychotic birds in town. I think we're the only ones with a birdfeeder in southern Connecticut because it's always a feeding frenzy out there. These little guys can finish off a 10 lb bag of wild bird seed in just about a week. The gap you see at the top of the feeder appears about an hour or two after refilling.

    I'll show 'em. I picked up a 25 lb bag of seed. Let's see how long it lasts. I'm hoping until Labor Day. *sigh*
    It's like Hitchcock's The Birds out there

    Friday, August 27, 2004

    You say tomato. I say tomato.

    My parents planted a plethora of tomato plants in their backyard. I stopped by last weekend and many of the sweet 100s were ready for picking and a few of the larger tomatoes were red as well. I took home a large bag, but I'm sure hundreds more will be ripe in the next couple weeks.

    Photos of the burgeoning garden. As Grover would say, "Neeear...and faaaar."



    Wednesday, August 25, 2004

    From Economy Class to Boo Yah!

    Thanks to frequent flyer miles, I've been clutching onto a free round-trip U.S. ticket on Northwest Airlines for a few years. With the constant flux of the airline industry, I decided not to gamble any longer with the possibility of suddenly losing my WorldPerks award. Tonight I redeemed my miles and booked passage to San Diego where I'll see my old Bates buddies at a bachelor party in late September.

    But... Boo Yah! I was pleasantly surprised when I booked my Hartford to San Diego (via lovely Minneapolis) flights. No seats left in coach. My return trip is ... huzzah! ... in first class!

    They made me choose my first class seats and my itinerary clearly says "Cabin: First Class." But maybe Northwest is just pulling a prank. I can't be that lucky, can I? There has to be a catch. They're going to make me clean the plane during layovers, aren't they? Or I bet they're going to serve me the special "refugee meal." It's a joke, right?

    The Browser Wars - Round 2?

    As newer web browsers become more stable, more and more folks are making the switch from Internet Explorer to an alternative. Improvements (coupled with unrelenting security issues with IE) have spawned a community of internet users and developers focused on safer, more user-friendly browsers. The growth of this community has seemed to gain some serious momentum in the last few months.

    BrowseHappy is one example of of raising awareness about other options, including Firefox, Mozilla, Opera, and Safari. The opinions stated are nothing new. It's a touchy/feely approach to what the Web Standards Project has been doing for several years. Just a new spin with a few testimonials introducing the notion that choices exist beyond IE.

    My Spidey Sense is telling me that there will continue to be a shift in momentum in the coming months. I just wonder where it'll all lead...

    Tuesday, August 24, 2004

    Aww... is already taken

    Always wanted to start your own site but your domain name was taken? Never fear! Choose a random name from the available domain name of the week list. Impress your friends by registering or Then invite everyone by sending Tiny Pineapple postcards.

    Monday, August 23, 2004

    Monkeys and the sunset

    The sky celebrated with us Saturday night while we conquered the city during a bachelor party. As we walked from Harvard Square to Scullers Jazz Club, the sunset caught our eye, and made us act like monkeys.

    Monkeys and the sunset

    the sunset

    the sunset

    the sunset

    Saturday, August 21, 2004

    Third time's the charm

    It seems the allure of obtaining a Gmail account has faded. (Was there ever an allure anyway?) I've posted twice about Gmail invites, trying to give them away here and here. I don't know if people are still jumping through hoops to get an account, but I'm making it easy.

    I have four remaining invites. Want a Gmail account? Just leave a comment and I'll send along the invite. No more guessing games; no more haiku writing. You can be a close friend or a random passer-by -- I don't discriminate. If you don't want potential spammers harvesting your current email account, I'd suggest leaving a comment with your address spelled out (e.g., username<at>somedomain<dot>com) so I can reach you. I don't suspect any spammers will stop by, but you can never be too safe, right?

    If I had the energy to make the switch, I'd begin using my Gmail address as my primary account. I'm really enjoying it that much (and now they have the Gmail Notifier). So take me up on the offer, otherwise these free beta accounts will continue to go unloved.

    Friday, August 20, 2004

    A font-astic way to reduce debugging time

    Yesterday I shared my quest for the best HTML editor. Although it's quite important to find a comfortable development environment, at the end of the day what matters most is the code you write. Raise your hand if you've flushed hours down the toilet because of a misplaced bracket or the use of an ampersand rather than a plus sign.

    You slave over the tiny lines of code you've written searching for that one misstep which renders your creation useless. Although there's no cure for this madness, ProFont will do its best to lend a hand. Use a font in your development tool which is designed for coding. It's highly readable at small sizes so you can squish more code onto your screen. It differentiates between a lowercase L and the number 1, and an uppercase O and a zero. It super-sizes the brackets so pairings are easy to spot. Plus we're all in luck -- ProFont was developed for Mac, but it's also available for Windows, *nix, and even Atari.

    Give your eyes a break with a better font. You know you'll eventually go blind from coding anyway.

    Thursday, August 19, 2004

    WYSIWYG = What You See Is Wasteful Yo-Yo Garbage

    It's no secret that Mac users have it good when it comes to software for web development and design. I own a PC, and I wish I had the same choice of products. With the amount of web development I'm doing these days, I really need a better tool. There's no sign of BBEdit for Windows, though.

    I'm pretty late to the game of hunting down the best HTML editor. Seems that Macromedia's HomeSite (once Allaire's product) is the king, hands-down. But I wanted a lightweight tool -- I don't have much use for the WYSIWYG stuff (What You See Is What You Get), i.e., a drag-and-drop interface for creating web pages. Nevertheless I'll probably drop the $99 for HomeSite at some point.

    For now, however, my mission was to find something better than my Windows Notepad (which was quickly becoming the weapon of choice). I've totally had it with FrontPage. I don't know why I even bothered using it over the last couple months. Similarly, I was enjoying the ASP.NET Web Matrix for a while. A stripped-down version of Microsoft Visual Studio, the Web Matrix was a nice transition from my trusty old Visual Interdev at my previous job. But even the Web Matrix grew old rather quickly.

    After some diligent searching, I've settled on HTML-Kit. It's only been a couple weeks since I've installed it, and I'm really liking what I see so far: Lightweight and intuitive interface, hexadecimal color palette, super duper menus, and *tons* of valuable plug-ins. Not too shabby for a free product.

    So, web developers of the world (all two of you who visit this site), what tool is your favorite?

    Wednesday, August 18, 2004

    Why did it have to be Bea Arthur?!

    Dorothy Zbornak

    You are smart, sensible and love your family. You are forgiving but also tend to hold a grudge, especially when it comes to ex-husbands!

    Which Golden Girl Are You?

    Tuesday, August 17, 2004

    The naughty navbar

    I was shocked to find a big ugly Blogger navbar at the top of this site this morning. The Navbar is a new feature of Blogger and it automatically inserted itself when I last posted. According to their Knowledge Base, there are two ways to remove it: 1) Upgrade to the BlogSpot Plus service (which is no longer being offered), or 2) switch to blog publishing via FTP.

    The Navbar lets you search my site and find results through the Google interface. It's a nice feature, but not when it appears as an indiscrete massive bar along the top of the page. Let's see if I can find some time later this week to switch over to FTP publishing.

    [EDIT: The very kind folks at Blogger Support have implemented a new feature of the Navbar -- an "off" choice. So for now, I'm disabling the search bar. Maybe I'll have it pop up again in the future, especially if there are options to display it differently so it's more integrated with the site.]

    A new way to tip your hat

    Jewelboxing has some smart folks behind their scenes. I've mentioned them before, specifically here and here. I bring them up again because they've created a unique way of thanking those who mention them -- a "Thanks for Noticing" list. It's their own way of tipping their hat to the hoi polloi. I'm listed tenth among some very cool sites in the right side bar.

    Thanks, Jewelboxing. Very classy.

    Monday, August 16, 2004

    Do not open milk until you pay for it!!

    Boy oh boy, this is going way back. When Tim was listening to his 3rd CD (out of hundreds) for his Listening Experiment, he linked to a handwritten note posted on Found Magazine's website.

    If you love the bizarre little things posted on Found, you'd likely get a kick out of No Name No Slogan's Handwritten Sign Collection. They range from the mundane ("Sunday Special - Roses 1/2 price") to the helpful ("Always use oldest soda first") to the downright wacky ("Do not play on bear!!!").

    They also ran an experiment pitting the iPod vs. the cassette. See who wins.

    Sunday, August 15, 2004


    My parents gave me a gorgeous potted jade plant for Christmas a year and a half ago. It did a great job of growing for a while, but over the last few months.. mmm.. not so much. I thought jade plants were resilient and could tolerate varying temperatures and amounts of sunlight. I've moved it from the kitchen to the living room to the top of my bookshelf in our front room. But nothing will bring this guy back to life.

    Unfortunately I think I'll have to "retire" him soon. Having said that, I'd like to get something to replace the jade plant. I thought jade would last a long time, but maybe a 2nd one isn't the way to go. Anyone have any tips on some cool (low maintenance) plants?

    Does posting about house plants make me cool? No? How about posting about the preservation of jazz? Yeah, that makes me cool. Cool like Miles Davis.

    Saturday, August 14, 2004

    A bday bbq

    Man alive. Coupons and incentives just keep rollin' in from The Cookhouse in E. Hartford. It wasn't long ago when I proclaimed my love for this BBQ joint. Now they're at it again with a special birthday postcard granting me a "Free Menu Item" -- value to $15, no strings attached. Truth be told, I already redeemed it last week. A half-rack of baby back ribs, mashed potatoes, collard greens, corn bread, biscuits, and a raspberry ice tea -- all for $2.07. Huzzah! *urp*

    Friday, August 13, 2004

    People born on this date

    Alfred Hitchcock (1899)
    Annie Oakley (1860)
    Fidel Castro (1926)
    Don Ho (1930)
    Bert Lahr [the Cowardly Lion] (1895)
    Danny Bonaduce (1959)
    Me (1976)

    PS - It's lucky to be born on a Friday the 13th, right?

    PPS - This is my 300th post!

    [EDIT: A delicious cake on the night of my birthday!]

    Birthday Cake

    Thursday, August 12, 2004

    Birdie Num Num

    Occasionally I'll discover, while watching a movie, that I like the *idea* of the film more than the film itself. For example, I love The Party with Peter Sellers. Or, do I? I certainly love the *idea* of the film: A remarkable comedic actor bumbles his way through a 1960s swanky west coast cocktail party doused in neat visuals and great lounge music. I've seen it a few times, and each viewing I find that I was more excited about watching the movie than actually watching it. Does that make sense?

    On a related note, last night I watched Unknown Peter Sellers -- an hour-long documentary about the British man of many faces.

    Now here's something I didn't know. Director Stanley Kubrick filmed an additional ending sequence that didn't make it into Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. The final scene was to be a massive custard pie fight in the war room. What?!? Apparently the scene didn't make the final cut for two reasons: 1) The custard-covered actors were unrecognizable during the fight so you couldn't distinguish who was being hit, and 2) the sight of a U.S. President (one of three roles played by Sellers) smacked in the face wasn't appropriate to debut days after JFK's assassination.

    Anyway, that would explain the elaborate display of food in the war room near the end of the movie. Who knew?

    Wednesday, August 11, 2004

    Sick of spending 37 cents for a postage stamp?

    Then why not spend 85 cents instead. PhotoStamps allows you to place any photo you'd like on a postage stamp. A photo of you on vacation, a photo of your child's first birthday, or even a photo of your crazy cat.

    This service raises an interesting question though. Aren't postage stamps legal tender? For instance, can't you use a handful of stamps to pay for bus fare? It's inconvenient and the bus driver would likely smack you upside the head, but technically it's legal.

    Why stop at personalizing postage stamps? If the markup's going to be 129%, then how about spending $45.95 for a twenty-dollar bill with your smiling mug on it?

    Tuesday, August 10, 2004

    The life of Riley

    I'm thinking of renaming the cat, Riley.

    Up in arms

    Up in arms

    I wish I could still be on vacation too.

    Monday, August 09, 2004

    This browser's too hot! And this browser's too cold!

    Apparently I don't have the web browser that's juuust right. Visited a site today where I encountered this little guy on the homepage: "Error ! The current browser is either too old or too modern (usind [sic] DOM document structure)." That's a new one! So I need a browser that's like a pair of broken-in jeans -- not so old that it's riddled with holes, but not so new that it's a challenge to pull on.

    Web browsers: Like pants, only different.

    Sunday, August 08, 2004

    Boats, boats, and more boats

    Near the end of the week, we found ourselves in Plymouth Harbor. Anchored boats floated quietly in the water. We were there during the week so most boats were unoccupied and the boardwalk was mostly free of tourists, except for those looming over the wonderful rock.

    Plymouth Harbor

    Plymouth Harbor

    Plymouth Harbor

    Plymouth Harbor

    Plymouth Rock

    Saturday, August 07, 2004

    Now *that's* a drawbridge

    We're back from our 3-day roadtrip around CT and MA. We visited our parents and even snuck in a little time at Humarock beach (near Marshfield) before the bad weather. On our way we swung through Mystic for a couple hours. Ate a terrible lunch at a downtown pub, but hey! At least we saw some cool boats and a crazy drawbridge!

    Boats in Mystic

    More boats in Mystic

    Even more boats in Mystic

    The wild n crazy drawbridge

    Tuesday, August 03, 2004

    Good question, Zippy

    Are we having fun yet?

    I don't know, Zip. I just don't know.

    But I do know I'll be offline for a few days. We're taking the second half of our vacation on the road. See you next week.

    Monday, August 02, 2004


    We made our first pilgrimage to IKEA today. Egad! The cars! The crowds! The lines! We wandered the massive complex for almost three hours, browsing all the home furnishings including the hoopty showrooms. For a mere fifty-one dollars we got a new bathmat, 2 potholders, a 10 pack of AA batteries, a 5'x6' fleece throw, 2 table lamps, a natural wood picture frame, a 4 pack of 100 watt light bulbs, a 2 pack of cutting boards, a shower caddy, a dish drying rack, and a wastebasket.

    Clearly a random assortment of odds 'n ends. We wanted to buy a couple living room end tables, but they were out. Luckily, we got a pair just as nice at the Christmas Tree Shop. So our living room, with its new little tables and lamps, functions more as a lounge than a place to curse the Red Sox.

    Sunday, August 01, 2004

    An experiment with basil

    A repeat of November 1, we drove along the scenic coastal road of Route 146 yesterday. Zoomed through Branford, Guilford and Madison. Along the way, we ducked into some farmer's markets. Walked away with a suitcase-sized bag of basil for $5. (What are we going to do with this much basil?! Thankfully it keeps well in the freezer for months.)

    Motivated to create something new, I started experimenting with our fresh new herbs. I tried finding some easy recipes at places like Epicurious, but all called for more ingredients than we had. Not up for a Saturday night grocery run, I just worked with what was in our kitchen and soon I invented the Basil Boat.

    Stir chopped walnuts, salt and ground black pepper into a small bowl of non-fat cottage cheese. Then simply scoop small spoonfuls of the mixture onto a flattened basil leaf. You're done! Makes for a good healthy snack to accompany a cheese plate and fruit. And it pairs marvelously with Midnight Cellars' 2002 Full Moon Encore (60% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon). Thank you to our friends Nate & Lauren for turning us on to this great California wine!