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"When New York Was New York"

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Roberto Bolaño, The Savage Detectives


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Moment of Zen (inspired by Tim's Koans)

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    Monday, May 30, 2005

    Tracks of the Week: Soft

    Soft "Droppin'" and "All That You're Shown" - This week's theme again focuses on one particular artist. Unlike last time, however, I first heard of this band just a week ago. They emailed me because they found this site linked from Tofu Hut (a wonderful mp3 site worth checking out). Soft is the fourth band who've contacted me to post their music on my site. And I'm going to be honest here: They're actually the first band worth posting. I really dig the intro to Droppin' and All That You're Shown has some terrific guitar-work. Catch more of their stuff at the band's website. (Thanks for your email, John.)

    Friday, May 27, 2005

    Same bat number, different bat phone

    It's time to retire the old Motorola StarTac. It's a sad day. I've been hanging onto him since early 1999. He's really treated me well. Aside from a couple broken antennae, I never had any problems. I never even needed to replace the battery!

    So many fond memories with my StarTac. I accepted a job offer on that phone. I talked to programmers from India on that phone. I called Alyssa to ask her out on our first date.

    I'll be holding onto him of course. He'll be retired alongside my first cell phone which was another StarTac -- the analog version. Remember analog? Oh yeah. That takes me back.

    But it's time to move on and I've chosen the Motorola V188, the brand new upgrade from the V180. Nothing fancy. No camera, no email, no major bells 'n whistles. Just, what I hope is, a solid phone with good call quality and a strong battery.

    Last month I said goodbye to my trusty stereo. And now, so long to my trusty phone. What's next?

    Wednesday, May 25, 2005

    Monsieur Gino's

    Since when did Papa Gino's begin having table service? The location up the street from us had waitstaff running around tonight getting people menus, extra napkins, and doggie boxes. What happened to a quick order of two slices of cheese with root beer and you're out the door? Instead I had to sit and wait, and then tip them. Basil, do they mention *this* on the pizza blog?


    Yesterday Tiger arrived to my doorstep. You may know it as the newest version of the Macintosh operating system: Mac OS version 10.4. I plan on upgrading later this week when I have some free time. I certainly hope the process goes more smoothly than my experience with registering my car in Massachusetts.

    Surprisingly the problem isn't with the Dept of Motor Vehicles. They've actually been quite helpful and cordial during my multiple trips to multiple locations. No, you see, the problem is with my new auto insurance company. Of course I couldn't keep Allstate when I moved away from Connecticut because the Bay State likes to forbid any of the big players like Geico, Allstate, and Progressive.

    My new insurance provider has already screwed up twice with the paperwork. First they sent me an RMV-3 form instead of the RMV-1. The DMV quickly spotted this blunder and sent me away for the right form. I got the correct form, but part of it was incorrectly filled out by the insurance company. So again, a trip to the DMV, a nice little wait, a saunter to the counter, and sha-boom, they sent me packing again.

    Luckily I was able to get an extension for my paperwork deadline until the end of next week, otherwise my policy would've been dropped as of Friday. Yikes! I wonder if I can just build a Dashboard widget to do my registration for me?

    Monday, May 23, 2005

    Tracks of the Week: Ceremony

    Joy Division "Ceremony" - This week's selections are based on a theme I haven't tried before: covers. Here you get the original song by Joy Division. Absolutely terrible quality but one of the only known surviving recordings. Too bad they never did this one in the studio. I bet it would've fit nicely onto Closer. Buy It.

    Galaxie 500 "Ceremony" - And here you have a wonderful cover by Galaxie 500. I just love their version. Ummm, yeah. That's about all I gotta say. Buy It.

    Saturday, May 21, 2005

    ...And we can't forget about Warsaw

    I think of the three cities I visited, I was most amazed by Warsaw simply because I wasn't sure what to expect. It was much larger and more modern than I thought it would be. The Old Town district was beautiful, like a mini-Prague. I think I grabbed a good selection of images so you can get the sense of how the Old Warsaw is blending with the New Warsaw. More juxtaposition, kids. And no, I don't know how to say that in Polish.

    Friday, May 20, 2005

    ...Then we take Berlin

    Ahh Berlin. What a wonderful city. So much to see and do there I barely scratched the surface after a full day of exploring last weekend. The Berlin Wall was stunning and it was quite an experience to see the contrast between the old historical buildings and the newfangled architecture (like the massive Sony Center). That's what the cool kids call juxtaposition. Or what the German cool kids call Nebeneinanderstellung.

    Thursday, May 19, 2005

    First we take Lucerne...

    Wait.. is it Lucerne or Luzern? Maybe it's both. Regardless, it's a beautiful town. I'm back from my crazy European gallivanting and I now have some photos to show for it. I've got my Swiss pics in order, so here's the first batch. Soon I'll get Germany and Poland organized too. Enjoy!

    Wednesday, May 18, 2005

    Trilha Do Bônus Da Semana

    I missed out on giving you the usual two Tracks of the Week on Monday. To make up for it, I'm sending a little nonsense your way.

    I stumbled upon a compilation called Não Wave at a recent visit to Twisted Village in Harvard Square. It's 47 minutes of silly Brazilian post-punk from the early to mid-1980s. Apparently there was a scene around Sao Paolo where all these musicians were in awe of what was happening in places like London, New York, and Paris during the late '70s. Bands like Wire, Joy Division, and Suicide spread their influence to Brazil and what do we get in return?

    A Bonus Track of the Week: Agentss "Agentss"

    Tuesday, May 17, 2005

    Checkin' the e-mail, buuuuuddy

    This is too cool. I'm typing this at 38,000 feet right now. I'm somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, not exactly sure where. Today is the day that Lufthansa launched FlyNet, the first airline broadband service. And as a little gift to passengers, the service is free for the first week. (Usually it's $10 for 30 min, or $30 for the entire flight. Ouch!)

    Oh. And I saw Pauly Shore at the Munich Airport a few hours ago. He was a couple people in front of me in line for the security check. I did my best to catch up to him after I got through. But he dashed onto his flight to LA because they were boarding the Business Class folks first. Well, excuse me. I didn't realize that the Son-in-Law flies first class, buuuuuuddy.

    Saturday, May 14, 2005

    Three reasons why I can't put a proper blog post together right now

    1. I just returned from a traditional German dinner of Wienerschnitzel and potato salad. Heavy.

    2. I'm still a bit jet-lagged from hopping from airport to airport (Boston to Frankfurt to Zurich to Berlin). Yawn.

    3. I got lost on the walk home from dinner, turned a corner, and found myself standing in front of one of the last remaining sections of the Berlin Wall. Stunning.

    It's almost 8pm here now. Not very late, but late enough to turn in shortly. I'm on my way to Warsaw early tomorrow morning. Auf Wiedersehen für jetzt.

    Tuesday, May 10, 2005

    Another country heard from

    The timestamp on this post is misleading. Yes, it's 12:20am on the Eastern seaboard, but I'm typing this from the Frankfurt Airport and it's about 6:20am here.

    My overnight flight was tons of fun. I'm not sure if it was the uncomfortable seat or the family of 12 packed into 4 seats next to me, but I didn't get much sleep. I thought I was doing myself a favor by getting an exit row seat. The legroom was great, the overall sleeping experience was not.

    Ah, European smoke. It's wafting my way from all directions. Super.

    I have a couple hours to kill during my layover, so maybe I'll explore the Flughafen a bit. For now I'm just tapped into a T-Mobile HotSpot to see what's cooking. I've discovered not much because, well, it's late in the evening back home.

    I should be getting to Lucerne a few hours from now. I'm looking forward to my time there. I'll reconnect with some colleagues, meet some new ones, and hopefully fit in a little exploring. Ta!

    Monday, May 09, 2005

    Tracks of the Week: Butchered

    Horace Silver "Song For My Father" - Last weekend we checked out Tatnuck Bookseller in Worcester. It's a wonderful independent bookstore with a spacious cafe in the middle. The store is a converted mill once home to the leading supplier of wire forming spring making machines back in the day. So, you ask, what does this have to do with Horace Silver? Well, there was a 15-piece orchestra performing next to the clearance section, and man oh man, were they ever butchering this song. Buy It.

    Alfred C. Priestley Stage Band With The Vocarettes "Cisco Kid" - Speaking of butchering: DJ Shadow released a pile of 1970s high school marching band music on a comp called Schoolhouse Funk. It's a terrific artifact if you can get past some of the less-than-stellar performances like this track. Sing along! You don't even have to be in key! They certainly weren't. Buy It.

    Saturday, May 07, 2005

    A date with the sofa

    Sometimes you just have to get excited about making time to just stay in on a Saturday night and do nothing except veg out on the couch. Especially when it's a new couch. Lys and I are ecstatic about our new purchases: A big comfy sofa and a big comfy loveseat, matching of course.

    This will be a nice respite before a very busy next week. I'm out of town again. This time I'm heading over to Luzern, Switzerland, then to Berlin, then to Warsaw. All within about 10 days. So it'll be a whirlwind of a trip. I'm leaving Monday and I'm back the middle of the following week.

    I'll get you some new Tracks of the Week come Monday. But Tracks the following Monday and new posts next week? Mmm.. Not so much. Goodbye for now.

    Thursday, May 05, 2005

    Yes! No more YES!

    Can I just say how great it is that I'm back in NESN land again? Red Sox Nation, baby. WEEI Red Sox Radio Network. All good things. And no more dumb YES Network. (Sorry Basil.)

    Tuesday, May 03, 2005

    Backpack It

    The friendly folks at 37signals have done it again with Backpack. Launched today, Backpack seems like a really handy slick app to keep yourself organized on small projects. I use Basecamp and TaDaLists extensively. Hmm.. Backpack may just help with the wedding planning.

    Asynchronous trips to the server are beautiful. I can't wait for page refreshes to become a thing of the past. Now I just have to get my developers at work thinking the same way.

    Monday, May 02, 2005

    Tracks of the Week: TIMMAAY!

    The Meters "Trick Bag" - Tim posted the original version of this song by New Orleans' own Earl King a while back. And I just recently stumbled upon this great cover by The Meters, also hailing from the Crescent City. So here's a little something called Triiick Baaag. Buy It.

    Senor Coconut "The Robots" - Tim posted some German electronic glitchery recently, including a track from Kraftwerk. Here's a wonderfully goofy cover by Senor Coconut Y Su Conjunto, who is actually Uwe Schmidt, a German native that often records under the monikor Atom Heart. So you get a little Latin-electronic fusion this week. Oh my. Buy It.