Really?

Really, John McCain? That’s who you expect to lead the country in case you expire/leave/whatever in the middle of your term? At first it seemed like just a huge miscalculation on your part, but after thinking about it for a few hours it really has the sting of an insult. This unknown (to most), soccerhockey mom, rookie from the backwater north (it’s a series of tuuubes!) is just a distatesful pander at best and a full-on gauntlet slap at worst. Nice knowing you.

Channel One & Spies Like Us @ Fitzgeralds

Alan and I ventured out to Fitzgeralds last night for the Channel One/Spies Like Us show, and I took my camera with me. I mentioned in the last post that I thought it’s a great camera, but it proved itself to be quite the under-achiever in low-light situations. That’s okay… some people like the over-saturated, under-lit effect in their photos. Not.

Worth mentioning is the turnout for this show was pitiful. Spies Like Us was a really popular band back in the day; I thought the crowd would be a bit more substantial. Channel One is made up of some old Resistors folks, and they were known round these parts, too. Perhaps there were some other mysterious and unmentionable reasons for the low number of people downstairs at Fitz?

The most important thing about last night was how great Channel One sounded. To be honest, I remember The Resistors sounding like a good high school (?) ska band (damning praise, to be sure), but Channel One was a complete package. Tasteful harmonies, catchy tunes, humor, and drama were all displayed with a skilled touch. I’d be happy to go see them play again.

Please, no “borrowing” photos. Thanks

And We’re Back…

So many things to mention, so little time to sit down and type them out:

  1. After watching TheWebSiteIsDown three times a day for the past two weeks, I decided to install Skype. It’s not much fun if you don’t know anybody else who’s using it.
  2. The OLPC is a neat little piece of kit, but I’m not sure if it’s useful outside of the 3rd world.
  3. Vacations are hard work.
  4. It is impossible for me to find a comfortable bed or comfortable pair of shoes.
  5. The Canon SX100 IS is a heck of a camera for only $199.
  6. Did you know ska is popular again?
  7. Rock Band 2 will be the first of “fake plastic guitar” games to feature a ska song.

Sharp VL-Z3 Dew Repair

Back in 2004 I posted about how hard it was to find the manual for my Sharp VL-Z3 MiniDV camera on the Sharp website, and how much better the Canadian branch of the Sharp corporate machine was at providing that kind of information. It’s now time to add a little bit more to the Sharp info pile: here’s a confirmed fix for the deadly “Sharp VL-Z DEW Message” problem.

On just about any video camera out there, you will occasionally see a “DEW” warning in the viewfinder when the sensors think there’s too much humidity present for normal operations. The Sharp VL-Z series cameras can take this to an illogical extreme: the dew sensor goes nuts and it always thinks there’s too much humidity for normal operations. Thankfully, there’s a solution to this issue and it does not involve boxing up your camera and sending it in for repair… If you’ve got a soldering iron and the realization that you’ve nothing to lose, you can repair your camera in about two minutes. It worked for me!

 UPDATE – An unseen side-effect of my “fix”… my standby function no longer works! I left my camera in the on position after playing a video, and when I came back 5 hours later my camera was hot to the touch and wouldn’t even load a tape. Buyer beware!

UPDATE – Bollocks! My dew warning has come back, and I’m shopping for a new camera. (January 14 2008)

I Wonder If It Was Anything Like “Boat Trip”?

Here’s a great article by a British reporter who endured a NeoCon vacation cruise. My favorite quote:

I ask – Mr Starr, do you feel ashamed that, as Osama bin Laden plotted to murder American citizens, you brought the American government to a stand-still over a few consensual blow jobs?

The answer is (not surprisingly) not as good as the question, but the article is well worth your time.

Reunion Show Recap

My old band, The Suspects, played their first show in five years Friday January 19th, and I thought some of y’all might be interested in the “behind the scenes” story surrounding the event.

Please follow the links if you need the back story on why The Suspects broke up, how we decided to do a reunion show, etc…

Even though we agreed to do the reunion in mid-November 2006, we cut it pretty close to the bone when it came to actually getting prepared for the show. Our first rehearsal didn’t happen until two weeks before the show, and it was not what you’d call, “great”. The old patterns of behavior and previously entrenched roles within the band did not change one iota over the course of five years; I struggled to remember my major sevenths versus my minor sevenths while the horn players looked at me like I was crazy for not hearing the cacophonous dissidence crackling out of my amplifier. Hey, what can I say? I hadn’t played my dusty, rusty guitars since that last show in 2002.

Prior to the show, only two members of the band had played every gig in our original eight and a half year history: Alan Hernandez (guitar) and Claudio DePujadas (drums).  Joe has remided me that we played a show without any drummer at all… sorry Claudio, Alan has always been the king! Claudio could not adjust his schedule to fly down from Philadelphia for the reunion, so Thomas was able to secure the services of David Bebee for our drum kit needs (and Alan becomes winner of the title, “Suspects Iron man”). David is a well-known member of the Houston music scene; he plays in the El Orbits, the Allen Oldies Band, and was a member of Banana Blender Surprise. He’s a total pro, and his excellence was a big part of our success that night.

Given our recent back-story, you’d think there would have been a lot of drama involved with all of us being in the same room, let alone playing a show. The exact opposite was the case; I think that were all so focused on trying not to suck on stage that we kept all the baggage securely stored in the overhead compartment. That’s not to say it won’t get messy and blow up in a huge mess at some point in the future, of course. 😉

Over four hundred people came out to see the show, and that was very satisfying. If you’ve ever been to the Continental Club on an average night, you might wonder how 400 folks could fit in there… somehow, everybody squeezed in. Also of note was the number of pre-show tickets sold: more than 130!

You might be wondering, “how did it sound?” Well, I can’t say it was time-travel straight back to 1999, but we were tight enough to make ourselves smile. The fact that Chris and Thomas were good enough to trade vocal duties back and forth all night (including Thomas giving Chris some tasty backup harmonies here and there) really added a lot to the whole night. If you’re a fan of the band but draw a line in the sand when it comes to which vocalist you preferred over the years, this was a win/win situation for you, for sure.

Goodness, I Do Suck!

Heh… remeber, like, a year ago when I said I sucked ‘cuz the email subscription feed thingy for this site didn’t work? Yeah… good times. Anyways, I never actually got it to work, but I think it’s working now, and like, it’s gonna be really great, ya know? Okay, thanks. bbl. lol. ftk.