90% is better than nothing. That's my story and I'm sticking with it. Every once in a while, I undertake to redesign my personal site. It happens with no regularity, no schedule, no plan. Because I tend to use my site as a bookmark collection with pretty pictures, the contents will often subtly change. There's some broken links still within this site and some sections, ie, binary illusions, haven't even been started. Some have yet to get redone, but, they might. And, ya see, that brings me back to the first statement. 75%. A magic number. That seems to be the special number that I decide when to launch a new site. So, when I feel I have hit the 75% threshold, I can run the new site into place and go with it, thus alleviating the guilt accumulated over the three some odd months that this update has taken to complete. If you find broken stuff, or have links I should add, let me know...

thanks for coming by.

February 23rd, 1998

Last week's X-Files got me to thinking about William Gibson once more. I sat there on the couch, quite happily watching what I consider to be one of the better X-Files of the season, and I for the life of me could not remember the term Gibson coined in Neuromancer that was such a turning point in my life. It utterly eluded me. It was not until I trundled on upstairs to read Neuromancer again that it suddenly dawned on me. By page three, as a matter of fact...The term? "Cyberspace". Sounds so simple now, doesn't it? Cyberspace. That Internet thing. Well, when I first read that book, "cyberspace" consisted of an awful lot of plain text. The net thru a telnet window was what it was. Elm, Pico, VI, Lynx, Tin, TRN, Gophers, etc. And, at the point, cyberspace as Gibson envisioned it, was nowhere to be seen, it was merely a concept in the book. But, as many of the readers who read through the books (Count Zero and Mona Lisa Overdrive complete the trilogy), the thoughts began. "Wouldn't it be cool if...". And, so much of what we take for granted on the net came out of those thoughts. I was thinking of that again this weekend as I fired up a package called "HoneyQ". I have been a dedicated ICQ addict for quite some time now, as evidenced by my very low ICQ number (mail me if you would like it). ICQ makes for a very easy GHPS system, a Global Human Position System, if you will. Friends from around the world KNOW when their plas are on, and can chat, send URLs, files, etc, all in real time. I have friends around the world with this, and these are people I would not have met through the "usual" net channels, or, at the very least, the friendship would have been different. Now, back to HoneyQ. What HoneyQ does is act as an add-on to ICQ, allowing full-motion video conferencing in conjunction with ICQ. So, while I am chattering to some far flung pal wherever in the ICQ universe, now I can see the LOL and the ROFLMAO reactions at the time that they happen, provided the person on the other hand also has some manner of video cam. Those of you who frequent the monkey-cam know that I use a Quickcam Color Cam, which, once it is installed, makes video stuff on the net trivial. Go check out HoneyQ, it's pretty fun. Cheap registration, $20USD, and worthwhile as the shareware version has an entire 5 minutes before it times out. Cyberspace just came a couple of steps closer.

On that similiar note, Cams! I have been travelling back and forth with the cam a great deal lately, running it both at home and at the office, on the days when I have time to haul it to it's next locale. Perhaps the time has come to get TWO of the little beasts, but, that of course takes MONEY to do so, so it'll be a while before we run stereo cams. It's odd, last summer, there were very few "people" cams out there. There was the Jennicam, and Zannah's cam and a few others. But, over the fall, a literal explosion of people with cams on the web has taken place. Many of themore industrious have figured out that yes, men will pay for possible nekkidness on the net. (Surprise surprise eh?) But of course, the best of the cams are not about that, they actually have things to say, or, at the very least, become almost art. One of my favorite cams to visit daily is the DramaCam. Various stills throughout the day, usually with some comment that will make you at least think. Almost like a web based I-Ching somedays. It's exceedinly rare that my cam ever has anything even remotely profound to say, past the occasional subtle caption that is usually specific to the person who might catch it up there. And, of course, if you do prefer some amount of visual stim, then, stop by The Nose's Homecams page for a somewhat large look at all of the cameras that seem to be lurking out there. I use Webcam32 for my cam needs, primarily cuz it does lots of nifty things with the output and has proven very reliable. It would seem to be the cam software of choice for most cams out there.

As mentioned in an earlier muse entry, I have a trip to Hawaii coming up next week. Now, the puzzle presented itself, how to get some kites over there. They are -somewhat- fragile, being that the spars are made from carbon graphite composites, so, simply throwing them in a soft bag and leaving wasn't really an option. And, since they are typically 42 inches long when broken down, there is a distinct chance that they would not be allowed as carryon baggage either. So, a trip down to the local hardware store and $42.00 later, I had a working solution. Take a 4 1/2 inch black plastic drain pipe (the heavy duty one), cap both ends securely, attach strapping material to each end and voila! Instant indestructible kite case. Whether or not this actually ends up being indestrubile will be revealed when I get back from the trip next week. Which, could be a while as purportedly I am off to LA for Internet World the very day I return from Hawaii, so, the next entry maye not be until mid march, but, then again, it's fairly obvious that updating THIS page has no set pattern or schedule anyways...

January 24th, 1998

Well, I'll get this over with first, cuz I am still wallowing in it. I may have one of the fastest personal net connections you have ever seen. Yes, my friends, the nice BCTel guy wired me up for ADSL at home. ADSL stands for :





which in layman's terms, means FAST. Your average modem does, say, what, 28.8K. Those new spiffy X2 modems (now retired here) do 56K incoming, 33.6K outgoing. ISDN, when using both channels does 128K, 64K as a single channel. The typical ISP connection to the net is a T1 , which is 1.4M or so. ADSL is 4meg incoming. 640K outgoing. Awesomely quick. Video conferencing actually becomes doable. Sites that are so sprawling that I'd never go thru them with a modem suddenly became accessible and quick. Downloads? Ludicrously fast. For the benefit of the inquisitive reader, I ran a quick test. Went off to Netscape and grabbed the FULL version, strong encryption edition. A 17 meg file. It took 2 and a half minutes to get to my machine, climbing as high as 113k per second, as shown by the pic below :

How shall we say, WHOOOOOOOSH. Anyways, it's very nifty, very new in Vancouver (I am the first geek I know to get it so far) and fairly cutting edge all around and if you spend a lot of time on the net, essential if available...Some of the other cool features...

  1. 24 x 7 connection. If your machine is turned on, you are connected. No thinking about the hours you have been online, you can potentially ALWAYS be online.
  2. Your phone line still works as a phone line. Example, I could phone you right now, using the same line the ADSL uses. Or, use my modem as a fax, no interruption to the net connection.
Enough about that. You will all get pouty about modems and be mean to me.

"Well, if you don't ask, you don't get"

A couple of weeks ago, our fridge developed a rather menacing growl. It roared when it was time to get colder again. And, being that "cold" was a fact of life in Vancouver at that point, "warm" became a central theme in my mind. Earlier that day, someone had emailed me a press release for the Hawaii Sport Kite Challenge, one of the first kiting events of 1998 and, well, as you can imagine, it is in Hawaii. (imagine that!) Where it is also very warm. So, as Annette and I talked about the dying fridge, I jokingly suggested that we should go to Hawaii for this kite thing. We laughed about it, ha ha, what a neat idea and I forgot about it. So, later in the day, fridge repair guy has been around, and, poor mr. landlord gets to get a new fridge, and, well, dang it all, Annette had started phoning travel agents...So, the more we talked about it, the better an idea it became, and thus, we leave for Oahu on March 4th and come back on March 9th. Just a quick trip, but, since I have never been off of this north american continent before, very exciting...and a few days of kite flying on a hawaiian beach, gee, won't that be a trying time. What might be trying is that I MAY be going to Internet World in LA on the 10th of march, making for a couple of very travel filled days...I'll manage...

While I travel, you can be sure of pictures when I return now. Many of the pictures that grace this site have been shot with my Sony Mavica digital camera. It's a wonderful gadget to have around, erasing the need for one to have film and get it developed. I point the camera, I shoot the picture, I take the standard PC diskette out of the camera and put it into my PC and voila, instant 640x480 jpeg file. Far too simple. When I got my new Revolution kite last weekend, I took it out to Vanier park and snapped off eight detailed pictures and wrote a quick review for the entire net to see. If one of my special net pals wants to see something, not a problem, grab a picture and ICQ right to them. Total time, usually less than 1 minute from idea to sent picture. No messy cables, no flakey software, no developing. The Mavica is one of the physically bigger cameras due to the diskette drive, but also features a 10X zoom lens, LCD back panel, timer and tripod mount. Click here for a sample pic...

And that's that for now. Music of the last while has alternated between The Clash's "London Calling", various Kate Bush, XTC and Jamiroquai. The new midi file on the main page is "Frame By Frame" by King Crimson. A fitting to tune to describe my head space at the moment. A million things going on, but, in sync. Over and Outta here.

January 8th, 1998

Well, I was sitting here for half an hour trying to decide what to do with this page. Much of the text above (see above) is way out of date, and since I seemed to be determined to actually WRITE something here once in a while, I should attempt to at least build a proper page around it. However, for the last three nights I have been in one of my monkey-sleep-doldrums moods, where I toss and turn till about 2:00AM every night and then back up at 7:00 for "life with the cam" at EMC. So, please excuse me if some of this ends up sounding incoherent, 'k?

So, yes, the cam, I mentioned that above. Significant cam changes this week! It all started Monday when I decided to move it from it's recent viewpoint in front of my face to something different. Now, if you have a quickcam, you already know that the base that comes with them is just a hair short of useless at times. Because the wire for the cam comes out of the top at a wierd sort of angle, it has a tendency to just sort of try and equalize on the base, so, when I move it, it takes a few bad pics before it is "just so". But, the quickcam does have a proper camera tripod socket on the bottom of it, so I finally broke down and bought a mini tripod for it. Just lovely, now it is a piece of cake to get "set" in a specific position. So, if you have one, go out this weekend and get a mini tripod. It was $30 for quite a nice one, so it's worth it. But did I stop there? Nay, not at all. I wanted a new place to put the cam too, some new vantage point, an original perspective, a fresh angle for the new year. So, I stepped back from my desk, and just sort of looked around. We have what is called a "t bar" ceiling, meaning, those basic ceiling tiles, thus, it was trivial to suspend the chimp cam from the ceiling looking down at my desk. Gaffer tape and some phone wire, that's all that one needs. Red Green has a great quote about gaffer tape, but, my simple simian brain can't recall it with such small amounts of sleep, so this one will have to do : "Spare the gaf tape, spoil the job". So, any sane human being would think that all of that cam stuff was enough for one day, but, noooooooooooooooo. I also modified some existing code and created a chimp cam remote. Basically, if you click on the picture in the middle, ie, the livefeed one, it will open a separate, scaled down browser that just has ME and the TV graphics. Take the monkey wherever you go. And then email me some of the cool sites that you find. I'll probably do some further tweaking of the cam over the next couple of days for fun.

Holy smokes, christmas sure came and went and wham, right into 1998 and geez, a week into 98 already. Where does the time go? Can't Sun build a JAVA based time compression algorithm that would allow us mere monkeys to get more done in 24 hours? Anyways, Christmas was really nice this year overall. I managed to get lotsa neat presents from some really great people I saw over the holidays with Annette. I now have a lava lamp. I have wanted a lava lamp since I was probably about 5 years old, as my favoritest uncle had one...This particular one is blue colored with white lava. Just lovely and it sits beside my monitor downstairs. The lava lamp FAQ file suggest not leaving them on for more than 10 hours at a time, so it's not always on. I tend to prefer having in the evening and playing quake with just this blue glowing lamp on is pretty damn eerie...

Site wise, a couple of other things have happened to the site recently, with the most major change being the addition of a site specifically focussed on the quad line kite mailing list that I run called REVisions. So, it now has it's very own accompanying web site and you can take a look at it here. A very purple site this time, with the usual mouseover crap that I seem to be endlessly fascinated with. Also, I did begin work on a new look for this site, but, I can honestly say that it has not gone far. I have chosen some stuff though, and developed a few basic ideas, with one of the themes being "ycuk, I am tired of this site, i need new things!". More on this as I get some of it actually complete and online.

So there, just a short update, but, a couple of lists of stuff...

Currently in heavy CD rotation at chateau monkey :

  1. Kate Bush, The Dreaming
  2. The Police, Message In a Box
  3. Bela Fleck and The Flecktones, Three Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest
  4. Peter Gabriel, So
  5. Jane's Addiction, Ritual De Lo Habitual

Stuff being read :

  1. William Gibson and Bruce Sterling " The Difference Engine"
  2. Kite Craft
  3. massive amounts of david brin and greg bear sci fi.
  4. the usual computer manuals.
ta ta for now!

Whoops, one thing I forgot. I have been meaning to add nifty sounds to the homepage via Thomas Dolby and Headspace's Beatnik plugin. It has the added advantage of having 50 somewhat useful sounds built right into the browser, thus, it can be very quick for embedded sounds. So, a few of the graphics on the page are beatnik-ified. Kinda fun, be sure to take the beatnik tour at the Headspace site to see some of what this plug in does.

ok, bye for real now.

December 22nd, 1997

3 more sleeps till Xmas! Yippee! Hoorah! I have no idea what all of you monkey-fans are buying me, but I am SURE I won't be disappointed, so I anxiously sit by the mail box every day...Be sure to visit the monkey-boy xmas card...

On other fronts...Every year I buy MYSELF a christmas present. Much like a "well, you made it thru another year, you loser, here's your reward" type of thing. And, certainly for the last few years, it's been some computer gadget or software. Last year it was The Warcraft Battle Pack, after which I spent HOURS and HOURS playing Warcraft, getting good enough to win 80% of the internet games I played, and, even whupping Mark's ass at LEAST once. But, this year was different, for no particular reason other than timing. Having played alot of guitar this fall (see below), guitar playing has been on my mind somewhat. I have been playing more regularily, and relistening to particular guitar players that have always fascinated me. Being that Roots Roundup was primarily a reggae/ska/funk band , I have certainly learned a thing or three about such musical forms. But, one guitar player's "style" has always eluded me, that being Andy Summers of The Police. I can "fake" my way thru various Police songs, but some of them have been out of my grasp since I originally heard them. And, since I owned Outlandos D'Amour when it first came out, that's up to 19 years of frustrated guitar player. Some examples perhaps...

  1. Walking On The Moon (Reggata De Blanc) - Beastly difficult splash chords throughout. Never figured 'em out.
  2. Bring On The Night (Reggata De Blanc) - Intricately fingerpicked part, never figured it out.
  3. Driven To Tears (Zenyatta Mondata) - More beastly splash chords, impossible to pick out.
  4. Roxanne (Outlandos D'amour) - played as Andy intended it as opposed to the way most people hack it up.

So, those are some examples. Really tough to duplicate stuff. His sparkling clean tone I can approximate, but those weird voicings...I adore every single record the Police ever released, with Zenyatta Mondata being my absolute favorite and Synchronicity being my least. After having my CD collection stolen twice, I eventually replaced my collection of Police records with the box set, "Message In a Box", the (near) complete recordings. Almost every thing ever done by the Police and some other stuff that never made it to records. Highly recommended if you like The Police like I do. Anyways, I digress, I was talking about my christmas present to ME. So, while walking through Ward Music here in Vancouver, shopping for the bro, I spy a music book....Book One of the "Message In A Box, The Complete Transcriptions" . Hmmmm. I have seen much guitar music that purports to reveal Andy's secrets, and they have all for the most part sucked. Yes, the right chords, and the wrong voicings. The chords are one thing, the voicing that a guitar player chooses to play with determines much more than the mere chord. There are 1000s of ways to play "D Minor", only one way to do it Andy Summer's way. So, I paged thru the book and thought, hmm, pretty accurate...SO, I checked "Bring On The Night" , a particularily evil piece to play, and one of my favorites. Hmmmm...looks like it might be right... I politely ask to borrow a Telecaster (for proper effect, Andy Summers almost always played one...) and sit down to test the transcription. And, well, damn it all, it's right...Hmmmm...I go and look at Book 2, check the Walking On the Moon transcription. And, lo and behold, 18 years later and I can now play that damn splashy chord that drifts throughout the song...So, in a fit xmas buying, I buy the entire set of book, $120 later. And, I am having a blast figuring out the PROPER way to play all of the above mentioned tunes. I have even pinned down "why" those songs have always been a problem for me, and, it comes down to simply a matter of style. Andy has one way that he typically plays a D Minor, which is different from how I usually play it. It's all in the voicing, so, as well as learning some new stuff, I am rethinking how I do some of what I normally do and examining songs in a different light, which, all told, is an excellent thing to do in life just before New Years...

I also finished my xmas shopping DAYS ahead of Dec. 24th, when I usually finish, so I celebrated by choosing a cheap upgrade for my computer. I had been thinking of getting a Pentium II, but, in the end, due to new mother board designs, I'd have to replace the CPU. Motherboard. RAM. And, finally, the case too! Geez, not needing an upgrade THAT bad. So, while out shopping for others, I spied an Intel Overdrive that would take my Pentium 120 to a Pentium 180 and add the MMX features for better multimedia performance. $350, and done, bob's your uncle (well, actually, he is my step father...) and the monkey-boy has a quicker computer. Noticeably quicker, I'd call it "snappier" for lack of a better technical term. So that makes me happy! Also got Quake II at the same time, which is remarkably stress relieving after a tough day at work...

So, that's it for now, off I go, more after Christmas is over... December 14th, 1997

11 more days till Christmas...Every year, Annette and I send out Christmas cards to friends that we have addresses for. Being that it gets tiring to write something witty and wonderful into each and every single card, we have gone to the mini-newsletter type of insert with a card, that sort of says nice things about nice stuff that happened during the year. When it came time to add my bits into the newsletter, I decided to also put a Christmas card from us to everyone onto a homepage as well, and include pictures and stuff. Rummaging around thru my Christmas site from last year, I found enough stuff to whip up something suitably Christmassy, so, go take a look here...

On the kiting front, the suspicion that I have a hard time walking into a kite store and NOT buying a kite was again proven to be true. While Roots was on tour, Barry and I hunted down the only kite shop in Victoria and I walked out with another addition to the kiting family. Yet another Revolution, this time a Rev 1. That makes a complete family for me, since I now have the Rev 1, The Rev 1.5 and the Rev II . And, yes, there are two new Revs being released soon and I have already pre-ordered MY two from this page, across the bottom. I managed to get the Rev 1 out yesterday for a fly and it was really nice. The slowest of my three Revs, but, with it's own personality, a lot of fun to fly.

Past mundane crap like finally getting my computer room somewhat clean and fixing my favorite small guitar amp, there isn't much else terribly exciting at this point, but I am still playing around with ideas for a new look on this site and puttering away on the kite site too. I have been thinking about getting a new motherboard this christmas, perhaps one of those nifty Pentium II ones with fancy gaming extensions, but, truth be told, I don't play a lot of games lately, so I wonder if it is worth the price at this point? And, finally, I am still playing around with the loaned Sony Mavica digital camera quite a bit. All of the tour pictures linked below were done with it, but, for the most part, they show the camera to have some wierd quirks in the dark, ie, no idea WHAT to focus on... December 7th, 1997

Well, that went by all too quickly...The Roots Roundup shows are now complete, or, I should say, -THAT- group of shows is now complete. Being that every single eveing we played was to a sold out house in the clubs we played at, it became somewhat apparent that there is still a desire for the band to continue performing. So, we decided that we will, but, in our own fashion. No more ludicrous tours for no money across the country and back. We'll be extremely selective in shows, probably only playing a few times a year in Vancouver and the surrounding area and perhaps some folk festivals and the like during summer. Due to almost everyone's different lives now as opposed to then, flexibility will be the key. Keith "Rosie Rumoli" Rose and David "Mac Rumoli" Macanulty are also typically quite a busy rhythm section with various bands, so we'll just simply look for times of unconflicting schedules and go from there. I'd be hard pressed to find anything to complain about over the 8 shows, the band simply played better and better every single night, to the point where some commented on Friday and Saturday that we never sounded that good when the band was originally around, what the heck did you guys do over the 4 ( 7 for me ) years? Personally, I worked on a lot of computers and didn't play a lot of guitar...I could whine about some of the stuff I whined about below about being old and creaky and stuff, but, for the most part, I physically survived the shows, with only minor aches here and there, and completely refurbished calluses on the tips of my left hand. And a couple of good hangovers...One note to the section below on changing strings, I had forgotten that if I play REALLY AGGRESSIVELY, I -should- change strings every two shows. I became lazy during the trips and went to a string change every three shows, which turned around and bit me saturday at the last starfish show, decisevly snapping a string ( the D string for the trivia players in the crowd, not my g string...) 4/5s of the way thru our somewhat longish 2 hour set. Oh well, that is why one carries a spare guitar, so, onward and upward. Other lessons learned or relearned on this tour....

  1. I drink about one pint per hour, thus, if it is a two hour set, get two beers, not one...
  2. Ford does not let band members use his piano as a beer rest any more.
  3. Always check your amp at least minimally before starting the first song. Greg was somewhat alarmed to find his beloved Marshall as dead as a doorstop -after- starting the first set Friday night. I laughed at him, just because I am his brother and can get away with it.
  4. If one runs out of beer, Greg always brings lots, so steal his while he is not looking.
  5. Watch where you are walking. In Rossland, during my "big" guitar solo, I stepped backwards onto my spare guitar stand, tipping that guitar over onto my leg in a somewhat "mating ritual"-like embrace. No efforts to remove the guitar from my leg worked, and, being that it was a postage stamp sized stage, if I simply let it drop, it would crashed into the drum set. Greg laughed at me, as I wiggled around like some sort of crazed ferret, and making a massive mess of the solo, just because he is my brother and can get away with it.
  6. Check towns for net connectivity. While I easily tricked the Rossland hotel phone into dialing long distance to Vancouver via calling card, I could not do the same in Nelson. Nor would my cel modem work properly, thus, effectively severing me from the net during those 4 days. Had I simply walked around Nelson a bit, say, one bock away from the hotel, I might have noticed an internet cafe that I spotted when we drove out of Nelson...
  7. It makes a great impression on band mates when one becomes deathly flatulent on stage. Andy complained of watering eyes one night in Nelson after I had had particularily spicey curry before the show...
  8. If you drop a pick, a canadian two dollar coin makes a poor substitute, but, does work. Also, leaving extra picks in the guitar case in the dressing room is not really a good idea overall.
  9. It is possible to fly an indoor kite in most bars. It is not possible to fly a Rev 1 (with it's 9 foot width) in a club with an 8 foot ceiling.
  10. Don't smoke on stage. Smoke in the eyes really hurts when mixed with sweat.

So, see, it was a learning experience. One last note for now, if anyone knows of a really good nail strengthener, lemme know about it, my index finger nail is a mess once more. I had forgotten how much trouble I used to have with, primarily just wearing it down due to excessive loud picking. I'll include some different stuff next update, once my mind has returned completely to my body. So, for the time being, here's a couple of things for you to go and peruse...

November 25th, 1997

Thats it. This is no longer a daily or somewhat daily or even weekly journal. It's now officially a "whenever" journal! That way, I don't feel as guilty when I don't get a chance to get to add more stuff. I know, whine whine minge minge, monkey-boy doesn't have enough time, but, hey, life is busy, life is good.

And what have I been up to, you, the gentle reader...many things!

Music Stuff - Sometime in October

(see below)
I mentioned Roots Roundup, that band I had a previous life with and the release of the Rootrospective recording. Well, the live shows have started...and the leadup to THAT took a better part of the month on November. First off, one must dust off all of one's guitars in preparation. I don't play a helluva lot on a day to day basis, they get dusty. and, for some parts, rusty. Thus, they all come apart. Actually, there are only two of them now, so it's not a huge ordeal, but it takes time. My "true" Fender Stratocaster has what is known as a "locking bridge", primarily because it also has one of them tremelo arm/twang bar things, allowing free range to beat the crap out of the guitar and suffer no ill effects on tuning. Tuning IS important. So, to change strings on this guitar is often a one hour ordeal (why one must always strive to have a guitar roadie...) . You must :

  1. Undo the 12 bolts clamping the 6 strings to both the nut and bridge
  2. Detune guitar
  3. Remove strings
  4. Start re-adding strings, bolting to the bridge first.
  5. All six added? 'k, now, a prelimnary tuning.
  6. because bridge is spring loaded, tuning takes about 15 minutes.
  7. over and over again till the bridge springs are correctly tensioned.
  8. stretch some more.
  9. retune again.
  10. Bolt down nut bolts
  11. retune one last time, making final adjustments.

And you thought it was EASY to be a guitar hero. My other guitar no longer is equipped with such a mechanism, so restringing takes about 10 minutes if I rush...Oh, and keep in mind that do to my rather aggressive rhythm style, I usually change strings after two shows or four sets to be safe against breakage. You see, with the lovely locking bridge, when one DOES break a string, it throws the tension of that spring loaded bridge WAY OUT OF WHACK, and, being that it is all bolted together, not easily dealt with on stage, so I change BEFORE a problem, and historically, I am fine if I change every two shows. Lessee, 6 more shows to go yet...

Then, one must also consider amplification. Again, due to my "typical" low playing opportunities, I don't usually have a "show ready" amp system kicking around, tested and road proof and sounding nice. Most of the years I was in Roots Roundup, I had a "reasonably" straight forward system that was low fuss, low maintenance, and worked most nights. While some of the changed, it usually centered around a Galien-Krueger amplifier, known for it's LOUD CLEAN CHORUS tone, stereo output, and "odd" lead tone. You have probably heard one of these amps, specifically on Pink Floyd's Learning To Fly CD. David Gilmour's cool lead tones and some of the clean electric tone, Galien-Krueger generated. Also highly favored by Alex Lifeson of Rush. The "original" version of these amps is extremely small, consisting of two 8 inch Fane speakers, but, it's small size kinda hid the fact that it pumped out two fifty watt channels of LOUD out of the small box. I always felt that the small version had poor low end response, thus, I have the "head only" version of the amp, prefering the sound of two 12 inch Peavey Scorpion speakers to get the point across. There are a few things that I hold important for guitar tone : clean, loud, and chorused. Kinda bassy, kinda ringy, kinda adrian belewish, andy summerish, and for leads, something loud and gilmoureque. Now, I had planned to take a rather elaborate rack of lovely sounding Lexicon delays, but, after the first rehearsal, I deemed it unfeasible to get a reasonable stage tone in a quick amount of time, thus, I went back to the tried and true method of a guitar and an amp and no more. Much easier.

So, with guitars dealt with and amp all packed, onto a practice scheme. In some ways, it's relatively easy work. There were 24 songs chosen as a rough draft of set lists, so I only needed to relearn those tunes. But, a few things became obvious right away...First, it had been seven years since I had been in the Roundup. While I remember much of the songs that I had written, many other tunes required work to remember what the hell I was playing in a given section. Secondly, some of the tunes I had NEVER played, thus, I needed to come up with a suitable part. Easy when you play almost daily and stretch those creative muscles, a bit tougher when you come at it cold. Thirdly, Roots has historically been a two guitar band, with many of the arrangements being somewhat intricate. THIS incarnation is to be a THREE guitar band, including Mark Campbell who replaced me when I left as the third. So, we get to juggle arrangement for three and come up with new ones...And, lastly, the most unexpected thing. It's physically draining work. While I practiced like mad over the month of November, the first night's REAL practice left almost every single part of my upper body sore. Left shoulder, a guitar strap with a 20 some odd pound guitar for three hours. Left hand, well, playing is tough. When you play nearly every day, you develop calluses on your finger tips from the roughish strings. When you type on a keyboard all day long, you lose those calluses.

Right Arm, Roots material is made up of lots of fast reggae and ska and funk and fast stuff. Thus, the strumming is taking it's toll too. And my ears! Whoosh! I had forgotten that we typically played rather loudly. Loud enough that the balance between my ears is a little off, as I tend to stand stage right, facing the drummer, with my left ear facing my amp. So, the first practice was a reminder. We did often practice quietly during the Roots years, but, we needed to get a stage sound happening quickly this time out, having only three practices before the first shows, thus, full volumes...Oh, and one final whine. I practiced while sitting down, thus, I wasn't quite prepared for standing with a guitar for three hours either...

So, all whining aside, practices done, songs polished, we are ready. And, the first show took place last weekend, 4 years to the day of the very last Roots Roundup show. No, the choice of date was really accidental more than anything else... The two shows took place on the Sunshine Coast in a small place called "Roberts Creek". We used to do a lot of touring to the small Gulf Island communties, and this was a fine fine way to start. Reasonably low pressure show, and we played great, much like we had never been gone. a sold out show, standing/dancing room only, three encores later, the band reached a consensus that, yes, we did miss this quite a bit... In some ways, it's been very odd, being dropped back into a life I left 7 years ago. Much like a wierd high school reunion. We're all older, a bit greyer, fatter and maybe a bit wiser. One telling incident, after the show, most of us had a single beer and went to bed... 8) . But, band life is usually made up of a big game called "Hurry Up and Wait". Unload gear. Wait for Sound check. Do sound check. wait for food. eat food. wait for beer. drink beer. wait for show. have another beer. Play show. wait. unpack gear. wait. load gear. wait once more while some band member attempts to get a phone number. I could do without THOSE parts, but, hell, it's only a two week tour...

Which gets ut to the end of this entry...The shows are all in the Vancouver area, so you are encouraged to check one out if you are in the area...

  1. Nov. 27th, Rossland BC
  2. Nov. 28th,29th, Nelson BC
  3. Dec. 4th, Victoria, BC, Steamers
  4. Dec. 5th and 6th, Vancouver, Starfish Room

And that will be it, back to life as a mild mannered geek once more....more later!

November 2nd, 1997

Oh my, another longish break between journals! Bad monkey! No spanking allowed, sorry. But, much like the last journal, life seems to be moving at about a million miles an hour, making tough to get in and actually add stuff to this. So, before it falls REALLY far outta date....some notes...

Ever have someone who when you FIRST run into them , you'd sooner kill them then actually have a drink with them. When the initial bad blood finally thins out, you decide that the person is maybe not a complete jerk. Then, slowly, you actually start to think that, hey, this guy is pretty ok afterall. This doesn't happen to me very often. I either like someone right off, or, I don't, and it's rare that I change my horses midstream on this. But, it does happen. Witness : I couldn't stand Mark Prince (the web artist still known as Prince). We had tremendous usenet scraps/battles/fisticuffs. And, that changed slowly over time, where I now think he's a fine person

(despite his often nasty web-rants that I sometimes disagree vehemently with)
. So, since we live in the city, and our schedules finally matched and we could beg/borrow/steal some money (the day before payday for me), we went for beers. Lotsa fun, even met Jeanette, who may never forgive us for choosing a smokey restaurant. It was reassuring to find that Mark did not have horns and a spikey tail. And some funny stories to boot.

Hey! Started a mailing list this month. "REVisions, The Revolution Mailing List". I refer to it as monkey-boy's cheap sleazy way of getting more advice on the flying of Revolution Kites. So, slowly, the 13 (soon to be more, I'm sure) of us email-enabled geeks now trade tips, traps and tricks back and forth regarding these wonderous quad line sport kites. I'm still thinking about competing next year, but, hell, is we don't get a couple of nice days sometime soon, I'll go nuts. Two weekends in a row, reasonably nice days with NO wind whatsoever. Wouldn't stop some Rev flyers, it does stop me. Of course, no mailing list is complete these days without a web page, so that should get done some time in 98 at my current pace.

Speaking of web pages, as usual, I am getting antsy with my design of monkey-boy. No particular reason, just might change some areas around abit and add some further stuff. Once again, lately it becomes a miracle to get five free minutes, buts, here's hoping I can get SOMETHING done some time soo. I have been playing with Dreamweaver, Macromedia's first HTML editor. Sort of a cross between Frontpage, that evil MS crapola package, and Homesite. I actually DID write a fairly long journal entry a couple of weeks ago, but, Dreamweaver crashed, destroying it...

My oh my, what a twisted web we weave. October seems to have been just a disastrous month for relationships, as more than a couple friends went thru some stormy times and hassles. My life has been sufficiently tempest like lately too. Something in the air?

till sometime later...

October 13th, 1997

On a roll...three weeks in a row! Hell, I must post more stuff than Spike now! I have arrived! And what a week it has been. Much on my mind, not much that can be discussed here, but there is change in them thar winds. And good change, but, guaranteed to raise the havoc level in THIS house to epic proportions.

So, Pixel, the million dollar cat, has finally finished her medication. Now, if you have ever tried to give a cat medicine, you'll sympathize. Judging by the performance that was put on every morning, you'd SWEAR that we were removing her tail, bone by bone, but nope, just wrapping her up in a towel, TIGHTLY, and forcing some anti-biotics down her throat. Geez, it's like WWII some days. The trick is to catch her early in the morning, when she is still sleepy, but even then, she does wake up quickly and the battle is on. Mark likes wrestinling, I think he should have volunteered to help. Anyways, it is over now, she has been pronounced "cured" by all, and is back to her nasty little self, picking fights with Mitzi and Kitaro and generally disturbing shit. My scars will supposedly heal.

I alluded to Roots Roundup stuff a while back, and, I finally got the first commercial cut of that new/old CD. I say new/old, because there is no new material on this CD, Roots as a band has been gone for three years. But, The CD compiles the "best of" from the 5 recordings that we did, most of which are no longer available in any form whatsover, past crappy dubs from your friends, if you have any...ANYWAYS. The CD is now available for purchase so if you want to own this little funky slab of music, get in touch with me. Of course, the best part of the release of this CD is that there will be live shows in and around Vancouver in early december, meaning it is time to dust off the monkey-guitars, change the strings, and get my playing back in shape. Vancouver dates are December 5th and 6th at The Starfish room. My only advice, be there early, the shows -will- sell out. The web site for the release is located at http://WWW.MARSCOM.COM/groundup/rootsroundup/index.html and let it be said right up front that I had NOTHING to do with the design of that site. Blech. Although, you can find some cute pictures of me there so it is not all bad. I somewhat disgree with how my playing style is represented, as The The had nothing much in the way of guitar at that point...And, vast tracts of the Police's Andy Summers were my main inspiration for sound in the Roundup, but, the site was done from a semi-outsider's perspective, thus, he obviously saw it a bit different than how I see my own playing. Whatever. Re-reading the historical account is somewhat humorous, and some of the details are flat out wrong, but, what the heck, I'll badger Jff until he gets it right. Purportedly, there will be samples on the site, but since Jeff is pursuing a long distance romance with an IBM type back east, it could be a day or two before we see anything up there.

People on the net. Such a twisted web we weave at times. One could never accuse it of being dull. Aside from the usual cat-fights that seem to erupt on a regular basis between my net friends, it has been rather calm of late in networld. I'm still finishing up the MIASMA site, but, being that I have become a IRC chat junkie as of late, it's taking a bit longer than I planned. It's a very odd thing to become good friends with people so far away. From Vancouver, it's not as if Ohio is even a remotely do-able drive (lessee, probably around 40 hours of driving is the estimate) to go visit new net pals but, email and ICQ and the net in general put a different spin onto things. I have met some of my best net pals, but the vast majority I have yet to meet. And, in Mark's case, it's even sillier as he LIVES in Vancouver. Our busy schedules have to to collide to produce a few beers, but I will insult him PERSONALLY one day. Again, he has purportedly taken up kiting as a hobby, but we have to spot him down at Vanier...

Speaking of kite flying, it's been just HORRIBLE weather here lately for it. Either raining, or, ludicrously high winds. AFter mentioning to rkd2 (fellow #kites Rev devotee) that I had no need for a vented Rev there has been at least five days where such a kite would have come in VERY handy. Saturday was a simply gorgeous day except that the wind was HOWLING at about 25-35 mph, nearly bending my Rev in half as I set it up. Even my trusty prism Fanatic wasn't too hot on flying in that wind, dragging me all over the field. Today, it simply rains, but, damn it, I'm MAD about it now, thus, I think I'll go fly ANYWAYS! I have flown many times in the rain (one adapts in the pacific northwest) and as long as you dry your kites properly afterwards (just set 'em up in the house, don't leave them all rolled up when they are wet...). And, a little bit of soap and water cleans up the mud too...

I'll leave you know, but, for a cool site to visit, thanks to Mark, go here...

The Canadian World Domination Page.

And, the answering page... The Anti-Canada Web Site

cheers till next time.

October 6th, 1997

Holy crap, a second update in less than 6 weeks? Have the heavens aligned? Nah, just happened to have ye olde web page editor up to correct a FEW site addresses within my "Are Friends Electric Pal Page" and add a couple of new people into the gallery. Kite people this time, just for a change...Which means I am also slowly getting a kite site together, "slowly" being the operative word. Actually, it hasn't progressed one single byte since the last time I worked on it, but, I'm still thinking about it a lot. The single biggest obstacle to overcome is that I lost my MASSIVE bookmark file not long ago during a failed Netscape install, which I had just stuffed full with a huge amount of kiting references, all nicely sorted and ready to go onto a page. SO, I'm rebuilding that and and then I'll spit out some code.

While thinking about code lately, I remembered Halloween is coming up really soon. Last year I redid my entire web site for Halloween, setting a dangerous precedence of having to come up with a Christmas site, and then a spring site, followed by the current design that was called "the summertime blues" (thank you Caroline for the title..." I highly doubt that I will get the energy together to write an entire new site look for halloween so you, my loyal fans, will simply have to accept my utmost apologies and live with a repeat showing of last year's page, right here... The links have been disabled, since they are all different now. Interesting looking back on old sites, seeing goofy code decisions in the HTML, poo pooing the graphics, and, most noticeably, at that point, I had a tendency to make all pages within a site look the same, ie, an entire "look". Now, I usually go for different looks for different sections, which of course only adds to the work load necessary to do a new site! Sigh. Maybe bits at a time is really the way to tackle it. The only working link on that page is the link to my sister's site. It's been more than a year now, and while hard pain has eased, the sense of loss has never dulled, nor do I really think that it ever will. Melinda, I miss you. (sniff)

As mentioned last installment, I did some taping for Dotto today. Normaly, in the past when I have done Dotto's TV shows, I usually do a 5-10 segment on some specific end of the net, covering all manner of topics, net related. Today, however was somewhat different, being that Steve is doing a different series geared to net beginners. So, the format for -these- shows is a single half an hour with a guest. I filmed two segments with Steve today, 1/2 hour long each. One on email, a subject I am fairly conversant on and effective search engine use, something I am ok on. Doing 10 some odd 4-6 minute segments in a day is quite abit tougher, but, fun nonethless. A day off from work, some further media stardom, and, being that I have been doing TV stuff with Dotto for two years now, a chance to see some of his crew whom I have gotten to know while working there. Nice bunch of people. I'll post here whenever something might be airing so you can go have a laugh at the grey streak in my hair that seems to be getting worse by the day....

and that's all for now. next, a chat about the upcoming Roots Roundup CD and some shows with that band, and more silliness.

October 1st, 1997

Ok, when I said I'd start updating this portion of the site "regularily" I meant more frequently than every six weeks. But, to my discredit, it HAS been a very busy 6 weeks...Work has been a mad house of activity as we train a new tech, and, life, well it has been busy too. Did some more tapings with Steve Dotto for the upcoming season, and willl be doing some specific net videos with him next week, talking about the web and email, naturally...I'll try and let people know, just in case the shows air near you. Save your tomatoes now...

As mentioned below, I did manage to get a vacation in. Annette and I had a great time in Oregon with Pam and Maurice. Not quite enough kite flying for my tastes, but, then again, the weather didn't cooperate most days, either having no wind or too much. I did get heavily into Quad line kite flying though on this trip. Quads are different than two line kites in that they have 4 lines (hence, quad). On top of going forward, they will also reverse in mid air, making them a very challenging fly, and tremendously reqarding as well, once you get the hang of it. I have even begun a kite page, but this hasn't gotten very far past the first page design yet. Yes, I know, I am a sloth at creating web pages.

This past weekend involved yet more kite flying, far beyond my usual weekend flying. I travelled down to Long Beach Washington for the World Cup of Sport Kiting. World Cup VII . Just a fine time was had by me, saw some amazing flyers, amazing kites and some amazingly bad weather! You know that when you can stand outside in a 25 mph wind, in the rain, with some blowing sand, you are truly either a die hard or a lunatic. You can vote via email...miasma site, the nearing release of the roots roundup CD and a few other delectables I'll mention in the next installment, which should be less than 6 weeks away, ok, seraph? >8)

August 8th, 1997

Holidays! Hoorah! A week off! I thought about it today ( as opposed to working on my last day off...) and I haven't had more than 4 days off since I was married two years ago, so, 9 days in a row is a real treat. 9 days of kite flying in Oregon. Micro brewed beers. Sun. And, very few computers, past the notebook which will be used as a "storage" medium for the Epson camera and occasional email checking, just in case EMC burns down or there is some other minor detail that only I might remember about some custom setup for a customer. It's tough being the "first" tech support person in a small company, much of what happens gets stored in my head and not passed on quickly enough, even though we now have a second support droid. Wierd. So, I'll attempt to not worry about my server children while I am gone, as the other techs are certainly capable enough to deal with whatever arises. But, yet, I still worry. Will they look at this or that, will they know that this customer has a quirk that isn't documented yet? Sure hope so, although, being that I will only be gone for a week should help lessen the misery...I have 50 some odd CDs ready for the trip, the car is very tuned. I have enough money to buy a few kites. And, maybe I'll post a few pics while I am gone as the monkey-cam is down for now...

seeya in a week... />.

August 3rd, 1997

Been listening to a lot of :

So, this page is turning into a ramble/rant/somewhat-dynamic-content page. A place where I'll chatter about whatever. Being that I finally going on a much needed vacation, the final part of this will focus on Kite links... In the technical arena, when one refers to customers as "endlusers" daily, you know that the magical time of "going away" is near at hand. So, vacation time is from August 9th thru till the 17th. This year, much like last year, will involve going down to oregon for 7 some odd days of kite flying, with lotsa B-E-E-R, some horseback riding, some driving in my newly overhauled 1982 Toyota Supra GTS and some much needed relaxation. How I am going to survive without the daily influx of web opera that has been prevalent this summer remains to be seen. My advice? Be nice to everyone and never give out your passwords for ANYTHING. Better yet, get fluent with encryption software so people will KNOW it's you when you mail your rebuttal. Email, I'll get email down south, but, the sole reason I am even taking computing power this trip is that I get to play with an Epson PhotoPC for the trip, thus guaranteeing some good kite pictures when I get back this time. I'm surprised by how many people haven't heard of digital cameras yet, and they make complete sense to me, although I have developed a good reason to finally buy a nice colour printer...

So, by having some computer with me, getting email is a simple step forward in the reasoning cycle. I still haven't figured out if my wife hid the power cord on my notebook when we went on a honeymoon...Email and the net are wierd like that. I now have what Seraph refers to as "e-friends", and I get used to hearing from them regularily. Now, most of us use ICQ for this, and, ICQ while on vacation won't happen, but, still, I like hearing from them, either , email or their Web Diary. So, I'll miss that while I am gone, but, if you send email, I'll keep somewhat in touch anyways...Reach out and touch someone, I say. Via binary of course, and preferably virus scanned.

Greg (the bro) and I have talked a couple of times about a "final show". For all of the ranting I have done about some of my favorite old bands doing the "final" show type of thing, it's odd when the shoe is on your own foot. Yah see, Roots Roundup is releasing a compilation CD this August. Kinda wierd, since it's been more than 8 years since I was in the band and more than 6 since they even existed, but, people still ask for the material and the live shows.


wierd man.

But, deny them some entertainment and some relived glories for the band members? Nah, rather do the show(s) and have some great fun with some old friends. Better get some new strings and practice up a bit, it's been months since I have played with any purpose. And, thanks to No Doubt, ska is kinda hip once more. Maybe we'll even sell a few this time?

Ever taken a 2 year old boy down to a kite festival? Well worth the trouble, even if you have to rent the kid. In this case, I went down to the Kite Festival here in Vancouver, held at Vanier Park. A pile of fun, as it was the monkey-boy, his bro, and Elliott, the 2 year old, out for "boys day" down at the beach. The magic that lights up in his eyes when he sees a particularily striking kite almost makes me think that kids are cool...So, in view of the massive kite time I have been spending as of late, in preparation, here's a "speed" list of cool (kewl) kite web sites...

August 2nd, 1997 : Added a goofy site for your viewing pleasure, tidied up a few spelling errors...
Site Of The Week

July Sometime So, there's piles of new stuff this time out. Some sections are completely gone, others have changed drastically, and there's never before seen stuff too! A quick rundown of the "areas":

I intend to use this particular page as an "update" where I can randomly put up notes regarding site changes, random rants and raves, donation screens, pyramid schemes, chain letters and whatever else I can come up with.

[entrance] [binary.illusions] [the.surreal.thing] [technautica] [sites.of.note] [pop culture] [discreditation]

Never chosen as any site of the day.