Let's Go Out With A Bang!

Taiko is amazing entertainment. The rhythms, the noise, the discipline, the precision, the strength and the artistry. It will almost bring tears to my eyes to see these things come together in such a dynamic way. I hope we get to see them in the upcoming year. (you can stop at 3:45 unless you understand Japanese.)


Free Music

I just wanted to let folks know that both Amazon and iTunes offer free music on their music download services. I'm sure there are other venues too. While getting a new release of a chart topping top 40 album is not very likely, if you want classical or independent music there are many great pieces to be had. I always stock up on holiday music this time of year. Some very classic some just very quirky. You just have to filter out the "noise." Currently Amazon has four classical samplers and four jazz samplers that are wonderful and they are free. I also downloaded a house/electronica/dance sample album to add to the mix. This is a great way to to expand the artists you get to listen to and also find new up and coming artists. Just search "free music" or Sampler in the respective stores and you'll find lots of music to download. Another tip is just sort from prices lowest to highest in a music selection and the $0.00 priced music will come to the top. Happy Listening!

Zoë Keating Concert in Cambridge

Last night we were fortunate to see the wondrful Zoë Keating and her layered cello music. I've mentioned her before. Her music is haunting and beatiful and to see her in a dimmed cavernous church was an amazing treat. I was able to capture these images with available light using a Nikon CoolPix P7000. For the geeks out there these were at ISO 3200. It was dark in there. The results are quite surprising.

Legally Blonde

Legally Blonde

Just saw Legally Blonde at the North Shore Music Theater. Surprisingly wonderful. Go see it, before it's too late.

A nice piece on the very talented cellist Zoë Keating


Heads or Tails

Heads or Tails {Trailer} from Mad Phil Media on Vimeo.

I hope this teaser turns into a full blown production. I'm already "hooked"!

Unseen Consequences

From one of my favorite blogs. Moldy Chum:

We've all heard about the giant islands of floating trash in both the Atlantic and Pacific. These photographs of albatross chicks were made in September 2009 on Midway Atoll, a tiny stretch of sand and coral near the middle of the North Pacific. The nesting babies are fed bellies-full of plastic by their parents, who soar out over the vast polluted ocean collecting what looks to them like food to bring back to their young. On this diet of human trash, every year tens of thousands of albatross chicks die on Midway from starvation, toxicity, and choking.

There is a reason the Marine Pollution Control Act specifically forbids the disposal of plastic ANYWHERE in the ocean. It never goes away. Yes, as you can see by the pictures it breaks up into smaller and smaller pieces. In fine plankton nets dragged several miles by ocean research vessels, plastic is becoming the prevalent content in these nets, not plankton. Next time you go out on the water, remember to bring a container so you can bring your trash home with you. In fact, plastic is no longer trash, it is for your recycle bin. I am elated that in my community we no longer set limits on what type or "number" the plastic must be to get recycled. All types are accepted. They even allow wax milk cartons. Please remember to think when you are out on the water. No one wants to have an albatross around their neck.

Killer Performance

Killer Performance
SeaWorld 2004, taken with our first digital camera, a Canon A40. I love the blue tones in this shot.

The Berkshires

Blue Staicase
We ventured to the Berkshires this summer for a weekend of music, gardens and mountain vistas. The goal was to attend two concerts at Tanglewood and take in some of the sights. We made it to the Berkshire Botanical Garden, The Norman Rockwell Museum and to Naumkeag. All with wonderful plantings and landscape design. We're so lucky to have the mountains in the west and the seacoast in the east. The combination of the lush landscape, iconic american images and the amazing music made for a decadent weekend retreat. There are some pictures from our weekend in the Photo Album.

Indianapolis 500

Indy 500
We went out to celebrate the Memorial Day holiday with my family and to take in the annual sporting spectacular. These pictures are more about the adaptation of my photography workflow than anything else. Hopefully this new process will allow me to be more "agile" in getting my photos sorted and published from now on. There are plenty more things I have to publish. The pictures are now in the photo album for you to enjoy.

This video was a simple idea that became brilliant entertainment

I love seeing the subtile reactions of people when they realize what is going on. If you don't know about these type of restaurants in Japan, here is the gist. A conveyor belt rotates around the room with different food items. Patrons just grab what they want as the food passes by. The food item's price is denoted by the color of the plate. At the end of the meal the server totals up the number of plates you have and presents you with a bill.


Fly Fishing Film Tour Dates Announced

Fly Fishing Film Tour Poster

First Light Anglers purchased the rights to the Fly Fishing Film Tour this year and are very excited about this event! They bounced around a bunch of different venues but decided to return again to Chunky's in Haverhill, MA as it offers food and beverages pretty easily!

First Light Anglers Hosts Fly Fishing Film Tour
Sunday, March 15th 6:30pm
Tickets: $15.00
Chunky's Cinema Pub
Haverhill, MA

Buy Tickets Here

View the trailers for the 2009 Film

Chunky's Directions


The Gnome Reserve And Wild Flower Garden

Gnome Moon

While traveling in England last summer I came upon a brochure and my heart leaped, I spotted The Gnome Reserve and Wild Flower Garden. Can you imagine? I did buy the gnome book in my youth but who would have thought. Four enchanted acres, one thousand plus gnomes, featuring the Gnome Airport, Space Rocket Launch Pad, the Circle of Imagination and best of all the Gnome Motor Bike Scramble. How famous is this gnome mecca of North Devon? Sixty plus times on T.V., touts the brochure. "Nowhere in the world is there anywhere like this magic spot at West Putford in North Devon" says United Press International. Travelocity eat your heart out. I know you're wondering what my first hand impressions are. What were the size of the gnomes? Did you get to see all the attractions? How were the cream teas in the garden? Um. . well, I don't know. We never went. Maybe next time.

Zoë Keating

Photo by Lane Hartwell

Zoë Keating

I had the good fortune to discover Zoë Keating while listening to a Radiolab podcast earlier this year. She is a musician and her instrument is the cello. The Host of the podcast Jad Abumrad seemed quite taken with Zoë as he interviewed her and discussed her music and the process by which she creates it. Zoë played during a live performance of Radiolab where hosts Jad and Robert discussed the making of the famous radio show "War of the Worlds." She supplied the interim and background music for the performance. Let me assure you that this is not classical solo cello that you would hear at a salon in a friends home.

I was immediately struck by the amazing sound and layering she creates as she plays. She uses a piece of computer technology that allows her to record or sample bits of music and then via foot pedals she can replay or loop that piece continually or for just a few repetitions. The affect is both mesmerizing and transcendent. I was immediately transported as I listened to the music she was creating. She uses not only bow and string to produce the sound but may also pluck, scrape, strike or pat her instrument to add percussive ingredients to her music. The part that still perplexes me is the precision that the music and recording are able to be laced together in a live performance.

I purchased her CD and was also able to download other music of hers only available digitally. She also has a new CD coming out soon. While exploring her site I discovered Zoë's Incredibly Interesting Blog and her performance schedule. To my surprise she was playing at MIT at an upcoming conference and it was open to the public. I jumped at the chance to witness a live performance and demystify how she is creating all those magical sounds. After watching her perform I am still confused but more impressed. She was nice enough to sign my CD and talk briefly.

I want to urge you to go to her site and listen to some samples of her music because you have to experience it for yourself. It will be well worth it. She has been one of the top classical music downloads at iTunes which is no small feat considering iTunes is now the largest retailer of music in the country. I'm sure this will not be the last you have heard of this wonderfully talented artist.


The Man Named White Who Wears Black

Saturday night my wife took me to a wonderfully funny comedy concert featuring Ron White. He sold out two shows in one night in a very big venue. I laughed so much I had tears in my eyes. Ron's humor is unique and poignant and very adult. I wanted to share this one clip with you so once you finish you can click on another link and watch many more clips. Caution, some clips NSFW.


Fly Fishing Film Tour Coming to Boston

AEG Media Bones Logo

I just found out today that the Fly Fishing Film Tour will again be coming to Boston. A huge thanks to the guys at First Light Anglers for sponsoring the event this year. It will definitely be a fun time. Details are still up in the air.

This is the third year of the film tour and I know it promises to be another exciting night of the best Fly Fishing porn produced. Entries are still being evaluated by the guys at AEG Media, but I'm sure the year over year improvement will continue to set the bar high and amaze and excite members of the Fly Fishing tribe. The footage is sort of fly fishing video meets Warren Miller. It infuses excitement for the upcoming season while we huddle around the fireplace with our tying vices. I'll let you know more details as they become available.

Boston Beijing Opera Association

Boston Beijing Opera Association Logo
Last night we attended the debut performance of the Boston Beijing Opera Association. We learned about this concert from a co-worker and friend of mine GUO Jingfu, or as he is known at work, Jeff Guo. Jeff is a very accomplished Jing erhu musician. The erhu is an ancient and traditional two stringed bowed instrument. It is similar to a violin, but played vertically and with the hand tensioned bow threaded between the strings. Jeff and several other traditional musicians accompanied a plethora of performers all singing in the unique style of Beijing Opera. This special opera was created about two hundred years ago and ascribed to specific forms created for the opera. Best to go here to get a more authoritative and expert summary.

The entire performance was in Chinese and the MC also spoke in Chinese. We were still able to enjoy the universal communication of melody and tone and appreciated the specific style of this art form. Rather than a specific single story, the BBOA chose to debut their organization through a variety show, featuring a dulcimer ensemble, solos, choruses, dance and instrumental pieces. We were also treated to two traditional costumed performances.

Attending this performance opened the window a little wider into a culture as a whole I think we know little about. Since I work closely with a team in China, I am always looking for ways to gain insight into this emerging culture. This years olympics gave us a more open look into the Chinese culture that I think many have never been exposed to. It is always far to easy to slip into accepting the stereotypical representations that we have seen most of our lives. Going deeper and interacting with native Chinese citizens as well as fellow workers has given me insight into the depth and pride of the Chinese people. I have also learned that they have a very joyful outlook on life and enjoy a lightness of heart one would not expect from outward appearances. This was displayed last night in the excitement of the performers as well as the audience. It was a great moment for the Chinese American community to share an intimate part of their culture with their local community.
BBOA Ensemble

Little Girl Giant Plays in the Park

Little Girl Giant Plays in the Park from XINERGY on Vimeo.

'Scuse Me While I Kiss This Guy

I'm sure we've all mistaken lyrics from one song or another. This video takes mistaken lyrics to a whole new level. Oh Fortuna converted into O Four Tuna. Just a subtile difference from the original lyrics.

Thanks Rock!

Big News!

After months of deliberation and soul searching Mary and I have made a life changing decision. We're combining our love for cooking, the excitement of fly fishing and our love of nature and the outdoors. We finished negotiations today and have successfully signed paperwork to buy the Roscoe Diner in beautiful Roscoe, New York.

Sign of the times

We've decided to get away from the rat race and head to the country. Since we both love to cook we decided that a career change in the restaurant business could be done in almost any location. People have to eat so we knew a new career involving food could take us anywhere we wanted to go. Initially we will continue to do our day jobs by telecommuting. Thank goodness for the internet. As the business progresses and we get on our feet in Roscoe we will transition to the diner permanently. Fortunately both our companies have other offices close by.

Situated at the southwestern end of the Catskill Park, Roscoe is the epicenter of the famous and historic fly fishing mecca the Delaware River basin. The Fly Fishing does not get any better than this on the east coast. Also close to the home to the famous Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum and the Wulff School of Fly Fishing. I attended the school a couple of years ago and just fell in love with the area. Since that time I've made several secret trips to Roscoe and was in negotiations with the owners of the diner. Now that the plans have solidified I can also announce that we will be putting a second floor onto the diner where we will have a full sportsmans lodge and fly shop. Note how the design will lend itself readily to the second floor addition.

Things are going up!
This will truly be an exciting time for us. Stay tuned as more details unfold. Remember to save room for our famous Roscoe Cherry Pie!

Boston Derby Dames Roll On


We spent another Saturday night at Roller Derby. Poor Evilicious did a face plant into the wall. OUCH! The Wicked Pissahs have already moved into the finals. Now the Nutcrackers and the Cosmonaughties will have to duke it out for a playoff spot. We wish Evilicious the best in her recovery. Here is an Excerpt from the Boston Derby Dames website:

The Wicked Pissahs fought off a strong early attack from the Cosmonaughties to clinch a 103-64 win on February 9, guaranteeing their place in June's championship bout. Now the Cosmos get ready for an April rematch against the Nutcrackers to determine which team is best poised to stop the Pissahs from a second championship title. Our roving play-by-play reporter Mr. Hits will be checking in with his bout recap shortly, so check back soon.

Thanks to everyone who has expressed concern for Wicked Pissah MVP Evilicious, who left last night's bout in an ambulance after taking a hard hit into the wall late in the third period. She's at home sipping martinis through a straw while recovering from having broken her nose in four places and getting more than 30 stitches in her face. Broken and bruised, but more evil than ever.

With more than 1,600 people in the audience, this bout broke all previous attendance records. Thank you!

We brought three new fans to the bout and they are now hooked. Everyone had a great time and we can't wait for more action. Next bout is March 9. Hope to see you there.


Roller Derby and Dewars - Can it get any better?

BDD & Dewars
Last night the after party was sponsored by Dewar's. Just when I thought it couldn't get any better. . .

The bout was amazing. The Nutcrackers defeated the Cosmonaughties 69-42. This was a total vindication of the prior lopsided contest and more of what I want to see in Boston's newest sport. I'll reserve judgement on the other team in the league until we see their next appearance. There was nonstop action, great skating and the penalty box was crowded. The thrills and spills were nonstop and the off track entertainment was fun. The teams are skating better and we are seeing the jammers really come into their own. The skills of the pivots and blockers have improved and they are really regulating the pace of the game. Time is passing much more quickly and scores are being updated sooner. All these improvements are making for a much more enjoyable night of action and fun. Adding frosting to the cake, we met up with a new rolled derby celebrity Ballistic Miss L. of Pioneer Valley Roller Derby. It was a nice surprise to see her and for her to come all the way down from the wilds of central New Hampshire. Come with us to the next bout on February 9th and hopefully see a seagull get it's wings clipped.

Upcoming New Album - Linda Sharar, Everyday

Linda Sharar
Photo by Charan Devereaux

Today I received a copy of Linda Sharar's latest mixes from her upcoming album, Everyday. The album is in the final stages of being mixed. It's very exciting to get an early listen to what is going to be a wonderful new release. This will be Linda's third CD. She has previously recorded two other titles Participate and Any Second Street. Linda is also a coworker as well as a friend. To work with talented people like Linda is such an honor and a treat. I have known Linda since I became a software engineer. She is a wonderful and warm person with many talents. She always puts so much into everything she does and it really shows in these new songs. I remember a while back she had a twinkle in her eye and I knew something was up. I was right. She had told me she was going back into the studio to record another album. Everyone was extremely excited, since this would be an album that would be an outpouring of experiences and emotions following the birth of her daughter and her entrance into motherhood. Following the end of sleep deprivation and the terrible two's, she was now ready. There was a lot of hard work done in the studio and she also assembled a wonderful group of artists to help with the project. We got periodic updates and listed to snippets of the tracks that were being put down all during the process. Her enthusiasm and excitement as the project progressed was contagious. This album will be well worth the wait. The tracks are done and final production is in full swing.

Linda is also doing something special with this album she is donating a portion of the proceeds from the album to help cover the cost of special therapy equipment for her nephew with autism. You can read more about that and sign up to pre-purchase a copy of the CD here.

I've listened to the tracks and can't wait to listen again. As a special treat, Linda has allowed me to upload one of the songs to my blog. I've picked one of my favorites, Round the Corner. Click the link below to listen. You can also hear more songs from Linda's MySpace page. Enjoy!

Listen to: Round the Corner


My Nuts Got Crushed

The Nutcrackers were crushed by the Wicked Pissahs at last Saturday night's roller derby bout. Final score was 142 to 41. Yes, they were beat by 101 points. I'm depressed. You can learn more about The Boston Derby Dames at their website. Hopefully the next bout will not be a blowout.

Here are two BDD hopefuls for the next bout.
New Prospects

The Lascivious Biddies Were In Town!

We took a trip to Fitchburg Friday night to see the all girl cocktail pop band The Lascivious Biddies. The band roll call starts with Lee Ann Westover, lead vocals, Lily Maase, guitar & vocals, Deidre Rodman, piano, melodica, train whistle and vocals, and Saskia Sunshine Lane, bass and vocals. This venue was different from the first time we saw the Biddies which was at the Lizard Lounge in Cambridge. This time they put on a stage show in one of Fitchburg State College's performing arts centers, The Percival Auditorium. This was a real treat. The acoustics and the well managed Bose sound system were spot on for the type of music they create. The two sets were very complete with favorite originals such as Texas and Famous, new covers To Keep My Love Alive, previously recorder covers, Paper Moon, You Don't Own Me and some debut songs we had not heard before, Saskai's Odd Bird and Diedre's brand new tribute Coney Island Day. Some of the new songs can be found on their latest release the EP Love You Mean It. We were very very interested in finding out how the band would change with new guitarist Lily Maase. She immediately put us to ease with her lyrical guitar styling, vocals and her ability to rock out when it was time for her solo's. Lee Ann's was up to her usual fun antics and amazing vocals. This woman has pipes! She anchors the show with lascivious skill! Deidre's diversity of talent has really anchored the eclectic styling of the group. Her solo Coney Island Day a tribute to the now closed Coney Island amusement park was wonderful. The treat of the night was Odd Bird written by Saskia Lane. The witty and amusing lyrics were full of fun and Saskia's bass solo was beautifully intense reminding me of many bass solos from Keith Jarret recordings. I was happy to hear new music from them in both original songs and standards. My private dream was that they would move in the direction of jazz standards and some show tunes done with their unique twist. They have helped that dream come true. In addition, the new works from the huge level of talent within the band is continuing to keep their repertoire exciting and diverse. The full program satisfied all at the new venue. It involved solos, group participation, Mad Libs (yes fill in the blank), and an encore. I'm glad we got to see the Biddies again My only wish is that they could play the Boston area more often.

After the show we got to chat with the ladies and finally introduce ourselves in person instead of email. They are as lovely and gracious as they are talented. I originally found out about the Lascivious Biddies during a newscast about podcasting. With a name like theirs, I just had to find out more. The group has a full dedication to the cyber world thanks to Lee Ann, with the podcast, blog, full feature web presence, My Space pages and now a You Tube page. They Biddies were solely responsible for getting me into the world of podcasts. A world I could now not be without during my long commutes. It has fully replaced my addiction to books-on-tape. I always look forward to new podcasts from the Bids. They are silly, insightful and intimate.

Thanks again ladies for a throughly enjoyable evening. By the way. . . LOVE the shoes!

Roller Derby!

Yes sports fans, there is a roller derby league right here in the Boston area. They are members of the Women's Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA). Roller Derby traces it's roots back to the Depression-era days. It has seen popularity in the 50's, 70's and is now back in the new century. The athletes are smart, edgy, athletic and know how to have a good time. A coworker of mine, Lois Carmen Dominator (#011), is a member of the Boston Derby Dames and skates for the Nutcrackers.
LCD Flexes for the Camra
I'll quote from last night's program about the origins of the Nutcrackers:

Expelled form the Académie for conduct unbecoming of a dancer, this troupe of ballerina bruisers sought a sport where their talents for cussing and brawling would be put to better use. Trading toe shoes for quad skates, The Nutcrackers are now kicking ass and breaking legs with the Boston Derby Dames.

Need I say more? Well I will. This is a really fun time and great entertainment for the whole family, except for the cussin' part. It is part serious, part tongue-in-cheek, but the ladies supply a lot of action packed excitement well worth the price of admission. Once you figure out how points are scored you'll know when to cheer. And cheer you will! Along the way there are thrills and spills that keep the sport interesting, The skaters really enjoy themselves and although they are competative there is a lot of inter team comraderie.

Last night's bout, Red Scare on Swan Lake, was the Nutcrackers first bout of the season. Unfortunately the 'crackers took a beating from the Cosmonaughties who are still reved from their last victory against the Wicked Pissas. Better luck next time for the tribe with the tutu's.
Red Scare on Swan Lake
Next Page