Today was… a day… Let’s just leave it at that…

First off work sucked..  Basically same song as yesterday, different verse today.  Luckily we found the cause of the problem, and I figured out how we can solve it, but I don’t have the information to do it and once again I’m relying on another team to help me.

Also I got my pictures from the disposable back…  Basically this was the biggest disappointment of the day.  NONE  of them really turned out.  They basically looked like this:

And this…

Ooooo the colors changed…  But yeah, you really couldn’t see anything.  I guess the heads of the people in the commonwealth of Virginia look nice, but that’s just about it… Oh well…  It was a nice experiment while it lasted.

I did have a few nice pictures, like one of my friend Meghan who went to the concert with me:

Thanks again for going with me Meghan!  It was a blast!

So yeah, next time I’ll have to smuggle in the digital, which is what I should have done in the first place.  Now I’m just hoping that the guy that was next to me that night emails me his pictures.

I’m sorry if I’m in a complaining mood tonight, but there are two things that really are annoying me that I’d like to rant about a bit…

First off, I walk out of work today and check my cell phone to find 4 voice mails.  3 of them were love from some friends, but the last one was from some people from church.  They called me because they left me a message trying to follow up on a message some guy left for me yesterday, and that they got a new computer in but they don’t know how to connect it up to the network over there and they’d like to transfer their email files over to the new computer, but they don’t know where the files are, but now they’re stuck and they really need me to come over and get things set up for them….

There are so many things wrong with that, I just had to laugh right there…  First off, I’M NOT THEIR COMPUTER REPAIRMAN!  The last time I checked my work badge it didn’t say the name of my church.  That being said, I don’t mind helping my friends out where I can, but my #1 PET PEEVE is when people ONLY call me because their’s something wrong with their computer.  I think it’s important to be a good steward with your gifts and give them affectionately.  God’s blessed me with the ability to understand technology and I’m happy to do what I can, but that doesn’t mean that I need to be on your beck and call and am somehow accountable for your computers not working.

Secondly, the reason I haven’t returned calls is not because I’m frustrated, but because I’M WORKING DURING THE DAY!  I’m up to my neck here being busy at work, and quite frankly I can’t take off in the middle of the afternoon and skip out of work, drive across town to take a look at something that is not really job related at all.

Thirdly, I’m frustrated that people equate all computer problems on the same level..  I don’t fix computers at work, I’m a web developer.  I write programs.  I have a strong technical background and have an MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer) credential (which is actually outdated now   ), but I am not a networking guru.  I’m not an expert in OS problems..  And there’s a big difference with helping people with my expertise and being leaned on like a crutch…  It’d be one thing if they asked me to help them in redesigning their web site or with a web application.. That’d be right up my ally and enjoyable.  But when people call me wanting me to figure out their networking problems….  It’s like asking a gourmet chef to work the fry machine over at McDonald’s – *I guess* it’s related in the "food field", but in the end you’re not the right person for the job and no one is really happy.

I’m sorry about the big rant – and please don’t think that I’m mad at THE church, or hate volunteering or helping our friends or anything like that, but this is just a built up frustration with MY church and the complainant attitude that they’ve developed towards volunteers.  There seems to be such a lack of appreciation and value of Volunteers there that they’re really burning people out – and I’m finding myself included in that number.  They wouldn’t be in this situation if they ran off the original guy that set up their machines and networking…

Okay so that’s rant #1, but there is one more thing that bothered me a bit tonight….

(So if you didn’t think I wasn’t nerdy enough)  I subscribe to PC Magazine to keep up on some of the technology issues., and I bought and issue of PC World to read on the plane for the DC trip…  Both had reviews on headphones this last month.  Then on the way home on the trip I found that my stock headphones on my iPod are starting to split and exposing wire, so I’m like.  "Hmmmm might be a good idea to check this out and see what I can do to replace them.  Oh how convenient, they’re reviewing headphones, maybe I’ll find one in there."

Except virtually EVERY ONE they reviewed was at least $80, and their editor’s choice was $250+!!  Now how practical is that?  It frustrates me to see how out of touch some of these "consumer guides" are.  I would be comfortable spending $25-35 on ear buds, maybe if I was persuaded to I could drop ~$40 on a really nice pair, but $80?!?  Let alone $250?!?  I’m not going to buy headphones that cost just as much as my iPod did.

In reality, who can afford to pay that much for head phones?  If I was a sound engineer working in a recording studio, or a VERY frequent traveler that was always on a plane and needed noise cancellation, I could maybe see that, but for EAR BUDS?!? 

And let me remind you how I got in this situation in the first place – the ear buds I got with my iPod are now 7 months old, trashed and exposing wire…  What do you expect from things are either in your backpack or ear canal???   It’s just frustrating to think how out of touch people in these magazines are with their consumers.  What do you think the demographic for PC Magazine is?  – PC enthusiasts & IT folks that probably make $50-90k per year..  Now $90k is a lot, but still could you drop $250 for EAR BUDS, especially with a family to provide for?  COME ON, get practical!  Thanks for nothing!

Sorry for the rants tonight…

Supreme Court Decisions

Tonight’s post is going to be short.  I wish it could be longer but my busy day prevented it.

My re-entry from the trip into work sucked.  I woke up this morning starting my normally meeting-filled day when I started getting pinged like crazy.  It turns out we pretty much had a red-hot issue that needed to be addressed and I was basically the only person who could handle it, so I got pulled out of all of my meetings and spent all day working on these issues.  What makes it worse is that the problem lies with something beyond our team’s control, so I’m really at the mercy of a whole other group.  Basically it was just crappy.  Oh, and not to mention the mountain of email that I got for being for one day – talk about nuts!  Ugh… 

I really want to write more, especially in regards to some of these Supreme Court Decisions that have been handed down these last few days.  There are two that I’m pretty pissed about, and hopefully would like to rant a little more on them later on, but for now I must say this:

Kelo v. New London – Eminent domain can now be exercised for development of commercial property.  What the heck were they thinking when they ruled this way.  Way to KILL the 5th Amendment!  This is income redistribution at it’s worst. Basically they take your property at "fair market value" – what they feel it’s worth to them (typically below that you’re willing to sell it for), and hand it over to someone who’s going to turn that same land into far more valuable real-estate in which the commercial developer will profit from.  This is one of the core reasons I lean on the conservative side – I am firmly against the government taking someones money and giving it to other people.  More on this to come…

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd. – I don’t get this ruling.  So I guess companies that create P2P software CAN be held liable, if they MARKET their software for the use of illegal downloads.  But how exactly do you determine marketing intentions?  Do companies now have to be responsible for EVERY mention or appearance of their product?  Maybe I’m reading this on, I need to do some more studying, but right now I just see this as another excuse for frivolous lawsuits by the RIAA and MPAA, used to harass and intimidate their own customer-base.  In the end the only people that will be getting rich are Lobbyists and Lawyers.  NIIIIIIICE!

I’m still really pissed about this, enough to renew my gift contribution to the EFF. Want a really good perspective on this issue?  Check our Dallas Mavericks owner & Internet entrepreneur Mark Cuban’s blog.

The Conflicting Ten Commandments Rulings – Ok…  So I guess through your mental powers you’re supposed to figure out what SOMEONE’S INTENTIONS are for putting up the 10 Commandments, and based on what you THINK their intentions are, they’re violating freedom of religion…  Hmmmm…

Lol, also today was finance day… Not fun, I tallied the receipts from last weekend’s trip:

Concert Tickets – $140
Round-Trip Airfare – $150
2 Nights in Hotel – $189
Rental Car – $74

Flying cross country to go see a band that you thought wasn’t going to be in your home town, only to find out they’re not going to be there three nights – PRICELESS!

Okay, complaining about money aside.  The trip was freakin’ worth every penny, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

Wonderful DMB Weekend

Wow, what a weekend it’s been!  Sitting here at the airport, it’s interesting to reflect on all of the places that I’ve been and all of the things that I’ve done for the last two days.  It’s pretty surreal and I’m having a hard time believing that today is Monday.


Sunday I ended up sleeping in pretty late, enjoying that nice king size bed in the hotel.  This has been my first chance to sleep in for quite some time and I made every moment of it!  After I did my morning routine, I checked out the hotel and went to go rent my car.  I ended up with a Toyota Camary, which was a pretty nice car.  I drove through the city to make my way to Bowie, MD where my Sunday night hotel was.  I then had some lunch and went to Target to purchase a few bare essentials that I’d forgotten for the concert: a disposable camera and earplugs.  I then went over to meet up with Meghan and we headed down to Bristow, VA.  It was about a 2 hour drive to get there – getting back was another story (more to come).


Nissan Pavilion at Stone Ridge

This was an amazing venue!  I would say that it probably seats somewhere between 15-18,000 people (rough guess).  For the Colorado folks – think of Fiddler’s Green (now called the Coors Amphitheatre) but NICER, BIGGER and covered.  The venue itself is out in the middle of nowhere.  It’s surrounded by forest, and it’s pretty remote from any town.  They had three levels of seats that sloped really well.  Each section didn’t have stairs in the aisle, but rather just sloped downward.  At the top is a lawn area, which is far bigger than Fiddler’s lawn, and they actually TAKE CARE OF THEIR GRASS!  At any venue like this lawn seats are always bad, but for lawn seats these were decent.


Meghan and I had tickets to Section 201, Row K, Seats 42 & 43.  We were on the right side, towards the middle of the seating area.  Overall pretty good seats.  We still got a pretty good view of the band, and they had two large screens off to both side of the stage.  I was surprised to find that our section didn’t crowd up as much as I thought it would have.  There were probably 5-6 empty seats in our row, that allowed everyone to spread themselves out a bit.



So my big accomplishment that night was that I snuck in a disposable camera!  There were patting people down, but I got it in airport-style, stuffing it to the toe of my show.  I was walking around as if I had a gimped foot, but no one said anything about it, and it didn’t look that awkward.  My shoe looked a little bulky, but it’s about what you expected if I had it wrapped up.  I was feeling pretty good about getting my disposable camera in, until I saw the guy next to me snuck in his digital camera! No fair!  I wasn’t going to chance getting my digital taken away.  We were a good ½ mile from the car and I wouldn’t feel as bad chucking a disposable camera out.  During the show I was disappointed in my picture-taking.  The camera wasn’t allowing me to disable the flash, and the guy next to me was showing me his exposures with the flash off so I was starting to get jealous.  As soon as I get home I’m dropping the camera off.  I’m getting a CD with it, so I hope to have some pictures up here soon.  What was really cool was the guy next to me offered to email me pictures to, which brings me to…


The People

The people that were next to us were really cool.  As I mentioned the guy offered to send me pictures and even took a few pictures of Megan and I to send to us, so I’m really excited about that!  Then there were some girls behind us that were really nice and asked me to send some pictures to them, so I’ll be doing that if they turned out.  They were also impressed with my song-predicting abilities – lol.  I’ve listened to so many Dave Matthews Band songs that I can tell virtually every song by listening to 2-3 chords (and they’re always playing them in between to warm up a bit).  I’ve also heard so many intros that I can key into them pretty well.  So during the encore I kept saying “Watchtower” to the girls next to us and then they started playing it and got excited that I could pick them.  We talked a bit afterwards and they were really stoked about the Red Rocks show and are going to try to get tickets as well.  It’s always nice to meet another “Warehouse” member, being that I’ve now been a member for a whole week


Otherwise I’m convinced that people from this region have no desire to attend the event/show that they bought tickets for. There must be something more interesting and fun going on in the concession stands and parking lot because PEOPLE LEFT ALL THE TIME!  Geez, Beers out here were $7.50 (which seems a lot higher than concerts back at home).  How many of them can you drink?  Come to think of it, they probably didn’t drink them.  They just liked buying them.  I didn’t see anyone trashed in our row, but I kept seeing a steady in-flow of beer.  A few people kept getting their beer spilled because people kept going through the rows – maybe that’s why they kept on needing refills.  But yeah, DC/VA/MD folks – you guys are 0-2 in being able to watch a show/event!


The Show

DMB didn’t disappoint, and as much as I was complaining about traveling when they’re now coming to Colorado when the band took the stage there really wasn’t any other place I would have wanted to be at that point.  I let go of all of the stress that the trip has brought, from the last week and every little thing that I was struggling with up to this point – and just was present to the music.  At that point it was about having a good time, singing along, dancing and just being moved by music.


New music dominated the night.  The band played a total of 10 (of the 14 total) songs from the "Stand Up" album!  I appreciated that as I was anxious to see how some of these songs would translate into the live arena, and outside of "Hello Again" I hadn’t heard any renditions of any of them.


You’ll find the set-list below (along with some comments I made about each song).  Unless you’re a hard-core fan, or are interested in learning more about DMB, you may want to skip the setlist part.


As I was in the parking lot I called Bethany, who asked me right off the bat "Was this the best DMB concert you’ve been to?".  I had to think for a moment, but in the end I had to tell her "no", and a day later I’m sticking to it.  Despite the resounding chants going on before the encore, they didn’t play "Two Step" which is my all-time favorite song.  Also missing were some of my favorites such as "the Stone", "Ant’s Marching" and "Crash Into Me".  As I was going through the set list, I also saw that they did not even play one song from the "Everyday" CD – which was interesting.  I realize they’ve put out 7 studio albums with the release of "Stand Up", but it’s funny that they totally skipped over the whole album (I’m always up for a little "What You Are", "When the World Ends" or even "Everyday").  Hmmmmmm….


Also wearing earplugs at a concert is a novel idea.  Why I didn’t think of it before – I don’t know.  I got a pair that protects up to 30 decibels – still plenty to get the music quality, and none of the ear damage!  Sweet!


One other things before I talk about the set-list.  Memo to Nissan Pavilion: YOUR PARKING LOT SUCKS!  It’s this little dirt road that is really only enough for one car at a time.  It seems like you have three different directions feeding into that road and one of them being the freakin’ huge parking lot where they have no method to get people out.  Bottom line – we were stuck there for 1 & 1/2 hours!!!!  Now you guys have people playing there night-in and night-out.  How can you tell me that you never stopped to address the parking situation.  What a mess!


The Setlist

Like I said, this is the point of no-return for you non-DMB nerds out there.  Please skip on, otherwise let’s go on this ride…


Dream Girl – Hahaha what a great way to start the show!  It set the perfect tone.  While this song was playing all I could think of was my sister saying "I wake up to this song every morning", and listening to that chanting and laid back feeling as the sun was setting was awesome!

One Sweet World – Classic song for being out in the middle of the forrest on a beautiful night –  So let us sleep outside tonight, Lay down in our mother’s arms, For here we can rest safely

Don’t Drink the Water – Class sing played at pretty much every show I’ve been to…


Hunger For The Great Light – More new stuff.  I love the beginning of this song, then how it gets "hard" (relative term for DMB).  "Stefan Lessard on the bass everybody!"


Say Goodbye – Drum solo #1!  Woah, Carter uses "Weed-Wacker" sticks like I do.  I can be Carter…  Pretty song, and you gotta love the flute-playing!


Too Much – Classic Crash, great solo at the end.  One thing non-related.  I was listening to the Live & Golden Gate CD, and this song (last song of disc 3), DMB and someone else from the band got into this Chappel’s Show Lil’ John mood.  At the 5 minute mark in the song they go "What? Okay!  YEAH!"


Out Of My Hands – Not my favorite new DMB song, but it was cool to listen to.  Dave just sang during this one – no guitar.  Come to think of it, no one really played anything except for Carter on the drums and Butch on the keyboards.  What bothered me with this song is that the drums never locked it in with the song.  I realize it’s not supposed to, and they pull it off in the studio, but hearing it live – it just sounded crappy.


Grey Street – An old favorite for me!  I was going through both the drum part and guitar part in my head while this was going on.


Steady As We Go – Beautiful! This is my favorite song from "Stand Up" (the quote at the top of my Xanga is from this song).  It sounded SWEET live!  I actually didn’t think they were going to play this – so this was a pleasant surprise.


Hello Again – Drum Solo #2!


You Might Die Trying – Wow…  I have to tell you, when I heard the studio version of this song the first time, my only thought was "Great song, but someone totally watered down the drum part."  It sounded pretty artificial, FAT and boring (which is not really the style).  Every time I heard the studio version of the song I had this little drum part working in my head.  Well when they played it live – Carter brought that little drum part to life!  He played it exactly the way I envisioned. Nice FAT groove, but then he laid down a few fills and licks that brought it back to his signature style!


Where Are You Going – Always pretty, but I actually decided to make a beer run during the song.

Warehouse – Sweet as always!  This is also another song I’ve heard at pretty much every show I’ve been to.


Stolen Away On 55th & 3rd – Personally I think this is the worst song on Stand Up.  I don’t get this song.  It’s repetitive, doesn’t really have much of a structure, and is just boring.  During the song Dave Matthews did something that I’ve never seen him do in any of the 7 shows I’ve been to – HE SAT DOWN!  He didn’t really say why, maybe because he was bored.  The rest of the crowd was too, because everyone pretty much sat down with him.

Stand Up – Back on your feet!  How appropriate!  Nice rendition live. At this point Robert Randolph took the stage, and played an awesome slide-guitar!  He also lended the high pitched "Stand Up" you recognize from the CD!  Butch Taylor offers the baritone voice at the beginning of the album version.

Louisiana Bayou – This was another one of those songs that I was looking forward to hearing live!  The studio version has an awesome groove, but I could always envision the band taking it to the next level live – and they sure didn’t disappoint!  Great song, and Randolph gave an awesome solo – at point he was playing the slide guitar with his tongue!

American Baby – Right before they played this song, Dave gave a big "Thank You" to all of the soldiers that are defending our freedom.  I thought this song was a nice tribute to that! 

All Along The Watchtower – At this point we were all still hoping for Two Step, but this song was good.  It’s been sounding the same for the last 5 years – just different solos, so it gets a little bored.  I like hearing the band getting "hard" though.  Randolph came out and gave another awesome solo!


So those are some of my initial thoughts.  I’m dropping the camera off tomorrow in hopes that I’ll get pictures to post later this week!  Let me know if you have any thoughts and questions.  I’ll add more on this concert as it all comes back to me  

Dave Matthews Band FAQ – Everything you wanted to know about DMB!

DC Greetings

Andy Rooney moment: Why is it that hotel TV’s always have the crappiest channels available? Why is it when you have time to watch TV in the hotel nothing good is ever on?  It’s not like I traveled a thousand miles to watch TV, but what else am I supposed to do this late at night? Ugh…

Tonight was a blast!  As I said before I made my way to the Pentagon City Metro Station and rode the train all the way over to RFK stadium.  I made my way towards RFK stadium and entered the ballpark.  RFK is a really cool stadium, for being as old as it is.  Opened in 1961 – 44 years old!  It doesn’t look as run-down as some of the other stadiums I’ve been to.

Today was free hat day at RFK!  It’s pretty sweet because it’s a two-color hat.  If you turn it inside-out it is Red with Blue, otherwise it’s Blue with Red.  As you can see it really fits me well.  It was pretty neat to have.  While I was at the stadium I bought a Pennant to add to my collection of the stadiums I’ve been to.  I’m excited about this one because it says Inaugural Year", and it’ll look good right next to my "Mile High" Colorado Rockies one.

Being in RFK was really cool. It was really neat to be surrounded by fans that were actually excited about baseball, excited about the opportunities their team has – and most of all, excited to have a competitive team on the field.  Now I love Rockies baseball, but mainly because I love the atmosphere more than I love the team.  The Rockies right now are pretty much a joke, and as I’m writing this I see on SportsCenter that the Rockies are ALREADY offering to unload their players in trades.  Way to give up on the season!  But getting back to the Nationals…

The atmosphere was really cool, it was neat seeing a full stand of fans, but it was also a bit funny watching fans that aren’t that used to watching baseball.  You would think they’d be a bit more savvy with the Orioles down the road.  But the fans kept getting up and leaving at the weirdest times in the middle of the game.  Now eventually you learn that if you’re going to leave/go to your seat, you do it between batters, or better yet between innings.  But people kept getting up right in the middle of pitches.  What they went to go do I had no idea.  At first it was funny and then it just got really old.

Overall tonight was a great night.  This was the first time that I’ve been to a baseball game by myself.  It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.  It’s been really nice to be left alone to my thoughts and to be able to do whatever moves me at the moment, but it’s just not as fun as going to the game with a group of your friends.

Tonight I’m going to rest up and try to catch back up on my sleep, then heading to the gym here at the hotel in the morning, checking out, renting my car and driving to Bowie, MD to meet my friend Meghan.  Then we’re driving to Bristow, VA for the concert.  I’m really started to get excited to see what they’re going to play.  I’m praying for "Two Step".  We’ll see if I get my wish!

Oh and a few pictures:

Wow, a stadium full of fans!  Something we haven’t seen at Coors Canaveral in quite some time.

Hey it’s Vinny Cash-Steala.  Over here Vinny!

Woah… Randy Marsh is the first base umpire..  Now for those of you who aren’t as nerdy as me – Randy Marsh is Stan’s dad from South Park…

DC Arrival

Greetings from Washington, DC!  I just checked into my hotel a little while ago.  It’s 3:45 over here now, and it’s already been a long travel day – but a good one.  I’ve now technically been up for 12 hours, although with the time difference it’s just 10 hours, but I woke up this morning at 3:30am, got ready and left the house by 4am.  I drove the Mazda down to DIA (which I’m happy to report no problems at all – it’s hard to believe that I just learned to drive the stick 10 days ago!).  I caught my first flight to Minneapolis/St. Paul, then my connecting flight to Reagan National Airport.  I checked into the Sheraton hotel here not far from the airport, and wanted to take a few minutes to blog before I rest up then head out onto the town.

A few interesting notes about my trip so far:

-Freakin’ everybody who rode the shuttle this morning got up on the wrong side of the bed.  I pulled into the shuttle parking lot and in less than 5 minutes I was on the shuttle and we were heading to the airport.  Everyone on there was in a really bad mood and took it out on the poor shuttle driver.  They were all complaining that they’ve been waiting for a shuttle for 30 minutes (which I find hard to believe considering I drove past 3 shuttles when I got into the parking lot) and then they got mad at the guy for handing out the "you’re parked here" cards.  I felt really sorry for the guy.  Dude’s just trying to do his job and it’s company policy to hand out those cards.  He cant’ help it that you showed up late at the airport.  Heck, I showed up 30 minutes late but you don’t see me complaining.  If you’re pissed about the shuttle service than don’t park in the shuttle parking lot.  There’s a nice covered garage that you can park and walk right into the airport from – sure it costs 3 times what the shuttle lot costs, but you pretty much pay for what you get.  Geez…

-Then when I got to my connecting flight that was a little interesting.  Originally my flight was supposed to be a 1-stop flight with no changing planes, but they made all of us get out.  It turns out that they shifted the planes around so that the original 757 we were supposed to go on got replaced by an Airbus – which had 40 less seats.  Talk about a screwed up situation!  Luckily I wasn’t really impacted.  They didn’t change my original seat and I just had to wait and extra 20 minutes – no worries.  They were asking people to take later flights and were offering few round-trip tickets.  It was tempting… especially with the NCSC July meeting and the troubles getting everyone out here – but before you could blink they had more than enough volunteers.  Oh well!

-I loved flying into Reagan!  The last two times i was in DC I flew into Dulles.  Aside from the turbulence and someone actually getting sick during the landing (gross!), it was really cool to look out your window.  They sure land right in the middle of town, and it’s like the runway comes out of no where.  While I was looking out my window seeing the Lincoln & Washington monuments, then the capital I thought "Damn, we’re flying really close to this – something must be wrong", but that thought lasted for a moment.  Then appears the runway and things are all good.

It’s freakin’ humid out here and I think there’s a high of 94 degrees!  Ugh!

So I’m going to nap for an hour, then make my way down to the lobby so I can get to the Metro (subway) and take it towards RFK Stadium to see the Washington Nationals Game.  Somewhere along the way I want to find something to eat, considering I haven’t eaten all day, and I think as I make my way back I’d like to go through the town a bit! No big plans besides the game, but this is just how I like it!