April 30, 2003
Margie and Vin's new website
Michael and I gave his parents, Margie and Vin Femia, Margie and Vin.com for their 30th wedding anniversary this year. Vin started to post to their weblog last week. He's been a frequent commenter on Michael's website and now he has his own site to post his witty comments, sports commentary, etc. Fun!
April 28, 2003
Rare books for sale
I'm selling three books on eBay that Michael acquired in the past six months. He definately has book finding superpowers.
"The Big U" by Neil Stephenson :: This is the first book he wrote. It is presumably a parody of Boston University. From what I've read, he is not all that fond of this book and is not pleased it is still in circulation. Other books he's written include Snow Crash and Cryptonomicon. We found it priced for quite a few pennies at abebooks.com but decided to go with the bargain "buy it now" price of $300. ;)
"M/W" (Men/Women) by Herb Ritts:: Rare, out of print, 4th printing.
"Eight Mortal Ladies Possessed" by Tennessee Williams :: This book is signed by the author. It's the first paperbook printing from 1974.
April 26, 2003
The grand opening of Mikhaela's Cartoon Depot
Rain On Days
If today had a theme song it would be "Rain On Days", a song that Rose Polenzani recorded for/with Zoe Ardito. I'm not sure how old Zoe was when they recorded the songs (with lyrics created on the fly by Zoe) -- maybe five or six years old. Rose has a section of her website dedicated to the songs they collaborated on. I don't mind rain and I usually prefer a slightly cloudy day over lots of sun; but today I was hoping to go out and take some photos. Maybe tomorrow.
Rose has a show coming up on Thursday, May 1st at the Kendall Cafe. Also performing that night is eastmountainsouth, a band I've never heard of. I downloaded MP3s on their website and they sound great -- a mixture of pop and folk. This looks like it will be a great show not to be missed.
Exploit Boston! Radio is back online
The Internet radio station for Exploit Boston! is back online. It broadcasts 24/7 with a mixture of Boston rock, pop and indie bands (past and present). I definately need new music suggestions if you have any. The music streams through Live365. To listen you'll need (1) a high-speed connection and (2) a free Live365 account. It takes a minute to create your account and then you can choose which MP3 player you want to use including Winamp, the Live365 player, RealOne Player, etc. Live365 is a very cool service. It's nice to see that it has (so far) survived the ups and downs of the Internet industry.
April 25, 2003
My mom and the Rock & Roll Library
My mom (Mary Kay Kaup) died of a heart attack on March 20, 2003. I haven't gone into a lot of the personal details of what I've been going through because I guess I didn't know what sort of line I might cross with oversharing personal details on this website. So, despite how quiet I have been about her death, I do appreciate hearing from people. Since my mom wasn't sick and I hadn't talked to her in a few weeks (she was in Nebraska where I grew up and I'm in Boston), the news really came as quite a shock. Her 56th birthday would have been coming up soon on April 30th.
Growing up, my mom took 10+ years of piano and voice lessons. For whatever reason, I did not get the actual singing talent she had; but I did get my mom's appreciation and passion for music. Local and online pals have asked if there is anything they could do. So, I sent an email to the sooz.com elist last week asking everyone to contribute to the Rock & Roll Library as a memorial to my mom. I think this idea would make her happy. So, now I'm inviting anyone who reads my website to also participate.
The Rock & Roll Library is a non-profit Boston-based organization that I've been volunteering for during 2003. I've mentioned them here before and I can't say enough fabulous things about RRL. Anne Fitzpatrick, the executive director, is one of the nicest humans on the planet -- no doubt about it! She has turned a childhood dream into an internationally recognized organization. RRL needs monetary support from individuals and companies to move the organization into the next phase. All contributions directly impact RRL programs and projects including the development of the Music Archive Database, lesson plan and song contests, maintenance and design of the website, etc.
It would mean a lot if you would consider participating in this memorial and inviting your family and friends to participate, too. To learn more about the Rock & Roll Library visit their website. Click on "membership" to contribute through their ecommerce system or PayPal. Any contribution is welcome and membership is included with $25+.
Note: Consider writing "Mary Kay Kaup Memorial" in the "additional instructions" field if you are using PayPal for your donation.
April 23, 2003
I'm not the only one in love with the Nokia 6800
When I was poking around my web stats this morning I noticed that Eric Snowdeal linked to my entry about the too cool for school Nokia 6800 phone. He's a fan, too. Eric mentioned that I work for Nokia yet I have a Sanyo phone. That's true. But I also have a Nokia phone. It's something they gave me for "work use only." If they would kindly give me a 6800 I would happily stomp on my Sanyo 4900 and toss it out the window. I don't work for the phone division nor do I have any super deluxe connections so the chances of me getting a free 6800 are next to nothing. But it's a nice thought! Presumably the AT&T Wireless store near the office gives decent discounts to Nokia employees; but since I'm a contractor I'm not sure if I've made that list. I probably wouldn't want to leave the Sprint PCS + Vision service anyway. Which means I'm still hoping that Nokia will make the 6800 or something like it available with Sprint PCS. A girl can dream.
Website ping public service announcement
More (*) people (*) should ping weblogs.com so their site has a little asterisk next to their name on my "daily visits" list over on the right. I do a much better job of keeping up with the people who ping. So, that's today's PSA.
April 21, 2003
Evan Dando (singer from the Lemonheads) has a new album out on Bar None Records. I've listened to about half of it (so far) via his website and so far so good. He was on a sort of seven-year haitus from the music world after the Lemonheads released their last album. His new release "Baby I'm Bored" comes out in the U.S. tomorrow (it's already out in Europe). He's playing a free in-store gig at the Newbury Comics near the Alewife MBTA Station tomorrow at 7pm. Me and my digital camera will definately be there. I always liked the Lemonheads but I guess I wasn't a real fan since I never bought any of their albums.
Happy Birthday, Michael!
Visit Michael's website and send him your birthday wishes. And you'll probably want to wander around his site, too, since it's overflowing with great articles, rants, movie reviews, etc.
April 20, 2003
How to turn bad traffic and delays into something fun. Almost.
We spent the afternoon in Meriden, CT with Michael's family. The ride from Arlington was relatively painfree and took the usual 1.75 hours. The ride back was a slow crawl home and lasted closer to 3.5 hours. So, what do you do to make the trip home more enjoyable? 80's music on the radio and web surfing with your Internet-enabled mobile phone, of course! About halfway into the return trip I saw the URL posted outside The Bunk House in Charlton, MA so I thought I'd check it out on my phone. This happened a few more times and provided two easily amused humans with entertainment. Another website we spotted included the Hebert Candy Mansion in Shrewsbury. Founded in 1917, Hebert's is the oldest roadside candy store. Well, who knew! I'm definately taking my phone along for the ride the next time we take a random "hey, let's get in the car and just drive" mini roadtrip!
April 18, 2003
CSS follies and mobile phone dreams
In a previous entry I mentioned how I was going to wander through West Civ's free CSS Level 2 course. A fabulous idea, for sure. Of course, I never actually got to do it. But I figured I'd go ahead and try to set up the latest Exploit Boston! layout myself. No problem, right? I can read. I can type. Occassionally I can slap a few brain cells together. I'm a lucky fool. Matt is completely rescuing the CSS design. He deserves a raise! ;)
Today at work I disclosed to the guy in the cubicle next to me that I have a Sanyo mobile phone. I think he's the second person at work (Nokia) who I've told since starting this contract job a month ago. It's ironic that I'd get a job at Nokia a few weeks after I bought my cell phone but there wasn't a Nokia color-screen phone comparable to the Sanyo CP-4900 available with the Sprint PCS + Vision service. I got the same response from him: "You better hide that!" I have dreams of Nokia making the 6800 available with the Sprint PCS service. That would be quite excellent. It is such a sexy phone and it looks useful, too.
Exploit Boston! Part 3939302111
I probably have more to talk about than Exploit Boston! but it's been consuming a lot of my time so that's what I'll talk about here. I put the site back up today with a new layout. There is a lot of tinkering left to do. But thanks to some help from Matt with CSS, Brad with Perl and Movable Type and Mike with Mac testing it finally has some of the new functionality in place. Hindsight of course tells me I should have probably just used a regular, plain Movable Type weblog template and then EB! would have been active several months ago. One day I will learn the lesson of not trying to do so much at once -- especially when it's a labor of love sort of project. One day! But I'm happy that EB! is back up and ready for contributions. I guess I need to re-connect with everyone who expressed interest to contribute. I did come around on whether or not it should be primarily an event calendar. At first I didn't really want it to be a "weblog" -- mostly because I am so tired of hearing that word. weblogweblogweblogblahblahblah But the idea of having a zillion events up on the site at all times would be really tough to maintain solo. So, it's a weblog on the homepage that others can post to and then there's a 3-day calendar and spotlight events. The drop-downs for browsing by week, month and category were upsetting the XHTML validation so they'll have to wait until I figure out how to fix that (or until I ask someone for help!).
In some ways, Exploit Boston! feels like a sort of re-entry onto the Web. I've felt extremely disconnected from lots of the people I used to know and/or conspire with. Being able to bounce ideas off of new pals has been a lot of fun and reminds me of what my web life used to be like a long time ago.
Now if the sun would cooperate this weekend I might even crawl out of my cave!
April 15, 2003
To Do: West Civ's free online CSS Level 2 course
West Civ is currently offering weekly installments of their CSS Level 2 course. I forgot to go through last week's lesson so now I have to catch up tonight. It's an excellent learning adventure and hey, it's free. The catch with the free course is that the previous week's installment disappears eventually so you have to keep up! Last week's installment is still up but it will probably disappear soon. If you want to go at your own pace you can buy the course for $24.99. I'm just a hobby HTML and CSS tinkerer so it's nice to know there are great resources like this available to expand my tinkering knowledge.
April 13, 2003
Use every chance you've been given
she replied after several days
It's no good to be perfect
you know so well things are easy to tell
There is one thing I know
it goes like this
It's that when I lose my sleep it's you I miss - "You Know So Well"
Mike clued me in to 20 year-old Norwegian singer/songwriter Sondre Lerche. Wow. Truly outstanding lyrics and music. The release of his U.S. debut "Faces Down" came out September 2002 and this year he's been touring around the United States. I have a feeling I probably missed my chance seeing him in Boston though there's no info on his website indicating past tour dates. He's been touring with Nada Surf and will be in Omaha on May 24th so I might try to coordinate my next trip home that weekend, too. If you like Elliott Smith you'll probably like him, though Sondre sounds (to me -- based on limited Elliott Smith knowledge) a lot less mopey and more sentimental and clever. Check out his website to listen to little snippets of each song and then buy it!
April 09, 2003
City and neighborhood weblogs
While working on Exploit Boston! I've received several emails from people interested in tips regarding how to use Movable Type as an event calendar. Brad and I have talked about writing some sort of document that describes how Exploit Boston! is set up. Since EB! is still a work in progress, that's probably a few weeks away. I've stumbled across a few websites that are already up and running that focus on a particular city or neighborhood and are also using a weblog publishing tool to produce city-based content. There are probably a lot more out there than I'm aware of so I'm interested in hearing from people who either run a site like Exploit Boston! for their city or neighborhood or know someone else who has such a site. Posting the info in the comments of this entry or in an email would be great! The websites I'm searching for ideally mix weblog style publishing of original content and event listings focused on a particular city or neighborhood. I will share the list both here and on Exploit Boston!.
Exploit Boston! was on slow percolation for a while waiting for the new design. That didn't all quite go down like we had expected so this week I decided to work on updating the site myself and not worry about having the entire look be perfect all at once. So, for the next few weeks the website (www.ExploitBoston.com) is going to be undergoing various tweaks and enhancements on a very regular basis. I usually work on it in the mid to very, very late evening. So, if you check out the site after 8pm EST you'll probably want to refresh your browser a few times. Brad, Nicholas and Mike have been an enormous help contributing new functionality and HTML/CSS tips.
April 08, 2003
Who are the female technology leaders?
I sent Chris Pirillo a few speaker ideas for his Gnomedex 3.0 conference/geekfest but the only "big names" I could think of were all guys except one (Molly Holzschlag). It's 2003. There has to be at least a handful of women (or more!) who have significant name recognition that should be invited to speak at this event. Who are they?
April 06, 2003
Catching up with work and life
Today has been a reasonably productive sort of day. I got a lot of work done for the Rock Roll Library including posting a new job on RRL's VolunteerMatch.com page. Do you live in the Boston area with three hours per week to contribute as the membership coordinator? This person will be responsible for sending out membership packets to new members and will also respond to membership related emails that come through the website. And on a related note, the Rock Roll Library has a charter membership program running right now for rock and roll fans who want to become an integral part of an internationally recognized music force. I've been conspiring with RRL since around January and it's been a lot of fun.
There's a new photo album up with photos from my trip home to Nebraska few weeks ago. Now is probably a good time to get outside for the first time today while the sun is still out.
April 05, 2003
Meghan Toohey at Club Passim
I love seeing shows at Club Passim. One thing, it's smoke free. My eyeballs really appreciate the absense of smoke. It's also fun to be at a venue that's been around since the 50s (at this particular location since the 60s) where all sorts of people got their start including Joan Baez. Meghan Toohey (pop/rock singer songwriter) from The So & So's performed a special show last night accompanied by her new band's bass player. (I wish I could remember his name. Their website isn't up beyond the homepage.) I was expecting an acoustic solo show but apparently she doesn't like to do solo shows and her acoustic guitar is not in good shape. She brought a sampler to add drums to most of the songs. At times the added drums seemed to overpower a few of the songs; but overall, it was a great show and unique for the venue. I bought the band's new EP when they performed at Boston's First Night but they won't have additional CDs for sale until they get more money for printing. Maybe a patron program, similiar to what Jane Siberry uses to help fund her independent albums, could help them out. They deserve to be heard!
The So & So's have several shows coming up including a performance at another favorite club, The Lizard Lounge, on Friday, April 11th.
April 04, 2003
This is news?
Michael posted tidbits about a story on CNN.com regarding several Pearl Jam fans leaving the concert early during the encore because the band was voicing opposition to George Bush and the war in Iraq. Have these people been living under a rock even bigger than mine? Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam's lead singer) has not been shy about his political views over the years. And as Michael points out, he campaigned extensively for Nader's presidential campaign.
I can't decide what's worse: that people so unaware would attend a Pearl Jam concert and leave upset or that CNN would report this story as newsworthy from a very small minority. I'd like to know how CNN knew that everyone leaving early was actually doing so because they were annoyed with Eddie's comments or because they wanted to beat the traffic home. Using a word like "several" doesn't seem to make it all that newsworthy. Wow! Out of thousands of people at a concert, "several" left.
The world is a curious place but I plan to keep my own opinions. What that CNN story needs is a good supply of Chris Farley quotes.
April 02, 2003
What do your words mean?
Chris Pirillo announced on his website today that he was no longer at TechTV hosting the Call for Help show. He seemed to really enjoy his work there so it certainly came as a surprise. I waded through the oodles of comments people were posting on his website sharing their thoughts regarding the news. Chris has a lot of fans and friends online which isn't all that surprising since he's a genuinely nice guy. Apparently Leo Laporte who used to host Call For Help is now once again the host. Leo made the following statement on his website: "Chris has decided to return his full focus to Lockergnome (I'm sure he'll have more to say about it on his blog) and TechTV has agreed to allow me to return as host of Call for Help starting tomorrow." Maybe I'm weird. (Nevermind that question.) But it seems odd that someone would make a comment about Chris' plans before he (Chris) had a chance to make such a detailed statement himself. This is probably not an international crisis; but it does involve someone who I've been an online friend and fan of for many years (ISCABBS!) and it bugs me to see someone make such a statement. Gretchen Pirillo had a few tidbits to share but since she's closer to the source they probably carry a bit more weight. ;)
Curious Update: Leo Laporte changed the text on his website and the quote I noted above is no longer there.
I'm going to try to post daily photos again. It's been a while. I took quite a few photos in Nebraska last week and posted a photo of Max in the photolog today. I absolutely adore pugs. My fondness for pugs is mostly all my mom's fault when Max and Bud became a part of her world a few years ago. Max has so much energy. It's hilarious watching him run around. But then he'll stare at you and tilt his head to the side and you can't help but wonder what he's thinking.