Vacation Time

December 18th, 2006

I’ll be back in Connecticut for about a week or so starting Tuesday night. While this means no playing in “The Wheatie” tomorrow, it certianly almost guarantees a trip or two to Foxwoods while I’m in the neighborhood.

Drop me a line or give me a call if you’d like to hang out for poker or non poker time!

Mirror, Mirror

December 9th, 2006

The poor guy never stood a chance…

Your chips to my chips


December 9th, 2006

Well, it seems that ‘explodey’ is how my life in computers is lately.

This morning when I tried to wake up Barnacle1 this morning, it wasn’t accepting any input from the mouse or keyboard. I did the obvious thing and tried a restart. Upon doing so, things appeared to be working fine, except that my network connection appeared to be odd. “That’s odd,” I thought, and set out to try to get the problem resolved.

I uninstalled the ethernet card driver, and tried to reinstall, but no luck. I then tried to roll back the driver…. that was a horrible mistake. The machine would then get in this endless loop of “the network cable is unplugged. No, wait. there it is! Nope, it’s unplugged!” and I was unable to do ANYTHING with the machine.

I ended up putting in an old ethernet card I had and disabling the onboard network adapter. I guess this is what I get for having a $50 motherboard….


1 Barnacle is the name of my desktop computer. It was so named because when I firist got the Motherboard to put this thing together it kept being stubborn and refusing to work. I finally got the machine going after several days of tinkering, but by then it earned the name of ‘Barnacle’ for being such a stubborn pain in the hull.

Here We Go Steelers…

December 8th, 2006

The Steelers, about to score some points.

Just because it’s 17ºF and very windy doesn’t mean it’s not a great idea to sit outside for three and a half hours, drink overpriced but crappy beer, and watch the Steelers beat up on one of the worst teams in football. Actually, it’s quite fun.

A coworker of mine had procured some of us tickets to the game. I was glad to have the opportunity to go because I’m not sure if I’ll be around these parts for another football season and I can’t leave Pittsburgh without having seen the Steelers in person at least once. The final score was 27-7. It probably should have been 27-0, but the refs failed to call a fumble on the part of the Browns late in the forth quarter. The replays made it look pretty clear, but when you’ve got less than 7 minutes left in the game, and you’re ahead by 27-0, it’d probably just be sort of a dick thing to do to throw the red flag.

Willie Parker had quite the game too. He’s now the first Steelers running back since Bettis to have two consecutive 1,000 yard rushing seasons, the first Steelers running back to have two 200 yard rushing games in their career, and he set the all time Steelers record for rushing yards in one game with something like 223 yards.

It wasn’t a very interesting game in the “who’s going to win” sort of way; the Browns just never really started playing. But it was really good to see the team play well again. If they could have only been in this groove a month and a half ago…

At any rate, I really don’t have anything insightful to say about this. So I’ll stop now.


December 1st, 2006

Hello, readers. is back!

As some of you may have noticed, things haven’t been operating quite so smoothly here for a little while. Sometime around the middle of November, the database that runs the site went BOOM! Not being a database expert, and being unsure how to fix the problem, it took me a while to get around to getting things all back up and running. Fourtantely, I was able to finally get things back up and running.

So, what happened? Well, I had been using a WordPress plugin called Firestats. The purpose of this little plugin is to track your site statistics: hit counts, recent visitors, pages visited, recent referrers, popular search terms, and other things of that sort. Well, this program was a 0.9.8 beta release, but it had gone through several revisions, and looked to be ready for use. Too bad it wasn’t. After working fine for a few weeks, the program eventually managed to entirely mangle the WordPress database. As Jeremy said, “Now you’ve learned a valuable lesson about using beta release software.”

Once I finally decided to get started on fixing the problem, Jeremy pointed me to some docs on how to fix MySQL databases. The problem is that due to the way my hosting is set up, it didn’t seem like my account had permissions to run the proper programs on the database tables. After much stalling and frustration over a week or so about this, I finally looked around my directories and found a database dump from July, the last time I had upgraded WordPress.

After taking a dump of the current (screwed up) database, I nuked it, recreated it and imported the July dump. One of the tables in the July dump, the wp categories table, had become corrupted though. What I ended up doing is cutting the categories table from the recent dump, which I was pretty sure was ok, and pasting it over the table in the July dump. I then reimported the new spliced dump. It worked. I threw up my hands in victory and cheered so loud my undergrad-neighbors probably think I’m a crazy old man.1

The problem with using the July dump, obviously, is that it would only have posts up until that point. This was a total of about 12 posts. Since that time, I’ve made about 27 more. Well, forunately for me, all of the more recent posts were still in the corrupted db that I dumped, they just weren’t in the proper format any more. I’m now in the process of going through the dump file in a text editor and retrieving the posts ‘by hand’. I’m a little more than 1/3 of the way done with this process. It shouldn’t take me that much longer to get the rest in. I’ll have it done sometime tomorrow, I think.  The down side is that it looks like I have lost any of the comments that were  made after July.  While this is unfortunate, at least I was able to save the most of the other things from the corrupted database.
What does this mean for you? Well, nothing really.. unless you’re reading this through the Livejournal feed. If that’s the case, then you’re probably going to get my last 10 posts all at once on your friends page. I apologize for that, but there doesn’t seem to be much of a way around it. Hey, at least it will give you a refresher.
So, stay tuned for the complete restoration of along with the much awaited conclusion to the “To Ohio and Back” story… coming this weekend!


1Who am I kidding? I’m pretty sure they thought I was a crazy old man already.

To Ohio and Back, Part II

October 18th, 2006

Finding the Venue. That’s where we left off, and that’s where we’ll get started today.

Here’s the problem: the Great City of Columbus does not see fit to properly label their roads.1 Due to a lack of signage, I missed US 40. At one point, I stopped at a gas station for directions. The cashier looked at me like I was a raving mad man when I was asking for directions to US 40, or S. Central Ave, or Harrisburg Pike–any of the major roads that would have helped me out. There was one nice lady who seemed to know where I was going, but her directions seemed to involve a number of odd landmarks. Her instructions were also delivered in an unintelligible accent made no more comprehensible by her voice, which clearly had been ravaged by a lifetime of booze and cigarettes.

After riding up and down some main roads for a while, I was finally able to locate US 40, putting me back on course. Within short order I arrived at my target road: the Harrisburg Pike. The name of the venue for the show was Outland, and its website helpfully listed its address as 660 Harrisburg Pike2.

Where the Harrisburg Pike starts there are some old strip malls on either side of the road. Immediately afterwards, the number starts in the 700s and goes up. I figured that the venue must, oddly, be in one of these shopping mall structures. I ended up in pulling into the mall on the odd-numbered side of street first, but I was encouraged that I saw the numbers 651 and 693 and such in the windows, as I figured that I simply had to cross the street and head to the other strip mall.

Upon riding across the street however, the lot is empty. 90% of the storefronts appeared to be abandoned. I see a 640 and a 680 in windows, but no 660. There was a police officer parked in the lot, so I rode over to him and asked about this venue. Of course, he’d never heard of it, told me that there was definitely nothing going on here, and that I should probably leave so that I wasn’t trespassing.

Friendly guy.

I rode away from his car, and actually found a door marked 660. It was a beat up wooden door with a couple of old mailboxes hanging on it. It didn’t look encouraging. It was also locked. There was no sound coming from it and no doorbells in sight.

I briefly considered that the advertised Snog show was nothing but a plot to lure me into a crappy section of Columbus, so some thugs could beat me up and steal my precious motorcycle. Upon further reflection, this seemed like a far fetched plan. Still, I kept it in the back of my mind and got back on the bike.

On a whim, I decided to check the back of this building since I was definitely at 660 Harrisburg Pike. As I started down the weed choked alley-like area, I remembered the evil plot to bring me down, but I was determined to find Snog. I rounded a corner and there were many cars parked around the back. Many more than would make sense for an abandoned strip mall, anyway. I rode a little further and found a covered patio with folks smoking, and a banner that read Outland. I had found the venue.

I parked right in front of the ‘main’ door3 and headed into the building. It was about 9:40 PM. As I would later find out, Outland is located in the stock room of a former supermarket. It is also a Total Dive. The venue was pretty sizable, though, with 3 separate rooms: the main room, a video game arcade, and a billiards room. Additionally, there was the aforementioned smoker’s patio, as Columbus is a no-smoking-indoors kind of place.

As I walked around, it became obvious that none of the bands had yet played. For some reason, the start of the show had been pushed back to 10 PM. While I was waiting, I checked out the bar. The selection would have been great… if I had no taste whatsoever. It had been a long day, however, so I made do with the best beer they had available: <shudder>Heineken.</shudder>

The crowd was rather small. Maybe about 100 or so people were milling around. A few loops around the venue confirmed that I knew no one in attendance. One friendly guy did start a conversation with me, though. He was a tall, skinny guy in his early 20s or so. He introduced himself to me as “The Vampire Damien” and started by bragging that he and his friends had traveled all the way to Columbus from Cincinnati. After quickly exiting that conversation, I was accosted by a drunk girl who asked, “Do you want to be my boyfriend? Mine left me tonight.” And then she vomited on the floor right in front of me.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to mingle with the locals for too long before the first of the bands started. First on the line up: Movement & Effect. As it turns out, this act was just one woman who hit play on her sequencer and sang along. For the first song, she also strummed along on an electric guitar. The set dragged on for about 8 or 9 songs. While the music wasn’t terrible, it was pretty boring, and the set was much too long for an opening band, especially at a show that got underway two hours late.

After about fifteen minutes of equipment wrangling in between bands, the second act of the night, called Stygios, started their set. These guys were clearly local heroes, as the crowd were going nuts for them the whole way through. Me, I left the main room for the whole set. They were loud, distorted, sang insipid-sounding lyrics, and played poorly structured songs. That being said, I’m sure they’re all nice guys and are, of course, much better musicians than I am. They were, however, a poor choice to open for Snog.

Stygios was off the stage by about 11:50. Both opening bands played for at least 45 minutes each. By this point, it had been a very long day, but I was excited to finally get a chance to see Snog. For a while, though, it looked like I might not have that chance.

Something was wrong. Snog’s set up took about an hour and forty minutes. After getting their equipment set up on the stage, it appeared that they were having a problem between one of their midi-controllers and computer or synth module. For about an hour, there were many concerned faces on stage, and much shuffling around of keyboards to try to get things running. One of the keyboardists from Stygios even lent the band one of their keyboards, which was really cool of him. Eventually, Snog’s set up people got everything running in its original configuration.

Snog took the stage at just after 1:00 AM, and played a sixteen song set, not clearing off until just after 2:30 AM. The set list was roughly as follows4:

  1. Neighbour of the Beast
  2. King of Hate
  3. some new song
  4. some other new song, possibly Crash Crash
  5. Al Qaeda Is Your Best Friend
  6. Planet of Shit
  7. Don’t Go Down to the Woods Today
  8. Spermy Man
  9. Some classic Snog Song
  10. Late 20th Century Boy
  11. Corporate Slave
  12. Born to Be Mild
  13. Hooray
  14. The Human Germ
  15. Waiting
  16. The Prole Song

As you can see, the first 7 songs were all off of the new album. This worried me, because while the new album is OK, it’s definitely not the strongest offering my Mr. Thrussell and Co., and since the show started very late, I wasn’t sure for how long the band would be allowed to play. After song seven, however, Thurssell broke into his first of what I ended up calling his “atmospheric monologues”5 and declared that he would be taking the audience on a tour of the “EBM Museum”. He then proceeded to take the band into something very close to a “best of Snog” set.

As you can see, the band finished with “The Prole Song”. I thought it was a good way to end the night. This show was the last of Snog’s U.S. tour, and it was apparent that the band was having a good time performing.

After the band cleared the stage, I quickly made my way to the bike so that I could get back to the hotel. I wanted to get a good night’s sleep, but I also didn’t want to sleep in too late, as I had a day full of riding adventure ahead of me on Tuesday.

More on that in To Ohio and Back, Part III.


1See, back in 1924* some folks at the Federal level thought it’d be a great idea to start a numbered highway system. Why? Well, this would allow people to navigate great distances with out having to know the names of local roads, thus facilitating national travel. What a Crazy Idea! While crazy it may be, it’s a great system. The idiots in Columbus, though, don’t seem to realize this.

2The website did not, however, contain a very important piece of information about where the venue was located. You’ll see what I mean as you continue reading. Their website has since been updated.

3Hah! Parking! Bikes are so fucking cool.

4I didn’t take notes on the set list for this show, but I wrote these down when I got back to the hotel. It’s at least 80 – 85% right.

5 Man, that guy talked a lot throughout the second half of the set.

*Seriously kids, learn your history. If you want to know more about the US Highway System you can check out

To Ohio and Back, Part I

October 18th, 2006

Ah, writing. I’ve been neglecting my writing for quite some time. I’ve decided that it ‘s time to get back on track and finally write up my trip to Ohio from early this month. I haven’t been procrastinating, really! It’s only been a few days!1

All packed up and Ready to go!

The journey began on the afternoon of October the Second. I had taken the day off from work so that I could run some errands, straighten up the apartment, and get an early afternoon start on the trip. The destination: Columbus, Ohio. The reason: to observe everyone’s favorite anti-capitalist band from Australia rock out.


Odometer reading at the get go: 698.9 miles. The day was overcast, but the temperature was a pleasant 70° when I set out at about 3:30 in the afternoon. The planned route: US 22, to US 40 to Columbus.

US 22 was boring for most of the way. I even screwed up while still close to home, and ended up on the wrong highway near the Robinson Mall. Once I got back underway, however, US 22 was a slab2 for the first 55 miles or so. This was also before my windshield arrived, so those highway miles get tiring after a while. Combining these factors with the gray weather, it was a bleak start for the ride.

To pass the time, I had brought the iPod along. I figured that some tunes or podcasts would be nice to pass the time, provided I could hear them while still being able to hear the road and cars around me. This turned out to be infeasible at highway speeds, due to the wind noise involved, but worked nicely on the lower speed roads.

About 25 miles into Ohio, the slab section of US 22 finally ended and I was left with a nice 4 lane byway on which to ride. The road sometimes went down to 2 lanes, but traffic was light the whole way and made for a good leg of the ride.

A couple hours after leaving, I hit US 40. US 40, also known as the National Road in this area, is marked as a scenic byway, and I’d say it mostly deserves that distinction. It runs roughly parallel to I-70 to Columbus and beyond. When I approached 40, the sky also cleared up, and the temperature was still pleasant in the high sixties / low seventies. It’s a 4 lane road for most of the length that I traveled, and I encountered barely any traffic. At this point, in the ride, however, I was starting to worry about getting to Columbus in time, so I slabbed it a couple of times on 70, alternating between the nice road and the quicker road.

I arrived at my hotel around 7:45 or so, just after it was starting to get dark. I was a little worried about getting to the venue on time, as the show was billed to start at 8 PM, and I wanted to allow for time to get lost. I felt it was necessary to stop at the hotel first, though, as I preferred to leave my belongings in hotel, opposed to on the bike outside of the venue.

The hotel was a rundown Rodeway Inn, located in Worthington, which is just outside of the city. The night before, I had Pricelined for hotels, and this location was the winner, at just $35 a night and located about 15 miles away from the venue. I stopped for just enough time to leave my stuff in the room, and then hit the road again.

According to the the maps I had consulted back in Pittsburgh, it was a pretty easy route to the venue on some of the signed US Routes (such as 23 and 40) to get to the venue, so I opted for that route as opposed to simply taking the interstate. I also figured I could find food easily on some of these roads, as I hadn’t eaten since about 1 PM.

On US 23, I managed to stop at the Worlds Slowest Taco Bell Ever. I arrived around 8:00, and didn’t get out of there until about 8:45. The only customers there before me were a mother and daughter, who were ordering as I arrived. Ten minutes later, I was finally allowed the privilege of placing my order. Roughly 25 minutes after ordering, my food had finally been prepared. The incompetence at this establishment was simply staggering.

I started to worry about missing part of the show, but then I remembered that there were two bands booked before Snog that I had never heard of, so I figured they were probably just crappy local acts. After eating the very late and really terrible tasting burritos that I had ordered, I got back underway.

The route ahead was easy. Take the street I was on south until I hit US 40, turn right, then turn left onto a road that would eventually become the road on which the venue was located. Sounds easy, right? If only it was.

Stay tuned for To Ohio and Back, Part II, in which our hero gets lost in Columbus, threatened by the fuzz, and finally finds what he is looking for: a kick ass concert from David Thrussell and Company.


1And by a few days, I really mean two weeks.

2That’s what us super cool biker-types call an expressway-style road.


October 1st, 2006

I finally got around to picking a new theme for the site. And you thought I’d never actually get around to it.

The theme is based of of this dude‘s Ice theme. Once I get it all up and running I’ll get a proper credit-where-credit’s due page up for my variation of it. I like the theme, but I am planning on tweaking it out a little. I’ve already made a new background image.. based on a photo I took all by myself. 10 points to the first person who can guess what is pictured.

If you’re reading this on the Livejournal feed, please check it out at so that you can check out it’s hotness.

Your feedback is welcome. No, it is actually actively requested. Thanks.

Electronic Music and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

September 30th, 2006

The other day I was talking about quitting my job and riding around the country. It sounded like a good idea. So, I’m going to do something like it.

No, Mom and Dad, don’t worry… I’m not quitting my job. I’m just taking a couple of days off of work and heading off to Ohio on the bike for a couple of concerts.

On Monday evening, Snog is playing in Columbus. I’ve always wanted to see Mr. Thrussell and Co., but I’ve never caught them on their infrequent tours of our great land. It’s time for some Live Snog, and it’s going to be great1.

On Tuesday evening, everyone’s favorite masters of Norse witchcraft2, Covenant, will be rocking out in the Cleveland area. So I’ll head up to that city named after a Connecticut resident3, and watch the re-animated corpse of Eskil Simonsson sing songs that hopefully do not appear on the album Skyshaper.

The plan is this: I’m taking off Monday and Tuesday. I’ll head out Columbus-way on Monday afternoon. I will stay somewhere4 in that area on Monday night. On Tuesday, I’ll make a day out of taking the back roads up to Cleveland, and seeing what I can see along the way. After the Covenant show, I’ll head right back to Pittsburgh, as I didn’t want to burn another vacation day for Wednesday.

This trip will be facilitated by the arrival this past week of my new saddlebags, and the sissy bar roll bag I ordered. These will give me the needed cargo capacity. Unfortunately, my windshield won’t be arriving until this Tuesday, so this trip will be with out that accommodation.

I’m excited as this will be the first long trip on the bike, and I’ll be seeing two great bands too. How can I go wrong?

Now, who else is going to be at these shows? Sound off, people.


1 That sounds dirty, but it really isn’t.

2 Ask Steph, it was her theory to begin with.

3 It’s true, you can look it up. The city was founded by Moses Cleaveland of Canterbury. However, he eventually left it, and went back to Connecticut to live and die. See, even the dude who started Cleveland knew better than to actually live there.

4 Any ideas for where I should stay?

The Ride

September 27th, 2006

“Wow! Another Post! Look at him go!”

I can hear you all the way from here.

One of the ideas swirling around my head the other day was that I really had yet to see a lot of This Vast Country. Another idea swirling around was that I could really use some time entirely removed from day to day routine to really start thinking about things in my life. Yet another idea in my head was how much I liked that really neat motorcycle of mine.

These ideas all bumped into each other, and at first each was a little indignant at being run into by the others. After a few tense moments, they realized that they all really liked beer and that they should all sit down for a pint together. Thus was born the idea of The Ride and The Book.

So we’re about to enter silly daydream fantasy land. We are entering a world where suddenly all of my large bills are paid off, I have quit my job, and I have months and months worth of salary saved up in the bank. In short, this land bears little resemblance to reality. However, this land is certainly has some very pretty sights, so lets go for a ride.

The idea is like this. I’m most likely in my last year at Pitt. In the spring, I’m supposed to start looking for a new job, one higher up the ladder. What if, instead of pursuing career advancement, I simply take a year or so off, hop on the Shadow and ride.

This country is a big place, and I’ve seen just a small proportion of it. What if I just head off in a direction, lets say West, and see what’s out there. When I run out of roads to the West, maybe I can go North, and visit Canada, or turn South and explore more America. And what else could I do, but write about all of these adventures.

The Great AntiDJ Road Story. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance with out any of the Zen, and none of the tirades about bike maintenance. American Gods, with out all of that crazy mythology stuff. You get the idea. Me. My Motorcycle. The Road.

While the general route seems like it should stay open and unplanned, already some stops that need to happen leap into my mind.

Maryville, OH. What’s there, you ask? Well, that’s where the ol’ Shadow was built. If I’m going on a journey to find myself, it seems only right that I should help my iron horse find herself too. I’ll be spending thousands of miles with the bike, visiting it’s birthplace seems like a good way to ensure I understand my machine.

A large bike rally. You know… Sturgis, Laconia, Daytona. Something like that. It wouldn’t be a cross country motorcycle trek without at least hitting one rally and writing about it. I’m not someone that people would categorize as a stereotypical biker. I don’t know what I’d find at such and event, but it seems like this would be as good of a time as any to find out.

Vegas. Of course I have to hit Vegas on my bike. Maybe a run at one of the WSOP events is in order. What? You thought I wasn’t going to work poker into this somehow? Man, you’re pretty silly. Also, do you really think I’m going to travel all across this country and NOT going to hit up Quark’s Bar for at least one Warp Core Breach? You don’t know me at all, do you?

L.A. How could I not hit Los Angeles? Based on all stories you hear and stereotypes and such, L.A. is completely and un-Me sort of place. What better way to find out who you are, than to find out some things that you definitely aren’t?

There are plenty of other places that warrant a visit from me and my bike. Use your imagination; I’m sure you can think of some. But mostly, this is about the ride. What does it matter where I actually end up visiting?

Sounds great, doesn’t it? Now, all I need to work out is that whole issue of money…