Saturday, 30 December 2006

Somewhat inspired by Jason Kottke I figured I’d run down a list of the places I’ve been and the things I’ve seen this year. Really the places list was directly inspired by Kottke, while the concert list came about after someone asked me over Xmas dinner how many shows I’ve seen this year.

Places I’ve Been

The rules are that I actually slept in the city for a minimum of one night and that it must be outside the Twin Cities area (no crashing at a friend’s house and counting it).

  • Denver, CO
  • Chicago, IL
  • Madison, WI
  • Cleveland, OH
  • Detroit, MI
  • Kansas City, MO
  • Stillwater, OK

Things I’ve Seen

No stipulations here, just a list of all the shows and concerts I’ve seen this year.

  • Physics Circus
  • Robert Randolph
  • California Guitar Trio
  • WGH Train Show
  • Spinout Records Package Show (Hi-Risers, Eddie Angel, and Kaiser George)
  • Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers (w/ Taylor Hollingsworth)
  • Ray Davies
  • Massive Attack
  • May Day Festival
  • Sigur Ros (w/ Animina)
  • Aimee Mann (w/ Adam Levy)
  • John Hiatt (w/ North Mississippi All-Stars)
  • Mike Doughty (Basilica Block Party)
  • Hookers and Blow (several times)
  • Fiona Apple (w/ Damien Rice)
  • Beth Orton (w/ Peeping Toms — Mike Patton from Faith No More)
  • Gnarls Barkley
  • A Silver Mt. Zion
  • Gary Numan
  • Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (w/ Stockcar Named Desire)
  • Bruce Cockburn
  • Buckwheat Zydeco
  • Buckwheat Zydeco (Yes, twice in a row)
  • Flaming Lips (w/ Sonic Youth and The Magic Numbers)
  • Zero 7
  • The Zombies (w/ Chooglin’, Gore Gore Girls, Mooney Suzuki, and The Woggles)
  • Cibelle
  • Hookers and Blow
  • Gjallarhorn (w/ Vajas)†
  • Hoven Droven (w/ Swap)†
  • Carbon Leaf
  • Yo La Tengo (which I left early)
  • Taylor Hollingsworth (on the guest list!)
  • Kaki King
  • Miho Hatori
  • Edie Brickell and New Bohemians
  • Los Straitjackets (w/ Patrick Sweeny Band)‡
  • Blue Man Group (Front. Row. Ticket.) ‡
  • Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers (in Cleveland, OH w/ As Fast As)‡
  • Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers (in Detroit, MI w/ As Fast As)‡
  • Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers (in Chicago, IL w/ As Fast As)‡
  • Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers (in Minneapolis, MN w/ As Fast As)‡
  • Robert Randolph
  • As Fast As (opening for Under the Influence of Giants, but I was really there to see Spencer and the boys)
  • Sia
  • The Honeydogs (w/ Andra Suchi)
  • Dr. John
  • Kansas City Symphony
  • 2006 CP Rail Holiday Train
  • Imogen Heap
  • Stuart Davis

That’s over 50 events (I can’t remember how many times I actually saw Hookers and Blow), only 4 of which were not actual concerts. Among those 46 known shows, there are, at least, 90 separate bands. I wish I could remember all of the opening acts for each show, because it might be a fun list to put together.

† Nordic Roots Festival ‡ Part of my 2006 Heartland Tour

Sunday, 21 August 2005

To go along with the new home for the site, I’ve added two concert reviews and a new section.

The reviews are for July shows, but didn’t finished the editing until now. They are Junior Brown and Nickel Creek.

The new section is called Visible. It’s a photo gallery that I’ve started off with concert pictures from Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers and Los Straitjackets plus shots from my trip to San Diego and the 2004 CP Holiday Train.

Tuesday, 16 August 2005

Welcome to my new digs!

I finally got to a point where I needed more than my hosting provider could offer, so I up and moved.

I’m kind of sad to go, because they’ve been very good to me over the years, but it was time. I’ve always said they’re not the cheapest in town, but they were the best.

Really, several factors came into play:

  • To put my photos on-line, I’d need a bunch more disk space. Even with a one-time setup fee of $2/MB, it would have added up fast.
  • No database offerings that met my needs. I asked at one point and was told Access (Ummmm. No.), or MS-SQL. Either way I’d have to move off the virtual server.
  • To expand a couple areas of my site the way I wanted, it would require a couple Perl modules and supporting libraries that they weren’t willing to install on their shared Web box.

Honestly, I can’t fault them for the Perl module thing. It’s a shared Web server and they have to look out for all their customers. But that, coupled with the disk space costs, the datbase, and the monthly rate, I felt it was time to change.

I was paying almost $60/mo (part of that was a $200/yr fee for an IP based Web virtual server) for email (Web/POP3/IMAP), spam filtering, Web space, shell access, and it all shared 40M of disk space. Also, I think that included Internet acceess—ISDN in my case, but dial-up and DSL were options. I can’t get DSL because I’m too far from the CO, so when I wanted higher speed I switched to broadband (cable-modem) a couple years ago.

I was tempted to host it myself at home, but again the costs adding up fast. The only broadband package would have been $150/mo and the terms only allowed for a Web server. What about email? I know I could run a server on their connection, but my IP address would still come from a cable-provider’s netblock. That would mean non-stop hassles getting outbound email to go through. Just a bunch of crap I didn’t really want to deal with.

Since I didn’t really need the ISP services from the old provider, I just needed to find a hosting provider that offered what I want and need.

After some poking around, and some suggestions from a couple friends, I ended up with Dreamhost. They had a sale going that includes 15 fully hosted domains (unlimited mirrors/redirects/subdomains), 7G of disk space with a free increase every week, every Perl module I could think of, unlimited MySQL databases, discussions lists, announcement lists, and a host of other things. All that for a $45 setup fee and $19/mo.

Getting ready to switch things over, and testing everything 17 times, plus a couple outside projects, working on my writing, and prepping a new section for the site have kept things hopping.

At least I have this part done. All that’s left is to clean up any remaining email the old ISP and notify friends in case any are still using an @provider.com address rather than @etherdust.com.

Sunday, 05 June 2005

It took some doing, but I’ve converted the FAQ page so it’s handled by Movable Type as well. In doing so, the layout has changed so it looks more like the rest of the site.

It will also allow for easier updates—and believe me, the FAQ needs it.

Monday, 23 May 2005

It dawned on me that I never linked to my list of Top CDs of 2004. As usual, it’s not the top releases of the year, but rather my favorite purchases. Things I listen to over and over

In spite of picking up 117 CDs last year, I could only come up with 4 that were “list-worthy.” Honerable mention goes to Tom Waits, one of my favorite artists, since I got 8 of his discs last year.

Better late than never.

Monday, 09 May 2005

Never content to leave things alone, I made a couple tweaks to the site layout.

  • The icons down the left are smaller than they used to be. The page was looking too crowded so I wanted to give it a little whitespace.
  • Changed the icon for Legible and Archives. Added new icons for Flyable (not sure I like that name) and a couple sections to appear in the near future.
  • I added a glossary, of sorts, and a site menu for suitably equipped browsers.
  • The template for the date-based archives has been changed to look more like the main page.

I’m sure there’s more changes to come, but that’s all I did tonight.

Thursday, 21 April 2005

I’ve been trying to teach myself guitar for a few months now and it’s not going so well. The excuses are plentiful: I don’t have a suitable practice space, I don’t have a decent chair that won’t get in the way, I don’t have time; you name it. Honestly, what it comes down to is embarassment and laziness. Embarassment because I can’t bear the thought of anyone hearing me play because it sounds so bad, I’m just learning after all. From there, it’s just another convenient excuse to avoid practice, even though I know I’d better better if I spent the time on it.

A friend of mine has been a mandolin player for years. He has one at work and he’ll play around with it after-hours once in a while. To my untrained ears, he’s not bad. He has several songs in his repetoir and it usually teaching himself something new.

He’s offered to teach me guitar, but for some reason I’ve never taken him up on it. Mostly out of embarassment. I know nothing about playing guitar. I’d be starting at absolute zero. I can tune the thing, but that’s it.

It’s times like these I wish I had stuck with the violin or viola when back in junior high orchestra. Musically speaking, I’d be better off then I am today, perhaps even continuing to compose my own stuff. Instead, I have a piano I never play and my keyboard gear is stored in the basement, gathering dust.

As it turns out, one of the guys at work just bought a mandolin and my friend is going to teach him to play. So what did I do? I bought myself an inexpensive mandolin and hope to join in on the lessons.

I’m not sure why I think it will end up any different than with the guitar (and the piano, the keyboards, the violin…), but I want to give it an honest try. My expectations are realistic; I don’t expect to become great. Heck, I’ll be happy if I can simply learn to pick out a couple tunes and have them be recognizable.

Sorry this is so scattershot. I hope to clean this up and turn it into a new story later this summer. We’ll see how the lessons go.

Friday, 25 March 2005

I did a bit of housekeeping today too. The main thing is that I added the icons on the left and bumped in the text a little bit.

One thing that’s always bothered me about this layout is the text size. It’s not so bad on the main page, but when you get in the stories it gets a bit dense. I keep playing around with the design on my development server, but can’t decide what to do.

Tuesday, 22 March 2005

Just today I finished putting the archives of the main page notes on-line. Not that it’s interesting reading, in fact, precisely the opposite. I wouldn’t really recommend going back and reading through it all unless you have trouble sleeping.

Friday, 11 March 2005

There are still some quirks to figure out, but I’ve installed Movable Type to handle the notes on the front page.

Until now, I was using a custom script and manually updating text files that contained each comment itself. It was a pain in the butt, so I rewired it.

Templates and archives are still to be done, but the biggest thing was getting the main page going.