Rocking for Mother Earth

Just got back from the 2002 Earth Fest at the Hatch Shell in Boston. Johnny A, Garbage, Lisa Loeb, Midnight Oil, and Bonnie Raitt. I’m a bit sunburned and dehydrated, but happy.

Garbage played a short set, maybe seven songs, but rocked pretty well. Lisa Loeb seemed to play on forever. I’m sort of a fan, but I had to agree when my friend Carie said to me, “She tries to sound really happy, but she’s got all these Alanis Morrisette lyrics.” “Yeah,” I said, “She’s like what if Alanis went to Mt. Holyoke.”

Midnight Oil rocked my world. I had forgotten that there was a period of time, starting around 1987 or 1988, when I listened to this band quite a lot. The CDs are long gone but the band is still going strong. One of our friends, a banker-to-be from Europe, was enjoying the show. He confessed, “I used to be really into this band, but then I used to be a Communist too.”

I was too tired to take in much Bonnie Raitt; when I found myself almost falling asleep I decided it was time to head back. Good show, though, and well worth the money I didn’t pay for it (yeah, it was a free show!).

The weekend is here

Lisa is home from a business trip. We’re about to check out Mamma Maria, a restaurant that we’ve lived up the street from for a year now and have never been to. Tomorrow I’m going to see Midnight Oil and Garbage, among others, for free. That’s about it for me. Hopefully I’ll have more blogging soon.

A cappella in the NYT? Quick, call our publicist

New York Times: Campuses Echo With the Sound of a Cappella. It’s true, it’s all true.

But it’s not new. I graduated from Virginia in 1994, and in the time I was there the scene went from four groups (Virginia Gentlemen, Virginia Belles, Hullabahoos, and Sil’Hooettes) to six with the addition of the New Dominions and the Academical Village People, not counting the “graduate and professional school groups” (there was a group at the Med school whose name, shamefully, I can’t remember).

Now I’m directing a young group at the Sloan School of Management, the E-52s. In many ways our group is more typical. We don’t have 50 or 60 people trying out; we don’t sing in championships or Avery Fisher Hall. We just hang out and sing and have fun. And joke about singing songs like Radiohead’s “You and Whose Army” or the Velvet Underground’s “Rock and Roll” a cappella. And occasionally we stop joking and start learning a song or two.

Brent, here it is…

Brent says that doing a Cocoa weblog editor “should be a piece of cake.” Maybe he and I should get together. Manila Envelope, after all, is AppleScript Studio, and that’s Cocoa with some AppleScript to glue it together.

What about it, Brent? Want to lend some Cocoa knowledge and help out?

Not too busy to rock

I’ve been a bit quiet the last few days because I’ve been getting the Sloan E-52s ready to rock the house. Our Spring Jam is May 9 and we just signed one of the best MIT a cappella groups, the MIT/Wellesley Toons, as our guests.

I’m really excited about this show. It will culiminate more than a year of hard work for me as director of the group and a lot of sweat on the part of the group members. Plus we’ll be doing an a cappella arrangement I did of a Velvet Underground song…but I won’t tell you which one. (Hint: you’ve seen it on this page today.) After I graduate I’ll have to start making some of my arrangements available over the web; a lot of them will never be performed because they’re too weird.

Listening day

Happiness is a new Elvis Costello record and finally having Yankee Hotel Foxtrot in my hands. EC: return to form. So far, with the exception of the song with samples, sounds a lot like “Brutal Youth.” Wilco: it’s a miracle the album came out at all, what with all the mess around its release. More later. Must listen, must listen.


Check out this person’s Zoe. Then think about it a lot. What does it mean to have a highly indexed mail store? For a technology with as high a signal to noise ratio as email, a lot. Cross platform, browser based interface (personal web server a la Radio, this one in front of a fully functional email server and a highly indexed mail database). Early beta still. But a lot of promise.

Eccentricity’s reward

It’s a beautiful day at Sloan this morning—cold but clearing, wet sidewalks from yesterday’s rain (badly needed), and quiet.

Today’s thought, from David Ogilvy, founder of Ogilvy and Mather: “Develop your eccentricities early, and no one will think you’re going senile later in life.”

Godless Darwinism!!!

Then there’s the radical Christian fringe, who since their pal John Aschroft came to office have been almost too quiet. No longer: Evolutionism Propaganda spills the beans about the secret agendas behind PBS, Pokémon, and Apple Computer!!! From the article:

“The real operating system hiding under the newest version of the Macintosh operating system (MacOS X) is called… Darwin! That’s right, new Macs are based on Darwinism! While they currently don’t advertise this fact to consumers, it is well known among the computer elite, who are mostly Atheists and Pagans. Furthermore, the Darwin OS is released under an “Open Source” license, which is just another name for Communism. They try to hide all of this under a facade of shiny, “lickable” buttons, but the truth has finally come out: Apple Computers promote Godless Darwinism and Communism.” [emphasis added]

It gets better, but you have to read it for yourself. After all, this “Atheist and Pagan” Presbyterian is dedicated to making sure you think for yourself and come to your own conclusions, which is, I suppose, as “godless” as it gets.

Anyone have a cure for a dead Palm?

My trusty Palm Vx will no longer take a charge. As the Pythons would say, “It’s bleeding demised.” Which would be less of a problem if its address book data were synced to my laptop, but when I was using the Palm 4 beta (the last time I got a sync to happen successfully—another issue) the address data never came across.

The Vx was an “old-generation” handheld, back when people with USB connections were the exception rather than the rule, cell phones were separate devices, and Palm still had overwhelming market share. If I were to be in the market for an inexpensive new handheld I wonder what it would be…

Outline browsing – personal deja vu

Getting in late on Dave’s Google Outline Browser. I have a hell of a lot of respect for this—because it feels really familiar.

Before I left my former company, I wrote a new feature for our flagship application, a client server application that supported government procurement. The feature traced complex relationships between contracting documents—requirements, solicitations, contracts, modifications, delivery orders, etc.—by means of an outline browser. For the first time, contracting agents could explore in a simple interface the path a contract line item took from requirement through closeout, regardless of the number of contractual documents it passed through.

The relationships Google tracks, as explored by the Outline Browser, are much subtler than this, and potentially infinite (well, within the 1000 call limit imposed by the beta). Mind bomb, indeed.