Cars & Coffee in Celebration Florida

Earlier this year I happened to meet up with a local BMW owner. He turned me onto Space Coast BMW – a Facebook page run by one of the club members. Yesterday I met up with some of the members and we caravanned to Celebration for the monthly Cars & Coffee event.

I was impressed at the turn out of some of the very cool cars there including a Ferrari Enzo – the hit of the morning. Sammy had a great time too!

 

New Music

Over the years I’ve found that my musical interests change and evolve over the years. This year I find myself less interested in Modern Jazz and more back to my original roots in Progressive Rock. For those of you unfamiliar with this genre think bands like Yes, King Crimson & Rush.

Steven Wilson – The Raven That Refused to Sing (And Other Stories)KSCOPE241

In last months issue of Prog Magazine ran the top 100 Progressive Rock Albums of the year (or there abouts). I had heard of Steven Wilson as the leader of Porcupine Tree but really didn’t know anything about his music. They listed his 2013 release The Raven That Refused To Sing (and Other Stories) at #7.

Remarkable is one word for this album. Compelling is another! The musicality displayed here is nothing short of genius. From odd meters & Mellotrons to CSN-like vocals this guy and his band mates are nothing short of phenomenal in my book.

Check him out here.

Late September update

As September comes to an end I thought I would post some pictures of the past 3 months (almost) that Sammy & I have been living in Florida.

Satellite Beach -  Grant Avenue
Satellite Beach – Grant Avenue

Sunrise & sunsets

I get to the beach with Sammy generally twice a day. Some mornings we get there in time to watch the sunrise. We also get some great sunsets from the backyard or if we are out and about.

Brat Update

I had some time to kill after I got here before I went back to Atlanta in late August. I’ve wanted to put some driving lights on the M Coupe for a while. I also did a detail, added some stone guards and – of course – got the new license plate!

Electronic Drum Set Upgrade

I bought my Roland V-Drums back in the early 2000’s when I had to live in an apartment for a while. I always loved the ways the drums sound and the different voices you can get but never cared much for whacking on a pad instead of a cymbal.

Enter the new Zildjian Gen 16 Electronic / Acoustic cymbals. These are reduced volume cymbals (due to the matrix of holes on them) and have an electronic pickup which feeds to a dedicated processor to get 25 different variation of the cymbals natural sound. They play exactly like a regular cymbal and sound great.

Combined with my Roland SPD-SX sampling pad (in front) I now have dozens of different, configurable sounds. My next step is to start recording my percussion instrument for playback.

 Sammy

Sammy’s doing fine – especially for being nearly 11 years old (this January). He had a bit of a hard time adjusting to the move and being a ‘single-dog’ family. He’s terrified of the thunder storms and I am extra careful to make him feel safe during these times.

Roll

We all know how Sammy loves to roll in anything stinky. Well – he loves going to the beach twice a day to ‘Get his roll on!’

 

Sunrise and Sunset

Thank God that’s over

After a surreal weekend back in Atlanta I am happy to say that I have successfully extracted myself completely. Surgically one might say – ouch! Once I complete my Georgia tax return for 2014 I’ll hopefully never have anything more to do with the state I never intended to live in. 19 years later!

I am so grateful my Creator has this wonderful sense of humor and has placed all these children of his in my path to learn from, love and – in some cases – touch their souls. I am grateful that I have had that gift given to me and I will cherish the good and grow from the less-than-good.

It’s taken me a long time to understand that my only role as a human being is to be of maximum service to my fellow man. To love my fellow man and treat everyone as a child of God and a person of worth. It’s taken me a long time to understand that to love another means to treat them with respect, show compassion & empathy, provide encouragement, lack any ill-will or manipulation, and to be honest in my relationship with everyone I know. It’s taken me a long time to understand that I am no better – or no worse – than anyone. We are all the same in the eyes of our Creator.

I could have never understood this without all that has brought me to this point – all the beautiful souls that I have known. I understand now that life is a gift – not some kind of burden to be born. I understand that every moment I have a choice to look at things as if nothing is a miracle or everything is a miracle. I understand that I have a choice to be right or to be free and happy. I understand it’s my choice to let go or be dragged until the road rash is painful enough.

Honesty, Acceptance, Humility, Faith and Love. These are my goals now. Look at each moment as a miracle, each moment as a gift. To turn my thoughts and actions to the positive and avoid the negative.

And to my detractors I can only say that the truth will set you free. I harbor no ill-will, no hatred or resentment – that only hurts me. I don’t answer to anyone but my Creator. Live long and prosper as Mr. Spock would say.

0.2 Miles

zeropoint2mile

I will be moving from Atlanta to Satellite Beach Florida next month. The map is my walk to the beach.

I am so grateful that my job with IBM allows me the freedom to live anywhere. As a new chapter unfolds in my life I am looking forward to this dream I have had for a long time of moving back. I have lived in some beautiful parts of the US (and Germany) but have felt the tug back home since I left nearly 40 years ago.

I have had to make some of the most difficult choices in my life recently. Yet somehow I approached these changes – at least in part – in a way I have never done before. I am grateful to all of life’s experiences, my friends and especially my family in my journey.

I leave Atlanta with my buddy Samwise, now 10 years old, to start this new chapter in my life. I leave here in Atlanta my best friend, my canine girlfriends and all the people who have touched my life the past 18 years. For never intending to live in Atlanta I ended up living here longer than anywhere else in my journey. I’m grateful that I have made these connections. Most importantly I have let others touch my life here like never before in my lifetime and I intend to nourish these friendships for as long as I can.

Working for IBM

I am grateful to have been able to work as a contractor for IBM the past couple of years. I work as a User Experience and Web Designer for the portal they use to support their Business Partners: PartnerWorld.

Here’s the top 5 things that make this one of the best jobs – if not the best job – I have ever had:

  • I work at home – and most everybody else I work with does the same
  • I have had two of the best bosses in my working career
  • I’ve only met a handful of assholes and even they weren’t that bad
  • I get to do what I love – design and apply what I’ve learned – technology marketing – best of both worlds
  • I really like the people I work with and they go out of the way to let each other know how much they appreciate what you do

Case in point:

"Webman"
“Webman”

And that was for simply fixing something I originally screwed up. Imagine that.

Seriously though, I had no idea how good a company IBM is to work for. They treat their contractors great and some have worked there for 15+ years. I never realized how progressive they were with minorities and the handicap over the years. I am astounded at how much they give back including employees working in foreign countries to help their people.

I am glad I was able to save the best for last. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve had some really great (and really suck) jobs over the years – but this one is just about perfect.

Musicality

I was talking to a friend recently about music. I made the statement that modern music is largely devoid of musicality and sounds very synthesized and repetitive. That got me thinking about the artists I loe and the ‘musicality’ of their playing.

Several of my long term favorite artists have over the years recorded their compositions with a large orchestra. The results have always been breath-taking to me.

OrkestPat Metheny and the Metropol Orkest

The Metropol Orkest is a jazz and pop orchestra based in the Netherlands, and is the largest full-time ensemble of its kind in the world. A hybrid orchestra, it is a combination of jazz big band and symphony orchestra. In the early 2000s, Pat played several of his best known compositions including First Circle, Are You Going with Me..? and others. While not available on an recording (that I know of), the videos are on YouTube.

Peter Gabriel: New Blood - Live in London [Blu-ray] (2011)Peter Gabriel New Blood

This gem was released several years ago but I didn’t pay much attention to it at the time. With Peter now ion his Front to Back tour, I decided to give it at watch / listen on BluRay. Un-fucking-believable! This orchestra is amazing. I especially love San Jacinto and The Rhythm Of The Heat – both of which brought me to tears. Peter is getting so plump now he reminded me of a monk of some kind!

Jaco Pastorius Big Band
Jaco Pastorius Big Band – Word of Mouth Revisited

Jaco Pastorius Big Band

I just picked this up the other day after listen to a cut of ‘Havona’ on Pandora. It blew me away as does the album. Each song features a well known bassist like Marcus Miller, Victor Wooten, Jimmy Haslip and Christian McBride (in addition to Jaco himself). My favorite tracks are the ones he recorded with Weather Report including Havona, Teen Town, Punk Jazz… the list goes on!

51gfBVlUQzLBrown Street – Joe Zawinul and the WDR Big Band

This came out in 2005 and is one of my favorites. Basically the music of Weather Report done big band style. Like the Jaco Pastorius Big Band recording, it’s breath taking to hear the well known passages done with a big band flavor. Joe was always big on the “World Music” scene so the result is sort of a Weather Report meets Big Band meets World Music sort of thing. Also especially meaningful since Joe’s passing several years ago.

Funny Pictures

I like browsing Reddit’s imgur.com/r/funny and save the funnier ones I’ve found. Here are some of them.

Funny Face
Zebrafish Embryo

Zebrafish Embryo

This little guy is a four-day-old zebrafish embryo, measuring about one centimeter in length.

The zebrafish is a tropical, freshwater fish that comes from Asia. The creature is often used to study developmental biology and neurodegeneration — the deterioration of nerve cells — in vertebrates. Last year, researchers used calcium ions to record the neurons firing in a zebrafish embryo.

This false-color photo is actually three scanning electron micrographs digitally stitched together.

DIYDIY

This one made me laugh so hard because it so well describes what I do while doing my DIY projects.  I still can’t find some of the tools that I used, put somewhere and forgot. And not only do I stare into space a lot but I dream about my projects and how I am going to solve some particular problem. Drives me fucking nuts sometimes but I always seem to come up with a solution.

Weather Channel Funny
The Weather Channel – Tell It Like It Is!

The Weather Channel

Although I don’t actually watch the weather channel much (unless their is a major catastrophe taking place) it pretty much sums up my view in general of TV when something ‘bad’ happens.  I laughed so hard when I saw this one I nearly shit myself. Especially the picture of the exploding earth in the lower left.

 

Vanilla Fudge

IMG_20140514_0001

I was reading the the April issue of Prog magazine and came across an article about the Vanilla Fudge. I hadn’t thought of them for many years.

I remember in the mid sixties when I first heard their rendition of Ticket to Ride. I was fascinated by their cover. I went on to buy a couple of their albums including the misunderstood The Beat Goes On.

cover_Vanilla_Fudge68_1

It had perhaps their best know song – the cover of Donovan’s Season of the Witch.

In the article Jon Anderson of Yes describes how the album influenced their band to do covers including Simon and Garfunkel’s Looking for America. I listened to the album after reading the article and was shocked at how similar parts of it were to what Yes went on and did. I guess they truly were a Prog band and I didn’t know it.

Finally, one of the Albums that I always linked to Vanilla Fudge was Beck, Bogart and Appice. What I remember most was their cover of Stevie Wonder’s Superstitious. Carmine Appice’s drumming on that song in particular really did it for me. Next up on my list.

bogert_appice_beck-beck._bogert_appice(1)

25 Years of the Internet

Tim Berners-Lee - First Web Server circa 1989
Tim Berners-Lee – First Web Server circa 1989

It’s hard to believe that the Internet was created twenty five years ago by Tim Berners-Lee. I don’t know what’s hard to believe – that it is 25 years old or what has happened over those years as a result.

For one thing – it provides me with a living. I had been interested in software since under graduate school and it has been the foundation of everything I have done professionally. I remember using the Internet for the first time when I worked at Hewlett Packard in Fort Collins. I bought my first computer in 1990 and quickly got on-line with CompuServe. In those days it was mostly about email and bulletin boards. Soon after I started using it at work I was able to remotely logon at home.

My First Amazon Purchase 1998
My First Amazon Purchase 1998
I remember taking my laptop on a trip to visit my girlfriend at the time and showed her. That would have been in early 1995. After I moved to Atlanta in 1996 I started using it daily at home and at work. I remember that I started buying on-line in 1997.

tubridy.net circa 2009
tubridy.net circa 2009

About the same time I secured the tubridy.net domain and started building my first web site with Microsoft FrontPage. I had started using FrontPage to manage part of a website at work that I used to get information to our business partners – now I work on what has to be the biggest business partner portal there is at IBM.

It was not until 2009 that I finally learned HTML and started using Dreamweaver (along with the other Adobe products) to build websites.

It has been amazing being in on something from pretty much the first start. If I only knew back then what it would become – well – it would be interesting to say for sure!