30 December 2005

Mmmm... Chicken....

Had to share this photo of good ol' Chick-Fi-La (or is it Fi-Le?) food from home in NJ.... Mmmm. Buttery chicken.

Below you'll see my friend Brian enjoying his "food."

This was from after Sue, Brian and I went to go see King Kong. I think that Jackson fellow may have a future in the "cinema," as I believe the kids are calling it nowadays.

You're probably all wondering what I've been reading recently. Well, let me tell you! I've been on a bit of a reading spree. I just finished not one, not three, but two books!

The first book I finished, two days ago, was "Team of Rivals," by Doris Kearns Goodwin, about Lincon's political history, and his relationship with his cabinet members. Fascinating read for those of you interested in US History of that era. From reading the book, it really is hard to imagine another politician of that era who would have been able to hold both the Union, and his own government together during a time when there was not only the military aspect of the Civil War occuring, but a change in the attitude of the populace about what would be worth fighting for.

At the start of the war, if Lincoln had said that the war was about slavery, very few in the North would have supported him. By the time of his second inaugrual, it was clear that that was the core issue of the war, and that slavery had to end. It's easy to take comments Lincoln or others made about the war, about slavery, and about the role of the federal government out of context, and what this book does it give the reader a detailed understanding of that context. I recommend it highly to everyone.

The other book I finished, just yesterday, is a very different beast. Chris Elliott's "The Shroud of the Thwacker." It took me a total of two days to read its 360 pages, because it was one of the most entertaining fictions I've read in awhile. Very funny, very *weird,* and very Chris Elliott. The book is a mystery, involving murder, New York, wee folk (the book's assignation, not mine), Teddy Roosevelt (continuing his infatuation with the Roosevelt family), time travel, sewers, gangs of New York, the Museum of Natural History, robots, and much more. There were parts of the novel that were kind of weak, transitions were not necessarily handled effectively in all parts, but for a good quick read, I couldn't ask for more.

I think that's good for now...

NP: Fish, Family Business

28 December 2005

The Inkwell

While at home, my good friend Brian and I went to one of our favorite high school haunts, the Inkwell, located in Long Branch/West End, NJ.

While in high school, once I could drive, it was not uncommon during our senior year, for Brian and I to find our way to the Inkwell almost every night of the week. It's a coffee house, with basic food, almost like a diner for the younger crowd. Perhaps even the hip crowd, although whether we could be counted amongst that group, only others could be the judge of.

Brian and I went there on Monday night, the 26th. It was honestly the first time we had both been there in years, at least three or four. The inside was the way I remembered, although there was the addition of some vintage video game units in two of the rooms. The burger I had was tasty.

The best Inkwell story from yesteryear I have is the time I was there with Brian and our friend Brad Factor (yes, that's really his name). I wasn't terribly hungry, so I ordered rye toast. When our orders came out, my toast was a tad undercooked. Meaning, it hadn't been toasted at all. This struck Brian and Brad both as very comical, and much hilarity ensued, especially when I had to ask the waitress to bring the bread back to have it toasted properly.

I had never been served raw toast before. In a restaraunt.

Another time, Brian and I were there, and we realized we had enough money for our bill, but not for a tip. We didn't know what to do, until one of us realized we had a coupon for a free sub at Jersey Mike's in our pocket. We debated for awhile if it would be more insulting to leave the coupon in lieu of a tip, or to just leave nothing. We ended up leaving the coupon, and we never saw that waitress again. I think we might have been the last straw for her.

We didn't see any of the same waitresses there from our heyday. Not even the raw toast girl, or the coupon tip girl...

The Inkwell does have a website, but I didn't get the address, and I can't seem to find it on Google. Once I get it from Brian, I'm sure the link will find its way up here.

NP: Swanky Modes, Ordinary Man

27 December 2005

Back from NJ

Ah, the holidays. Was at home in Monmount County, NJ, from Thursday the 22nd until today. One of my gifts I received this year was a digital camera, so you'll start seeing some visuals on this silly blog. My first photojournalistic essay is going to be called...


Here's my mom, preparing lunch on Christmas day for Sue and myself.

A set table... Salad. Mmmmm....

Sue, watching the skies....

The empty plate....

Roasted vegetables, thy name is YUM!!!

Does brown wine go with pasta?

The aftermath....

Of course, my mom has a cat, named Daisy. Here's a shot of her running from me...

And another...

She doesn't really like anyone other than my mom...

She does run quite quick. Maybe she's scared of the flash?

Finally got a photo of her the next day, where she was sitting under my mom's bed.

More photos to follow soon!

NP: REM, Saturn Return

21 December 2005

Mid week

Can you tell my titles are getting a bit less uninspired? It's the end of the year, and what do you want! Energy! Yar!

Today was a bit more prep for leaving, continuning to read "Team of Rivals" about the Lincoln administration, and then Sue and I did our gifts! She enjoyed her presents (ask her what she got, I can't ruin the surprise!), and she gave me some clothes, a few DVD's (Godzilla: Final Wars and The Day The Earth Stood Still), and a book about the Mars Rovers. Very cool stuff!

Tomorrow, on our way to NJ, we'll be stopping off in CT at some distant relative's home. They're connected through my Nixon lineage. My great-grandmother, Bessie Nixon, married Robert Partridge. Bessie had a half sister named Mabel, and the people I'm meeting tomorrow are connected to Mabel. Should be fun!

NP: Dana Gould, show from 1990

20 December 2005

Tuesday's Afternoon

Today was mainly a day of preparation. Getting ready to head to NJ. Sue put in the laundry, and I folded it. I've actually already packed my clothes for our departure on Thursday, as it didn't make sense to me to not pack clothes when they were already out.

I'd like to do a load of laundry while at home also, as I don't like traveling with dirty clothes. I would do a load of the clothes that Sue and I wear while down there. It never made sense to me when friends in college would travel home with dirty clothes. I never wanted to carry clothes that were stinky and dirty.

Maybe other people's clothes didn't smell as bad as mine? Who knows...

Tomorrow, Sue and I will exchange gifts. I think she'll like what I got for her.

Other than that, it's been a pretty lazy day. I did walk into town to go to the post office and to buy eggs for Sue, as she was finishing her baking today. Personally, whenever I go into town, I try not to drive, as it really is such a short distance that it's not worth the aggrevation of finding a parking spot, and it's also better for the environment, for exercise, and it's just good to be out on my own two feet. Granted, I'm out longer than I would normally be, and it's a bit chilly out, but really, is that so bad. People have, and continue to live through worse environments.

Soapbox moment done. Basically, people should walk more when they can.

NP: Pete Townshend, Communication

19 December 2005

Ah, vacation...

It's nice to be officially lazy. Today was my first "real" day off from work for this holiday season. I spent the evening making some merengues, watching Arrested Development, and now, writing this blog. After, I'll read the Lincoln book I'm still working on.

During the day, I worked on some of my genealogy research. I haven't had any recent breakthroughs on my direct ancestors, but I continue to make small strides with all the ancillary connections. I found a WWI Draft Card for a 1st Cousin thrice removed (that's three generations away, my great-grandparent's first cousin, basically). That led to finding one of his sister's married name, which I did not know before. So, perhaps, there's new living connections I can find from these people.

Over the weekend, I slept late, and relaxed. Nothing terribly exciting.

More to come!

16 December 2005

Card Games

Spent some time after work playing Spades with some of my co-workers. Four of us played, in two teams of two. You're supposed to play until you reach 500 points, but we called it over when one of the group had to leave. Unfortunately, my team was not doing well. It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't good either... Perhaps the game will be picked up later on. I'll keep the scorecard just in case.

Some readers out there may remember back in BC days, when we'd play Hearts, Spades, Euchre, Egyptian Ratscrew, or other games during summers working for housing... Ah, those were the days...

Today was my last day of work in 2005. I'll pop into the main office next week to check mail, but that'll be the only contact I have with work folks until after Christmas, most likely.

I also sent out an e-mail today letting friends in the area know about my plans to host the 2nd annual New Years Day Lord of the Rings trilogy viewing. Last year, I watched all three extended editions on New Years Day, and at the end, it felt like I had been on the quest to destroy the One Ring myself. So, why not repeat it this year?

I don't expect a lot, or really, any people to necessarily show up, but if anyone wants to pop by for awhile, more power to them, the company is always good.

Now, it's just a time to rest and relax. I just started a monster of a book about Abraham Lincoln and his cabinet, called "Team of Rivals." I'm only a little over 60 pages into it, but it appears to be a good read so far.

NP: Pete Townshend, Flame (Demo)

Card photos

So, I've been getting a lot of cards for the holidays recently in the mail. Some are of the new "hey, let's put a photo of ourselves on here!" variety.

I've noticed that once my friends have kids, oftentimes, the parents are no longer in the photo. Why?

Not that I don't want to see the kids, but why can't I see the parents too? I know the parents better than I know the kids, and I'd like to see them. Are the parents too run down and ragged from their kids that they don't think they're photogenic any more?

Just a short observation for this wintry morning. I'm waiting for computer people to show up here at work, to set me up with a new laptop for my office.

NP: Silence.

14 December 2005


Mmmmm... Butterscotch Merengues....

13 December 2005

Tuesday the 13th

Why is Friday the 13th such the big scary day? Today's Tuesday the 13th, just as rare as any other date...

If you have an answer, let me know.

It's been fairly quiet at work recently, mainly because all the students are gone. I've been working on my end of term report, which should be done tomorrow. It's not officially due until the 22nd, but since this Friday (the evil 16th) will be my last day of work in this year, I want to have it and other work done way ahead of time.

Joe and I recorded another radio show last night. If it's not up on Pseudocertainty yet, it should be up by Wednesday. This was a fun one, talking about the alien talk we gave up here at Dartmouth back in October, and the solo talk I did myself in November.

One of my co-workers said that my song, This Barren Land, sounds very Floydian. Joe said that he could detect Yes influences in there. Let me know what you think, constant reader.

I like having this recording set up, where I can just get something down quick, and either work to develop it more, or leave it be. I'm actually thinking in the new year of trying to take piano or guitar lessons. I'm not terribly interested in reading music, but I'd like to develop fluidity so that I can play those instruments better than I can now. I think I've got as far as I can for now with teaching myself, and I think having some lessons may allow me to push up to another plateau, or at least to a level where I can continue working on skills myself.

NP: John Wetton, The Night Watch

10 December 2005

Updates from Snow Central

Snow from yesterday continues to linger on the ground. No biggie, because I didn't set foot outside today. But, you ask, what did I do? Well, I updated my website with some more old T.O.O.L. songs, I smelled the good stuff that Sue was baking today, I made some of my own merengue cookies, watched "Garden State" on DVD, and generally just relaxed.

Saturdays are good days to do nothing of importance, unless there's something important you want to do. Last Saturday, we proctored the LSAT's, so today, I wanted to sleep late and and just let the day unfold.

I've also been continuing to read "A Crack In The Edge Of The World," which is fascinating. I enjoy reading these types of books, because I always learn something, and it gives me an appreciation for the absolutely immense time scales of most geological processes, and how the ones that happen quickly have such an impact on human lives. One of my student staff members was in Sri Lanka last winter when the tsunami hit, so hearing someone's first person account, and then reading about a not dissimilar, geologically, event from about 100 years ago is a fascinating comparison.

I talked to my Dad on the phone today and heard that one of my good friends from High School had a rather serious hand injury during this past summer. He'll be in NJ for the Christmas holiday, so I'll have to make an effort to see him, as I haven't been in contact since probably 1993 or so. I still consider that we're friends, mainly because nothing has happened that would make us *not* be friends. We just lost touch with each other, there was nothing bad that happened.

On a totally different note, I read today that Richard Pryor died this morning of a heart attack. Anyone who knows me knows that I have an extensive comedy collection on CD, and Richard Pryor is one of the building blocks of that collection. I'm glad that the albums remain, and the laughter goes on.

NP: Jingle Dogs, All Through The Night

08 December 2005


One of the less common questions out there for "historical" events is, "Where were you when John Lennon was shot?" It's heard less often than JFK's assassination, the moon landing, or even the Challenger accident.

Personally, I was about 3 months shy of my 10th birthday, and I recall the TV being on, but I wasn't watching it. A news report came on to the New York station we were watching, perhaps WABC, channel 7 out of New York, saying that Lennon had been shot, and was being brought to one of the hospitals in the city.

While I wasn't terribly into music as a 9 year old, I was aware of who Lennon was, through the listening habits of my parents, and just a general knowledge of the world at that time, or however much knowledge a 9 year old could realistically have. I remember my mom being upset by it, and my brother was around, although I don't remember his reaction. I don't really remember having much of a reaction myself, other than I felt bad for him being shot. I'd have to think about the timeline, but I think my parents were separated at the time, so my dad wasn't around for me to see his reaction. Although, he could have been out working...

I didn't get into really listening to music until I was in about 8th grade, when I got into Yes. I kept away from buying any Beatles for awhile, probably until late high school or early college. And while I was familiar with Lennon's solo work from what was played on the radio, I actually didn't buy any of his music until I was in grad school in the 1997 time frame. Looking back on it, I think I was annoyed about such talent being cut off, and also about the cult of personality that surrounds artists when they die "before their time." By the time I got to the later 1990's, I was personally able to get past a lot of that, and just listen to the music, which was tremendous.

It's one of his later songs, but I have always enjoyed "Nobody Told Me," one of the outtakes later released after Lennon's death. Perhaps I'll go listen to it later...

NP: ProjeKct Three, ProjeKction

07 December 2005

Neil Armstrong

Interesting coincidence. Today I finished reading "First Man," the new biography of Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon. One small step, and all that. So, from my "To Read" pile, I picked up "A Crack in the Edge of the World," a book about the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake.

Now, the coincidence is that the earthquake book opens up with the idea that viewing the Earth from the Moon at the end of the 1960's helped to understand the Earth as a complete system, and the author uses the idea of Neil Armstrong standing on the Moon looking at the Earth as his starting point for his literary metaphor.

So, a neat coincidence.

For those of you who don't know me well, one of my interests is reading about the history of the space program, so when word of an authorized biography of Armstrong being published came to my ears, I knew that I'd be reading the book. And I was not disappointed.

The book gave a truly detailed look at Armstrong's life, from his youth and family history, to the modern days. Armstrong has always seen his accomplishment of being the first man on the Moon in the context of the history of aviation and spaceflight, and the book does a good job of providing that context to the reader in an interesting, compelling manner. We read of Armstrong's first lessons in flight, to his days as an aviator during the Korean War, his work as a test pilot in the 50's flying, among others, the X-15 rocket powered plane, to his days as an astronaut and afterwards.

To most readers familiar with Armstrong the astronaut, the beginning chapters may be a bit much for some, but I found them quite interesting, as it was a world I didn't really know much about. Of course, the meat of the book was his NASA days, with his post-Moon landing life covering the last 15% or so of the book.

Through it all, Armstrong comes off as a focused, unassuming, intelligent individual, who also did not necessarily think about the "human" aspects of his flight, or if he did, was not comfortable sharing those thoughts. The book certainly isn't an expose of the inner man, but neither does it shy away from the less easy to excuse aspects of his personality. A worthy read, whether you're interested in the space program or not.

I'll keep you all up to date on my new reading, and how it's progressing. I like finding non-fiction books that are on a topic I find interesting, but that I don't really know much about. I know the basics of the story of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake (it was big), but other than that, not much.

Tonight was the Dean of the College area holiday party. I generally don't really enjoy these type of events, not because I don't like the people (I do, I enjoy the company of my co-workers and others in the Dean of the College area), but that I prefer smaller social settings over ones like tonight's, that had at least 100 people attending. I ended up focusing on talking to my immediate co-workers, and a few others. I probably should get more comfortable in these situations, but I'm also happy to find the smaller conversations when I can.

For me, the smaller gatherings are those in the 10-20 person range. Any larger than that, and it tends to get excessive in my book. But, I'm am comfortable talking in front of large groups, and don't mind some of those settings. I think it's also the cramped nature of when at parties, you're all pressed together with no space to move. Perhaps I'm a bit claustrophobic? I never really thought of that before.

This has been a longer blog than I expected, so I close with my Now Playing note:

NP: John Lennon, Luck of the Irish (Live)

06 December 2005

Tooth Decay

I got a lot of dental work done this morning. I had to get a crown for one of my lower left teeth, and they re-did some fillings while in there. I've never had a crown done before, so here's the process:

  • First, they numb you up. For my work, they had to give me 3 or 4 shots, I can't remember the exact number.
  • They gave me some goop that I had to bite down on, in order to make an impression of my teeth before they did any work.
  • Then, the drilling begins. With the amount of novocaine in my system, I really felt nothing other than the pressure here or there.
  • More impressions were then taken, so they could make the temporary crown.

I didn't know this either, that they put in a temporary crown, and then, after a few weeks, remove the temp and then put the permanent crown in, the one that has been specially made just for my mouth.

I feel so special.

Anyway, my bite feels pretty normal, although I think the temp crown is just a tiny bit higher than the real tooth was. Not a big deal, I'm already used to it, although I notice it periodically. I go back in early January to get the permanent crown installed. Then, I shall be a king among men.

My appointment was at 8:50am, and I got back to campus shortly after 11am. Not bad at all, although I did have to pay a bit more out of pocket than I was hoping, but it's not excessive. I'll pay off my credit card next time I get paid.

The rest of the day at work was just that, work. I started working on my outline for the Winter Training session I get to present, which is doing some case studies. Everything is pretty much written, I just need to revise, and perhaps create a new case study or two. I also worked on some end of term report stuff, as our end of term is coming up this Thursday.

I officially have to work till the 22nd of this month, then I'll be off till January 3rd. However, I may take off from the 19th to the 22nd, to extend the break a bit. That does mean that I have to get on the ball with some of these reports, which won't be hard.

Last night, I hung out with some of the other CD's, to watch the Monday Night Football game. With me not caring about sports terribly much, I'm glad that the game was pretty much a blowout, so we could just talk about whatever came up (sorry Eagles fans! Your team sucks!). And ghost stories is what came up! It was a fun conversation, telling stories about what may have happened in our respective pasts in regards to this area. Anyone out there interested in my own take on this can check out some of the shows on Pseudocertainty.com.

Look for a new show before the end of the month.

I think that's it for now. Please, feel free to make comments on here, so I don't feel like I'm talking to myself. Not that that's a bad thing, but I enjoy the interactive nature of this, and would like to see it used more...

NP: Yes, Never Done Before

04 December 2005


My friend Brian just finished a moviethon event, to raise money for the Brattle Theater in Cambridge, MA. He saw over 20 movies in the span of a few weeks. The Brattle's a cool place to see movies in Boston, an older theater that shows a lot of specialty films. The last movie I saw with Brian there was Godzilla: Final Wars, a fine film...

I do miss living in Boston, and doing things like this.

On another matter entirely, the space bar on this keyboard is a bit broken. I've been able to fix it, but it's still not as smooth as it should be. I'll have to think about getting a new one.

Yesterday, Sue and I proctored for the LSAT's again. It was a pretty easy proctoring, no real issues, and the check should come before Christmas. Last night, we watched the movie "Comedian," about Jerry Seinfeld creating all new material after retiring his old material after the completion of his TV show. Very good movie, and Sue enjoyed it also. I had watched in a year or two ago when I first got it on DVD, and I knew I'd re-watch it at some point.

Speaking of Christmas, I've completed all of my Christmas shopping, and am just waiting for one more box to arrive. I actually did all of my shopping this year online. I think it's the first time I didn't buy *anything* in an actual store.

That's about it for now. I have to exercise for a bit, and then get some e-bay sales ready to go out the door tomorrow.



01 December 2005

Happy New Month!

What's your new month resolution? Let me know!

Me, I'm going to be just as groovy as I can be, for this last month at the halfway point of the oughts.

Today was a generally good day. I made my first batch of merengue cookies for the holiday season, and they turned out pretty well. Of course, I'll be making more before the month is out, but it's a good start.

I also had a social for my student staff tonight, which was cool. People hung out, ate a bit, chatted with each other, and then went back to their studying. (It's finals time here at Dartmouth).

Fun for this weekend, Sue and I will be proctoring for the LSAT's again. Always a good thing, especially to have the extra cash at this time of year. All of my holiday shopping is done, with perhaps one small thing to get, and that will be it.

More later!

29 November 2005

Wrapping up

Excitement! I got a haircut today. Who would have thought that life could get this good?

A relatively busy work day was had, as I finished up most of my UGA evaluations, met with some staff, attended some evening programs, and worked on some budget stuff. Not a bad day.

I'm very happy with the song that I've posted on my website, "This Barren Land." I'll have to think about writing some more new stuff sometime soon. Once the term ends next week, I should have a bit more time to do some more creative work.

Listened to a CD I got recently, Magma's "Udu Wudu." It's from the mid-70's, and on first listen, had some decent songs on it, with one longer piece that has a bit more meat to it. More comments to come once I listen to it a bit more.

And now, it's time for bed... Cheers!

27 November 2005

Another New Song

Since I've last written, I've finished recording the song I was working on. I have a mix all ready to go, and it'll be up on my website shortly. It's called "This Barren Land," and while it's short, only a little over two minutes, I really like it a lot.

I found the lyrics I wrote back in September 1994, and they fit really well. I knocked out another verse, added one stanza to the first verse, and away we go.


A tech filled Sunday

Today I spent a lot of the day sitting at the computer. And what a surprise, I'm still sitting here...

I revamped my personal website, and added my most recent song to the Music page. Check it out and let me know what you think. I also redid the format for the Genealogy page, making it so each last name in my ancestry has a separate page. Granted, some names don't have any real information on them yet, but it will now be much easier to manage updating information on the extended family.

I've also been recording a new song. There's a chord progression that's been in my head since I lived on my own in Boston, that I wrote on a very foggy night. (Nice setting of atmosphere, eh?) I've developed a "chorus" part for it, and recorded two rounds of it, consisting of guitar and keyboards. I did write some lyrics for it way back when, and I'll have to dig them up to see if they're any good...

NP: Family Guy, on Fox

26 November 2005

A Good Saturday

Today was a pretty normal day. Did some reading, helped Sue put up our little Christmas tree, exercised, and pretty much finished shopping for the holidays.

For some reason, I get depressed when we put up our tree. I think this is just something that's always been around when doing these tree type things, but who knows. Ah well, life goes on.

I've got 90% of my Christmas/Holiday shopping done, so that's good.

After finishing this entry, I'm going to do a mix of the demo I've been working on, and get it up on my website tomorrow. It's a work in progress, but I want to now let it sit for a bit, and see what I think about it in a little while. It's not like I have a release date for these things...

More later!

NP: Genesis, Squonk (from Seconds Out)

25 November 2005

Will the Digestion Never End???

The day after Thanksgiving, the day of Turkey Sandwiches, Turkey Soup, Turkey on Toast, and all other turkey items served across the United States. I did my share today, and just had some reheated turkey. Good for dinner, and now the turkey is gone.

For now...

Today, I managed to blow through the written section of all my UGA (Undergraduate Advisor) evaluations. I still have to do the "check box" ratings, but those take 5 minutes tops per evaluation, so I can do those at my leisure on Monday. It took me from about 11:15am till about 2pm to get those done.

After that, I managed to clean up the apartment a bit, although more of that will be done tomorrow. Played some music while doing so, including the new Mars Volta and John Cale. Both are quite good, in their own way. I do need to listen to them a bit more to really get the sense of the music though. The first runthrough of an album is almost always just getting a sense of the music, with repeated listenings getting into the deeper arrangements and structures.

Sue and I watched the movie Tapeheads in the evening, one of my favorites. First saw it back in High School on VHS with Brian Paik, and have seen it lots of times since then. I introduced it to a lot of my college friends, and it's taken on a life of its own since then. We hadn't watched it in awhile, so it was fun to see it again. It's also not a long movie, so it goes by quick. Swanky Modes rule!

I'm about 120 pages into Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman. A very fun read so far, and I'm looking forward to perhaps finishing it before the weekend is out.

NP: Ten Seconds, The Last Three Minutes, 1

23 November 2005

Almost Thanksgiving...

Ah, the last day of work until Monday was today. Although, I think I'm going to go into my office on Friday and try to blow through some student staff evaluations I have to write. I dislike writing evaluations, so I want to rip the bandage off all at once, and get them done, so it's not water torture, doing some on one day, another the next, and never really getting them done in a quick way. So, I'll sacrifice a few hours on Friday. Sue's going for an eye appointment, so I'll do it then. It's less like real work when no one else is around, and I'll crank some music up.

Speaking of music, this weekend I'm going to try some experiments in getting some musical ideas down. I want to write a big stupid rock song, just for the fun of it, so that might be my next recording. Tomorrow or Friday, I'll do a mixdown of my most recent demo, and put it up on my website for your perusal.

Thanksgiving is going to be spent at the apartment/home of the director of our little division of ORL at Dartmouth, Deborah, and her partner Chelsea. It'll be fun, and it's nice to be a bit social even if it's not with family. Sue and I will be down in NJ around Christmas, so we'll do all the family stuff then.

My current reading is Volume 1 of the Babylon 5 scripts of Joe Straczynski, the creator and main writer for the show. Babylon 5 was a 5 year story told from 1992-1998 on syndicated television, an epic tale of rising empires, falling civilizations, and the individuals who are key in the events of their age. A great story, told well. The scripts are fun to read, to see what goes into making a show of this scope, where foreshadowing during the first season pays off in the 4th and 5th seasons. And, it's a quick read also. Next up may be Neil Gaiman's new book, but we shall see what I'm in the mood for.

NP: Robert Fripp and the League of Crafty Guitarists, A Connecticut Yankee in the Court of King Arthur

22 November 2005

Walk The Line

Went to go see "Walk The Line" with one of my co-workers tonight. Great movie, whether you like or know the story of Johnny Cash a lot, a little, or not at all. I knew next to nothing about Cash, and now I want to learn a bit more. Good story, and great performances.

Went to the dentist's today for a cleaning, and to have them check on my achy tooth. Going to get a crown on it in early December. Does the fun ever stop?!?!

Finished my UFO book "Watch The Skies" tonight. A good overview of UFO stories from the 1940's to the early 1990's. Would have liked a bit more about the 80's onward, but there was less perspective on those years when the book was written.

NP: Lenny Bruce, Religions Inc.

21 November 2005

Oh Dear....

It's been a few days since I've blogged, not because of anything bad, I've just been a bit too tired and busy with other things in the evening to do it. So, here's what's been up since the last update into the life of Mike Lord:

  • Went to a student staff conference on Saturday with another Community Director and two UGA's (Undergraduate Advisors) from here at Dartmouth. It wasn't a bad conference, but there's a lot of "ra-ra" positivity in this field, that sometimes keeps a deeper level of thinking from happening. That's what this conference was like. My colleague and I presented at the conference, and if we didn't have students with us, probably would have left after our session (which was well received by our 5 attendees, by the way).
  • Sometime on Friday, I believe, I noticed a slight ache/pain in one of my lower left teeth when I would chew on that side. Fortunately, I have a cleaning scheduled for tomorrow, so I'll have the dentist check it out while I'm there.
  • Talked to my friend Tony tonight on the phone for about 2 hours. We hadn't talked on the phone since sometime in the summer, and we've been playing phone tag for about the past three weeks. It's good that we finally connected.
  • I have a serviceable demo prepared of "So In Love (With Your Presence)," that I may put up on my website sometime soon. It's *very* rough, but the structure is there, so I can now play around with it, and perhaps even leave it to ferment a bit while I start up some other stuff.
  • Sunday was a lazy day, I didn't do much other than watching the 4th volume of "SCTV" on DVD.
  • One of my UGA's had a fun program on Saturday evening, one of her residents taught a group of us some 18th century dances. The dances were very structured, but fun.

That's about all for an update right now. I'm sure I did some other stuff of interest that I'm forgetting now, but I think you'll live without knowing every detail of my life.

Won't you?

NP: Dick Dale, Riders In The Sky

17 November 2005

Aliens Amongst We

The alien talk is done, and I think it went well for a smallish audience of about 10-12 people. The new arrangement of slides, further edited by Joe from my culling, worked well, and the presentation was a tight 50 minutes. Some questions from the audience, mainly of the "What do you *really* think aliens abductions or UFO's are," variety were asked. Good participation though.

And my answer to the above question is that I think there's something else going on in these people's lives, that they'd rather believe are aliens probing them repeatedly than whatever is really happening. Just my thoughts, no real evidence for this, other than common sense.

I really did take the skeptic role in this presentation. One good thing about doing this in the past with Joe is that I think that his approach may get more people in the audience to be willing to put their own odd ideas out there. I was less interested in asking questions of the audience today, and more interested in seeing how the presentation would flow with the new slides. So, we'll see how it goes the next time, perhaps with an actual written questionairre that people can hand in at the end of the talk.

That's it for now...

NP: The Bears, When She Moves

16 November 2005

Reaching around...

Went out with some friends from work tonight to celebrate a birthday. One of the other CD's (Community Directors, for those of you not in the know), was 25 today. We went to a local eating establishment in town, and a good time was had by all.

For some reason, I have become known for telling funny, disturbing, "gross" stories. I was almost called upon to tell a few tonight, but I was kept in check. My audience was willing, but some didn't want to be exposed to the same stories again. I personally am willing to rest some of these stories, or tell them in more appropriate contexts. Still, they're generally pretty funny upon later reflection, even if some are grossed out in the moment.

I'm continuing to prep for my Alien talk tomorrow. Too bad I didn't start reading the book I mentioned yesterday about a week earlier, it really fits in to what I'll be talking about. I also want to work with Joe to make a slide presentation for the future that talks more about the actual alien/UFO stories. I think the slides as they stand now are a bit heavy on the people who have been involved in reporting these events, and less on the actual stuff. For people with some knowledge of the phenomenon, I think that the stuff about the researchers may be interesting, but for people who want to hear wacky stories, we have to shift our focus a bit. Easy enough to do when we're talking about this stuff, but people love photos...

I may even try to photocopy the old article from the Boston Phoenix where I'm quoted about this alien stuff. My friend Theresa wrote the article, so I got my mention in a Major Boston Area Newspaper. Groovy...

NP: The Who, Boris the Spider

15 November 2005

I'm Ready For My Close-Up....

This Thursday, I get to do another Alien Talk. Joe J. won't be able to visit this time, so I'll be flying solo. That's cool though, I've done the talk before on my own, it's fun either way.

I've sent Joe some edits to make to the slide show, in order to tighten up the narrative. I actually just now thought to ask him to make a page of nothing but photos. That might get some interest from the audience, if it's possible. If not for this presentation, then maybe for something upcoming in the future.

I'm actually reading a book now called "Watch the Skies," by Curtis Peebles, a skeptic's look at the UFO phenomenon of the past 60 years. It was published in the mid-90's, and I picked it up for two bucks at the Dartmouth Bookstore, as a used purchase. It's not a bad book so far, if perhaps a bit dry. And the author keeps refering to himself as "this researcher," which annoys me.

I'm sorry, I just had to stop writing there as a Shaggs song came up on my mp3 player. They make my brain hurt.

While at home in NJ, I finished reading two books, "Fifty Degrees Below" by Kim Stanley Robinson, and "The Truth (with Jokes)" by Al Franken. Both were entertaining reads. The Robinson book is the middle book of a planned trilogy, and I'm assuming that the third book will be out next year at some point. It's a series about scientists working in the context of goverment and a global warming/ice age crisis. Think "The Day After Tomorrow," done by someone who has a brain in their head.

The Franken book was entertaining as always, but not as laugh out loud funny as his previous work has been. I didn't mind the slightly more serious tone, as it fit well with the material, which was focusing on the antics, mistakes, and possible crimes of our Fearless Leaders. I recommend the book highly whatever your political stripe may be.

NP: Robbie Robertson, American Roulette

13 November 2005

NJ Update


So, I've been down in NJ since Wednesday evening, and will be heading back to NH tomorrow. Quick update:

Thursday: Went to Trenton for Archives research, went out to eat with Mom

Friday: Went to visit my Grandmother, stopped off at Dad and Sheila's place, had pizza with Mom.

Saturday: Went to Kearny, NJ, to visit the Kearny Library/Museum, went to visit my grandmother's cousin Corinne, and went out to eat with my Dad for dinner.

Sunday: Found "Partridge Road" in Matawan, NJ with my Dad. My great-grandfather's brother, John Partridge, had a farm on that road. The farm's still there. Saw my Mom again over at her place, then went to meet with my Uncle Ron up in South Amboy, and met up with him and my cousin Jamie, who's a student at Rutgers, graduating in June. A fun evening.

More to come when I'm back in NH and can write more.



09 November 2005

In New Jersey

So, I'm down in New Jersey now, at my mom's place. I'll be down here till Monday, seeing family, doing genealogy stuff, and whatever else strikes my fancy. Tomorrow, I'm heading to Trenton, to go to the State Archives, to look for old birth, marriage, and death records. Lots of fun... Really!

I'm not sure what I'll do with some of the other days, but I'll probably see family in the area. Maybe even try to contact some people that I haven't seen recently.

I'm on someone's wireless right now... I don't know whose, but I thank them, whoever they are....

More later!

07 November 2005

Dirty jobs...

So, in reviewing this Census stuff, I found a great job title.

Bobbin Polisher.

Get your minds out of the gutter...

New Census!

This is the stuff of a genealogist's dreams... Today, I was doing my periodic check of some of my favorite websites, and on the Scotland's People site, I saw that they had added an index to the 1861 Scotland Census!

The Census can be a wealth of information for genealogists. It's a great way to see households as they stood at a moment in time. They're helpful for eliminating possibilities, and creating new ones.

I was able to, in the span of about 1 hour, get 1861 Census information on families of John and Mary Nixon, my G3-grandparents, Matthew and Margaret Lindsay, my G4 grandparents, Elizabeth Houston, my G4-grandmother, and some other secondary relations. Lots of fun! There wasn't really anything terribly surprising in these records, but I did learn some birth/death information, and had more support created for some of my ideas about certain side branches of the family.

For instance, I have a G3-granduncle named Archibald Houston. I had managed to trace him in the records till about 1857, but he then disappeared into thin air... So, for the 1861 Census, I searched for one of his kids, John Forsyth Houston, who would have been about 4 in that year. I found him, and discovered that his mother was marked as a widow. Therefore, that's where the guy disappeared to! Another piece of the puzzle marked in. Now I just have to find Archibald's death record.

One interesting piece of cognitive dissonance for those of us who pursue genealogy is this divide between "Wow, I just got a piece of information," and the reality of these people who were going through a bad situation, with a mother left to raise 4 kids when her husband died an early death. Granted, the situation I'm thinking about happened about 140 years ago, but reprecussions of that event play out in the lives of the descendants of Archilbald Houston and Elizabeth Forsyth to this day.

That is assuming, of course, that they have living direct descendants. Maybe one day I'll find some...

In the meantime, I'll have fun entering this information into my computer database, and will have to see how this may inspire more research. One of the great things about genealogy is that there's always more to do!

NP: Random chatter in Brace Commons

03 November 2005

Fall is Calling

Today was one of those good Fall days, cool, but not cold, good clear sky, leaves blowing around, and a hint of Winter in the air. All in all, very nice.

Today was a good day at work, it seems like a lot of good stuff is falling into place now. I had a meeting with someone from the Faculty side of the College, to talk about finding ways to encourage Faculty involvement in the residence halls. We had a good conversation on the subject, and now I have some direction to move in with this project. We also just shot the breeze for awhile, which was productive in a good, collegial way. This is someone who used to work in the Dean of the College area (meaning the Student Affairs side, where I am), so we had had some contact in the past, but not any real working relationship. Our conversation was a good start to building a solid professional base with her.

Of course, there are some things in the air over here in the Res Life side of the world, which I am waiting to see how it all develops. Word should be out soon, and perhaps by the end of the year I'll have some new information to share with you all... We shall see...

NP: The Daily Show (coming up now!)

02 November 2005


So, tonight I shook hands with the first Nobel Prize winner I've met. His name is Sidney Altman, and he was one of the recipients for the Nobel Prize in Chemistry from 1989, for his work with RNA. If you're actually interested in the chemistry of this, check out the link with his name above.

Here at Dartmouth, we have a program called the Montgomery Fellowship. The program brings learned, interesting people from many different backgrounds here, usually for a week, in order to speak, visit classes, and generally enlighten the student body and college community. The East Wheelock program, where I work, has a relationship with the Montgomery Fellows office, and we try to get them down here, usually for a dinner with students, which is what happened tonight. The dinner was at the Faculty Associates home, which is a great setting for these more casual dinners.

Dr. Altman, a relatively soft spoken man, got to eat and hang out with residents from one of my buildings. He took some questions from the students and from others in attendance. I asked how he was notified of the Nobel win, and how it changed his work and life since the win. In theory, you're not supposed to know if you're under consideration, but sometimes you get hints dropped, which Dr. Altman was oblivious to until looking at them in hindsight. Afterwards, he said the biggest change was that he got invited to speak at more places, but other than that, it wasn't that big of a change.

He also told stories of baseball, and of his friendship with Bart Giamatti, the former President of Yale who then went on to be Baseball Commissioner in the late 80's. All in all, an interesting guy who once met George Gamow, one of the originators of the Big Bang theory.

I have a neat job.

NP: Steve Hackett, The Steppes

31 October 2005


Hello! Just a quick note to say that I've updated my website. Take a look, especially at the Genealogy page. I've put a lot of photos there.

I have a lot more I could put up, but I want to think a bit about the layout, what would make the most sense.

Anyway, enjoy!


30 October 2005

Welcome to the Time Change

I'm assuming everyone survived the time change last night. Nothing too shocking for anyone, I would think...

Today was a good relaxing day, although my body hasn't adjusted to the change in time yet, as I got hungry about an hour earlier than I really should have.

No real music related activity today, although I did backup the home recording files on my computer, so that if the computer blows up, we'll be spared the indignity of losing my musical output for future generations to lament over.

I have been reading "Binge," the book written about modern college life. It's not a bad read. The author, Barry Seaman, who I met and hosted while he was here at Dartmouth, is generally a nice enough guy. Reading the book as someone in the field of Higher Education, it seems to be a very "surface" look at the issues facing colleges today. I could imagine though, someone who is less familiar with college being a bit more intrigued by the book. Not a bad read, but I don't think I'm going to gain much perspective from it, as I haven't read anything that's surprised me yet, or that I didn't already know. I haven't reached my references yet, and since life is really all about me, I expect to be thrilled with what I have to say...

NP: Catherine Wheel, Tumbledown

A fun Saturday

Ah, the weekend. Got to sleep late today, till about 10:45am or so. It's good to be lazy on the weekends, especially around sleeping. But even with it being a lazy Saturday, I still got a good amount done.

Sue and I were a hit with our "Industrial Accident Couple" get up for the Halloween party we went to. It was one end of a prop bolt going through my forehead, and the other end coming out of her's. Sue's idea, and quite funny! I think next year I'm going to start working on a Londo costume during the summer...

Funny thing with the party. I thought it started at 8pm, but Sue actually looked at the invite around 5pm, and she noticed that it started at 5:30pm. Even so, we were one of the first people there, so life is good.

I just finished up some demo recording of the song I've been working on. I've given it a tentative title of ""So In Love (with your presence)," although that might change. I did a completely new demo version, starting with recording the bass part to a click track, then I did vocals. I wanted to start some ideas for the accompaniment (I think that's spelled wrong, but I don't care right now), so I loaded up a midi keyboard, and just put down chords of an electric piano on the beats, and it actually sounded quite good. I'll have to listen to it again in the cold light of day, to see if it's just the late night talking to me right now.

I also did a vocal recording of a repeatitive bass line that's been going through my head. It's simple, but it has a groove to it, so I wanted to get it on "tape" so that I wouldn't forget it. Tomorrow I may try playing along to the vocal track on bass, so I can start working on other pieces of it.

And, I've continued my burning of CD's onto my computer, so I can enjoy Radio Mike Lord whenever I choose. I'm a bit more than halfway through right now, and I'll be glad when I'm done with the majority of the music.

I finished the Krakatoa book today. Quite good, although I would have liked more photos in it. There was a lot of description of the Modern Krakatoa, and a better map showing the old and new layout together would have been helpful. I'm sure if I do a bit of searching on the interweb I can find something very easily, but I just haven't gotten around to it yet.

Now, I have to decide what book to start next. I have a few on deck, including a new biography of Neil Armstrong, and the new novel by Kim Stanley Robinson. Neil Gaiman's new one is also on my shelf, along with the book Binge, that I'm indexed in. I may read Binge, to get it out of the way, since I've borrowed the book from the director of my office.

Tomorrow, my plan is to clean up around the apartment, do some genealogy updating, get gas for my car (since on Sunday's some of the stations knock 5 cents off the price of a gallon), and enjoy the extra hour of sleep. I also have to call a few friends to chat, I haven't done that in awhile.

Cheers! Get some rest!

29 October 2005


There's plenty of opportunity for puns here, but I watched the film "Saw" on DVD today over at a co-workers apartment. Not a bad movie in the horror/suspense/thriller genre, although I thought the film lost it a bit at the end. Some good scares in it, which always make me laugh more than anything else.

Am I sick for finding humor in "scary" movies? I just think the situations are usually so outlandish that there's plenty of opportunity for humor, even when the action is played straight. That's what I liked so much about "Evil Dead II," it was a horror movie that realized there's a lot of humor to be had in the situations. Not that EDII was the first example of this, but it was the first one that came into my orbit.

Of course, for pure suspense, I always enjoyed John Carpenter's "The Thing." There's something about a situation of isolation and fear that just works for me in that movie.

Tomorrow, Sue and I are going to a Halloween party of a friend/co-worker. It should be fun, I've never been to this person's house, and it's always neat to see where other people live. We're just doing some basic makeup/bolts through our head as a costume, neither one of us were too energized to create a costume. If I'm going to create something for Halloween or another event, I would have to start quite a bit earlier. I believe I mentioned my Londo idea here before.

Am I already starting to repeat myself here? Sad...

NP: Delius, Violin Concerto

26 October 2005


I just spent about 45 minutes writing the bass/melody for the song I've been working on. The music for the song is going to be more bass based, so I figured it would be good to listen to my guide vocal while playing along a bit. This ended up not working as well as I had hoped.

What I ended up doing was getting familiar with the vocal and keeping it in my head, while messing around on the bass, and finding the "right" notes to play along with what I was singing. I think I came up with a decent verse and chorus, but I'm not sold on the middle eight section yet musically. I think tomorrow, I may redo the recording I have, in order to get a more coherent demo to work with.

That's the great thing about the computer demo/home recording process, is that it's easy enough to start over, especially at this stage. Once I get a bass/vocal part down, I can start working on a midi drum part, or perhaps guitar or keys. I'll have to see what I'm in the mood for.

In the inane weather part of this blog, we had our first snowfall yesterday. Nothing that stuck around till today, but we did actually have accumulation, which is not necessarily normal for this point in the year. Winter is surely coming, as it does every year.

Sue and I went out to get some Halloween costume stuff for a party we're going to this Saturday. We're keeping it pretty basic. I think that it's best to keep these things simple, unless you have more time to work on something. I'd love to dress up as Londo from Babylon 5 at some point for a Halloween costume, but that would require a lot of work. I did think for a bit of being Buster or Gob from Arrested Development, but those would both be more high concept costumes/performances, and I'm not sure how many people would recognize the characters.

NP: Jeff Buckley, Dink's Song

24 October 2005

More Music

Howdy! Homecoming is over, and I've been able to sleep a bit, along with doing some work, of course.

Not that work isn't crazy exciting, but in other news, I now have official web space to host plenty of music and other files. If you go to my site, you can go to the Music section and listen to all the stuff I did back in the 90's. Everything of value is posted there now. And value is, of course, a relative term...

I generally like the stuff I recorded back then, but I think the music was a bit simple. I'd write different stuff for some of the music now, but others, I'd keep just as they are.


NP: Moody Blues, Legend Of A Mind

22 October 2005

Late Night...

It's a late night here, and I've got nothing much to say... Homecoming has gone well here at Dartmouth, I've been out of the apartment with my public face, and I've been talking to a lot of students. Things seem to be going well. I'll head off to bed around 1:30am or so...

NP: Bill Bruford, Sample and Hold

20 October 2005

Marion Houston

When I first started doing genealogy, back in late 2001, I collected a lot of old family photos from my Dad. Amongst the photos was this one I hadn't remembered seeing before...

I asked my Dad who this was, and he said, "That's your great-grandmother's mother." My great grandmother was Bessie Nixon, who married Robert Partridge. Bessie's mother was Marion Houston, and I had no idea we even had a photo of her. She died when Bessie was about 4 years old, so she never really knew her mother at all.

When I found the photo, I really knew nothing about the woman. However, through my research, I discovered that the Nixon's were from a town in Scotland called Paisley. That name rang a bell in my mind, so I dug through my photos and files, and found this photo. I realized that the Paisley in the lower right corner signified the location of the photo.

Marion Houston came over to the US on 17 August 1885, and married Robert Nixon on 20 Augutst 1885 in New York City. My guess about this photo is that Marion and Robert knew each other in Paisley, and when he came over in 1884, he either brought the photo with him, or Marion sent it to him in NYC in the year they were apart.

Of course, I have no real proof for these stories, but it makes sense... And my great grandmother had the photo as a memory of a mother that she probably didn't really recall from life that much at all, since she died so early in Bessie's life.

Marion is about 20-23 years old in this photo, from my estimates. I have no photos of she and her husband together, but I do have a photo of someone I think is her husband standing alone. I'll put that up here at some point...

19 October 2005

E-mail goodness

Today was a good day for my genealogy research. Part of what I do in order to get in contact with distant branches of the family tree is put out posting on message boards, basically saying "Here's the relevant info on my Lord ancestors, if you're connected, contact me."

I put enough for readers to identify if the information connects to their family, but not enough for someone to try to pull a fast one on me, should they want to. However, I know that's a fairly unlikely circumstance, as there's no real reason to mess with someone like that.

So today, I get an e-mail from someone who is related to Boomer Partridge. Boomer was the brother to William Partridge, my great-great-grandfather. All I knew about Boomer was that he was born in 1873 or so, and had immigrated to the Toronto area of Canada at some point. The woman who e-mailed me is Boomer's granddaughter. I haven't heard back from her yet, but I'll now be able to fill in some of the blanks on that side of the Partridge family.

I hope to do some more work on the genealogy stuff this weekend. I have a genealogy page on my personal home page, so check it out if you wish.

I also heard from a Lord relative today, which is the first time I've heard from him in awhile. I've been bad about keeping in contact with people, I need to do a "How's everyone doing" e-mail sometime soon.

I think that's all for now... Cheers!

NP: Steve Hackett, Carry On Up The Vicarage (Live)

18 October 2005


My new reading is Krakatoa, by Simon Winchester. Again, a book I picked up because it's on a topic that everyone knows a little about (Krakatoa exploded/erupted in the 1880's, and it was big), but that I'd like to know more details about. I'm only 30 pages or so into it right now, and so far there's a lot of background on the history of the area (Portugese/Dutch trading posts, trouble with the locals, all the usual suspects). I'm looking forward to the explosion.

This weekend is Homecoming here at Dartmouth. Big bonfire built in the middle of the Green on Friday night. I end up hanging out in the main lounge of my cluster for Thursday-Friday-Saturday night, just being available and accessible in case there's any issues or emergencies. I'll probably use the time to perhaps do some genealogy work that I've put aside for awhile. The music stuff has taken over for a bit of time as my main hobby, and I'd like to strike more of a balance.

I think that's about all for now. If I think of anything else to write, I'll be sure to update later on...

NP: Rick Wakeman, The Pyramids of Egypt

17 October 2005


Here are some photos of flooding by my mom's home in Asbury Park, NJ from this past weekend. The above photo is from her roof, looking towards Loch Arbor, NJ. If the photo continued on the right, you'd see the Atlantic Ocean. The water is Deal Lake, and there's normally a road in front of those homes. My mom told me that she and my dad actually looked at the blueish home in the middle of the photo when they were looking to buy a house back in the late 60's.

The above photo is looking south and slightly west from my mom's roof. Again, there should be a road running in front of those homes...

This last photo is from the Asbury Park side of the Deal Lake bridge. Normally, there's about 5-10 feet of water under that bridge. Thankfully for my mom, the Asbury side of the lake had higher banks.

I know this is only a taste of what the people down in New Orleans and elsewhere have been experiencing, but it's enough, that's for sure...

NP: Out in Brace Commons, and it's pretty quiet...

16 October 2005

I Have Returned

Back in NH after a few days in Florida. It was for Sue's sister's wedding that we were down there. Got down on Thursday, back today. A good time was had by all. Or, at least, by Sue and I. Who am I to speak for everyone??? Although, I do believe everyone did have fun.

The band was a wee bit loud though... But, near the end, they turned down their 80's Yamaha drum machine sound, and it became a bit more bearable. Good to see people, we had a fun table, sitting with the bride, groom, and other members of the wedding party. Once I get some photos, I'll post anything that I'm in. Because, it really is all about me.

Speaking of me, the bride and I had a good conversation about blogging while at the rehearsal dinner. It was nice to be encouraged... And I should point out that I'm starting to post music over at my personal home on the range.

Sue and I got to see my friend Brad from high school on Thursday evening, which was good. He's always a good egg to see. And, he's greyer than I am, even though I'm a year older.

I finished two books while down in FL, the Shakespeare book (a good read), and Philip Roth's "The Plot Against America." I enjoyed that also, although I felt the ending was a bit jumbled. I haven't read any Roth previous to this novel, and I'd be willing to seek out some of his other books.

I also, just tonight, revised my lyrics for the song I'm working on. I think I'm getting closer to the final shape of it, and to how the song will be performed. It'll be a fast one, which means I think I'm going to have to chuck the music I've already written for it. I was writing on guitar, and I think I'm going to have to write on bass. That's how I'm hearing it in my head, and then I'll come up with guitar parts afterwards. Once I get the third/final verse into better shape, I'll post the lyrics up here again. Look in the archive for the first draft.

And now, I think travel is catching up with me, so it's time for bed...

NP: Brian Eno, "Stars," from Apollo

12 October 2005

Away for a few...

I'll be away from here for a few days... Going down to Florida for Sue's sister's wedding. We'll probably also see my friend Brad from High School, who lives in the Tampa area.

So, updates when I get back. Enjoy the break...

11 October 2005

Music's coming together...

Tonight, I've been working on the music for the song I'm in the process of writing. I have a basic structure now, with verse/chorus, but am still refining major/minor chords. I've figured out that I write a very basic, usually two chord progression first, then start embellishing the chords to find neat additional combinations or voicings to the music.

I'm making this sound a lot more thoughtful and planned than it is. It's really just trying to find something to back up the words at this stage. My basic vocal track I recorded helped a bit, but I was too out of time to record anything to that vocal track. And, I'm not quite ready to record music yet. I've also learned not to push the process at this point. It's good to work on it, put it down for a bit (after writing down the chord changes above the lyrics as they stand now, of course), and let it sit so I can come to it fresh. The lyrics will also have to be revised a bit to fit the rhythm/sound of the music, which is fine. I'm hoping to write a bit of an intro to this piece, musically, but haven't started to develop those ideas yet either.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that, at least as of now, I have a pretty haphazard writing process for this song. More to come later on!

NP: T.O.O.L. - Don't Worry, Be Happy

10 October 2005

Out by the snack bar...

The Residential Cluster I'm in charge of here at Dartmouth, the East Wheelock Cluster, is special for a lot of reasons. One of them is the fact that there's a snack bar that's open each night (save Saturday) from 8pm-2am. I'm trying something new this year, where I'm going to hang out here each Monday evening from about 10pm (after my staff meeting) until about midnight. I've already had a bunch of casual conversations out here, which is neat. I like working with college students. It's fun.

So, while I've been out here, I've updated my website. There's now a bunch of music up, mainly from the era right after college, although there is a T.O.O.L. clip up, along with the most recent thing I've done, a version of the Moody Blues song "Out and In." Great fun. The old stuff is also entertaining. I'm waiting to put more stuff on the site until I hear final word about the space I'll have on the server. Obviously, music takes up a lot of memory, and I don't want to push it too far right now...

I did record the vocal track for the song I've been working on. I did it after work today, and got enough of a working version down to begin to think of music for it. I think that will be the mission for tomorrow evening. I have to call my friend Joe McGlinchey, and also start packing for my wife's sister's second wedding this weekend. Packing won't take long, but I just want to get it done...

NP: The sound of the Brace Commons Ice Machine

I'm Indexed

A few years ago, reporter Barry Seaman came to Dartmouth's campus to do research for a book he was writing on present day college life. He stayed in my building, and I got to chat with him for awhile. It's finally published, and it's called "Binge."

I haven't read the book yet, but I am indexed in it. I'm mentioned twice, once cited correctly, and the second time slightly incorrectly. I'm looking forward to seeing what the book says...

09 October 2005

So sue me...

Okay, okay, I didn't get around to recording my lyrics yet, but I think that I have them in good shape... I think Tuesday night will be when I put some of this stuff on tape, or perhaps right after work tomorrow. I'll see how I feel.

I've been putting a lot of my CD's on computer, to continue developing the playlist for my own personal radio station for when I'm exercising or working on the computer here. I've put a lot of my comedy CD's on here (Carlin, Pryor, Dana Gould, Richard Jeni, amongst others). Music I've put on here this weekend include Yes, ELP, and various offshoots of those two bands.

I'm a big fan of British progressive rock, bands like the aforementioned two, along with Genesis (with and without Peter Gabriel and Steve Hackett), King Crimson, and others. Frank Zappa and Queen also make up large portions of the 1600 CD's that Sue and I have when our collection is joined. For more modern music, Radiohead is up there, and Phish used to be good, before they took up the mantle of the Grateful Dead. Other artists worth checking out are John Cale, Jeff Buckley, Mike Keneally, and David Bowie.

I've been listening/watching the new ELP DVD, Beyond the Beginning, while working on the computer today. It's a good overview of a lot of early live stuff from the band, much of which I haven't seen before. Sue thinks they're a bit self important, and I suppose they are, but I enjoy good portions of their catalog, perhaps because of the pomposity. Not stuff I'd listen to every day, but their work does it for me when I'm in the right mood.

NP: ELP, Pictures At An Exhibition

07 October 2005

Late evening weekend

I've done some more work on the song that I've been writing. I got some more verse material, perhaps a chorus/middle eight, which is much like the verse, and some other ideas to develop. I'm going to make a pass at recording sung vocals tomorrow (Saturday) to give me a sense of melodic ideas for both the vocal line and possible music. If I can get some basic guitar backing, I'll probably record an acoustic demo.

I think this is turning into a mid tempo song. I'd be curious to see if I can make it into something a bit faster or rockier, but I don't know if that would be forcing it into shoes it can't wear. I'll fill you all in on how it goes after I do some recording tomorrow.

I bet you're wondering what I've been reading. I'm reading "Will In The World," a biography of Shakespeare by Stephen Greenblatt, a Harvard professor and an expert on Shakespeare. I'm about a quarter of the way through the book, and it's quite interesting. Because so little is actually known of Shakespeare's life, the book is a reconstruction of the Elizabethan era, and how Shakespeare's plays and other writings may show some details of his history. Speculative, certainly, but interesting nonetheless.

I think that's going to be it for now. I'm getting tired, and will probably go off to bed soon.

NP: Pete Townshend, "Song Is Over," from Lifehouse Demos

06 October 2005

Watch the Skies...

Yesterday evening, Joe Johnston and myself did our "So What's The Deal With Alien Abduction" presentation over in another residence hall on Dartmouth's campus, where I work. In fact, it was in the cluster I used to oversee, back in the 2001-2003 time frame.

We had an audience of about 25 students, and Joe and I regaled them for a little over an hour about the "history" of alien interaction, mainly during the 20th century. The students seemed interested, although there were less questions than I thought there would be.

Joe and I also determined that if we're ever to do this again, we're going to try to cut our blather down to about 30-40 minutes, in order to give more time for questions at the end. We both thought that while people were interested in the topic, members of the audience probably just felt beat down by the end of the talk.

All in all, it was a fun way to spend an evening. Joe and I afterwards watched some Babylon 5 commentaries from the 5th season of the show, which since they were sans Jerry Doyle, were actually filled with content and merryment.

We also have an idea to record our own commentaries on B5, which we can do with Joe's home audio recording set up. I'm sure we'll do this over time, it should be fun...

I am now sleepy, so it's off to bed for me. But first, notice the new link at the top of the right hand column of links. I have finally created a personal website! It's very basic right now, but watch for actual content as time goes on...

NP: Silence

04 October 2005

The Aristocrats

I just got back from seeing the movie, "The Aristocrats," with one of my co-workers. It's a film about probably one of the dirtiest jokes ever told. It's an in crowd comedian thing, people looking to top each other in how elaborate, and quite frankly, gross the joke can get. If you're into comedy, and don't mind being offended, and/or hearing disgusting humor, then this film is for you.

I love comedy. I have a lot of comedy albums, that I enjoy listening to repeatedly (as long as the act is funny, of course). People have asked me how I can listen to the routines over again, when I know what the jokes are. For me, it's about the construction of the joke, the word choice, the pacing, the release, and all else that is involved with the telling of a great routine. This movie gets at that, in showing how different comedians put their spin, and analyze, this old vaudeville joke...

George Carlin's telling of the joke, perhaps because it's one of the first, or because I'm such a big Carlin fan, is one of the best. Gilbert Gottfried's is also fantastic. It's also told in mime, through a card trick, and in fake German. Go see this film!

On another track entirely, I have finally started my own personal presence on the web. It's pretty basic right now, with no content, but it will grow... Check it out.

Tomorrow, Joe J. and I will be doing our Alien Presentation here at Dartmouth in my old Residential Cluster. The fun never stops!

NP: The Daily Show

02 October 2005

Writing Process

Yesterday, I talked about writing a new song, based on the idea that some people just can't stand being alone at all. They'd rather be in a bad relationship than no relationship at all.

Tonight, I took my first real stab at the poem/lyrics. I tend to fall into an A-B-C-B rhyme scheme fairly easily, and I didn't fight it tonight. What follows is a first pass rough draft at writing this. I don't know if I like it yet, but getting the ideas down on paper will get the ideas started. Here it is:

The moment you enter my life
Is the moment I know I'm complete
Our life and love magnify
I'm ready to come in from the street.

And when you finally turn on me
Like I knew you would always do
In a moment I've found the next one
The next one I'm certain is true

I want someone to complete me
Or at least to take up my time
With you I've got half the deal
I know you really don't mind

I give you all that I have
As much as I'll give to the next
You know that I'll love you truly
As much as I loved all the rest

I have this need inside me
I can never be left alone
As much as I can love you
My heart's really only on loan.

Copyright 2005 Mike Lord-Mars Central

Already, even typing this out, I have some ideas for revision, but I'll keep those to myself for now. It's a little sing-songy, but it's not bad for 10 minutes of work.

This is also the first time that I've written words with music on in the background. I didn't think that it would be good, but I could actually tune out the stimulus of the music pretty easily.

I'll keep you posted on the progress of this song as it develops. I'd like to have a stable set of lyrics in the next few days, perhaps by the weekend. By then, I may have some chords to go along with the words.

In other non-music related comments, my present reading is Will In The World, a biography of Shakespeare. It's fascinating to read a biography about someone we don't really know much about. There's a lot more about the context of the times than about Shakespeare's particular life right now, but I'm only 40 pages into it. Perhaps that will change as I get deeper into it. However, there aren't a lot of primary sources about Shakespeare's life from his era. It'll be a good interesting read, I'm sure.

Soon, it'll be off to bed for me.

NP: Radiohead, Climbing Up The Walls

01 October 2005

Ah, the weekend...

A Saturday evening spent doing "work" with some friends, at a retreat for student health educators. There are times I really like my profession, and this evening was one of them. Good students, good professionals, and a good time had by all.

Today, Sue and I did our proctoring for the LSAT's. Another fun morning spent watching future lawyers take a test, while Sue and I read our respective books. I'm about 100 pages out from finishing Matt Ruff's "Set This House In Order," which I am really enjoying. It's a book about mulitple personality disorders. I may ask my psych friend Joe McG to read it, see what he thinks about the counseling/psych end of the story. As someone with a lay knowledge of psych and multiple personality disorder, it's ringing true to me, but I'm curious what a professional would think.

While doing the LSAT today, I tried to do some lyric writing. I'm running into the issue of how much reality to put into lyrics. I have ideas to write, but do I try to make personal experiences general, so that others can empathize, or do I keep them more personal, with therefore perhaps more meaning to me, but perhaps less to others? It's something I'm trying to reflect on, to help move to a different level in writing.

I'm trying to write something about people who have the fear of being alone in a relationship. I think it's fascinating when friends tell me that they can't stand not dating or being with someone. While I personally really like being in a relationship, I was without one for long enough during my life to know that people can make do without it. However, I know some people who truly can't function without a relationship, even a bad one, in their life. For example, there was a girl in high school who always was in a dating situation with someone. These would be long term dating relationships, of at least a few months (decades in high school time), but then when it would end, it seemed that within a short period of time, she'd be dating someone else, and would be just as serious as the relationship that just ended. That always fascinated me. If you're always in a relationship, does any relationship have meaning? Perhaps that could be the theme for the song... See, I know there was a reason to start this blog!

I should be getting a personal website up on Dartmouth server space soon. I'm hoping to be able to post some music up there, and perhaps some of my genealogy stuff, mainly old photos. We'll see how it goes.

Sue and I will probably go out to eat tomorrow, and perhaps to a movie. Who knows what we'll see, but I'll keep you posted.

I'm out.

NP: King Crimson, Calliope

28 September 2005

Someone woke up at NASA

It's about time.

If the money put into the shuttle had just continued with a reduced Moon program, we wouldn't have to worry about going back now...

Seems obvious in hindsight, but how could the past have been so blind?

NP: The Daily Show

Damn robots...

I actually had to change over my comments section in this blog so that I wouldn't get spammed by robots. Do people who set these robots up really think that people will click on a link because a nice link in a comment points to it?


I've been thinking more about the bass piece I recorded last night. I need to play it a bit more, and actually arrange it... Figure out what it's all about, besides being dark and moody. Sometimes that's enough, but I need to have some more structure in it. That's a job for this weekend...

NP: Jingle Cats, Here Comes Santa Claws

27 September 2005

Is the Night Time The Right Time?

For Blogging? It is for me. I like taking it easy in the evenings, kicking back, and reflecting on the day.

Sue is feeling a bit under the weather. Poor Sue! She's dealing with a cold, which is never fun. Hopefully rest and time will have her feeling better soon.

So, Mike, you may be thinking, what are you up to nowadays? Here's a few fun things for your enjoyment...

1. I've been trying to work on a little mournful bass song that I've been generating over the past few weeks. I actually gave a go at recording something on my digital home recording setup tonight, but it didn't turn out very well. I really need to sit down, figure out the different parts of the piece, and arrange it in some semblance of creative order. Then, I can get into figuring out what to do with it. So, keep your ears peeled.

2. I started reading the last book on my "To Read" shelf, Matt Ruff's Set This House In Order. I read his first book, Fool On The Hill, a month or two ago and quite enjoyed it. So far, this seems like a good book, but I'm only about 40 pages into it. More updates later on.

3. My good friend Joe, of Taskboy fame, will be coming up here next week, to help out with a presentation we'll be doing for some students about alien wackyness. I'll be sure to let you know how the talk goes. It should be fun...

4. This weekend, I'm proctoring the LSAT's, the law school admissions test. Lots of fun to do, as I generally get to read a book during the test. Perhaps I'll try to write some lyrics for the aforementioned bass piece I'm writing.

That's what I'm up to now. Some fun stuff, and some casual things. Any suggestions for books to read once I'm done with the Matt Ruff book?

NP: The Daily Show


26 September 2005

A week's gone by...

So, I think I started this little bloggy about a week ago. Even if it's been a bit longer, it feels like a week. I'm happy to say that I've enjoyed putting some thoughts down here each day.

Today was officially a day off from work, as I was able to take a relaxing day away after working hard this past month. I slept a bit late, did some minor stuff around the apartment, went into West Lebanon to buy some used CD's to re-sell on E-bay (see link at right).

I did have a good E-Bay weekend, with my closing CD's brining in about $85. Not a bad take.

This week, I plan on doing some songwriting, to start using my home recording setup on the computer to do some new things. I want to find a website where I can put up music. I'm still looking at the possibilities.

And now, I'm getting a bit tired, so I'll have to wrap this up for now, and write more tomorrow.



25 September 2005


Normally, I'm someone who enjoys staying up late, and sleeping late. Graduate school was really a perfect schedule for me, because all my classes were in the evening, and that allowed me to stay up anywhere between midnight and 3am, and sleep till about 10 in the morning.

Yesterday (Saturday), Sue and I were in Brooklyn for her sister's wedding. A good time was had by all. We drove back here to New Hampsire that night, getting back around 8:15pm, and I was promptly in bed by 9pm. Slept till about 8:30am this morning. It was a quick trip down south, so not a lot of time for extended rest.

NP: Miles Davis, Two Bass Hit, from Live at Newport 1958

22 September 2005

The Joes

Here's a photo of both of my friends name Joe. Joe M., you'll recoginze from the first entry. The other Joe, to the right, is the Joe of Penetrating Glimpses into the Obvious fame...

This photo was taken at my wedding, back in February 2004. For more photos, check out Joe's link above.

A Penetrating Glimpse Into The Obvious...

In conversation, oftentimes one realizes something so profoundly simple, that hasn't been realized before, that the main thought through someone's head is: DUH!

My friend Joe (not the one pictured in my first blog, I''ll see what photo I can dig up of him) and I call this a penetrating glimpse into the obvious. I had one of these today, when I realized that the word "scat," meaning offal, poo, or other *dirty* words, came from the larger word "scatalogical."

Not a profound revelation, I know, but I had never really made the connection, or even given it much thought, in the past.

Joe's penetrating glimpse into the obvious was that pickles are pickled cucumbers.

21 September 2005

William Partridge

Here's a neat photo. It's of William Partridge, my great-great-grandfather. Born in Derryaghy, Ireland in 1852, and died in New Jersey in 1926.


One of my hobbies, which I started a few years ago in late 2001, is doing genealogical research. I find this stuff fascinating for a number of reasons. Here they are:

1. My family actually didn't really talk about their background/ancestors that much when I was growing up. This is now an "adult" reason to ask questions, and to learn more about where we/I came from. I always knew that my grandparents had siblings, and even met some of them when we were kids, but other than one Great-Aunt, we really didn't see them very often, or at all on my mom's side.

2. I've always been fascinated by names, old photos, and history in general. This hobby allows me to play into all three of those areas.

3. Being into Genealogy is a fun way to play detective. For instance, when I started this, I collected some of my great-grandmother's photos that my Dad had. There was one old photo, on cardboard, that I had never seen. I asked him who it was, and he told me that it was his grandmother's mother. Wow! I had never seen her photo. On the bottom of the photo was the word "Paisley." After doing this research for a bit, I learned that my great-grandmother's family was from Scotland, specifically the town of Paisley. Ergo, the photo was taken there. Because of that, I was able to figure out that the photo was taken between 1880-1885. Pretty cool!

4. I have been able to contact distant relatives, and learn about their own personal stories of the family. Granted, I wish I could have more success with this, or that more people had old photos or family material to share, but I can't have everything....

I think I may use this blog to post some old photos periodically. I may also look around for a website to host my genealogy stuff, so that perhaps some lone soul doing a Google search for their family can stumble upon my site. We'll see how that goes...

And just so you know, here's the family names associated with my direct ancestors: Lord, Sanecki, Moskwa, Partridge, Gatz (Gac in Polish), Kawa, Furgas, Flaga, Ruszala, Zlotek, Nixon, Riepe, Coulson, Fagan (or Fegan), Shields, Schulze, Hafner, Marcker, Lang, Alderdice, McHenry, Houston, Lindsay, Gibb, Fleming, Laird, Taylor, and some others that I can't remember off the top of my head...

My background on my mom's side is Polish, and on my dad's side is Irish, Scots, German, and English.

More soon!


20 September 2005


So, I'm 34 years old, and I used to be fairly active. I mean, I was never a sports person, but I enjoyed gym in high school, I played tennis, and always enjoyed growing up by the beach, doing ocean activities like swimming, body surfing, and the like.

A few years ago, I got a cholesterol test during a regular physical, and it was rather high. Not over 300, but close. My options were to go on medication, or change my habits to include a better diet and exercise. I obviously chose the diet and exercise, as I'd like to avoid going on any type of medication for as long as possible.

With exercising, and not eating as much like a fat bastard as I used to, I managed to drop some weight, and also put my cholesterol in a much more reasonable range, a bit below 200. However, I really don't like exercise. I have a recumbent bike, and that works for me because I can read while using it. I try to do at least a half hour a day, and keep myself active in that manner.

I just finished about a half hour of exercise, and that's about as much of my life per day as I'm willing to devote to this kind of physical activity. I know other people who love exercise. My wife is one of them, and I just don't get it. But, more power to her, and others like her. But I won't join that club... I think they have enough members anyway...