Friday, January 30, 2009

Music Video Friday - Here Comes The Sun

Today's video is an example of what can happen when some outstanding musicians from around the globe collaborate electronically and form a virtual band over the internet.

"Here Comes The Sun" combines the skills of Fanoguitar, ScalerWave and Batmankozyy, three musicians who share their talents on YouTube. Their individual efforts are blended into an amazingly smooth and coherent performance that is enhanced even more by the accompanying video.

Please enjoy this cover of "Here Comes The Sun" and then I encourage you to visit the artists' YouTube channels to leave a comment and rating.

Here Comes The Sun

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Weblink Wednesday

The author of today's weblink claims that "All the life's wisdom can be found in anagrams. Anagrams never lie." He may well be right. Consider these:

Dormitory = Dirty room
Clint Eastwood = Old west action
Mental Detours = Most unrelated

And who'da thunk that when I was named so many years ago, my interest in blackjack would be embedded in my name?

Daniel Hamilton = Deal in man, hit lo.

The Internet Anagram Server is a website that lets you find all the possible anagrams for words you enter. There are also links to other fun pages like the Anagram Hall of Fame, or the Anagram FAQ.

Internet Anagram Server is actually a sub-site of Wordsmith.Org, the host site for Anu Garg's "A Word A Day" newsletter and webpage.

So click on over to for some diversionary fun with anagrams.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Measure Up Monday++

I didn't lose much this week, but it's better than gaining. Since the measurements of my girth don't change much weekly, I decided to only update those monthly.

DateWeightGain/LossUpper WaistLower Waist

In other news...
I played in a fund-raiser poker tournament last Friday. This was a repeat of the Chargers Little League fund-raiser I played in last year. It was a smaller event this time with about 40 players, and was held at an area bar/lounge that has a party room in the basement. The $75 buy-in included a contribution to the baseball team, food, beer and soft drinks, and the prize pool. The food was supposed to be served at 6:30 and the game started at 7:00, but by 7:30 there was no food yet and the tournament had not been started. Around 8:00 they started the tournament and announced there would be a break for food at 9:00.

The tournament was run surprisingly well considering its shaky start. An electronic device hung where everyone could see displayed the current blinds level and the remaining time until the next level. The tournament emcee did a pretty good job of balancing and consolidating tables.

The food arrived in time for the 9:00 break, and consisted of salad, italian sausage, roast beef in gravy, corn, and fried chicken. It was pretty good, but the fact that our appetites waited an extra 2½ hours may have enhanced the flavor. :)

The tournament started with 5 tables of 8, and I lasted until the final 2 tables when I was knocked out by a bad beat. I had raised preflop with a suited AJ, and had one caller. I caught an ace on the flop and pushed all-in. The villian pondered my bet for a long time, and ended up calling me with nothing but an inside straight draw. Of course he caught his card on the river, and I was out.

Congratulations to Danny for making it to the final table, and to Jeff for finishing in the money at 3rd.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Music Video Friday - Tommy Emmanuel

I still have no video camera and so am unable to make a new video to put up here. So this week I'd like to introduce you to the amazing fingerstyle guitarist from Australia, Tommy Emmanuel. According to his Wikipedia biography, Tommy received his first guitar at age 4, and by age 9 was working as a professional musician.

Tommy is know for his expressive finger picking playing style, and also for sometimes using his guitar as a percussion instrument.

Here Tommy performs "Over the Rainbow".

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Weblink Wednesday

This week's weblink was given to me as a suggestion from Danny. The link is to a list of Frequently Asked Questions received by Dr. David P. Stern, who is the author of an online book called "From Stargazers to Starships", encompassing an entire course in Astronomy and Physics.

The FAQ contains answers to many interesting questions, such as "Do the drains swirl backwards in Australia?"

Click Here: for the answer to that and a few hundred other questions.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Measure Up Monday++

OK, the holidays and the Vegas trip are over, so now it's time to get back to the business of getting fit. I had been maintaining for a few months before the holidays, and then took about a month off from any kind of weight watching with the expectation that I was going to put some of the weight back on. So today I'm reporting my current weight and waist for a new beginning of my Measure Up Monday program. I'd really like to get under 200 by spring but let's see how it goes.

DateWeightGain/LossUpper WaistLower Waist

In other news...
I was recently asked to give some advice to my nephew about choosing an acoustic 12 string guitar. So I spent some time researching them online to see what brands and models were available and for what prices. Then I suggested a couple that were in his budget with the recommendation that he go try them out to see if he liked their sound and feel.

However, I also have often thought I'd like to own a 12 string, and the research I did for my nephew rekindled my interest. So yesterday I went out guitar shopping. I visited a couple of different stores, and tried out several different 12's by Martin, Ovation, and others but the Taylor's renowned playability and sparkling tone won me over. Watch for it in my next video.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Music Video Friday - Kansas City

I'm back from my vacation but my video camera has gone on a vacation of its own, traveling to Australia with Colleen and Tim. So I cut another clip from the 19 year old Way Off Broadway videotape. This time it's Kansas City, a song originally written in 1952, and covered by many artists, including Bill Haley & the Comets, Little Richard, and the Beatles. The best known version was recorded by Wilbert Harrison in 1959.

Kansas City

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Weblink Wednesday

Wednesday is the new time to look for posts about a website that I've heard about and think is worth sharing. This Wednesday I'm featuring a site that I've been visiting daily for a long time. The site is Astronomy Picture Of The Day, where every day you can find a cool new picture from the outer reaches of the universe, or sometimes interesting atmospheric effects right here on earth.

The pictures are always accompanied by a detailed explanation with hotlinks to various other articles that offer even more information if you're interested. But the pictures are almost always guaranteed to wow you.

Click here to visit "Astronomy Picture of the Day".

Monday, January 12, 2009

Las Vegas Continued

The Consumer Electronics Show was interesting. This was my first ever visit to CES and I was impressed by the size and by the crowds of attendees, even though I've heard that the show is slightly smaller than previous years. I spent Thursday and Friday walking around the exhibit floors with people from work, and returned on Saturday with Janet. There is a lot of interesting technology on display, but I didn't see anything that looks like it is destined to be the 'Next Big Thing'. High Definition video displays are getting larger and thinner, and there were a few manufacturers showing 3D displays, but I don't think those will be catching on soon except maybe with gamers.

We saw Bette Midler's show at Caesar's on Saturday night. I've never been one of her fans, but her Las Vegas show was very impressive and entertaining.

The Mirage has refurbished its Volcano show and we watched that Saturday night as well. They've added music and choreographed fire displays along with a rebuilt volcano cone and improved eruption effects. It's a spectacular 5 minute show.

After four nights at Caesar's Palace, we have now moved over to Steve Wynn's new property, Encore. My first impression of Encore when I entered was RED. Everywhere you look, red is the dominant color. To me it almost seems like too much. The hotel is brand new so everything is very nice. They also seem very intent on making you feel like a welcome and recognized guest. Every person I've encountered has been very friendly and called me by name if they knew it. The rooms are as nice as the rooms at Wynn, but laid out differently. Our only complaint is that the swiveling flat panel display is mounted such that it blocks your view of the window from the bed.

Today we took a drive up to Mt. Charleston and had lunch at the Mt. Charleston hotel. Janet and Gini like to make the drive up there every time we visit, but I usually decline going along so it's been some time since I've been up there. It's a nice break away from the 'Vegas scene' for a few hours.

I played some poker with Colleen while she was here. We both played in a cash NL Holdem game where she won a little, and I didn't. Then we entered a 40 person tournament where neither of us made the final table. I played in a sit-n-go at the Mirage that pays the top 2 finishers, but I finished in 3rd. :( I've also been playing some blackjack and having better luck at it than usual, so I'm a little bit up overall for the trip. I still have a couple of days here though, so we'll see how it all comes out.

I had been posting a weblink here on Monday for the last few weeks, but I'm planning to get back to Measure Up Monday after this trip is over, so I think I'll move the weblink post over a couple of days since Weblink Wednesday sounds better anyway.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Music Video Friday - Surfin' U S A

I'm away from home, so I don't have a new video made to put up this week. However, before I left I found an old videotape from the Way Off Broadway days and captured one of the songs from it. The video and audio quality aren't all that good but it's an interesting look at me from back in 1990.

The song is the Beach Boy's first big hit from 1963, "Surfin' USA"

Surfin' USA

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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

CES - Las Vegas Trip Report

I am at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The show starts tomorrow, but Janet and I came down a few days early to enjoy some vacation time away from the cold of Chicago. Trouble is, it was in the low 40's when we got here so we aren't all that far away from the cold.

The trip getting here was an adventure. We had confirmed upgrades on a 5:30pm flight, but that flight had already been delayed by 45 minutes, and we were concerned about missing our connecting flight in Denver, so we accepted standby seats on a earlier flight. Unfortunately the standby seats were not in first, and not even in economy plus, and not even on the window or aisle, and not even on the same sides of the plane! We were each assigned a middle seat on opposite sides of the aisle. However, a nice UA flight attendant that was seated at the window next to me offered her seat up so Janet could sit next to me. That was a very kind thing for her to do.

We arrived in Denver with plenty of time to make our connection, but our originally scheduled flight left Chicago an hour late, so I really think we would have been sorry had we waited and kept our comfy upgraded seats.

We spent 2 nights here at the Venetian hotel before moving to Caesar's Palace today for the CES event. While at the Venetian we met up with Colleen for dinner Tuesday night and lunch today. Colleen is running into some problems getting her company's booth ready for the show, but I'll let her blog about it when she gets a chance.

The gaming was going OK the first day with some modest wins, but turned around on me the next day, putting me in the red for the trip so far. But we're having fun!

I'll try to post an update in a couple of days.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Bonzer Weblink Monday

If your're a regular reader here you already know that I'm a fan of the rising star from YouTube named Holly. Her talents continue to amaze all of her nearly 1500 subscribers. Her musical career hit a new height recently when she performed onstage with the popular UK artist Amy MacDonald.

Her lastest endeavor is the launching of her personal website. On her website you can view photos and videos, listen to her music, leave messages, and communicate with other fans in the forums. It's a very well presented site.

Click on to check it out today.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Music Video Friday - Pipeline

This week's tune was originally recorded by the Chantays in 1963. It is a classic surf rock song and has been covered a number of times by artists such as Dick Dale or The Ventures. I've played it in bands as far back as I can remember being in a band. I didn't stick to the classic surf guitar sound. I hope you like it.

I may be absent from the music video Friday for a few weeks. One reason is I'll be at CES and on vacation for a while. The other reason is my video camera is going on vacation with Colleen.


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