Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Band Review: Thin Lizzy (1969 - 1983)

I love music. I listen to as much as I can. And new music too. I push myself to listen to new stuff I haven't heard before, mostly current, some old. You know how there's bands that, when they're current and big, you never listen to them, you avoid them, almost on purpose. Knowing that someday you'll get into them, and listen to their whole catalog - and probably like them a lot? I love that.

Then some bands, you've heard their name for years but 've never heard their music. Back in the earliest days of the NWBOHM, I'd always heard the name "Thin Lizzy" (mostly next to UFO) but never heard their music - except the few radio songs (for example "Jailbreak" you know: dun don - du-dut) . They seemed to be on the "lighter" -slash- classic-hard-rock-ish side of the spectrum and I was mostly on the heavier side then. UFO of course being one of my favorite bands pretty much of all time though, I had to give TL a try sooner or later. About a year ago I grabbed most of their catalog and started checking them out.

They totally rock - Phil Lynott is a great singer. You see why they were compared to UFO: total story-songs about the pain and ecstacy of love and life on the street. Great catchy songs - cool themes. I think my favorite album is Black Rose. I remember when Lynott died back in 1986 (at 37), reading Kerrang magazine some people saying "fuck him he was a herion addict" and others saying he was a genius. Twenty years later It seems they were both right. There's an outdoor statue of him in his home-town Dublin Ireland, like our Mary Tyler Moore downtown.

What do you mean you don't know UFO? - "lights out, lights out in London, hold on tight til' the end, better now you know we'll never, wait until tomorrow..."

Steve-inator tomorrow night.

Junior High

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Google Analytics for Blogger

How many thousand people a day do you imagine stumble across or return to your snarky and artisticly unique blog? Want to find out?

Want to know where in the world they come from? What sites they linked from? Which of your posts were linked to from Google searches - and the keywords used? What browser they use? More? If so then batten down your ego and follow these simple - if high level - steps.

1. Go to Google Analytics and "sign up now" for an account (sign in with your Blogger ID and PW).
2. Follow the few simple steps until you are presented with the small window of code - copy it.
3. Log in to your blog and go into the settings, choose the "Layout" tab.
4. At the BOTTOM choose "add a gadget".
5. Select an "HTML/Javascript" gadget from the list.
6. Paste your copied code into the "content" field, leave the title blank.
7. Save.

Done - wasn't that easy?

It will take a day to get initialized and start showing data. Then simply log back in to Google Analytics and choose "view reports" to view your data - bookmark it for quick access. The main components are the overview which you are automatically presented with when you log in, the date range on the right which you can customize to see data for exactly the time-frame you want, and the drill-downs on the left where you can slice and dice the data into the specifics you want to see.

Don't worry, I still look at your blog every day ;)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Greenway pee

Apple Orchard Fall

Katie's 8th - Roller Dome - super fun.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Hot Boots

I have recently been obsessed with RedWing Irish Setter work boots, I had to have a pair - haven't had a good pair of leather boots for years. Totally durable leather, 8-inch high, waffle sole made for standing on concrete. Then I saw someone I didn't respect wearing them, and wanted them a little bit less, then I tried them on and didn't love them or anything so I didn't get them. -but I wanted a nice pair of leather boots for working and hiking. I didn't know what kind to get because there are many types of leather boots available. When I was at Nokomis Shoes trying on the Irish Setters I noticed the "logger boots", heavy duty boots with stiff knobby soles. They're wicked looking. The only issue I have is the heel which is two inch. It makes sense for loggers or linesmen who climb the metal pegs on a phone pole but is it good for general use and hiking? I wanted to know, so to Google I turned.

Looking for a description or comparison, nothing. Lots of places to buy them but no information. Then I found an excellent link to boot knowledge: they had exactly the info I was looking for: fairly detailed descriptions of boot-usage and good pictures... Great, thanks, ok let's see on their home page then, they have... lots of links... As I look through them... they have links to... lets see here... boot information, boot manufactures, profiles of men in boots what? that doesn't sound... what else, meeting bootmen - wait a minute... Oh shit, now I get the subtitle: "a community of men into boots". Christ.

Last Mountain Biking day of 2008 Sunday 11AM Murphy - it's gonna be cold.

Album Review: Witchcraft - Firewood - 2005

The Ipod's always churning at work, occasionally something jumps out. Whenever I listen to Witchcraft - a band I stumbled on in the last couple years - I think of old Ozzy-Sabbath. There are a bunch of similarities from catchy heavy-groovy riffs to neo-clean distortion tones ala vintage equipment only. Today as I listened, a completely new and shockingly obvious influence came to mind, I couldn't believe I hadn't though of it earlier.

It's completely like Frost and Fire era Cirith Ungol... ok like their first album Frost and Fire (1980 - yes 1980!) which was unique in their carreer mainly due to Greg Lindstrom their guitarist (one of two) and main songwriter: super catchy tunes. Introspective and self deprecating lyrics - sort of 70's-Sabbath meets Curt Cobain for the early-80's metal set. Their next album totally changed directions and lost all of the subtlety and intelligence, not a terrible album but a completely different conversation. Anyway, Lindstrom was the driving force and he wrote these super-catchy, but still heavy, songs - like sing-em-for-days songs or in my case for-years-songs. He then left the band to become a recording engineer. To this day Frost and Fire is a great album - top 10 80's metal albums of all time, for me, for sure.

and Witchcraft is like that - if not exactly in sound, at least in spirit, check 'em out. I'm dead serious. Witchcraft - Firewood.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Luce Line 2008

Bike Nob SSP

My other brother Opeth just have to open the last three at the same time...

As I left my house I could feel the Westwind blowing but I tried not to dwell on it as I pushed up the Greenway, through Theodore Wirth and into Golden Valley. After the trailhead we took turns with the trees catching the sun, blue sky, blustry crisp air and the ever-shifting carpet of leaves. Horses, cows and shimmering lakes silently observed as we rolled by. Pedaling, conversation and laughter filled the twenty-some miles to the campsite. Fire and food saw the evening into night. A sunny, cool morning hurried us though coffee and packing and off to the breakfast cafe in town. Another glorious day invited us to stop and stay awhile, but hot showers, and small children speeded our return from our 24 hours of Fall, odyssey.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I am Stinky

Slickrock - Lutsen 2004

eBay VS Craigslist

Now that the nights are getting crisp, I'm digging out my merino wool and spending more time huddled around the monitor's warm glow, my thoughts turn to... getting rid of my under-used stuff to make room for new stuff. Well, at least I'm figuring many people are now spending more time online to buy my old stuff. Selling always goes in spurts; I'll sell five to ten things and then nothing for months. I've been mentally stacking all summer in preparation and have finally started again.

Every year I go back and forth between Craigslist and Ebay, the goal: sell for the most money with the least hassle. The advantages of Craigslist are, number one; it's free. Number two; it's as easy as post/communicate/connect. If you've got something big or really heavy, or worth less than three times the cost of shipping it, or can't be shipped, Craigslist may be your only real option (sold my floor-standing drill press and gas welding tanks on CL).

The advantages of Ebay are a worldwide audience, especially in these times of the super-weak dollar. And "accountability" - if you bid, you pay, or you get a bad reputation, or booted.

So a couple weeks ago I pop up an ad on Craigslist for a Roland Jazz Chorus 77 - absolutely mint condition, priced accurately. Purchased a year ago for the same; beautiful but unused. I get a couple emails expressing casual interest but no follow up. A week later I remove the ad. I immediately get emails from two individuals: "do you still have the JC?" John knowingly answers simply: "Yes".... reply.

The other very common scenario is "I'll take it!"/never show up. As a friend says: "there is no incentive to complete the transaction".

That's Craigslist. The reasons it's so popular are the same reasons it's kind of crappy to use. It's free - so people do a lot of "fishing": placing ads with unrealistically high prices, just to see if they get a bite - why not, it's free. The other big advantage/detriment is no sign up is required. This makes it popular with the barely-internet-literate, and it's rooted in meeting someone face to face before you hand your money over - none of that internet-tomfoolery. This lack of product-search-sophistication encourages the "fishermen" who succeed with the people who don't realize that they could have bought the same thing, new, without driving 30 miles to get it, for the same price.

Anyway. Still stinging from my annual reminder, I put the the JC on ebay last night for the same price plus at least enough shipping to cover it to the furthest corner of the US. Woke up to "item sold" and electronic payment in my account. The JC is going to Redmond WA, to recently relocated Germans (M$ employees I'm guessing). In the end, with shipping, it's costing me $15 more than Craig. So philosophically, I could have saved $15 and not sold it, or spent $15 and sold it. With Paypal and a FedEx account, the hassle-factor is not a point higher than trying to coordinate with some ding-dong who may or may not show up - and this continuously becomes more important.

Ah ebay, I'd love to save the money but you're just so damn convinenent.