RIP Dio…

With the passing of Ronnie James Dio on Sunday, it got me thinking a lot about my roots in hard rock and metal. RJD was a true pioneer of hard rock/metal, and as I later learned, a great person.

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What?

Where did my weekend go? It went by way too fast. Seriously.

Not much going on lately. I’ve been trying to cut back our budget (or lack thereof), because we spend money without any regard. I had a real shock when I setup an account on mint.com (which is a fantastic site!), and saw what our spending on food was over the past month. I’m not going to put it here, because I don’t like to talk about personal finances, but needless to say, it was a lot more than it should be. So we went grocery shopping, and have instituted a once a week dining out rule for the time being. My goal isn’t to cut out eating out, or eating things we love, so much as it is to budget doing so.

Started playing rock band a bit more lately (haven’t really been playing much the past few months), since I can never seem to play my real drums when I want to. It’s obviously not the same, but it can get close when playing on expert, and I get the same workout. I grabbed the demo of Guitar Hero: Metallica
the other day, and it’s pretty cool. I’m not that into the interface Guitar Hero uses, but there’s no denying the killer song set they have in that game, so I’ll probably pick it up when a good deal comes around.

While on the subject of Music, some awesome new releases lately:

Lamb Of God – Wrath: Love it! It’s no secret that LoG is one of my favorite bands. Metal at it’s finest. Unlike a lot of their hardcore fans though, I thought that the last album (Sacrament) was a killer album. I loved the obvious Pantera influence, and I’m not that big of a fan of the cookie monster vocals. That said, the new album is a return to the more aggressive style, and with it brings more growling. It’s not a bad thing, but IMO it doesn’t do the music justice.

Mastodon – Crack The Skye: Another killer album. I love these guys! Very prog oriented, technical band. Their lyrics are total cheese-dick fantasy stuff, but there’s no denying that their music is fantastic.

Static-X – Cult Of Static: What can I say, it sounds like every other Static-X album to an extent, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

From the not new (although they do have a new album coming in May), but new found love category: Isis. I’ve heard these guys a ton in the past, even seen them a few times opening for various bands, but I never really gave them a chance despite rave reviews from both friends, and music rags. Finally getting into them, and I have to say that I feel like a total tool for not giving them more of a chance before. Awesome layered, ambient, metal oriented music.

Short but sweet Cali trip; New drums for me

So I finally broke down and bought a new drum set. I have been itching to get a new kit for years (I got rid of my last set like 15 years ago, then had a practice kit for a couple years back in the late 90’s), but I’ve always let it slide on the priority list. All this playing on Rock Band got me really wanting a new kit, much the same way that Guitar Hero renewed my interest in playing guitar. So I did some searching on Musicians Friend (The greatest music store ever!), and found a pretty good low end Pearl kit that didn’t break the bank. Got a set of decent set of Paiste cymbals, and I’m in business. The kit arrived on Friday, but unfortunately, the cymbals didn’t get here until Monday.

I got her setup, and semi-tuned (any drummer knows this is an ongoing process) on Friday. Yesterday I got the cymbals, and got them all set. The dogs are NOT happy about this renewed obsession, but they’ll get used to it. I tried taking it slow and giving Benny treats while I was tuning and stuff, which seems to help. But he’s a complete pansy ass, so he gets all stressed. China just goes somewhere else, and she’s fine.

Crappy picture of new drums

We flew out to LA on Saturday morning for my Grandmother’s 80th birthday party.

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Rock Band Drums Suck!

Seriously. I’ve still got the box to RMA for the heads, and after several hours of rocking out last night, my “bass drum” pedal snapped clean in half. Sent in for the RMA, but I think I’m gonna have to mod this one, cuz they are just gonna keep snapping.

This is what happens when you actually

Those who say “you shouldn’t stomp on it then” are full of shit and probably never played real drums before. That’s all fine and good on easy and medium, but once you get into hard and expert, you are playing almost note for note on songs. And when you are talking songs like those from Metallica, NIN, etc, that’s a whole lotta bass drum pounding. It’s a flawed design, and it’s hella frustrating. Luckily this is so common, that there are tons of mods out there that help. The most promising seems to be this bad boy

What up?

It’s funny how I feel obligated to make a “real” post every now and then. I like twitter, because it’s simple to make a quick update about what I’m doing. However, it just doesn’t have the same meaning ya know?

Anyhow, work has been crazy as ever. I’ll most likely be going back to London in a couple of weeks to roll out a very large customer deployment. The plus side is that we’re bringing in a management company to take on the day to day server deployments/management there. So basically I’m gonna go out there to pass the torch and make sure they do shit the way I want it done, then pretty much wipe my hands clean of that DC. Not long after that, I’ll probably be going out to Santa Clara, to get the new West Coast DC online.

Haven’t had much of a personal life lately due to the work situation. When I finally stop working, I just want to veg out. I started playing guitar again, so I try to at least hold it, and play some scales or just fuckoff for a while i”m watching movies or whatever. My brother hooked me up with a Guitar Port from the company he works for Line 6. It’s a pretty awesome device. Essentially it’s just a USB port that you plug your guitar into, and it has a few outputs to go to your amp, headphones, or even stereo/computer speakers. Then they have this bitchin software called Gear Box, that has “models” of a ton of different amps & guitars. Then they also have a pretty cool app called Guitar Port Online that works with Gear Box. They have a shit load of songs that they have the tab for, and you play along with it. It will automatically load up the “models” to give you the sound of the guitarist you are playing, which really helps work on your style.

I won an iPod at my office party, and promptly handed it over to Steph. Since it was a pretty beefy “classic” it was only $50 to trade it for a new iPod “Touch”. So that’s what we did, and now Steph can’t put it down for 5 minutes. It is pretty slick though, especially after they just added all the apps from the iPhone today.

I guess that’s all I have for now.

Take off the fat dress, and get on the mattress!

Saw Van Halen last night, and they were fucking awesome! Happy to be able to scratch another show off the list of bands I wish I could have seen.

Our party on Saturday was fun. Tons of food and drink were consumed. Marshmallows were toasted (and thrown at people at some point). Good times.

We got Guitar Hero 3 on Tuesday, and it rules! I promptly burned through the medium game, and had it beaten by Wednesday. Can’t wait for downloadable tracks to start appearing on xbl.

Oh yeah, I forgot to write that I also bought a new truck last week. I got a killer deal on a fully loaded 2008 Nissan Pathfinder LE. I love it! It gets terrible mileage, but so did my G, so I really don’t care that much. Especially since I don’t really have a commute. I haven’t taken any pics of it yet, but I’ll post some sooner or later.

Halo 3 is the shit

Haven’t posted in a bit, so I thought I’d write something about what I’ve been doing lately.

I got Halo 3 the day it came out (of course). I played the campaign for a few days, and it was cool, but I’ve never really cared about the story line. I’ve always been a fanatic about the multi-player. So once I got a stable network connection up there, I got on xbox live, and I have been playing it pretty much every evening after work. It kicks much ass!

We saw Clutch last weekend up in Hagerstown, and they were awesome! I have waited a long time to see them, and they are fantastic live. Actually considering going to the show at the 9:30 club next month to see them again.

I went and saw Danzig the other night in Baltimore, and I’m sad to say, it was a huge disappointment. I’ve never been a huge Danzig or Misfits fan, but I’ve always liked them. I just wasn’t feeling it at all. I sat upstairs watching them on a tv and drinking instead of hanging around in the crowds. It’s sad that this was probably the highlight of some of these people’s lives.

The trip to California is happening in a couple of weeks. Assuming all of San Diego hasn’t burned down by then,we’ll be traveling from San Jose/San Fransisco, to Monterey, then LA, Palm Desert, then San Diego where we will fly back from.

Other than that, not a lot has been going on. We’ve been doing stuff to get ready for the party. I’ve been watching as much football as I have time for. Good game coming up tonight, that I’m really looking forward to VT vs. BC. I would have gone down to Blacksburg for it if I hadn’t had the concert this week, and a vacation coming up.