Shots from Saturday Night at the Bar

Went to see a few bands play at the Bank Street Cafe here in New London. Decent stuff, but as I’ve sort of become the unofficial-official photographer of the Paul Brockett Roadshow, I was there to work. See below for photos:

Estrogen and Tonic

(Click to see the full album…)

Nerve Tonic

(Click to see the full album…)

Paul Brockett Roadshow

(Click to see the full album…)

New pictures

Visited the family in Vermont this past weekend and got a bunch more photos. Even snagged a couple of one of the cats and my sister’s dog. Lots of great baby faces in this set.

More Baby Pics!

My sister came down to visit my dad again this week and so I made the trek over to the house today to spend some quality time with them and, of course, to take new baby pictures. Twice in the span of three weeks is great (and I’m probably headed up to Vermont this weekend, too, so that means even more), and she’s really starting to show some great facial expression, even reliably grinning when you do certain things (a raspberry sound seems to be her favorite).

Now with more singing in German!

Got bored. Sat down at the piano and played for a while, then got bored with that. Started playing a piece by Schumann that I like and decided that today would finally be the day that I record it. Did just that.

That’s the short version. :)

Longer version is: This piece is called “Ich Grolle Nicht” (translation available in that link) and is from Schumann’s song cycle Dichterliebe, and it’s all about how love is a cruel bitch. My kind of stuff.

Ich Grolle Nicht

(Oh, and yes, I’m also playing the piano. It’s a really fun part to play.)

New Baby Photos

Took advantage of a lack of sleep today to go visit my sister, who was down at my dad’s house with the baby. Got these photos while I was there.

New Photos: Skateboarding Kids

It was such a nice day today, I felt it would really be a waste if I didn’t do something with it, so I headed down to Ocean Beach in New London. I figured I might take some pictures of the somewhat run-down buildings (and the vacant waterslide, which is kind of eerie in the winter). But instead I happened upon a group of kids who were skateboarding (big no-no, they told me later—usually they get shooed away by security or the cops) and figured, hey, here’s an interesting photo subject.

At first I kept my distance, shooting them with my zoom lens, not wanting to bother them. But one of them noticed and I heard him tell his buddies, “Hey, some guy’s taking pictures of us,” so in a desire to avoid being thought of as creepy, I walked up and asked if they wanted to see what I’d taken so far. That got them more interested, and after seeing what I’d done, they were suddenly really excited to have me take all sorts of pictures of them trying tricks on the boardwalk. I think they were a little confused that I had such a nice camera but didn’t work for a newspaper or something similar; I got asked more than once about my reasoning for taking photos (“you mean you just take pictures of random stuff?”).

Before I headed off, I gave them the address to my Flickr page and told them that they could expect to see them uploaded later in the day. All in all, they were really cool about having a stranger take photos of them, and they provided for some amazing subjects in action photography.

(On a side note, offers Flickr-based business cards for, I suppose, this specific purpose. I need to order a set, I think, in case something like this happens again.)

Link to the Flickr gallery

The Defining Moment

You ever look back at a situation and realize that one particular moment, one thing about that situation, was what should have clued you in to everything that happened afterward? I’m talking about a specific point where, when you reexamine everything, you should have picked up on it and used it to your advantage.

Last fall, my friend Finnigan threw a going away party—he was moving to Boston and wanted one last hurrah at his place before he went. While I was there, I met a girl who seemed interesting: cute, funny, a little bit of a stoner but I don’t have a problem with that. I managed somehow to gather up the stones to ask for her number and received it, so a few days later I called and we scheduled a date. We went out a few times—and to be fair, I had a pretty good time—but after a couple dates I didn’t really feel a vibe coming from her and I stopped calling. (This is something that Finnigan gave me much grief over, stating that a woman likes to be pursued and I should have kept at it a little longer.)

Well, fast-forward a bit to New Year’s Eve, when I did my yearly ritual of sending a text message to everybody in my phone book at midnight stating a simple wish for a happy new year. I got a response from this girl, asking “Who is this?” And it was at this point that I realized exactly when I should have seen that there wasn’t going to be a Love Connection between us: my memory flashed back to a point when I had called her to ask her on a date (third, I think?), and she didn’t know who I was when she answered.

Now, in this age of cellphones, not knowing who’s calling you can only mean one thing: that you see only a number come up on the Caller ID without a name to go with it. The reason for this was simple: she had never added my number to her phone’s phonebook. This explains why she didn’t know who the text message came from at New Year’s—I don’t know about anybody else, but my phonebook entries don’t get deleted unless I never ever expect to receive a call from them again, or if the number I have is out of service and I don’t have a new one—but it was also that seminal moment where I realized that I was right not to have called her again. After all, if she didn’t see the need to keep my number handy, even in those first few weeks when we were going on dates, then obviously she didn’t think she would be calling me much.

Needless to say, that was also the point I removed her from my own phonebook.

Awake / Bureaucracy / New Photos

One of the biggest problems with working a night shift is that it’s virtually impossible to get anything done during the day. I finish work at midnight, which means that I’ll usually get to sleep anywhere between 4 and 5 am—think of it like getting home at 6 in the evening and going to bed at 10. Great. This isn’t much of an issue, except when I need to run errands, because I usually sleep right through most of the time that normal people are working. Most people, obviously, would suggest that I go to bed early and run the errands during the day.

And most people would be right. But here’s the thing.

I went to bed early tonight. Two o’clock, I was in bed and sleeping. And then, at 3:49am, I was awake. My only guess is that when I push my bedtime earlier, my body assumes that I’m having a nap. The problem with this is that around noontime, I’m going to completely hit a wall, which is okay under most circumstances—if I’m at home, I can just take another nap and I’ll be fine—but what if I happen to hit a wall while, say, driving? If that were to happen, I might hit other things, like… cars.

The reason I had gone to bed early was because I need to drive back to the town I used to live in, because apparently it thinks that I still live there. No, literally: I got a car reregistration form in it a couple of months ago that is now overdue by almost a month (yeah, I know, but I was told I have a month from the date my sticker expires, which gives me until the end of March, and like I said, getting errands done isn’t the easiest for a nocturnal creature), and while reviewing it last night I came to the realization that it says on it that I owe back taxes. For West Haven.

For the record, I have not lived in West Haven for more than two years. And I happen to know that all my car taxes are paid up through the end of 2006, the last year I lived there. So if they think I owe them money still, well, they’re sorely mistaken.

But that doesn’t really matter to the Great Bureaucracyâ„¢. Thanks to the miracle that is state governments, I have to get a physical stamp on my registration form that states that my taxes are paid. Which means I have to drive an hour back to West Haven, argue with the tax collector about whether or not I actually owe them money (my wager is that I’m still going to have to give them a pound of flesh whether I lived there or not), get a stamp, go to the DMV, pay them for the registration (plus a late fee, I imagine, if the month-long-grace-period thing I was told is untrue), and come home so I can work a full eight hour day night. Oh well, at least it gives me some time and material with which to write a blog post.

And finally, an interesting thing happened to me a couple weeks ago: I got a friend request on Facebook from somebody I hadn’t seen since college. We started to talking and she invited me up to Boston on Monday to go to an art opening she was doing. I asked her if it would be gauche to take along my camera and snap some shots of the opening, and was told of course not, by all means, so take it along I did, and also documented a bit of the aprés-opening gathering at her apartment.

Emma’s Art Opening, 3/2/09
Emma's Art Show, 3/2/09

He really does know everything.

We have a saying at my place of employ: Work smarter, not harder.

Now, I tend to assume that this is really corporate-speak to mean something along the lines of “We’d be able to save money on employees if we can make the employees we already have do more work in the same amount of time.”

But I kind of take it to heart. I’ve already mentioned on this blog how much I enjoy creating methods to make it so I don’t have to do repetitive tasks, but tonight I encountered something that made me really question how much those other people really enjoy the idea of reinventing the wheel:

Let’s say that you have a computer. If you’re reading this, you either do have one or you employ somebody to print out your favorite websites for you to read with the morning paper. Since nobody in his or her right mind would pay somebody to print out this blog, I’m going to go with the former. Anyway. You’ve got a computer. And let’s just say, you want to run a program and it doesn’t load. Instead, you get an error message. Doesn’t really matter what it says, because when I ask you what the error said, you’re not going to remember it anyway. But we’ll come back to that.

When I encounter this type of situation, there’s a very specific set of things I do to try and fix the problem. It goes like this:

  • Make note of the exact text of the error.
  • Go to Google.
  • Type in the exact text of the error.
  • Read the links that follow to see if anybody else has had the same error, and what they did to fix it.
  • Do what those other people did, which will almost always fix the error.

Now, that makes sense, right? I mean, it’s Google. As my friend Jonny says, “Google is the best sysadmin in the world. That Google dude knows everything.” It is incredibly rare that I get a computer problem that nobody in the world has EVER had before, and since it’s, well, Google, all those issues are generally available with a few simple keystrokes.

Thus, it’s very, very easy for me to do my job. I simply check to see if anybody else has done it before me, and I copy them. Now, utilizing these very same secret methods, you too can become a systems admin.

And now we’re back to the part that I said we were going to get back to: If you ever call me with computer problems, you can be sure that the one question I will absolutely, definitely ask you will be if there were any error messages, and what they said. It is in your best interest to be able to answer these questions. :)

But back to tonight. Without going into details, let’s just say that I encountered an issue with a computer that had been confusing people for days. During that time, the only time I actually got to look at the computer was while it was running a scan or something, so I didn’t have an actual chance to sit down and try to fix it myself until tonight. And when I did, what was the first thing I did? Looked for the error messages. (You starting to notice a recurring pattern? Good, I thought so.) Once I saw the error message, it took me all of five minutes to go to Google, find a solution, and implement it.


I don’t think I’m anything too special when it comes to what I do. Hell, I already said that you could do my job if you wanted to, just by using my tried and true methods. So what does it say that for almost a week, an entire team of people couldn’t fix an issue that was solved by fifteen seconds’ worth of googling? I mean, seriously, folks, it was the first link that was in the search results.

Like I said, for me, a lot of these issues are fixed in this manner. In reality, it’s a very simple thing.

I don’t really know if what I do is working smarter, but one thing it’s definitely not is working harder.

New Baby Photos

Went up to Vermont this weekend (as detailed in my previous post) and got a good number of new photos of the niece, as well as some great shots of my sister’s dog.

Link to the actual photo gallery

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