Monthly Archives: November 2009

My Trouble With Reverse

When my torrents started to act up a few days ago I thought nothing of it. I chalked it up to the tracker being problematic, Shaw being stubborn, a weird seed to peer ratio or something else I would investigate later. I never thought it meant that my RAID 5 system had failed. When I went into Disk Management and saw my RAID drive not recognized my face turned a ghastly expression and Jenna said she “never wanted to see that look on me again”.

Wingman was crying for me and for over a day I neglected the signs. In fact it had been crying for so long that two drives were marked as failed. In a RAID 5 system it can survive if a single drive fails, but two or more is when things get serious and I had a critical issue on hand.

My 1and1 data loss in March is still an open wound and the thought of losing everything was too much to handle. When I say everything I mean it. I could survive if my Videos folder disappeared. I could slowly rebuild it over time, cut back on what I wanted to watch. However losing the photos would be an injury I could never recover from. I may not look at our Jasper photos from 2004, or reminesce about the giant pizza Dad and I made one day, but I always could, and to have that taken away would have been huge.

Wingman, we have a problem.

The thought of losing everything started to takes its toll as the RAID was being examined at work. How would I recover? What would I do differently? It was like being faced with a life changing conversation at the doctors office after being told what the dark spot on your x-ray meant.

This was a road I did not want to go down but I prepared for the worst and contemplated what would be my poison as I intended on drowning my sorrows in the evening if the results weren’t good.

November 19, 2009Our company IT man, Nigel, had been investigating the RAID and seeing what (if anything) he could recover. After a few hours had passed I heard an exclamation of victory and I was told Wingman would be okay. One hard drive was lost in the process and I would be wise to add a fifth drive to the array to allow for proper redundancy. Fortunately the next task of locating an old model hard drive was easy and for $140 (plus the lunch I owe Nigel) Wingman will be okay and with no data loss.

The Sunday before all of this started Jenna and I were relaxing at home and she was watching an episode of “Sex and the City”. It happened to be My Motherboard, My Self in which Carrie Bradshaw has her Macintosh laptop die and loses all of her files. Everyone she spoke with asks her what she uses to backup and equates backing up to something everyone does that no one talks about.

Even with a backup solution you can still come face to face with losing everything and having nothing.

My Last Parade

Leading up to the November 14, 2009 Matthew Good concert at Shaw Conference Center I listened to recordings of Good’s performances in Edmonton from over the years. The improvement in recording quality aside, there was something special about those older shows that encourage me to replay them frequently. It was like a certain chemistry on stage, a feeling or chaos as the band knew a large back catalog and it was very possible to hear “Suburbia” or “Carmelina”; or even that older material from the former Matthew Good Band sounded fresh and interesting.

A few more albums have been released in the last few years and the studio (and live) band have been replaced with new faces. I do not know what the catalyst was, but there seems to be a difference in enjoyment of shows over these last few years. Saturday was my 23rd time seeing Matthew Good perform over the last since 1998; and it was almost to the week that he performed there a decade ago with Moist and Gob.

Saturday night was a good show but I don’t know if it was a great show. Perhaps for the casual Matthew Good fan it gave them everything they wanted to hear, or maybe it converted people to become more interested in his work; and if that happened then the show was a success. I feel I am the minority in the audience when it comes to set lists and what I would like to hear and playing to my tastes could alienate the other several thousand in attendance.

I consider the March 23, 2006 acoustic set at Horowitz Theatre one of the best he’s done, and the October 2005 three night stand at the Starlite Room spectacular. The Pepsi Taste Tour from the summer of 1999 at The Rev was a part of an amazing day and the performance was the first time I had heard material from Beautiful Midnight (the show was prior to the albums release) and that will always be a show held in high regard. Those performances only had a few “never hear that again” moments, and everything else was fairly standard; so what does it take for a Matthew Good performance to stand out amongst them all?

Saturday night had a mix of new material and fan favorites. The new songs from Vancouver sounded great. The crowd responded well to them and they really evolved to something else on stage. Underplayed favorites like “Giant” and “Everything Is Automatic” made for a high energy encore. I think longer songs like “Avalanche” or “Empty’s Theme Park” may be a little too cumbersome to play for a large audience (especially in a bigger venue like the Shaw Conference). Perhaps the attention of those in attendance wanders during an eight minute song, but that is their loss because long Matthew Good songs is a specialty and they sound great live.

By the standard of past shows there was very little banter or political commentary. We were treated to the “pirate and ninja story” as well as some other musings that Matthew had with his band mates. When I look toward the stage I may not see Christian, Pat or Rich, but Matthew is having a good time with their replacements and it shows.

The one thing that hadn’t changed was that the regulars at Good concerts were in full force too. A ‘triple sky kick’ may have been a little more difficult to pull off and we were all kind of sore for standing for a few hours but part of the appeal about going back to any of Good’s shows is the chance to see familiar faces and talk the set over and discuss our favorite moments. We no longer wait outside the venue for hours day after day but it is almost a standing date we have when a tour is announced.

I may never hear “Symbolistic White Walls” or “My Out of Style is Coming Back” again but when Matthew Good comes to town it’s a guaranteed enjoyable night and I hope the next stop is a little sooner than the 17 months I had between the last shows.

A highlight worth mentioning from the night was Mother Mother. I was familiar with their discography going into a show (a rare occurrence with openers for Matthew Good) and their thirty minute set was fast paced, very tight and extremely entertaining. They will only continue to get better and more popular as time goes on and I’m glad to say that “I saw them when” they played a venue that only held a few thousand compared to what they could be playing to in the future.

Sound IconAs to be expected, I recorded the show and here is my favorite song from the new album performed on Saturday night: “Great Whales of the Sea”. As an added bonus is my favorite song from Mother Mother: “Hayloft”.

My Unknown Caller Returns

From Me To U2
It’s old news now, but U2 is coming to Edmonton in June 2010!

The Monday after we returned from Las Vegas I saw rumors about an upcoming announcement and was thrilled to see a planned stop at Commonwealth Stadium. The U2.com pre-sale started less than 36 hours after the concert was announced and I was back in the same uncomfortable and stressed situation of vying for tickets. Would I play the odds and expect a second show to be added? Or should I play it safe and get seats?

The second tour date never happened, but from my understanding Live Nation stopped the roll out of a second show due to slow ticket sales. Hours after the public sale tickets were still available, and even the following day seats were available in the upper balconies. AC/DC sold out Commonwealth in the summer within minutes, and since this show did not get that same treatment Edmonton will only be enjoying one show. It’s easy to get hung up on the show that got away, but the important item here is that U2 is coming and I can stay within my area code to see them perform.

I ended up buying two seated tickets (closer to the center of the stadium to fully appreciate the stage from the front) and two general admission tickets. I often say that the April 10, 2001 performance I saw of U2 in Calgary was a life changing experience, and I think being on the floor for that was a strong reason why the night was so memorable. To get an optimum spot on the floor you have to wait in line. In 2001 I was in line for eight hours, and that is the norm for most lineups, especially if you would like a chance at the ‘inner circle’. I am still not sure which way I am leaning, we have already seen the show from the seats and a floor performance would give us more appreciation for the frenzy; but at the cost of sitting and waiting all day.

I came across this time lapse video of the “Claw” as it was constructed, performed on and torn down the other day and it immediately brought my excitement level back up for the show. Now to just get through the next eight months.

Nose Bleed Count
nose bleedThe count is now up to nine. There have been a few close calls but were just drips compared to the river of blood that is needed to count for this. The humidifier has been brought out of hibernation as I try and battle the dry climate.

My New TV Life

To me there are two types of TV: When Lost is on, and when Lost isn’t on.

Unfortunately we sit in that eight month void when Lost is not on, but I am able to get by with the new fall programming on the networks. My weekly viewing routine has stayed the same as last year, but with a few slight changes.

The cast of NBC's Community

30 Rock and Community join my ‘watch immediately’ category. I was able to catch up on 30 Rock over the summer months and have been happy to add this to my weekly programming. After going through the series in a matter of weeks I was really satisfied and glad to finally catch up on a show that has been dominating the Emmy’s for the last few years.

Community was a leap of faith and it has paid off in a big way. The pilot was made available for online viewing prior to its network premiere so I had read a bit of chatter about from those in TV IV and thought it would be worth looking into. It had a slow start and I was doubtful if I would stick with it, but after a third of its season I look forward to Thursday’s when I can see this in the NBC comedy sandwich.

During the summer months we also caught up on Entourage and Weeds. After seeing bits and pieces of Deadliest Catch we tuned in for its complete season on Discovery and love every moment of it. We can say that we have seen Deadliest Catch in four separate countries, a show none other can claim.

True BloodA surprise addition to my schedule came when I had some time in September to watch both seasons of True Blood. After you binge on a show there is always some separation anxiety, but after finishing True Blood I was in a rough spot. I haven’t felt this kind of withdrawal from a TV show since Dexter. Even now I still miss it, and the wait for its return next summer is made easier knowing that Lost stands between me and the return to Bon Temps.

There Goes My Hiro

HeroesIt has been almost a year since I saw my last episode of Heroes. This time off was not intentional, we just never got around to watching the remainder of season three after its mid-season break. As the months went on we had stock piled enough episodes to binge properly we just never returned.

We continued to put it off in favor of some other time, and when Buffy and Angel occupied our summer we fell further away from Heroes.

Now season four is off and running and with nearly twenty episodes to catch up on our motivation and enthusiasm about returning to a show that has betrayed us was growing thin and I finally made things official and bid farewell to Heroes.

Wingman Deleting Heroes

I have never quit a show during its run. Shows have been cancelled on me (Daybreak) while I was watching and others came to an end (Battlestar Galactica, ER); but I have not stopped mid-season on a show before. Abandoning a show I have invested many hours in was a difficult choice, but it was oddly liberating to no longer have Heroes hanging above me.