John Mayer redux

Steffie and I are going to see John Mayer again tomorrow.

The first time we saw him was a great experience as everything really fell into place. He was at KC-101, and we went there and met him, had some photos taken, and then went home. We then went backstage after the concert and he signed the photos we had taken hours earlier.

I sent an email to his management company, looking for backstage access after the show and got my answer (positive) this afternoon.

Scotty Crowe who is part of our road crew will contact you and make arrangements for you and your daughter to get into the M&G tomorrow.

Helaine (who won’t be going) is probably just as excited that my contact is the person who writes John’s tour blog. Go figure. She has asked me to get John to sign a souvenir laminate (laminate is pronounced lamb-in-eight as a tribute to an overly aggressive Rick Springfield concert goer)

DSL – Damned Slow Loading

This should be a Sunday entry… but installing DSL on my friend Steve’s computer took 4 hours, including a few on the line with tech support (using up my entire cell phone battery in the process).

I went over,after the end of another vicious round of thunderstorms, at about 8:00 pm. It was wet, but the air was starting to have the feel of lowered dew points.

Steve is running Windows 98SE on a somewhat older Pentium. He has plenty of RAM. I know, because I put it in (and RAM is usually the best, cheapest way to speed up and rejuvinate an older PC). Because he has sensistive information, and because (like most users) he’s a bit petrified, he has Norton Anti-Virus, Disk Washer, and other stuff strewn around.

I’m sure they have a purpose, but I have never seen any of this stuff be anything but trouble. And, an unwary or un-savvy user can still bring viral infection right in.

Doing any installation, such as DSL, pits your installer versus the Norton’s of this world, who are trying to keep new programs from getting in!

The installer CD crashed, or more accurately, locked up twice. Each time it was re-run, it went a little further. Then, well into the process, Windows complained that we had too many tcp/ip devices (a sure sign something was screwy, since we certainly didn’t have more than the modem and NIC installed).

By the time Earrick at SBC tech support in Houston was on the line, the install program had become unresponsive, even from a restart. All of Earick’s suggestions brought new and different error messages, many of which he had never seen before.

We finally uninstalled the NIC and tcp/ip protocol entirely. Then rebooted. Then manually reinstalled the PPP software. We must have rebooted 25 times tonight; no exaggeration.

Finally, success. Steve will send a nice note to SBC because Errick was excellent and patient. But, this is further roadkill on the information superhighway. A DSL installation should be totally painless, quick and easy.

Why isn’t all the intelligence needed built into the DSL modem? The most you should need is an ethernet connection… not all this passwording and configuring.

Anyway, bottom line was, it’s fine now.

As soon as we were done, Steve wanted to check his mail. So, he clicked to connect via modem. Old habits die hard. But, he’s probably not alone is not understanding how all of this is routed and connected, and that the phone pop he normally goes in on is no closer to his mail than this new DSL connection.

Big rain

Yesterday’s forecast for today was mostly cloudy with scattered showers and thundershowers. I woke up this morning and it was sunny.

Let me pause and tell you one of the weirdest conflicts in my life is rooting for bad weather, just because I called for it! If I say blizzard and it’s flurries, even though I hate snow, I’m very upset.

So, obviously, I was on edge when I saw the Sun.

But, give Mother Nature credit for being somewhat predictable. By mid-afternoon, as the Emmy judges were leaving the house, the radar was showing building lines of thundershowers north and west of Connecticut (there were thunderstorms south too, but they were heading away).

These were big storms, full of those giant economy sized drops that you only get in the summer, and only in thunderstorms. It didn’t take long for streets to develop curb side streams, and puddling to take over low lying areas.

NEXRAD rainfall estimates show around 1″ of rain where I live, with higher amounts toward Waterbury and Meriden, and a significantly higher accumulation along the Connecticut River south of Middletown.

I picked up Steffie at work as a thunderstorm was just tapering off. They had closed the front door to the store because water was blowing in.

Emmy Judging

This has been an exercises in frustration. I volunteered to coordinate judging of the Weathercaster Emmy for the Mid-America region (basically St. Louis and Kansas City) and sent out dozens of invitations to other weather people around New England, including many who I know enter themselves… and got very few responses.

If it weren’t for the fact that it was summer, some folks were on vacation, the AMS convention had taken place last week, I’d name names because I’m pissed. I don’t mind that only a few people said yes. I’m more upset at how many didn’t respond at all!

Anyone who enters the Emmy’s expects more… and deserves it.

Our Emmy panel was comprised of Matt Scott and Gil Simmons and me from WTNH, Michael Friedman from Fox61 (WTIC TV) and Jayne Smith (meteorologist and former weather intern turned weather producer). We watched 9 tapes. Helaine was the ‘caterer’ and as is always the case, we ate wonderfully… and then had pizza for good measure.

The rules say I shouldn’t discuss individual tapes, and I won’t, but I will discuss the general quality of the entrants and the tape content itself. No one really stood out. There were two who I thought were better than the rest… but not by much. There is less of an edge or style to these Midwestern folks than what we see here in the East and a lot more nuts and bolts meteorology (which I’m by no means criticizing).

By and large, there was not enough “talent at chromakey” on the tapes.

It seems all but one of these entrants confused a good location with a good presentation. Because you’re somewhere, and something beyond your control has happened, doesn’t mean what you’re doing is special.

Don Fitzpatrick, TV talent guru, used to talk about reporter audition tapes that included a live shot from the president coming to town. Unless you got that exclusive one-on-one with the prez, ditch the tape.

At this hour, all our score sheets (which I haven’t sneaked a peek at) are in the Airborne envelope, waiting to go out with the tapes on Monday.

Poker Update – We’re down $16!

I guess I haven’t been keeping good track, but as of this morning, we’re down an incredible $16 since we started.

Tonight I played two tiny $5+$.50 tournaments and came in 2nd once. So, that’s $3.50 on the upside. I think Helaine did the same earlier.

I find, because the action is there, that I’m playing a lot of No Limit Hold’em, which is a totally different game than what I had been playing. I’m not totally sure how much I like it, because there are major bluffs going on. So, it’s possible for another player, in essence, to ask you to put up your entire stake (and any chance to place in the tournament) and that player has nothing.

If you have a larger stack, it’s much easier to be bold, because you can force someone to make a life or death (so to speak) decision, yet you have much less on the line relatively speaking.

Even if I hadn’t placed, this game offered good entertainment for the investment. For my $5.50, I played for 1:15.

Cool Blackout Satellite Imagery

This entry has been updated. Click for the new information.

The Defense Meteorological Satellite Program takes pictures of the earth from space and usually I don’t get to see them. Over the past few evenings – clear evenings – as they flew over the Northeastern United States they were taking visible light images (it maybe their norm… they don’t share with me), literally looking at the nighttime sign of civilization most noticable from space – electric light.

At the TV station, we mostly use infrared satellite images because they show weather patterns even when it’s dark. And we use geosynchronus satellites, whose orbital position seems to remain motionless in relationship to the Earth.

The DMSP photos here are from a low Earth polar orbit satellite sensing visible light, a totally different animal.

With clear skies Wednesday and Thursday, the setup was right for an incredible comparison of before and after during the Northeast Blackout.

Very impressive.