Bad Forecasting 101

Whatever the reason, the forecast through the Great Lakes tonight has been atrocious. A strong line of thunderstorms stretched from the Quebec/Ontario border southwestward into the United States.

At least two tornadoes touched down in Michigan. There was NO Severe Thunderstorm or Tornado Watch in effect.

There might have been a Tornado Warning or Severe Thunderstorm Warning for the counties affected, but since those don’t get issued until a storm is sighted, they afford little in the way preparation time.

I’m not at the Storm Prediction Center and certainly don’t know what goes on in their mind(s), but over time, it has seemed to me like they are reticent to issue a watch box once a storm has already gotten going.

I’ve seen it in Connecticut, and tonight in Michigan. It’s wrong.

Certainly issuing a watch while the storm is already in progress signals a blown forecast, but it allows all sorts of secondary actions to take place which will sensitize residents to what is taking place.

I will read, with interest, the Michigan newspaper websites over the next few days.

Am I John Mayer’s stalker?

Click here for more photos from the concert

As of Wednesday morning, I still hadn’t heard from John Mayer’s road manager, Scotty Crowe, as promised. Just a little worried (it is my nature), I sent another email to the management folks and got a reassuring email in return.

By early afternoon there was an upbeat voicemail at work. We were good to go (literally and figuratively). The only surprise was the time. “Meet and greet” is normally a post show event. Not with this show. John would be entertaining at 7:00 PM.

Anticipating Hartford traffic (which we never saw), Steffie and I arrived at The Meadows a bit before 6:00 PM. A line had already begun to form the entrance. People with tickets for the vast expanse of lawn wanted to stake their claim and find a good seat.

Good lawn seating is miles away from the stage. Bad seating is in another time zone.

We hit the “will call” window, looking for our “Meet and Greet” passes. Nada. But, that’s not at all unusual. As it turned out, the clerk was looking in the wrong place, and a turn to the left produced two round adhesive passes and a small Xeroxed set of instructions to the marshaling point.

The gates to The Meadows actually open at 6:30 PM. But the real excitement starts a few minutes earlier as a PA announcement lists what you can and cannot do… can and cannot bring.

Digital cameras were on the forbidden list. I decided to take it anyway and hope for the best. After all, meeting John and having the passes might be enough of a mitigating factor. As it turned out, the ‘frisker’ took a look at he camera, pondered for two seconds, and pronounced it within reason. My guess is, with the lens retracted, he thought it was a non-professional film camera.

My first rock concert was probably 1966 or 1967. I went with my Cousin Michael and Larry Lubetsky to the Village Theater, aka The Fillmore East. We did that often on Friday and Saturday nights. It was pure fun and music (with the Joshua Light Show and the smell of marijuana pungent enough to knock you on your butt).

Things have changed

If there is something that isn’t for sale, or marked with signage, I didn’t see it. I’m surprised a wheelchair company doesn’t sponsor the handicapped ramp.

In the parking lot were four perky post-teens (male and female) wearing red t-shirts. They would be passing out Trojan condoms throughout the evening.

Dodge sponsored this, Comcast that, and Channel 30 something else. Dunkin’ Donuts was passing out Fruit Coolatas, but most everything else was for sale and over priced beyond belief (again, please excuse my naivet´┐Ż. I’m 53 and I’m not in the concert demo anymore).

Considering there is a law in Connecticut preventing a reseller from marking up a concert ticket by too much, you’d think the venue itself would follow that same policy when it came to bottled water or beer or pretzels. They could let you in for free and still make a profit.

A few minutes before 7:00 we met Scotty Crowe. It’s interesting how the Internet can catapult unlikely people into the limelight, and Scotty is one of them. Once I knew I’d be meeting him, I “Googled” him. Not only does he write John Mayer’s Road Journal, he also has some dedicated fans, including a Scotty Crowe bulletin board. Damn!

We went into the hallway that would serve as “Meet and Greet” central, and waited. I tried to make small talk with Scotty, but as is always the case when I do something like that, I came off as a total dork. At least I gave him a good PhotoShop tip (Ctl-L is perfect for enhancing video levels on digital photos).

John came out a few minutes later. I don’t notice these things, but Steffie said he was wearing the same outfit we saw him wear at Oakdale. He’s tall and thin and young and I’m jealous..

After saying hello and posing with the people in front of us, John came over. He was very nice (though after meeting him at KC-101, Oakdale and now here, I can’t help but wonder if he thinks I’m a stalker… or if I actually am a stalker).

As soon as he started to speak to Stefanie, he said, “You’re Stef, right?” I believe that was the magic moment as far as she was concerned. To be remembered by someone in his position, who meets so many people, was very gratifying.

I told John I thought he was smart, and a nice guy. But, I had seen others who had that… and lost it. I told him it was very important he remember to continue to be the kind of person he is now. I seriously think he will. But, as with Scotty a few minutes earlier, I felt like a dork after I said it. I hope he’ll think I was somewhat appropriate.

We had come very early and we found out we would be staying very late. Not only was John Mayer performing, so were the Counting Crows and an opening act before them. There was only so much we could take, so Steffie and I sat outside, people watching, while Stew (or possibly Stu… I wasn’t inside) performed.

We headed inside and found our seats before the Crows hit the stage.

If you have never been to The Meadows (and now that I’ve talked about all the commercialism, you should know, it’s the “ctnow.com Meadows Music Centre). It is a huge, high roofed pavilion with theater seating and a removable rear wall. There is no air conditioning. There are no ceiling fans. It was hot and sticky and uncomfortable.

I had never seen the Counting Crows and I was favorably impressed. Lead singer Adam Duritz, his hair fashioned with somewhat wild dreadlocks, is very talented and (and I always like this in a performance) a commanding presence on stage.

Toward the end of the set, he told a story of going to school in Watertown, CT and flunking a music course. Judging by the description, it is probably The Taft School. A website FAQ confirms it.

The Crows got off after 10:00 PM. The venue had not cooled down. Every once in a while, a brief whisper of air would move by, and you’d think, maybe it’s going to cool down. But the ‘waft’ was short lived; a tease at best.

Not quite 11:00, John Mayer took the stage. As appreciative as the audience was for the Counting Crows, they stepped it up a notch and a half for John. There’s no doubt that a packed house is good for the home team, and he is the home town here.

He is an artist who sounds just like his Cd’s (I wanted to write records, but that would make me very old, wouldn’t it?). That means his artistry is real and not produced into being. Most of the house stood for most of the performance.

He did the hits, and some cuts from the new CD (out in a few weeks) and then a phenomenal guitar solo. As good as he is as a troubadour, John Mayer is a masterful guitarist; as good as I’ve heard

There’s obviously some BB King in his riffs, and probably others I don’t recognize, but mostly it is his ability to make the guitar become its own voice that makes his playing so good. It is my contention that if he weren’t singing, he’d have an amazing career as a guitarist.

At 11:45 PM he said goodnight, only to come back on stage alone to do the first of two encore numbers.

We were out by midnight. As soon as I turned on the car radio, I realized I wasn’t hearing quite as well as I did when I went in! Within ten minutes we had navigated Hartford and gotten onto I-91 southbound.

Though Steffie tried (and she has pre-season field hockey practice tomorrow morning) she had only a few minutes of sleep before we were home.

Great night. I’d do it again.

Click here for more photos from the concert

SoBig gets (so) BigGER

I woke up this morning to find a few dozen more SoBig bouncebacks in my mailbox. From the looks of the email’s I’ve received, the actually infected computer might belong to someone at WFSB… someone I invited to the Emmy judging!

Along with random, weird addresses (see the extended entry below), emails went to Rob Jordan (agent) and a few Meredeth and WFSB addresses. Oops.

Continue reading “SoBig gets (so) BigGER”

SoBig

Today was marked by dozens of bounced emails coming back to me from places I had never of heard (and some I had).

By the afternoon, it had become obvious that the SoBig virus was back in a huge way. Not only does this puppy try to replicate itself by emailing viral attachments, but it spoofs the return address… often making it look like it’s coming from a ‘trusted’ person, like me.

What I don’t understand is, who still opens unexpected pifs and the like? And, why do email programs default to allow you to do this to yourself?

I am seriously considering changing email programs to get off the Outlook Express merry-go-round. Some of my friends use Pagasus, but a trip to it site, pmail..com, bounced (as did repeated tries later).

There is no safe haven, is there?

Email has become such a killer app on the Internet that casual virii are really public menaces.

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.