Particle Physics and Rap?

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) came online this week. This is very exciting in the science community, as particle physicists look for the Higgs boson. Some critics think those wacky scientists may create a black hole and bring about the end of the world, but that is highly unlikely (see Wikipedia article for references).

Whoever thinks scientists aren’t fun and creative need to check out the “Large Hadron Rap” on YouTube. Not only entertaining, it is accurate & educational too!

Facebook, LinkedIn, Dogster, oh my

This summer I made the jump into the wild world of social networking websites. Some friends wanted to share a few pictures and had them hosted on Facebook, so I jumped in and set up an account. I tended to avoid such sites as I was afraid of getting sucked into a “high time involvement” activity.

On the plus side, I have already connected with a number of old friends I haven’t spoken with in some time. It is a lot of fun to see who you can find there and interact with friends. On the downside, I can definitely see how it can consume lots of time on the computer. Being an IT professional and geek, I’m not sure I need something to keep me on the computer longer. 🙂

The amazing thing is the number of social network sites available. Clete even has a login on Dogster!

On a slightly related note, we are taking a small trip to visit the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. Looking forward to visiting it.

Happy Independence Day 2008!

Independence Day is one of my two favorite holidays of the year (the other being Thanksgiving). Both holidays are somewhat unique to the USA, and a trip or two outside of the US makes you appreciate these holidays even more.

Both holidays focus on five important F’s. For the 4th of July, those are:

  • Food
  • Fireworks
  • Freedoms
  • Family
  • Friends

[As a side note, Thanksgiving substitutes “Football” and “Forefathers” for the second and third F’s.]

Sure, the big Christian Holidays (Christmas & Easter) are nice, but they bring along the baggage of gifts, over-commercialization, or are not as broadly recognized (many do not get Good Friday off in the US). In contrast, Independence Day is simple, fun, and can be celebrated in many ways…from a gathering of friends and BBQ, to a festival, to a parade, or simply watching the Boston Pops and fireworks on TV.

Speaking of parades, we have one parade down (Barrington), and one parade to go (Palatine). If you happen to be watching this parade on Saturday and see a bunch of old band fossils walking around, don’t be too critical of our lines or intonation. 🙂

Happy Independence Day to all!

Bass Drum

Our adventure with the Palatine Area Community Marching Band (PACMB for short) has gotten a bit more interesting. The PACMB had a very strong low-brass section, but we lacked for percussion. After some discussion with the directors, I am now playing bass drum! It is a lot of fun and a great way to strengthen your lower back. We have also been joined by a cymbal player, so we are nearly well balanced.

Now, we just need to learn some cadences…suggestions welcome…


The Price Is Right and Childhood Summers

What was your typical summer day like as a child?  Mine was great! Usually, it started out with early, early swimming lessons in frigid cold water and I can easily recall the anticipation of walking toward the pool and wondering what would happen during that day’s lesson.  Would today be the day we would be forced to walk the plank, I mean, dive off the HIGH dive?

The rest of the day would be spent keeping myself busy at home, watching game shows and soaps with my mom, reading books from the library across the street, walking uptown after a Dr. Pepper and the most recent issue of Cosmo.

Cosmo? Why? Who knows.

I do remember watching The Price Is Right. Did you know it’s on again and now Drew Carey is the host?  I really enjoy watching it in prime time.  What does that mean?  Am I really getting that old?  Who cares – I think it’s the sincerity Drew puts forth.  He seems to really enjoy what he does and he often has some hilarious adlibs.  Best of all, he is always genuinely happy or sad for the winners and losers.

Ah, summer days.


Community Marching Band

Ryann and I are now members of the newly formed “Palatine Area Community Marching Band”! It’s the first year for this band, and we will be marching in the July 5th Parade.

Article about the Band: (edit: likely not available anymore)

Details about the Parade:

Marching bands are an interesting sub-culture. It continues to amaze me how regardless of age, location, or band, each instrumental section often has certain “personality characteristics.” It facilitates quick friendships. 🙂

Drupal – Confusing and Powerful

Learning how to use Drupal has been an adventure. Before selecting it as a CMS for our website, I did quite a bit of research and reading of various reviews & opinions. Drupal can best be described as an amazingly flexible framework, but its not as easy to get a simple website up and going quickly.

It allows so much flexibility that understanding it, learning it, and using it can be a bit confusing and intimidating. But, once you get the hang of how Drupal works, it can provide you just the right combination of flexibility, organization, and content creation functionality.

I’m still learning, so new content & features on the website may come slowly.