Saturday, August 30, 2008

Hitting the road again

Only this time, it's with the family. We are renting an RV today and driving to upstate NY this week. We plan to see Sal and Sherene Pavone in Syracuse, and Lisa Button and David Harrison in Rochester. After Rochester, we will be camping out at Niagara Falls on the Canadian side for a couple of days before heading home at the end of the week.

I'm sure Liz will update KZHomeschool after we get back. We are bringing both cameras with us so there's a good chance we will remember to take pictures :-)

Friday, August 29, 2008

Pete Cam from Fort Reno

Song: "O Calendar"
Date: 8/14/08
Place: Fort Reno Park
Filmed by: D. Wade

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Three Jet Age shows in September!

Arts On Foot Festival
Penn Quarter (7th and F St NW)
Washington, DC
Saturday, Sept 13 2:50PM - 3:40 PM
Bring your kids!

Black Cat

Monday, Sept 22, 2008
Early Set Time: 8:30PM
with The Caribbean

Dahlak (an Eritrean restaurant in Adams Morgan)
18th and U St NW
Saturday, Sept 27 at 10pm

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

a picture of the marylands

This is from about a year ago. The photo is a little too reddish/orange to represent the colors properly, but you get the idea.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

equipment on the TJA records

DW 16x22 kick
Maryland Drum 6x13 Maple snare, 10x12 rack, 16x16 floor
K Zildjian 14" hihats (on all tracks except "Out of Sight")
Sabian AA 13" Rock Hihats ("Out of Sight")
A Zildjian 20" Medium Ride
A Zildjian Custom 17" Crash or Custom 19" Crash

What Did You Do During The War, Daddy?
An old Ludwig kit from the 1960s (22" kick, 12" tom, 16" floor)
Rogers 5x14 metal snare
K Zildjian 24" Light Ride
A Zildjian Custom 19" Crash
K Zildjian 14" Hihats

For the next record I'm planning to use the DW kit with a couple of different snare drums, like a 6x14 Ludwig Black Beauty, the Maryland 6x13 Maple and (hopefully) the refurbished 6x14 DW Maple snare. Cymbals will probably be the same as Daddy but I hope to add another crash on the right... and maybe use new hihats.

Monday, August 25, 2008

drum restoration

I'm finally getting around to fixing up my DW snare. It's a 1991 6x14 6-ply hard rock maple with 6-ply reinforcing hoops. It's a great all-purpose snare with lots of attack and warmth, and I want to use it for some songs on the next Jet Age record. So I went out to Chuck Levin's this past Saturday to get replacement lug casings, tension rods and a new strainer. They didn't have enough of the first two things so I'll need to go back in a week or so for the rest.

I was disappointed to learn that they don't make the old strainers anymore, although a bit of homework would have prepared me for that. I guess I was hoping they would have one laying around. The new strainers have one less hole in a vertical configuration --- mine has four in a trapezoid, so I'd have to drill now holes in the shell, and that isn't going to happen. Off I go to ebay to find one....

I'm excited about the new lug casings and tension rods, though. The lug casings employ a rubber washer between the casing and the shell, and they've done away with springs completely. This is a really good thing as it reduces extra noise during recording. Also the tension rods have a tighter threading for finer tuning, but the best part are these new collars which snap into the hoop holes and keep the rod in place. Genius.

It's tempting to use the original hoops, but I'll have to get some serious chrome cleaner first. DW uses thinner hoops than normal, for a mellower sound... but mine have seen better days and I don't see myself shelling out extra cash when regular, thicker hoops are stronger and more appropriate for my sound.

So I threw all the new hardware on the shell yesterday and put the drum away until my next trip to Chuck's.

I also still have the 1960's Rogers Powertone wood snare Perry gave me about 12 years ago, but it's in pretty sorry shape and I don't think it's worth a lot of work. I took the hardware off to get a good look at the shell. It's a disaster. Somebody tried repainting the shell with spray paint, and it's peeling in several places. There are also several bubbles in the wood that I can't readily explain, and the bearing edge is shot. Liz thinks I should chuck it and it's difficult to disagree. I tapped the naked shell a few times... nice tone... but I'd need a professional to restore the bearing edge.

Finally, I think it's time to sell the Maryland kit. They are absolutely wonderful drums but they aren't really me. I'll keep the snare drum --- I used it on breathless and may use it on the new record for a song or two --- but otherwise, I'm looking to get a nice Rogers Holiday or Slingerland kit (or Gretsch... that would be nice). The DWs will likely take up permanent residence at Eric's house for most of the fall and winter to get drum tracks done.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

DC Romp

If you happen to be in DC between now and mid-October, come meet up a Jet Age show at:
More info at

Monday, July 28, 2008

Jet Age video on youtube

Right here, featuring yours truly on drums!

This was filmed by Eric's brother Adam using an HD camera and a steady-cam, and the performance took place a few hours after the insane drive mentioned in my previous post. Note to self: eat a substantial breakfast before you do this again.

I hope to add another video or two as soon as I get some actual job-related work done tonight. Heh.

Monday, July 14, 2008

What a blast that was.

Details to follow, but meanwhile, here's this:

Days out: 14

Shows played: 11

States driven through: 24 (MD, PA, WV, OH, IL, IA, NE, CO, WY, UT, ID, OR, WA, CA, AZ, NM, TX, LA, MS, AL, GA, SC, NC, VA)

Number of states I hadn't been to before: 5

Miles driven: 7,493

Longest single trip: Laramie, WY to Issaquah, WA (about 1,100 miles in 19 hours and 22 minutes - insane)

Avg price of gas: $4.11 per gallon (low $3.72, high $4.51)

Tour nickname: "The Wrath of God Tour"

Why: Tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, lightning, forest fires, high crosswinds, dust storms, tumbleweeds and torrential downpours.

Best show: Hemlock Tavern, San Francisco, CA, 7/2/2008

Best hangout: Glynnis and Angelo at The Towne Lounge in Portland, OR (home of the five dollar PBR horsecock)

Best eats (in no particular order):
Days until the next tour: too many!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Touring, Finally

After playing in one band after another for too many years, hauling half a ton of gear everywhere and wishing it were somewhere farther away than a half hour from my house... I am finally doing a multi-city US tour with a band I really enjoy.

This Wednesday I am getting in the van with Eric and Greg of the Jet Age and playing Columbus, Des Moines, Denver, Seattle (twice), Portland, SFO, LA, Austin and Atlanta. Nine cities, ten shows, 24 states, over 7,200 miles, all in 14 days. All the show dates are on

To say I'm happy about it doesn't even come close. This is my dream. This is what my life is really about. I have no idea what this trip will bring but man, I can't wait to start.

openSUSE 11 installation this weekend

I installed openSUSE 11 x86-64 with KDE4 on a dell latitude D630 this weekend. Overall, it is very clear that a lot of work went into this release. Congratulations to the team!

Centrino Core 2 Duo
nVIDIA Quadro NVS 135M
WXGA 1280x800 widescreen
Intel PRO/Wireless 3945AG

Some quick pluses and minuses:
+ Installation and boot-up are a lot faster. I found my jaw on the floor at one point. A DVD-based installation based mostly on the defaults took about ten minutes.

+ love how the installer used kexec to boot the installed kernel after the initial installation (instead of doing a full restart).

+ Overall the whole system seems more responsive and snappy, esp. firefox

+ like the inclusion of compiz fusion and emerald (and the new eye candy they bring, esp. the rotating cylinder features).

+ love the Expo feature in compiz (ok maybe this isn't new to you all but I hadn't played around with it until now)

+ Configured wifi card with no problems

- Had to manually download and install the nvidia driver and use sax2 -r -m 0=nvidia to set it up - there's a tool for this in SLED but didn't see it in openSUSE/KDE4 -- anyone know if it's there? -- anyway I was hoping it would add the nvidia repo and do all that for me

- compiz performance with the nvidia card is choppy at best --- that may not be the distro's fault per se --- tried playing with the settings in the nvidia config tool but it didn't seem to help --- if
you are running this, what are the recommended settings?

- NetworkManager didn't detect my access point; had to type it in.

- had to do rcnetwork restart /and/ manually startup NetworkManager after waking from suspend-to-ram --- anyone got it working?

neutral observations:
* the widgets are interesting but don't do anything for me productivity-wise
* Noticed a new compression scheme is used in RPMs such that 10.x RPMs wouldn't work directly (release notes).
* it now takes two ctrl-alt-backspaces to bounce X (instead of just one) (release notes)

still to try:
* 3G modem on AT&T - this took some finagling in ubuntu. I've read about how well NetworkManager integrates with EV-DO and UMTS modem cards. I have a usb-connected phone that doubles as a modem.
* WebEx Training Manager
* Xen
* iPod

In summary: a great effort, lots of neat features. I'm not sure it would replace my hardy heron laptop yet. Looking forward to 11.1.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Song reference from the previous post

I was referring to "Funeral for a Friend" by Elton John.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Michael's Funeral

It was actually a really wonderful experience. I'd never been in a big Jewish temple before, had never been a pallbearer, had never been to a funeral for as close of a friend (had to stop, find the song on youtube and now have it playing in the background), hadn't dreamed of the person until the morning after he died, had never shovelled dirt onto a casket before, etc., etc., etc. This all took place between 5:30 AM yesterday and about half an hour ago when we got home.

The way the flights worked, we flew into Providence but out from Boston, so Liz and I visited our first three apartments together in Allston and Brighton. After that we walked around HBS where I used to work when the kids were born.

It was strange going back to his house afterwards, when I'd just had dinner with him there in December. Nancy and Celine were there, and it was really nice seeing them and talking with them.

I want to publicly thank our friend Jeannie and her son Johno for taking care of Katie and Zack yesterday and today while we were gone, especially with everything Jeannie had going on last night after we left and today. Jeannie, all I can say is, you're amazing and we're very lucky to have you in our lives.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Liz and I are both blogging about Michael today. He passed away last night at 10:15. You can read her piece about it at

The first thing I want to share is a funny story about Michael that goes back to April, 1994. This would be at the end of the first Synergy Speaking From The Heart class, when the class puts on a Basic workshop. On the final day of the workshop is a healing ceremony. You divide the group into small teams and go through a lovely ritual where each person can experience energetic healing.

Usually, when you plan the groups, there is at least one person in the group who is familiar with the process.

As luck would have it, my group was made up of my fellow class members, but the healing ceremony we did at our own Basic was held through Temenos, not Synergy. Suffice to say, Synergy did things a little differently. For example, the Temenos style was to perform healings on the floor, but Synergy set up massage tables --- a few more things to manage from a production perspective, but much better for the participants.

As the first person's healing was coming to an end, we healers were asked to "wrap" the person before bringing them off the table. Not one person in our group knew what that meant, but nobody confessed. I don't know whose idea it was, but soon all of us were literally wrapping this person up in the cloth covering the massage table (and she was going along with it). None of us looked around the room to see what the others were doing; our solution felt right and totally natural to us.

Enter Michael Goldstein, who semi-dashed over to our table and quickly explained what the wrap was. "This is the wrap. This is the wrap" he said, over and over, waving his hands with urgent finality over an invisible person on our now-empty table. We felt completely ridiculous, but the story was a source of laughter for many months afterwards.

I hadn't thought of that story in years, but it came back to me as I was doing a healing on Michael on April 6, and I grinned uncontrollably and harder than I had in months. Later when I talked to Nancy about it, she laughed and said Michael probably wanted to be remembered that way.

Last night, I had this dream:

A white German shepherd is trying to get away from some children who are holding its tail. He's struggling, they're laughing. He's fighting and fighting.

Next, he's alone, sitting still on the floor. His tail is gone, along with most of his digestive tract. He's very still.

Next, he's laying on my bed at my house, right where my head was while I slept. As a boy, I put my head on his neck and felt his warm white fur. I began to place my arms around him, but just as I touched him he gave a small breathy grunt, and I stopped because I thought he might be in pain. He was very still.

Finally, there was something that Michael used to say near the end of every round of Speaking From The Heart: that despite all the hard work of managing the coaches, he saw himself as the ultimate beneficiary from it ("selfishly," he would say).

I'm sure I'm not alone when I consider myself extremely lucky to have been gifted with his friendship and wisdom.

Goodbye, Master Coach Michael Goldstein. You were the personification of tough love. You were the Skin Horse. You were the guy who told me when I was being stupid. You taught me how to walk on fire, sweat with my brothers and be a man. I love you, and I wish you peace.