Personal Biz

Kickstarter Campaign Launched

As we all know, the music business is in a new era. People are decreasingly willing to pay for music and the business is decreasingly willing to fund its production. As a result, quality artists like Vanessa – who would have had no trouble securing a solid label deal in 1995 – are turning to new social models in order to fund the expense of record production.


Please support this endeavor by visiting Vanessa’s Kickstarter Campaign.

Epicurean Tour 2011

Me, with dancing Spaniards

I’m writing this from the Piazza del Campo in Siena, where a huge group of littering Spanish tourists, who, failing in their attempts to start “The Wave,” have just embarked on a mass-performance of “La Macarena.”  Seriously.  It’s pretty epic fail. At least, for a change, the embarrassing tourists aren’t Americans.

So, how came I to be in Italia, you might ask?  At least, you might ask this question if you didn’t know my Italophile wife.

It all started after our honeymoon.  We were bemoaning the fact that, so soon after our wedding, she had to pack up and go on tour in Holland for two weeks.  I dutifully sent her on her way, and I was, as always, proud of her for her work, but sad to see her go.

A simple twist of fate later, and I found myself with some free time on my hands.  I got a decent deal on a plane ticket to Amsterdam and, lo and behold, found myself on tour with Vanessa for the second half of her tour.

The next thing you know, and we’ve found a pair of cheap tickets to Italy, and a free place to stay, and, uh… well… you guessed it, we’re in Italy for a couple of weeks.

We’ve been eating our way through Europe like a pair of starving Gypsy moths.  As usual, Tuscany does not disappoint.  From Bistecca alla Fiorentina to Ravioli con Ricotta e Tartufo, we’re dining like Scottish kings – amazing food, really cheap.

For updates and photos, just follow my Twitter feed.  I’ll update this post when more photos come online.

Wha Happa?

So… if you follow me at all, you know that this spring, I sorta vanished.  As in, I was impossible to reach and all of my websites went dark.

Well, it’s like this.

In February, my Dad went into the hospital for what was to be the last time.  He had a rough time in his last few weeks, and I spend a lot of time at the hospital.  I had to cancel my plans to meet my friends Russell and David in France for the Jean-Michel Jarre tour and stay in Dallas to tend to him, and to organize a funeral.

While all this was going on, a team of Turkish hackers broke into my Windows box and hacked all of the websites that I host: ProRec.com, RipRowan.com, Pleasantrylane.com, WebCulture.net, and a few others.  It was an unmitigated disaster.

Fortunately, I learned my lessons from my last catastrophe, and I had a backup.  Or so I thought.  My backup device, which had been working, finally failed.  All of my backups were lost.  I still have the content (in the SQL databases) but the pages – they’re gone.

It never ends, does it?

In the meantime a had a bazillion personal responsibilities – including helping out on the new Old 97’s CD “The Grand Theater” – and traveling all over with Vanessa.  I’ve only recently settled temporarily in Austin for a bit so that I can catch up.

I am just now getting back to recovering the sites.  Brent Randall relaunched ProRec on a new hosting service, and we’re working on getting the old content migrated.  I’ve relaunched RipRowan.com here on WordPress.  PleasantryLane will come back soon, as will WebCulture.net.

Nevertheless, it still makes one consider a career in food or custodial services.

Help Me Decide!!!

So I find myself in possession of one too many computers, and I need your help.  Which one should I get rid of?

Computer one is my Hackintosh.  This one is not up for debate.  I have to keep this computer.  This little Dell Mini 9 running Snow Leopard is so useful I wonder how I ever lived without it.  I only note it because…

Computer two is my Lenovo T400 notebook.  As a notebook, it’s a hoss.  8 GB of RAM, 128 GB SSD, 320 GB 7200 RPM data drive, WXGA+, you name it, it’s got it. Even a “real” docking station.  It’s awesome, and if I ever get around to doing more “real” consulting work, I’ll need a good notebook PC.  But then, there’s…

Computer three – the StudioCat Ultra DAW workstation.  6 GB RAM, Intel i7 975 Extreme Edition, 3 TB of disk, in an awesome Antec P183 case.  It’s big, it’s solid, it’s deathly quiet, and an amazing workstation.

So I need to get rid of number 2 or number 3.  I don’t need two portable computers… unless I get a consulting gig that demands one.  And I don’t need all the power of the StudioCat PC… but it’s pretty amazing.

I don’t need all three.  Which one do I dump, and why?

Poor Me

Being sick sucks.  Being sick and half-blind, more so.

So I got some sort of cold / bronchitis thing in the last week of April and am only just now pretty much “over it”.  It sucked, mostly because I couldn’t ever sleep without taking serious drugs, which usually left me feeling about as bad as if I had stayed up all night.

Then last week – BOOM – I partially lose eyesight in my left eye.  Next day – BOOM – right eye.  I mean, I can still mostly see, but it’s hard to read, and there’s flashing lights and obstructions in my vision.  Not good.

So, call, appointment, doctor.  Doctor, doctor, doctor.  I’ve seen three doctors, spent at least 20 hours in doctors offices in the last five days.  It’s like I live there now.  I’m on high doses of prednisone.  Which sux.  But it seems to be helping somewhat so far.  Two more doctor visits tomorrow and Wednesday.

So, poor me.  Fingers crossed I’ll be back on my feet in no time.  The doctor seems to think the eyesight thing is the result of a minor infection, which is presumably cleared up by now.

Temporary blindness, however, will make you think long and hard about a good long-term disability plan!  If you don’t have one, think about it!

Don’t Laugh

So I got roped into trying this health-food crap called “VaNu“.  It’s an acai / goji / cupuacu juice from the rainforest, sold by an MLM company from Dallas called “Fountain of Life”.  It’s blended with cacao and vanilla, and has a nice taste in my opinion, sort of red wine meets chocolate.

If you know me, I’m really skeptical about this sort of thing.  And the stuff is really expensive – about $40 for a 24 oz bottle.   So it’d better do something.

As it turns out, it really seems to.  I tried it at the recommended serving size of approx 2 oz per day, and it didn’t have much effect.  So, being me, I tried doubling the amount.  And you know, I felt great.  My energy levels went way up, my performance in my yoga class was stronger than ever, my digestion improved almost immediately, and I just felt good.

I know what you’re thinking.  “Are you sure it says cacao and not coca?”  No, the ingredient list is quite pristine: acai, agave, cupuacu, goji, camu-camu, cacao, and vanilla.  That’s it.

Yeah, whatever.  Call me crazy.  But you know what, the stuff actually worked.  And I think I’ll keep on using it.  It’s expensive, but no more so than what a lot of people spend daily on Starbucks.  And this is a lot better for you.

OK, fine.  Go ahead and laugh.

Back on the Ground

I’ve been away for a few weeks touring the western Mediterranean.  Stops included Barcelona, Marseilles, Monaco, Florence, Pisa, Rome, Corsica, Gibraltar, and Tangier.  Photos of the trip are here on my Picasa site.

Highlights?  Relaxing on the French Riviera.  Touring the sites of Rome like the Pantheon and St. Peter’s Basilica.  Verifying that the Leaning Tower actually leans.  Stopping for a photo-op with the “apes” atop the cliffs of Gibraltar.  Walking the narrow streets of Tetouan.  Spending a couple of days soaking up Barcelona, including the simply astonishing Sagrada Familia.

But the best part was spending two weeks with a couple of dear friends, my CWSS compatriots Russell Lutz and David Gaw.

Good times.

Where’s the Beef?

Not a lot happening here lately.  Well, there’s a reason for that.

We’ve been slammed at Pleasantry Lane.  The studio is hoppin’ with some really good new artists, particularly Becky Middleton and John Lefler.  Man, these are some great new projects.  Stay glued to the PLS site for more info on them.  And be sure to check out the Old 97s on Leno this Thursday!

And I’ve been cooking up some new DotNetNuke stuff, too.  Radiant has released two modules, BlogDisplay and ForumDisplay, that are productized versions of the modules that I developed to assist my CMS needs at ProRec.com.  I’m also trying to get myself hooked into the DotNetNuke Blog Team because I have some serious CMS needs that I’m going to be addressing, and I’d rather make the work part of the core DNN blog if possible.

So, not a lot of time for writing on this fledgling blog.  More to come, though!

YADB (Yet Another Damn Blog)

Well I have decided against better judgment to start a new blog.  Really, it’s my own personal web site, which will include a blog.

I have so many locations on the ‘net now – ProRec, WebCulture, CuzWeSaidSo, LinkedIn, Facebook, Amazon, and I’m sure others I’veforgotten about by now – that I feel like a central portal is in order.

I will continue, obviously, to post political / current affairs topics on CuzWeSaidSo, and audio on ProRec.  But I have a slew of topics related to software development that need a home, and don’t want to turn WebCulture into a blog.  And then there’s personal topics I wish to blog.  And so on and so on.

So, without further ado…