At work Late

So Cam and I were at work until 2:30 this morning — effectively halving our regular pay. Cam’s got a demo this afternoon in Orlando, so he was putting in the finishing touches. Good luck Cam!
And me? Well, I was Cam’s ride. I got my own work done too. No biggie, I still went to bed at my usual time. Coffee!!

iTunes 4 observations

[picture: icon of iTunes 4]So, I took full advantage of my free dial-up connection last night and downloaded the new iTunes 4. A couple observations:
1. If, when you start it, the font looks crummy, go to Apple->System Preferences, choose the “General” pane, and choose a setting of 10 or less for the “Turn off text smoothing for font sizes X or smaller” pulldown menu (near the bottom). Restart iTunes. Voila.
2. A bit more technical, but interesting nonetheless. The iTunes 4 installer package is actually a metapackage, containing installer packages for both the new iPod, as well as iTunes. Strangely, inside the iTunes package, there’s a receipt file for iTunes3 (“iTunes3.pkg”).
Checking out the contents of the “iTunes4.post_install” script (which runs after the iTunes 4 application has been installed), it becomes clear where this file is used:
#!/bin/sh
RECEIPT_NAME="iTunes3.pkg"
RECEIPT_SOURCE="$1/Contents/Resources/$RECEIPT_NAME"
RECEIPT_DEST="$3/Library/Receipts/$RECEIPT_NAME"
#

Happy Monday

Had a decent weekend, hooked myself with internet access through trusty old AOL dialup. Don’t laugh! At least I can check my mail while the local cable-internet folks — Comcast — fixes their computers and calls me back.
Spent a good chunk of Saturday at a locally organized ulti tourney-mint. Eric J and I carpooled up, and things got started just before noon. It was a small thing, three teams there: New College, USF, and the local highschool, Lakewood Ranch. I regularly attend New College’s pickup games on Sunday. Both Eric and I ended up picking up with folks from USF (they were missing three of their players). Ran pretty conservatively so as to not further agitate my somewhat delicate right ankle. After playing for 4 hours, got some food, drove home and promptly fell asleep.
Woke up to a call from Cam. “Good morning!” Cam: “It’s 8pm, dude.”
Er. Yeah.
So after a peaceful Sunday, I’m heading back to bed again after listening to the Canucks try and pull another fast one on the Wild, but it didn’t happen this time.

Trip to Orlando

They say getting there is half the fun. Getting there and then wandering around completely enormous things? Let’s say it’s 3/4 of the fun, and Paul van Dyk made up the other 3/4. Jeff and I left Sarasota around 4:45 and arrived in Downtown Disney shortly before 6:30. A nice drive; we listened to one of Jeff’s discs on the way up, a cool breaks compilation by Sharaz. It went from oldskool at the start (all the way back to ’92) to new at end, so it was a sort of breaks timeline over the past 10 years. Very cool!
[picture: pvd-otown44.jpg]
almost halfway!
[picture: pvd-flatflorida.jpg]
flatness == big skies
[picture: pvd-viper.jpg]
saw a dodge viper on the way up! course it passed me before i could get a good shot, heh
[picture: pvd-disneycelebration1mile.jpg]
almost time to celebrate
[picture: pvd-mickeypower.jpg]
i knew we were getting close when the power poles started looking funny
[picture: pvd-cirquedusoleil.jpg]
cirque du soleil, new to downtown disney (kinda looks like a cement factory from here, hehe)
[picture: pvd-typhoonlagoon.jpg]
presumably a typhoon put the lighthouse miles from water too
[picture: pvd-planetball-ywood.jpg]
planet ball-ywood. the whole thing is a ball, right down to the bottom.
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the faux-aged hob watertower
[picture: pvd-virtualfun.jpg]
i prefer the real stuff myself
[picture: pvd-virginrecords.jpg]
looking “up” at shania on the side of virgin records orlando
[picture: pvd-virginrecordsafar.jpg]
everything in downtown disney is much bigger than life
[picture: pvd-legomonster.jpg]
wait a second, that wasn’t there when i took this shot..
[picture: pvd-highenergydanceparty.jpg]
oh yes. great fun. i’m sure the entire family will just love it, haha
After browsing the Virgin megastore for an hour or so, we attempted to eat dinner at the House of Blues restaurant. Our tickets, which were delivered to us by our downloading a PDF version of it and printing it, also included a 20% discount on everything at the House of Blues the night of the performance. The wait? 40-50minutes. No thank you!
So we hit Wolfgang Puck (a Californian chain). Jeff and I split a sushi appetizer (can you believe this? 4 tuna rolls and 2 pieces of sashimi were $11!) — expensive but good. I stuffed myself with a pasta, a yummy linguine with a chicken bolognese (ground chicken) sauce and had a Coke to drink (haha); Jeff had a tasty looking four-cheese pizza and mango iced tea. The total? $54, which we split down the middle. Definitely not a cheap night!
And then it was off to try and figure out how to sneak the camera in… you know the rest!! Fantastic night.

The PvD experience

[picture: house of blues 21+ bracelet on my wrist]
It fit just right, hooray!
The plan with the disposable camera was to do a “flyby” of the entrance to figure out if I could get it in. First thing I noticed was a BIG sign saying “No cameras or recording devices allowed.” Hmm. There were three levels of security; first, since it was an all-ages show, they checked ID and braceletted you if you wanted to drink; second, they asked you to remove everything from you pockets and then they performed a pat-down and metal detector check with those wand-devices you see at airports. Third, the ticket-taker scanned your ticket barcode which activated a turnstyle. And between the pat-downers and the ticket-takers were two armed police.
So, suffice it to say that meant a trip back to Jeff’s car to put away the camera. Sorry guys, no pictures. 🙁 Ah well.
Jeff and I cleared security around 10pm and walked through the tall, heavy, church-like double-wooden carved doors. First thing we see? A woman selling water and various other non-water beverages. Red bull too. Water was $2.50/200 ml, less than I expected. Picked up one for Jeff and myself and wandered around a bit.
The House of Blues is an incredible venue. The ceiling is about 60 feet up; the dancefloor comfortably holds 300, and there are massive wooden stairs leading an overhanging balcony about 30 feet up. The balcony continues the church theme with pews as seating.
The lighting is fantastic; they have those cone lights which I love so much and first saw at Paul Oakenfold/Vancouver in 1999 during the “Tranceport” tour. And new variations on that theme too; they had a brilliant yellow cone-light with what looked like blood-red light inside it. Just stunning.
Security inside the club was pretty easy to spot; all guards were wearing bright yellow shirts, each one saying “H.O.B.” and a triple-digit id code (probably to make it look like there were tons of them). My guess is there were a couple dozen anyhow.
The opening act, Edgar V, played a very respectable progressive house set. Jeff and I sat through the majority of it, in part to the absorb the atmosphere, and also to make sure we had somewhere to sit! The place filled up fast; the floor was filled to my comfort-level (you know, enough room so that you can still move your feet a little) at 10:45, and there were plenty of people not on it. The couple dozen or so TVs positioned around the ample seating rotated between 5 seconds shots of “VANDIT”, “PVD/CD/DVD”, and “Paul Van Dyk”. From the sound-booth area near the back-centre of the dancefloor, a video recorder on a tripod captured the scene.
I made a scouting run to the dance floor to see what it was like. Two discoveries. (a) The sound was very excellent: loud, but just in all the right frequencies, and (b) it was a pretty diverse crowd. The dancefloor was pretty segregated: the candy ravers were up front, then the hardcore PvD fans and regular-ol ravers, then clubbers and finally the meat market taking up the rear.
Jeff and I had speculated on the age demographics before we went to the show; I guessed a two-tailed distribution with humps at 20 and 27-30; Jeff guessed a more randomized distribution. His reasoning was that most of the people at Downtown Disney (where the House of Blues is located) are already on vacation and are likely to drop $43 on the spur-of-the-moment to see a music act (such as Paul van Dyk) that they’d never heard of. So you’ll get more even demographics than if the event had been at, say, a regular old club. Jeff was right.
A few minutes after sitting at our table, we were approached by what appeared to be a waitress. She said something indecipherable under the loud music. I shook my head and held up my water bottle. She then pointed to a bucket she was carrying and to a a glowstick held by a chain around neck. “How much?”, I asked. $3. I got one for myself and for Jeff, and went about putting mine in my shoe, to be broken when our beloved headliner arrived.
Paul appeared from behind a curtain at 11:25 to the deafening roar of the over 800 in attendance. It was so loud my ears hurt, louder than the music. He wore his classic outfit, a white button up shirt, top two buttons undone. The televisions around the club started playing the DVD from Paul’s newest CD/DVD release, Global.
The already-full dancefloor became stuffed. But with this shift, there was more room near our tables, so I busted open the can of groove right there beside our table. It was awesome. Everyone in the place was dancing, regardless of whether they were on the dancefloor or not.
I headed out to the dancefloor to check it out; Jeff stayed and watched our table and things.
Around 12:30, a few fellow fans asked if they could sit on our chairs. We happily said yes. People were using up their energy in a hurry, and places to sit were in short supply. They ended up watching our table for us, so I thought it ended up working quite well.
Turns out we didn’t need our table saved, though, since we never returned to it!! Paul laid down one massive melodious track after another, not missing a single beat. Perhaps it’s that German precision? 🙂 Around 1:35 he waved to the crowd and walked away from the decks. The crowd cheered so loud I heard my ear drums resonating in unusual ways. It was a visceral experience to say the least.
He then came back for not one, but three gigantic encores. And he would have played one more too, had HOB staff not given him the “cut your neck off” hand signals.
A fantastic evening out. If you ever get the chance to see Paul van Dyk, take it, you won’t regret it.

Out there…

[Wouldn’t you know it. Was using the newest build of Safari (beta 2, v73) at 3:30 this morning to write my blog entry, and it crashed. I really should have been using Camino. Don’t get me wrong; Safari is a small, fast little browser, becoming more stable and standards compliant by the day. But Safari doesn’t have unlimited undo/redo in text fields; Camino does. And Camino rarely crashes on me; Safari seems to go down pretty regularly. One of these days I’m going to get the discipline to just do up my entry in Word or something, haha. Bleeding-edge MT users: is there a “Save Draft And Preview” button in the latest version? (I’m using 2.5.1). That would really handy. Most of the time I just want to save what I’ve got AND see how it looks, and I hate having to wait for it to finish saving so I can hit the Preview button. Do it for me damnit!]
[sonia holding a baby croc!]
So the last couple of nights have been pretty fun! Thursday night I zipped up to Bradenton with Eric G to go to an organizational meeting for a county-sponsored Ultimate league that’s starting up, up there. The guy that’s organizing it, Steve, hasn’t actually played before. This is unusual; most people who do admin-style things for Ultimate actually play the sport, too. Of course I’d love it if he’d played a little and knew a bit about the culture of the sport (e.g. the fact that referees are NOT and will never be part of the game). But I think it’s kind of cool that he hasn’t played, too: it means the sport has reached a certain recognition level with people outside its normal sphere of influence; it adds a bit of mainstream legitimacy to it, a quality which Ultimate players always seem to be striving for.
Hmm. Actually, that reminds me of raves going overground.
And I had the day off yesterday. Spent most of the day just relaxing. Thank god for Good Friday! Hehe.. Mom called and I got to talk to my whole family, including my older brother Anand. Sounds like he’s happy and doing well, which I’m so glad to hear. I don’t think I’ve ever told him this, but besides being my brother and all *grin*, I look up to him quite a bit. He’s got a great sense of humor and many insights about the world we live in. I miss him terribly. Hopefully everyone can come down soon. The weather is so nice! You’ll roast!
In the evening Kim and Cam and I went down to Siesta Key. It was superfun!
[the sahara desert]
[the sahara desert plus a giant foot]
I can’t believe how late the sun is up these days. Cam drove, and his car still had pre-daylight savings PST time on it, so it read 2pm. And I didn’t even think twice about it when Cam pointed it out. I totally thought it was correct. Try 6pm.
[me, cam and kim sittin on the beach]
Me, Cam and Kim havin’ a cold 1. Would you believe it was 7 when this shot was taken?
Anyway, at 4:30 I’m be heading up with Jeff to O-town (a.k.a. Orlando) to visit the Virgin Megastore and get a bite to eat in Downtown Disney before going to Paul van Dyk at the House of Blues. It’s about a two hour trip up. Oh my god, I can hardly wait! I’m still going to try and sneak in a disposable camera, just have to go buy it now. 🙂
[sunset at siesta key beach -- 7:54pm, april 18th, 2003]
Sunset at Siesta Key Beach, 7:54pm last night. People on the beach clapped when it disappeared a few seconds later! Control-click (or, if, you’re on a PC, right-click) on the image to download the full-resolution version [2272×1704, 892k].

Expose thyself

Wow. So Davin just posted a most excellent picture to his blog (the top one). Tonight, on the way back from listening to the (most depressing) game 4 of the Blues-Canucks series at Cam‘s, I was climbing my stairs and happened to look up. And what I saw reminded me of Davin’s picture. Here’s what I saw.
upstairs, midnight
Now, it’s nowhere near as good as Davin’s shot, but I still think it’s pretty cool. 🙂
I’ve already mentioned it trickily in the comments a couple of days ago, but there’s no holding back now — I’m going to see Paul van Dyk on Saturday in Orlando! I’ve already bought my ticket: that’s it below, in full TicketMaster glory. Did you know that they charge you $1.75 for the privilege of printing the ticket yourself? But that’s not all; because the whole 8.5 x 11″ page is required for entry, you also get to hold onto the 7/8th of the page which isn’t your ticket and read advertisements! As you can see, it’s quite the steal. But I digress. My real point is, I’m so excited I’m going to explode! Dood! I’m going to see Paul Van Dyk!!! Jeff’s coming too, as might be Nigel. Woot woot!
my pvd ticket