Thursday, September 28, 2006

Paul Stanley

I just got my tickets to the Paul Stanley concert at the House Of Blues in W. Hollywood. His backing band is the Rock Star band from Rock Star: Supernova.

The show is still a couple of months off, and his new cd still has a month before it comes out but thanks to an "industry" friend I've been able to hear the new disc.

Its been a pretty good KISS related year so far.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Enter gapless playback

Hats off to Apple for getting gapless playback support in both iTunes and the iPod. I skimmed the list of changes to the new iTunes and saw gapless playback called as a feature and was pleasantly surprised to hear it in action. No all of those live albums don't have the annoying break when you go from one song to the next and cds such as Dark Side Of The Moon now play seamlessly without interruption.

On a side note, Jacki, Darian and I saw Hollywoodland this past weekend. A good movie, but as expected no real ending. I think Darian wondered what's the point.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Supagroup at the Keyclub

We had a family outing to see Supagroup last night at the Keyclub in W. Hollywood. Jacki had gotten her hair done earlier in the day and what better place to show it off than Hollywood. In our traditional fashion of not planning we decided around 8pm to goto a show with a 7pm start time. We saw 4 bands on the bill: Vayden, Prima Donna, The Giraffes, and Supagroup.

First off I must say the Keyclub is an awesome venue. Great sound, clean, nice interiors, and the video screens are a nice touch. Vayden, the first band, even commented on how they don't have clubs that nice from where they are from.

Vayden was the surprise of the evening. A metal band with a modern production value. Their drummer was amazing and it was great to hear a metal singer that could actually sing. We picked up their cd afterwards. Many of the progressive metal drumming aspects, songs were fairly simple in structure, and many had the modern rhythms of say the Killers crossed with Disturbed. Sounds weird but came off great. They had by far the largest crowd of the evening.

Second up was Prima Donna. Think Hanoi Rocks and New York Dolls. A young group of guys glammed out and playing songs with a very 70s sound. They played a glammed version of an Eddie Cochran song Led Zeppelin covered called Somethin' Else. Nice to hear an obscure cover. Darian really liked this so we ended up getting both their cd and Vayden's.

Next was The Giraffes. Although the singer was entertaining I am going to have to stick with if you can't say anything nice then you shouldn't say anything at all. I definitely didn't get it. And then to top it off towards the end of their set their guitar player drops his pants for all the world to see and proceeds to play. About 2 minutes security came up and looked as though they were going to kick him out. He pulled his pants back up and they finished with no incident.

Last but not least was Supagroup. Jacki and Darian weren't sure they wanted to go but I promised them they'd have a good time and Supagroup delivered. Playing to the small crowd as if were an arena of 10,000 their band name did not disappoint. They played a little over an hour and we got to talk to the band after the set. Chris Lee made a comment from the stage that they knew nearly everyone in the audience, so we told him afterwards we didn't know him. He laughed and then asked very seriously, so why are you here? I explained I had been a fan for a few years and saw them about 2 years ago in Atlanta. We got the setlist, a drum stick, guitar pick and Darian even got a picture with Benji Lee their lead guitarist.

If you haven't heard of this band, go and check them out. They have two great cds and put on a fun live show. You will not be disappointed.

We wrapped the night at Mel's for a late night breakfast. Driving back home on Sunset we drove back by the club and saw the singer and drummer from The Giraffes walking through the cross walk. Jacki unrolled her window and yelled, "Hey Giraffe guy", and they ran over and hi-fived her. Very fun, and made us from going "boo giraffes" just moments before to having them cap off a great night.

More pics can found on my picasaweb site.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Gene and Shannon

Thanks to my wonderful wife I got to meet Gene Simmons and Shannon Tweed tonight. I had known about the signing at Tower for about a week but didn't want to get my hopes up about going. After a long day at work I decided, oh well maybe next time.

As soon as I got home Jacki said let's go. I said, long lines, we hadn't planned it, probably had to get a wristband earlier in the day in order to get in line and was ready to blow it off. She called Tower, confirmed they were still there and that there wasn't anything special we had to do get in. So at 7:30pm we left for the 7:00pm meet and greet.

It took us about 30 minutes to get there and they were still there!

I went in and bought three of the books they were signing so Jacki, Darian, and I each had something we could get signed. Jacki took this great picture of us.

2 hours later we are back at home. Definitely worth the outing and thanks to Jacki for making this happen.

Friday, September 01, 2006

To catch a virus

Uggh! My computer got a virus the other day and it took me a day and a half to bring order back to my computer. After going through this experience I feel sorry for the non tech-saavy people out there. You really don't have a chance.

This particular virus did several things
- Launched ads through IE. Surfside Kick was the package
- Installed a Toolbar 888
- installed a series of Dlls with random names, some in the windows/system32 directory, some in temp folders, some in hidden system folders, on and on. It was a pain to find them all
- set up auto run registry values so everytime you would restart the computer it would be the first application to run
- set up apps to be extensions of windows shell, so every time explorer ran these dlls were running in memory
- would create files like win???.tmp.exe and would launch them
- upon reboot it would set up pending install commands to copy files around on reboot. So everytime I rebooted the files had different names
- would randomnly launch a dialer
- etc...

Oh and did I mention Norton Antivirus only resolved a handful of the issues above. Everything else I had to do perform manually.

Over the course of a lot of google searches I was able to find a website that pointed me in the right direction.
The apps I used to diagnose the problem included

StartupList - this file would generate a log indicating all of the programs that will run when your computer boots

IBProcMan - similar to the HijackThis utility, this allowed me to see what programs were running and what DLLs each program had running in memory.

L2mfix - hard to explain what this program fully does. There were a lot of warnings about use at your own rick. I ended up using just the logging function. When it runs it prompts you to run a report. This report identifies things that may not look correct that have been configured in the registry or might be files that are in directories they shouldn't be in.

By using these three programs I was able to isolate the problem programs and registry settings. I wasted too much time trying to get Norton to clean up the system when ultimately I should have just done this myself. When the last program I was trying to delete was tied to the windows shell I had to boot up outside of windows and manually delete the file. It was configured in the registry but every time I edited the registry it would re-edit on top of my changes so my changes wouldn't stick. Another interesting thing about this DLL is if a program like Norton or Ad-aware would scan it looking for a virus it would automatically issue a system shutdown command. So as soon as I was about to find something I'd be racing the clock of the computer shutting down. In some ways it was pretty clever on part of the virus/trojan writer but at 2am in the morning it was just pissing me off.

Needless to say one day later everything looks good now and I've been running for a good 12 hours with zero signs of any issues.

Here's hoping that if this happens to you, then you will be able to find this blog post to point you to some useful tools.

Good luck.

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