Wednesday, April 25, 2007

San Diego Vacation Pictures and Videos

I've been too busy to write an update about our vacation over Darian's spring break. In the meantime you can check out pictures from the trip.

Highlights of our trip included a day at the San Diego Zoo (highly recommended), a day at Sea World, and a couple of days of touring the San Diego area including a stay on Coronado Island and a walk through a haunted house. Oh and Coronado Island is not really an island, go figure.

Sea World

San Diego Tour

Pictures from the Zoo will be posted next.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Former KISS guitarist Mark St. John...RIP

I just found out that former KISS guitarist Mark. St. John died today of a cerebral hemorrage. Mark was only in the band for the recording of Animalize and for a few concerts (3 to be exact) at the beginning of the Animalize tour.

T0 this day Animalize is one of my favorite KISS albums and was the KISS album I probably listened to most when I was growing up. He is featured prominently in the Heaven's On Fire video.

This is the second member of KISS to pass, and although he was a very small part of KISStory it isn't easy to see one of my childhood heroes disappear.


Sad to report that Mark Norton aka Mark St. John, KISS' lead guitarist on Animalize, passed away this morning of a cerebral hemorrhage. Mark was 51 years old.

KISS remembers Mark for his contributions and sends their condolences and deepest sympathies to his family and friends.

Welcome the Presidents of America

Last week I attended a wireless industry conference called CTIA. This is a chance for many of the big players in wireless to converge in a single place to show off their new products, services, and also provides a chance to catch up with old friends in the industry. I've been in the wireless industry for approximately 7 years and time and time again you run into the same people. The running joke is the people are the same only the companies on the business cards change.

Over the course of the week I met with numerous companies ranging from brand new startups with a handful of employees to some of the largest companies in the industry including Nokia, and AOL.

The highlight of the conference were the keynote speakers on the final day. President Bush and President Clinton both spoke to a packed hall. This was a great once in a lifetime opportunity.

I arrived about 30 seconds before they came on stage. It seemed as though every chair in the room had been taken. As I walked in a group from Helio waved at me and told me to sit in the reserved rows at the very front that were empty. Not hesitating I lifted the rope and settled into the 3rd row of what had to have been the press area. No one said a thing and I took out my computer and made it look like I was taking notes just like the rest of them. I also ended up with one of the best seats in the entire room. :-)

George Bush came out first, cracked a joke about he and Bill being the odd couple, and proceeded to talk a little about how the telecom industry had a positive impact on his presidency. Bush's speech was more philosophical and and although it had a little less substance than Clinton's speech it was very enjoyable.

Bush had a great presence about him. He came off as charismatic, funny, and very down to earth. My impression of him as president was that of a very formal, and stiff president. Hearing him speak you got the sense of him being a very down to earth person from Texas. You also realize that he has the brains in that family.

After Bush left the stage Clinton came out and made a joke about this is the punishment he gets for winning the presidency from Bush. He is now Bush's straight man, since he follows Bush and is the butt of many of Bush's jokes.

Clinton discussed the importance of Information Technology to the US. He took the principals of how IT benefited the US and stated that wireless technology has an even larger opportunity to improve quality of life in developing nations, and ultimately all of modern society.

The speeches wrapped and Bush and Clinton joined each other on stage together and took some lite questions through a moderator. It was great to see Bush and Clinton united together. They both appeared extremely sincere and extremely comfortable with where they are in life.

It was great to see the two of the them together. It really showed how unimportant the Democrat vs Republican debate is and showed the importance of how coming together and just being Americans can have a much greater impact.

I must also add that Bush looked fantastic. It is hard to believe he is in his early 80s.

Although I was on the third row I wasn't able to get any great pictures. The pictures I took were of the video screens in the room.
Link to more pictures

Link to a recording of the keynote
Link to a good synopsis of the speech

Fighting Foo

Last week in Orlando Florida I was able to see the Foo Fighters play a private concert. This was part of an invitation only party thrown by the mobile phone division of LG as part of the CTIA convention. Once I heard Foo Fighters were part of this event I worked my industry network and was able to get onto the private list.

A small group of us from Helio broke off from our dinner at Hard Rock Live and headed over to the LG party. Security was one of the tightest as far as the CTIA private events went. If you weren't on their list you weren't going to get in. The party was at The Groove on Universal City Walk in Orlando. The club probably held a couple hundred people at most.

We arrived early around 8:30pm, had a couple of drinks and met up with some of the people we knew at LG. After we caught up I headed to the stage. The band ended up coming on a little after 10pm.

Foo Fighters
The Groove
Orlando, Florida
March 27, 2007

All My Life
My Hero
Times Like These
Learn To Fly
For All The Cows
Best Of You
The One
Big Me

During the set Dave Grohl made reference that they were playing an office party. Since Dave knew LG was footing the bill he started to joke around about how cool LG was and how Sears sucks and that he won't buy Kenmore, he'll only buy LG. Little did he know that it was the Mobile Phone division of LG sponsoring the event and not the LG appliances division. At least he tried.

Highlights of the set for me were All My Life, Learn To Fly, Monkeywrench and Everlong. I've been playing drums quite a bit a the house and All My Life, Learn To Fly and Monkeywrench are regularly a part of my practice set. The parts aren't that complex but they are extremely tiring to play and are just fast enough to be out of comfort zone. During the breakdown of All My Life I noticed their drummer slowed the tempo to make it easier to play. Pretty interesting that their drummer seemed to struggle ever so slightly with the exact same part of the song as I do.

The oddest part of the show was you had many people, myself included, dressed in casual business attire with jackets and slacks. Many of the people at the show weren't very familiar with the band. It seems such a waste that these private events don't allow for their biggest fans to see them. Fortunately I was able to take advantage of this and was able to get a setlist, Chris Shiflett's , their lead guitarist, guitar pic (red), and Dave Grohl's guitar pic (black). Chris only threw one pic into the audience and that was thrown directly to me. I pulled Dave's pic off his mic stand after the show.

Afterwards the group I was with headed back over to the Hard Rock for another private party. This one was thrown by MTV. After talking to a couple of people at the front desk we were able to get in to the party. The artist at the MTV party was Three 6 Mafia. A hip hop artist I had heard of in name only. After watching about 30 minutes of their set I still don't see the fascination with live hip hop performances. A bunch of people on stage rapping to music coming over the PA.

The MTV event was nice and was much more conducive to visiting with people. The LG Party was all about the Foo Fighters concert, and the MTV party was much more social and allowed for light business networking.

After finding the larger group of Helio people at the MTV party we said our goodbyes, broke for the night, and all headed back to our respective hotels.

Link to more pictures from Foo Fighter's show.

(C) 2003- 2008 ytsanyd | |