Monday, December 12, 2005

Duke Ellington on Acid

The Sun Ra Arkestra performed at UCONN last Friday, hosted by WHUS. Amazing and outrageous concert. Orchestrated chaos, 18 piece band, jazz, voice, strange instrumentation, costumes, acrobatics, interplanetary travel. Sun Ra passed away over a decade ago, but the music lives on under the direction of Marshall Allen.

From the Sun Ra website:
Eclectic, outrageous, sometimes mystifying but always imbued with a powerful jazz consciousness, the music of Sun Ra has withstood its skeptics and detractors for nearly three generations. Sun Ra was the first jazz musician to perform on electronic keyboards (56), the first to pursue full-scale collective improvisation in a big band setting, and his preoccupation with space travel as a compositional subject predated bands like Weather Report by about 15 years.All this from someone who refuses to even cite the earth as his home planet and prefers to have arrived from Saturn. As Sun Ra once explained it, "I never wanted to be a part of planet Earth, but I am compelled to be here, so anything I do for this planet is because the Master-Creator of the Universe is making me do it. I am of another dimension. I am on this planet because people need me".
Catch the Sun Ra Arkestra, but you gotta see them live.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Bad, Bad Blogger

I just gotta make more entries into this thing. How can I expect anyone to read this if I don't post. duh!! In reality, why would anyone read it even if I posted... well, strangely, R's freinds at college actually do... more reasons to post. Hey Ali and Julia... nice meetin' up with you at NEU.

Actually, has seen mad traffic this month due to Thanksgiving Turducken. Nov 11 brought 1100 visitors and 1400 page views!

Kids home for TG day. Nice couple of days, great to have them around. Our lives seem to revolve around the success and failures (haven't really been any) of our kids. This must mean, I have no life of my own.

That fact is evident by the way too much time and energy spent on my radio show and podcast. CHECK IT OUT!! I think its way cool. But DAMN Apple computer for not listing it in the iTunes directory. Still workin' on it, though. It's in about every other podcast directory, including Yahoo's podcast listings. I think it's a blast.

Friday, September 30, 2005

!!!GO RED SOX!!!

Gotta love this game when it comes down to Sox v Yanks in the last weekend of the baseball season.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Bad Blogger

Not good to ignore your blog for so long. Sooo much has been happening that the blog has been put on the back burner, I guess.

Fam - So much has been goin' on. Big transitions for whole family. Wife and i work situation was, to put it delicately, very tenuous. Turns out both of us have brand new positions, and everything is working out well (links for K and C). Dave is working and living in NYC. Making a good life for himself, diving head first into new situations and every time meeting the challenges and being successful at whatever he does (not that I ever doubted his considerable abilities). NYC, if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere. As for Rach... she graduated HS with top honors, and fulfilled her ambition of going to Northeastern in Boston. She worked sooooo very hard and put it all together including winning many scholarships and making all the arrangements for college on her own. Now she has gone off to school, showing her independence, maturity and all her smarts. What an impressive young lady she is. Now me and C are home alone. WOW, its been a momentous and stressful couple of months for sure, but everything as fallen into place as well as one could hope for. Ain't life grand.

Radio - My jazz radio show, In the Groove, Jazz and Beyond, has been renewed for another semester (Saturday evening 7-9PM). That makes it one full year. Also, got the Podcast thing goin' on. It's probably the one activity in my life that gives me the most pleasure, and I look forward to it all week long. CHECK IT OUT!

Friday, August 12, 2005


Just when you think there is no hope for Hartford, you find something new and great goin' on. Theaterworks is a tiny playhouse just like those cool off-broadway stages in NYC. From a non-descript doorway, you decend a small stairwell to a tiny dark theater with a small stage, no curtains surrounded by at most a couple of hundred seats. We saw a GREAT performance called Ella! Off the Record about Ella Fitzgerald. Mostly a jazz concert; An actress playing Ella with 4 backup musicians. But it was theater also with two sets (recording studio and a concert setting), clever lighting, and her story interjected between some great swingin' tunes. A great production and a fine night out in Hartford.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The Jeep saga

Dave's jeep has passed on. It was a fine vehicle when purchased in August of 2001. Since then it has been hacked up, crashed, vandalized, violated and now it just died. First its interior was hacked as a ridiculous boomin' stereo was installed. It had been in several crashes (I even backed into it in the driveway). It had been victimized by thievery a couple of times, wrecking the door locks, windows and other body parts. In the end, just sitting unused in the driveway, lacking any human contact it began to deteriorate. It seemed to loose its will to live. Windshield cracked, tires deflated, battery ran dry. It died of old age. All we could do is have it carted away, donated to the Diabetes Foundation... finally being chopped up for reselling its parts. It has died but perhaps lives on as an organ donor (auto parts donor?). Good bye Jeep.

Monday, July 04, 2005

My Podcast

I have spent way too many hours this Fourth of July weekend, setting up my radio show, In The Groove, Jazz and Beyond to be an official Podcast. I have made my show available as .mp3 downloads for a while, but with the all the talk of Podcasts and the ability post them in iTunes, I completly geeked out and learned the XML code necessary to publish my show as an RSS news feed. Then I played around with various RSS Newsreaders and Podcast programs for a few more hours... like till 2 AM. I am totally geeking out. Its getting too freaking wierd.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Geek News Flash!

Apple to Use Intel Microprocessors Beginning in 2006 - Incredible news. I was stunned when the rumors started to fly... and now, they are all true. At first, it was a heartfelt disapointment. The IBM PPC with its RISC architecture was one of those things that made the mac Different. That is part of the allure of the platform. It is counter-culture. It goes against the grain. Intel has always been half of that un-holy alliance with the evil Microsoft Windows (WinTel). However, there is no denying that over the last couple of years IBM has been unable to keep up with the processor advances of the Intel world. In order to compete with WinTel's speedy 3+ GHz processors, Apple has needed to ship dual processors in their pro models. They have been unable to ship G5 laptops because of the heavy power requirements and excessive heat from G5 PPC chips. There have been constant delays in Mac shipments because of IBM's inability to produce an ample supply of G5 processor chips... and they are more costly. So, if moving to Intel means better price/performance and access to all the technology advancements that Intel brings to the table, so be it. Bring on the Macs with 'Intel Inside'.

If you still have that uncomfortable feeling about this... I URGE you to view Steve Jobs address to the WWDC. This will set your mind at ease. He has his act together as usual with a transition strategy that is very painless, with tools to compile Universal Binaries that run on both platforms, and Rosetta code that allows for fast dynamic translation of existing software to the Intel processor that is transparent to the user.

The only question that remains, is how will they continue to sell PPC Macs during the next couple of years until this transition to Intel is complete. Will Mac sales be in the dumper until the Intel Macs are released?

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Gotta have at least 1 post...

for the month of May. Yes, I have been slacking off in the Blogosphere, but a lot has been going on. Here are the highlights.

Job - Took a little while to get into the swing of things, but after a year or so of my old company in a downward spiral, and a month unemployed, it took a bit to get on track, understand my role as owner of this product line, know what needs to be done, and formulate a plan on how to do it. It all sounds a little cryptic, but I am feeling great about this opportunity and my new company.

Family - Dave Graduates College. Tremendous job, son! Got the degree in 3 years, already secured a luxury apartment in NYC (hope you're not in too deep), and has several job opportunities. I have absolute faith that Dave will succeed big time in whatever he pursues. Congratulations. (one down, one to go).

Radio - Still groovin' on WHUS FM with my radio show. It was renewed at the same time slot for the Summer semester. Nice routine on Saturday eve. Play Jazz DJ from 7-9 PM, then meet my honey for eats and drinks at Margueritas. Doesn't get any better than that.

Mac stuff - Installed Tiger on my PowerBook. Way cool. I like how they handled the Sync'ing function, as I need to sync info on Palm, multiple Macs, iPod, Internet, .Mac account... way too many toys! More on Tiger on a future post.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Back to work.

I have accepted a job offer with Merritt Graphics as Director of Digital Printing Operations. An exciting new adventure with a progressive digital printing firm, well managed, financially healthy. Its an environment unlike any I have worked for in the past. Imagine this: No Offset Printing! Pure Digital! With a state of the art new Xerox iGen Digital printer.

SWP seemed like a good gig at the start, but it went south in a heartbeat. Looks like I have landed back on my feet. Its going to be a real challenge, but its one that I look forward to with great anticipation.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Draft night 2005

Last Thursday night at Rookies Sports bar, I conducted my 7th annual Fantasy Basebal Draft. One helluva night. Four solid hours of drinking beer, talking baseball with a bunch of baseball geek friends and drafting a team of MLB players. Some of these guys I see but once a year, but by October, after 4 or 5 hundred postings on the Yahoo Fantasy Baseball bulletin board, they are like your best buddies. An incredibly cool and addicting pastime. Fantasy Baseball IS what the Internet was invented for. My Team... the Jazzters. Baseball is almost here, and that's the best sign that Spring has Sprung.

Friday, March 11, 2005


I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg – the phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid! Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh? Yaeh, and I awlyas thought slpeling was ipmorantt.

Pretty cool, huh?

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Totally psyched! Initial discussions went real well. 2nd round to come early next week. Sounds like great opportunity. Even has ties to my favorite company. More info to come as this develops.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Why Does Windows Still Suck? / Why do PC users put up with so many viruses and worms? Why isn't everyone on a Mac?

Great article - A must read. Soooooo true. I spend all my time at work mopping up malware off other's computers. I listen to sob stories nearly daily from home computer users about their computers being rendered useless by viruses and spyware. Yet my incantations of... Get a Mac... just get a strange look. The overwhelming masses are such fools.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

'In The Groove' goes Prime Time

Begining February 12, my radio show In The Groove moves to a prime time slot on WHUS. Tune in Saturday evenings from 7-9 PM EST for the best in Jazz radio.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Straight Life

The autobiography of Art Pepper. A tremendous read. This is the brutally honest story of the self-destructive life of one of jazz music's greatest players. Art holds nothing back as he tells his life story of obsessive sex, drug use, prison time and thievery, while pursuing the art of jazz and the alto saxophone. Art's career spanned over four decades, though his playing was interupted time and again for long harsh prison terms in hard-core facilities like San Quenton. Yet each time he gets released from prison, he returns to his life of getting wasted on drugs and alcohol. Finally, in a desperate moment, after being thrown out by his girlfreind and rejected by his mother, Pepper checks into Synanon, a rehab center with an unorthodox cult-like method of therapy. Finally he kicks his addictions (though continues using drugs), and enters the most productive and artistic stage of his career till an early death at age 56.

This gut wrenching story really gets you into the mind of Art Pepper. If you can't relate to his life at some level, you at least get an understanding of how the mind of a self-destructive artist thinks. Although you may despise his addictions, criminality and seemingly racist attitudes, on some level you admire his independent 'I don't give a fuck about anyone, i am going to do, say, feel, play whatever I want, and I will deal with the consequences'.

The book was written by wife Laurie Pepper, from transcripts of Art Pepper's telling his life story on tape. It is augmented by interviews from friends and musicians. Throughtout the book, you read the story as told by Art, and then read the same account from a different perspective by those who were there at the time. It is one of the most compelling and addictive (no pun) books I have read.

For the past week, I have been doing nothing but seeking out and listening to the music of Art Pepper (a great collection is at eMusic, a great music download service especially for jazz-heads). This cat consistantly created great recordings no matter what drugs he was using or how loaded he was at the time. My next radio show, Jan 31, will be an Art Pepper special.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Best of Jazz 2004

I created an iMix of Best Of Jazz 2004icon (link requires iTunes). The iMix playlist goes with my radio show that airs Sunday afternoons. Click on the following link for more info on my show-In the Groove,Jazz and Beyond.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

MacWorld Announcements and BIG Prediction

Another great MacWorld Expo San Fran. Very cool new products announced by Steve Jobs at the Keynote address. The iPod Shuffle, and the Mac-mini. I hope to hell that they are both successful. But for me, I don't have that drooling desire to own either one. These products are really aimed at the first time Mac User. I have never seen Apple release such low-end budget hardware. I prefer to see Apple in that high end BMW, Power, Elegence, Stylin' mode. But make no mistake about it...there is a huge market for budget Mac's and an opportunity to expand market share with these products.

My BIG Prediction for Apple in 2005
I predict that Apple will license Mac OS X to IBM to produce Business and Enterprise computer products, while Apple will concentrate on the Home Consumer market. Here is what leads me to such a conclusion.
1. Apple's success with home products like iPod, and iMac (and lack of success in the business market).
2. IBM's recently selling off its Windows/Intel based computer business to a Chinese company.
3. IBM is a major producer of the PowerPC G5 processor that is the heart of all Mac's.
4. IBM's long history and relationships with corporate America and Enterprise computing can make great strides getting Mac OS X servers and desktops into the business world. IBM may be able to expand the Mac Market beyond its current niche in graphics, music, and movie-making.
5. Apples announcements at the MacWorld of low-end consumer products. No mention of PowerMacs, Servers or even laptops in the Keynote address.

So mark my words... you heard it first here on Ken's Brain Drain. Apple and IBM will enter into an alliance to gain market share and compete seriously with the Micro$oft Hegemony.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

A New Year

Can't help but think of the disasterous events that brought in 2005 with the Tsunami that hit the islands and coastal regions of the Indian Ocean. Don't mean to be a bummer on the New Year, but this event has put a grave shadow on what is usually a celebratory time. The pictures and stories from that part of the world have been mind-blowing. It is humbling to think, that all the weapons, wars and oppression that man bestows upon his fellow man; it doesn't hold a candle to the power and destruction that Mother Nature can inflict with one wave of water coming down on those poor souls.

Earlier this week, we spent a couple of days in NYC. Stayed in a cheap hotel room with shared bath for one night. Spent most of the time hanging in Greenwich Village, and caught a great jazz show with Mike Stern at Bar55 on St Christopher Street. Real small intimate setting, and the band ROCKED! For New Years eve, did a fill-in at the radio station with my buddies (gord, kirk, stephen) which was a blast. Then joined the rest of the crew for the Midnight thing.