Friday, December 26, 2003

Monster Gaming

By Ben Sawyer

OK so I'm not really a gamer. I live for spades and backgammon on the net, and I still play the three sample holes I got with an msn disk a few years back, I broke my joystick on a training copy of Fighter Ace but that's about it. But one night, a few weeks back Digital Mill in Portland hosted the November NetPM and I walked away with a copy of Ben Sawyer's "Monster Gaming."

He had talked about how gaming can be very useful for training people for real life situations, much in the same way a simulator can. I had hoped Monster Gaming would be a book along those lines. It's not.

And yet it is. Monster Gaming is an extraordinary primer on Gaming with robust tidbits on everything from the gaming hacks to how to build or buy a really tasty computer to how to host a stylin event. When it doesn't explain, it gives ample references really good websites.

It turns out that to be a really good gamer you have to have a clue about how to use your computer. Monster Gaming will give even a novice computer user a clue on how to better use their box. And if a person is already well on the way to Monster Gamer status then this book is an outstanding resource.

My only regret is that this book is not published on the web or at least came with an electronic copy on CD with links included in the text. With it's plethora of urls and other resources it would seem ready made for it.

The ratings

I rate the book a 4.3. It's very readable. Mr. Sawyer has a writing style that brings the reader into his office for a good chat about gaming. He obviously knows and loves his subject. And as I said it's a marvelous resource. Every time I opened the book I found out something that I wanted to know.

Friday, December 05, 2003

went down to the old port this evening hit brian boru. there was a band there the bump or some such thing. If you get the chance go see them while they are still playing bars.
OK so I'm listening to the jam bands section on Netscape radio. I love the sub title, leftover dead tuna phish and moe panic.

Ya just gotta love it.

Finally ready to write the review for monster gaming. Look for it in the next couple of days. Short answer is I liked it.

December's netpm was tonight. Always good to see people there. Blue Tarp hosted it. Good try tasty salsa but golly folks that's my dinner and chips and dip doesn't do it. Still it's tough to beat food beverage and people with a clue. Give it a 3.9.

Trying to figure out who I like in the democratic race. Like Dean, but I keep thinking about what Gary Hart said when endorsing Kerry about subscribing to the quaint notion that the nominee should be qualified for the job. Course people said Clinton was just a small governor from a small state and with a few bumps he did OK. The state convention is in Portland and the National is in Boston. I'd like to play.

Saturday, November 15, 2003

Friday night in Portland

Friday night in Portland

Life is a little strange. I go to the Roxy for their piano bar cabaret happy hour and I meet a carpenter. I go to Casey's at Yankee Lanes for some Karaoke and I meet someone in marketing for the New Yorker and a really cool architectural trade magazine. You tell me where the cool people hang out.

The Roxy did have better food. Some stylin vegetable dips and a really tasty salmon moose. Casey's had popcorn which really was none to fresh, at least I didn't see them popping any.

It turns out that a pitcher of beer and a couple of shots of tequila is not a good preparation for singing a song for the first time. Fortunately I have friends and they said I didn't suck to much some even said I was good. As I said they were friends. There was a range of talent tonight but golly it is different to sing along with a CD than it is to sing in front of people.



Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Customer appreciation night at Northern Sky Toys

Customer Appreciation Night at Northern Sky Toys

So check it out. There was a sign on the door at Northern Sky Toys, a kite shop in Portland, Maine, tonight. Closed at 6 for a private party. Get On that list! We got our invite cause we've been known to shop there and partake of their many events.

They had outstanding food provided by absolute catering and beverages for all ages that did not run out. And that wasn't even the best part. The best part is that this is just an amazing toy store. There are a few gadgets that use batteries or at least a plug but for the most part it is just cool toys that use what we already have on hand. My son got a yo-yo and my daughter a nifty doll.

The Ratings

Food 4.1 not a huge variety but what was there was really good. teriyaki beef pot stickers to an assortment of cookies and chocolate that was to die for.

Beverages 4.3 Geary's and Guinness plus ginger ale, water and diet coke. It ran freely and it didn't run out.

The Venue 3.9 OK so it was really cool and after everyone started to clear out it was OK. As a toy store it rocks but as a party place it was a tad crowded. Did like the hover disks though. Would this place be the same in another part of Portland. No way. Space is at a premium in the Old Port so I'm not sure what they are going to do when they decide to expand. Wait patiently I expect. Gritty's and Mexicali Blues have done it, Northern Sky Toys will too.

Overall 4.4 I had a really good time. My kids had a really good time. If you get a chance to get down there do it, you'll have a really good time, too. And next year you'll get an invite, too.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

November's Mesda NetPM at Digital Mill

November's Mesda NetPM at Digital Mill

Alright, a righteous time at Digital Mill tonight. The monthly Mesda NETpm was a good time. Digital Mill is working on serious gaming. I picked up a copy of their newest book Monster Gaming, look for a review here in a couple of weeks.

Ben Sawyer, has a lot of interesting things to say about the use of gaming in non-traditional places for gaming. He compared the gaming industry to the movie industry of the forties as a communications and teaching tool.

The food was good and plentiful, beer didn't run out. Dan Corwin has a new dictionary app he's working on it's worth a glance at his site. Chris Russell has a nifty web app he is working on.

I found out the short I did with Infusion Studios is up on their web site. It was done for the annual Geeks In Black awards dinner from Mesda.

I told two people about this event. They both had some tech issues. I told them that there was a good chance that they could be solved by talking to the folk here. Neither showed which means that I have to track them down. I had them solved before I even got to the beer.

These and all of the Mesda events are worth going to.

The ratings

The food 4.2 standard stuff but there were cashews and Brie and Smartfood some of my favorite snacks. Big yum!

The venue 3.9 2 Custom House Wharf is a neat place for an office. And as it turned out the office was just the right size for the crowd. But a few people mentioned that the only reason they found it was because they saw my hat through the window.

The Beer 4.5 Didn't run out. Geary's then Heineken. Other stuff didn't drink it but a good variety.

Overall 4.5 Good food Good Beer People with a clue what else do you want. Ben Sawyer had interesting things to say and signed the books and software. I had a really good time met some new folk in a nifty place.

Sunday, October 19, 2003

Hey just added a setting to notify of new posts.
some more words on the casino from the Portland Press Herald at Worth reading.
I got an email from a reader today

"what about maines harness racing scratch tickets and megabucks who are their customers? is your view one sided?"

this is what I wrote back

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. And thank you very much for taking the time to respond. It means a lot to me.

I love gambling. I play megabucks when it's more than four times the cash lotto and cash lotto when it's not. I've played blackjack in the Caribbean, roulette at sea, and poker with my friends.

My one trip through Reno I found it to be a little dead though. By that I do not mean not a happening town, I mean soulless. The people I met there were unhappy for the most part and completely focused on gambling and nothing else.

I don't think that the casino will give the state a big enough piece of the pie. There will be other costs, roads and other services to support the area around the casino, that will need to be covered with the 100 mil before it can go to lower taxes and aid education. It may be enough or it may not.

I can't really talk about the jobs because I was given no information about them. The time and place of the job fairs was not published on the think about it website and while I did fill out their form I was not contacted as to where they were. I was called and asked if I supported the Casino when I said I was undecided the person hung up. I don't know if that was Think about it, but I suspect it was. They only wanted casino supporters at their job fair. I realize that if I was really interested I probably could have gone to Sanford and found out more about it. I also realize that if they were truly interested in informing Maine about the choices they would have made the information more accessible. I build websites it's not hard to add information to them.

If a group is not giving us the information we need to make good decisions, that group doesn't want us to make good decisions.

My point is that it comes down to who do you trust. I don't trust the casino developers.

You may be interested in reading what else I wrote on the casino issue at

Anyway thank you again for your email and be sure to think of me when you need a website.


Schuyler Meyers

Saturday, October 18, 2003

OK so, I just got a phone call asking if I favored slot machines at race tracks if the money went to help starving widows, orphans and old folk. Or something like that I wasn't really listening. Just so you know that's called a push poll and it's the sign of a campaign that's run out of ideas.

What's the deal here folks. You know why people are against a casino cause 100 million ain't a big enough piece of the action.

Saturday, October 11, 2003

The proposed casino in Sanford, Maine is holding a job fair in Sanford today. Not sure where. Apparently neither are they. There is no directions to the job fair, no address on their site. There is a form to fill out if you are interested in it. I filled it out a couple of weeks ago. I expected to get an email with further instructions or a call. I did get a call asking if I was in favor of the casino. When I said I was undecided they hung up.

I realize that the form is mostly a way to collect names and addresses of people that are probably for the casino but to shut out those people who aren't completely for it so that they can do a media stunt is nasty and mean spirited.

If the casino doesn't pass it will be because the people who want to build it are just too arrogant. Yes waving a bunch of money and jobs at people who desperately need them should work. But it turns out that there is more to life than that. The people who are funding this drive only recently put up their web site, sorry no link, go to the useless form above and navigate from there.

The casino construction company that will be building the casino has no site. The only mention on the web that I could find about them was what other people had written about them. The pro-casino forces have no interest in letting the state of Maine know what they are about. Talk about a shadow government.

Why do they feel that it is not necessary to inform the people of Maine about themselves? I've been asking people where they stand on the issue of a Casino in Maine and generally those that are decided split like this. Those with jobs or with low paying jobs are for the casino, and those that don't need jobs or money are against it. You want to know why the pro casino forces don't see the need to have an intelligent discussion? It's because they don't think that the people who will vote for it can have an intelligent discussion. I think that will be their down fall.

There are lot's of pros and cons to the Maine Casino Question. It might bring in jobs and money for Maine. But it also brings in problems that the money is going to be used to help alleviate. Things like roads and such that the state is going to have to pay for to support the casino. It's possible that there could be some left over for tax relief and education.

There are some moral issues involved, too. But rather than look at those look at why they are issues. Is gambling wrong in itself, I bet it's not. But it causes problems because of the collateral damage it causes. It's tough to pay the heating bill if you've spent your pay check at the slots.

A friend of mine used to drive down to New Hampshire when the power ball got over 150 million he'd finance his trip by asking other people if they wanted tickets too and could they give him some spare change to help with tolls and gas. He'd come back with some tickets for himself, a bunch of other folk and about twenty dollars in spare change, not bad for a two hour trip that he was gonna make anyway. The thing is that he wouldn't get more than 5 dollars worth of tickets for anyone person. And some people would get really mad at him for not getting them 20 or 50 dollars worth of tickets.

"The odds are more than 80 million to one against, it's a sucker bet" he'd say.

Needless to say he didn't get spare change from them. The point is that for most it's recreation but for some it's a life destroyer.

Saturday, September 20, 2003

The soldiers guarding the tomb of the unknown soldier in DC were given permission to abandon their posts and take shelter from hurricane Isabel this week. They declined. The US government shut down to take shelter and they stood their ground.

talk about martial art.

Saturday, August 30, 2003

OK just finished the IllNatural video shoot. That is the last uncatered shoot I do. Comon folks if you're going to make people sit around and listen to the same song over and over and over the least you could do is feed em and give them something to drink. Organization is a good thing too. The next time I show up on time and there is no one in charge to meet me I'm outta there. The band and film crew didn't show up until 30 minutes after I did. Not sure why I hung out. Fortunately the tune is pretty nice an R&B/Rap fusion that works very nicely.

Afterwards the Meniscus Show was upstairs. I don't know why I bother to go to scm's parties. They are always poorly planned and I still couldn't get a beer. The art was quite nice. But once again the highlight of the night was when I left. NPR was doing a show on Pat Methany.

I realized today that my problem is not with authority but with poorly executed authority. Sadly most, but certainly not all, authority that I come across is poorly executed.

Friday in Portland, ME

Hung out with Tom and Jen last night. Met some friends from work at the Top of the East. Great view, very comfy chairs, lousy service and expensive drinks that were not full enough. Then went to the Free Street Taverna for some eats and were totally dissed by the nonexistant wait staff. Don't know what the deal is with them but it is rare that I enjoy my time there. It has happened but it is rare. Which is too bad because I really like the location.

The highlight of the night was the Fairfield Porter exhibit at the Portland Museum of Art and a quick gyro at the kitchen.

The PMA is free on Friday evenings something which I really appreciate. We went because Tom is an Amherst graduate and Porter was the artist in residence there for a while. It was time well spent. The paintings were colorful and pleasing. Porter has a very painterly style which still manages to convey a feeling of lightness. He is summer vacation. The Porter exhibit is up for another couple of weeks so get there soon.

After being totally ignored by the waitstaff at fst, we left free street and crossed congress to the Kitchen. Look for their site, coming soon. We got there just as they were closing. I asked if they were still serving and even though they had shut everything down the owner looked up and said "we'll serve you."

Talk about customer service! Tom and I had a Gyro. Jen had the Jamaican Jerk Chicken wrap. She and Tom ended up switching. I had the dregs of the wrap and while quite spicy, duh, it was most tasty. The gyro was good but next time I will order the JJC wrap.

We ended the night at Three Dollar Deweys. Another disapointing wait for the waitress but at least she showed up. A sign of the autumn to come, Sam Adams Octoberfest was on tap.

Overall it was a night of extremes in customer service. But we had fun and that's what counts.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

PMA Film Festival

Friday night at Congress Square there was proof that film making is alive and well in Maine. After a good time in the Eastland hotel lobby bar meeting the various film folk and sitting out the rain, the movies started. This was my first time at the festival so I don't know how previous years went but the SRO crowd braved the threat of rain and wet seats to view 90 minutes of some quality short films.

The PMAFF is put on by Humongous Productions and Portland Media Artists. It was sponsored this year by Coffee by Design. Although in the past the city has chipped in some cash for a summer full of events at Congress Square, this summer's events have been done totally with private funds.

See Pictures at

The Ratings

the films are listed in the order they were shown.

Male Tale It turns out that women have adventures, too. A light film about the sexual adventures of three barmaids. It was a good start to fine evening. Filmmaker-Lew-Ann Leen. I give it a 2.7 out of 5.

Sidesitters Do you uh y'know sidesit?

Ok in the interests of full disclosure, I had a part in this flick, but my views were backed up by other folk. That said, this was the best film of the evening. Some of the others came close but this film really showed that with a talented, dedicated cast and crew quality filmmaking can be done without even a small budget.

Everybody has some faults. How you react to them is up to you. Started the crowd laughing. Filmmaker-Chris Watkins I give it a 4.2 of 5

Cowboys and Indians Indians are born not made or not. A telling tale about how a casino makes money for no one but the casino. Filmmaker-Luigi Scarcelli. I give it a 3.9 of 5

Beneath the Frost line Sometimes old secrets are best left untold. OK I kinda saw where this wanted to go but I'm not sure it got there. Still, it had some good make up. Filmmaker-Andy Davis. I give it a 2.6 of 5

Zev on Humans Zev explains what he knows about humans. And A pig auditions for the circus in the Circus Audition. Outstanding animation with a fast pleasent punch. Filmmaker-Dave Poole. I give it 4.1 of 5

Split Second Humans really are frail creatures. And they need attention. Filmmaker- Kevin DiBacco I give it 3.5 of 5.

Overall I give it 4.2. It was an outstanding evening. The people I met were very nice and they had cheese at the party. The venue was great. The folk were interesting. It was obvious that alot of work had gone on behind the scenes. The rain even stopped for the show.

Saturday, August 16, 2003

Don't go nil with four spades

Ok so I play a fair amount of spades on the net. It comes with XP I like it as it's always available for a couple of quick hands. There are people speaking all sorts of languages playing it. It's a fine example of Microsoft's ability at localization. But the people playing expert level aren't always the best.

What's the point of going nil with 4 spades. There are only 13 of them in a deck and if things balance out then on average if you have four spades even four lousy spades you're gonna take a trick. I mean sure it's been done and it's not like someone's life depends on it... as far as you know. But if someone's gonna play expert level they could at least play as though they understood the odds.

Or maybe they just lost focus.

When playing backgammon if you're way behind and someone doubles take the chance to resign rather than playing on and losing twice what you would have lost if you didn't accept the double.

Sunday, August 10, 2003

California Recall Dreaming

So over one hundred people filed to run for governor of the state of California. $3500 or 10,000 signatures and you're in the race. WooHoo. In order to win all that is needed is to get a majority of the votes. Some actor could win with 15% of the vote. That's the way to choose a cheif executive.

Gray Davis can't be on the ballot of people to win the recall. He has to win by a full 50% of the vote in order to keep his job.

It turns out though that if a person votes no do not recall, that she can still vote for someone to replace Davis should he lose. So all you Californians out there don't forget to fill out your ballots completely in October.

Found this pdf from Mercury News They paid someone to put their recall guide link at the top of my search engine. SEO rules.

Friday, June 27, 2003

went to Hannaford today and the Got milk-shake it up folk were there. There musta been 10 or 20 of em. Loitering about with no one to give milk to. I went up thinking I like milk and I like to have my picture taken. They also had this big ol Rolling Stone cover to stand in front of. So they said grab some milk. They had chocolate, strawberry, and a few other colors. No milk flavored milk though. I mentioned this and one very nice lady said well the vanilla is almost like milk only with a vanilla flavor.

OK... thanks I'll pass.

I did notice that the folk on their van only had white milk mustaches. Maybe they were all vanilla.

Thursday, June 26, 2003

Created a new voice over demo last night. That was kinda fun but next time I think I'll use more than one track for background and voice.

Working on being an actor in Portland and Southern Maine. The public premier of Sidesitters is July 11. That should be fun and at 5 bux a ticket what a bargain.

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Do blogs require insightful thought. Probably not. Do they require that you sit down and type for a few minutes each day? Well yes. Prove that you're alive. Blog.

Every time I go to Philip Greenspun's site I come away better. I should probably go there more often.

I was listening to something about influencers the other day. OK maybe months. It seems that there are only like 10 percent of people providing content as simple as this and therefore providing some influence. That's a little scary what's really scary is that not all of it is benign. But then that's why it's called influence.


Tuesday, June 10, 2003

What is Art

I was listening to NPR the other day and they were doing a piece on the Matthew Barney Installation, The Cremaster Cycle, at the Guggenheim in New York. They got comments from the people looking at the show. One lady said something like, "I like it just don't make me call it art. It's just a conglomeration of popular culture."

Excuse me? What is art if not a reflection of the artist's culture?

Artists don't appear out of a vacuum. They get their ideas from their lives. That they warp it a bit is what makes it interesting. Art is art because the artist says it is art.

The consumer's job is to decide what the art does or does not do for her. If she wants she can even pass judgement on it and call it good or bad art. Or better yet buy it! or not.

Friday, June 06, 2003

June Mesda NETpm

Went to the June NETpm at the Old Port Technology Center last night. A good time. Really got to thank Mesda and The Inferface Group for putting these things on. Find out about more events, user groups and an upcoming Central NETpm in Bangor at the Mesda events page.

Anyway, it was kinda misty and rainy so the outside porch at OPTC wasn't immediately utilized and the Interface offices were a tad crowded. As it turns out, both nature and a crowded room abhore a vaccuum. People soon drifted out onto the porch and equilibrium was achieved. Mark Ford showed up. He's not quite ready to annouce his summer plans but coolness will come from him very soon. Chatted with Dan Corwin. He's my goto java guy. I was talking with him about the palm-handspring merger. Chris Russell was there. I'm looking forward to his new software demo at the Mesda Maine Webmasters User Group on June 16. Zoe made an appearance. Always nice to see her. I'm working with her on her website. Be sure to preview her blog.

The Ratings

The Food 4.0 Pretty tasty. While it was limited to quesadilles, chicken fingers and some sort of open faced melt, the food did not run out and was quite yummy.

The Drinks 4.5 What can you say about a party right next door to a Brew Pub. Sebago Brewing Company supplied the beer, OPTC ale, which also did not run out. These guys do know how to do it right.

The Venue 4.1 OK so here's the thing, I really like the parties OPTC throws. I like the porch, I like the people, I like the food and drink. But I have to compare it to their annual Celebration of Business and Technology when they close off the street and have a little trade show along with the celebration and tons of people show up. So a 4.1 a good time highly recomended.

Afters at the Clown

The NETpm finished up at 7 and The Clown picked up from there with an outstanding art opening and wine tasting. This place is a triple threat, art gallery, wine celler and amazing antiques.

I must say my tastes tend to run to beer and abstract expressionism, plug for my art page here. So when I wandered into the gallery and saw some very nice cityscapes it was OK but I was a little disapointed. Further exploration presented me with some truly pleasent pieces by Philip Carlos Paratore. The juxtaposition of sharp angles around flowing colorscapes around a single horizontal line was stunning. Around the corner were some pieces that did with paint what I have been doing with cracks..

The wine was a tad dry for my taste but the last red was robust, a little fruity with a hint of smoke that was quite pleasing.

Worth the trouble of finding parking in Portland. Check it out when you're intown.

Monday, May 12, 2003

Caveat Emptor
So a friend of mine sends me a notice she got on a teacher's mailing list. It was a notices from someplace called ePC or Electronic Parts Company. It was for half price computers of the latest 2003 technology. Then it went onto describe a really lame 1.3 gig chip computer for 400 bux. That's just evil. Fortunately she asked me first and I was able to point her to the sunday flyer from Best Buyand their $500 after rebate system from eMachines.

I mean sure they probably would have been very happy with the machine from ePC but come on why do that to people when it's almost as easy to treat them right.

So epc my first ever 0 cause they're just bad.

Friday, May 02, 2003

May NetPM

Held at Old Port Billiards and sponsored by Systems Engineering, Interface Tech News and Mesda. Once again an amazing spread. They had hot wings! But as is sometimes the case when held at a bar the beer was dolled out with drink coupons. Still good but not quite to my liking.

My monitor had blown the night before and I was kinda bummed but I left with not one but two offers for monitors. Dan Corwin offered me one but I am now using the 17" one. Thank you Alex Bennert once again you came through for me. Mark Ford showed up always good to see them both. Look for some cool stuff coming from Mark this summer.

The Ratings

The food 4.5 Very good. I've come to expect great things from Mesda and they rarely let me down. Standard finger sandwichs and cheese plate. Wings and chicken fingers, Stuffed Mushrooms, yummy beef terriaki. I am sometimes hesitant to eat chicken wings at a funcution but the table was in the middle of the room so I was able to stand on one side and eat while the room circulated around me.

The Drinks 4.0 Good beer the first two were complimentary. Not quite the open bar I prefer but still quite pleasent.

The Venue 3.8 Hadn't been to the Old Port Billiards before but not bad. Reeked of smoke but had a not bad bar and lot's of pool tables. Was what I'd call handicapped accessible but tasty none the less.

Overall 4.1 Good food, good beer, people with a clue. Walked away with a new monitor from a friend. The doorprizes included a Zire and the new Mesda Chipper club it replaces the Putter as well as the usual fine software. I like the NetPM's if you want more info get on their mailing list.

Monday, April 21, 2003

Casinos In Maine

So casinos in Maine. What I came away with from my little exploration into my opinion about the subject is that I really don't know.

I think that casinos are not generally a good idea. But golly they bring in a lot of cash. The way I described it was that it is like shooting yourself in the foot. It's going to hurt. It's going to be messy. It's going to ruin your shoes. But you'll heal. You can clean up the mess. With the money you get you can buy yourself a new pair of shoes and a new suit. But you're going to limp for the rest of your life.

It's going to bring in lot's of money. But there are people who should have the best interest of Maine at heart who say it's not enough. People who look at up to an extra 100 million a year and say it's a bad idea. The people who are backing this financially are not mainers they are mostly Vegas folk. The Tribes certainly are backing it but if they had the cash to make this happen on their own I suspect they would already be using it for something else.

Then one has to ask oneself who would benefit if there weren't casinos in Maine. There is some suggestion that some of the people that work for Casinos No also work for the Scocia Prince, a boat that hosts Gambling out of Portland. LL Bean opposes it. I feel sure that they aren't happy about what it would do to Maine's image which is part of their brand. But it would be tough for them to have a big stopping point in Sanford. Did you know that in order to get to the public restrooms at LL Bean you have to go through the whole store. LL Bean understands the importance geography plays. I wonder how they'd feel if the Casino was North of them rather than South. On the other hand if a casino won't bring more people to LL Bean, second only to Acadia in number of visitors each year, it sure won't bring more people to anywhere else in Maine.

A casino in southern Maine would overnight become the state’s biggest cash business. I think it's interesting though that both sides are using this as a reason why Casinos are good/bad. CasinosNo says that it would corrupt government. The Pro Casino people say it would bring in needed money and jobs.

Couldn't quickly find a pro casino website. That's a tad annoying and doesn't speak well to the importance that the pro casino forces put on Hi tech

Would it be a shot in the arm? A shot in the foot? or bullet to the femoral artery causing a hideous messy death? Beats me.

Wednesday in the Old Port

So I'm on my way to the absolute launch at the Pavilion, I walk by the alehouse on Market St. I heard some Grateful Dead coming from from inside. I thought "Isn't that nice that someone is playing them on the jukebox." Then I realized that it was Wednesday and that A Band Beyond Description played here on Wednesday. My friend Todd plays the bass for them.

I have missed live music. And these guys rock. Mostly Grateful Dead covers artfully played. It would be nice to hear some original tunes but I could listen to them play all night.

The Ratings

The Venue 3.2 It's a dive on Market St where Erik's used to be. They've put up a fence on the stairs so it's a little safer to walk down but you wonder what else it's there for. But they are smart enough to realize that a house band can be essential on a wedsnesday night and they picked a good one. 3 dollar cover not psyched about that but I suspect that that is what the band gets. It's worth the cash though.

food and drinks NA I had just come from a focus group for the Casino Question and they fed me so I wasn't hungry and I gave up alcohol for Holy Week. Yeah I know that giving up things for Lent is more normal but I'm not big into sacrifice.

People 3.5 Saw Todd and someone I recognise as someone I like but even though we've known each other for more than a decade I don't think either of us knows the other's name. They both played very well and it was good to say hi. I did find myself explaining to some lovely lady why it was that I was not drinking which I really do not like to do. One because it doesn't matter why I'm not drinking and because I really don't like trying to yell over a band to make myself heard. Course she could have just been trying to talk to me and couldn't think of anything else to say.

The music 4.3 Some glitches. They understood what it was that they were doing. They obviously enjoyed what they were doing and they did it very well. Tight so that hours of rehersal paid off. Flexible enough to allow an unplanned glitch to turn into an outstanding solo.

Overall 3.9 Great tunes. Worth the three bucks.

Friday, April 11, 2003

April Mesda NetPM

Why is it that it takes me so long to write about the NetPM's. They're great. Always good food and drink and people with a clue. This last one was terrific. It was at the American Cafe in Scarbourough. They can cook! The beer flowed freely, the crab cakes were delish, even the meatloaf was tasty. I was hoping for wings like the last event I went to there. but you can't have everything, I like wings. Probably for the best though watching me eat wings is not always pleasent.

Alex showed up. It's always nice to see her. She does a neat web advent calender for the Christmas season. Mark Ford made an appearence.

Things in IT are right on the edge of something big but not quite there. There is talent. There are ideas. There is money, less than there was, but it's still there. Things are close to coming together. .


Try not to get too down on yourself. It isn't you, it's everyone else! As the Stars change their position, you seem to be surrounded by unpleasant people and acts of meaningless antagonism. Stop and think about this -- maybe a shift in your attitude could make all the difference. In either case, don't let what you can't control stop you from going about your day. Getting some alone time to rest and rejuvenate is your best bet this evening.

That was my horoscope today. didn't notice alot of antagonism just not alot of oomph. I went to another Status party tonight. They've done better. Good to see dru and heidi. Ran into steve and jane that was cool. caron reminded me that these are networking things, so i passed out some cards and split. Amanda the paleontologist-model showed up with a boyfriend, she looked good. Met Barney a local actor whose work I like. Can't remember his last name though.

Note the lack of new links. C'mon folks you have something to say put it on the web and let me know about it.

Sunday, March 30, 2003

Saturday Night in Portland

What can I say about a party at an overpriced bar with lousy service and a promoter who thinks it's a good idea to wait until the last minute (I mean the last minute, I got 36 hours notice for this thing) to let people know that it's happening... nothing.

I met some interesting folk today though Ri-chous, a lovely rapper on her way up. Wes and Richard of Humongous productions. Hilary who asked me what reverence meant to me and actually listened to my riff on God and how science serves to show his miracles. Melinda who I absolutely want to see again cause she's just an interesting person to be around and a truly attractive woman. Frank McMahon is working on another short movie for April release. Could be an interesting time.

That's it for tonight.

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Mesda NetPM at Fairchild Semiconductor

The March 6, Mesda NetPM was at the Fairchild Semicondutor National Headquarters. It was a bit odd as it was held in their cafeteria. It turns out that if you give people a place to sit down they will. It was actually a bit like highschool with all the folk who knew each other sitting together. The food was amazing. While their was no bar, they had smoothies for all. There was plenty of everything.

I ran into several folk and actually came away with some interesting thoughts on technology that need to simmer in my brain for a bit before they can become full blown business plans. It was a good time and I would go again.

the Ratings

the Food 4.2 Fairchild set a new standard for food at this event. It was a veritable cornucopia of hor d'oevre. From the standard finger sandwiches and fruit plate to bacon wrapped scallops, deviled eggs and more. I really like deviled eggs. The food was outstanding and it never ran out or even seemed that it might run out.

the drinks 3.0 no bar that was just a bit weird. The smoothies were fruity and plentiful and the antioxidants were just the thing for my cold. So it worked out. The room is on the same floor as one of their test labs and I can certainly understand why Fairchild didn't want to take the chance that, however unlikely, some drunken techie would wander some place he wasn't supposed to be.

the venue 2.5 Networking is the prime reason for the NetPM's. Holding this in a cafeteria may not have been the best choice. I did eventually get up and move around but many people didn't. I was hoping that this would have been held in the executive suite. It has lot's of room and while it would have been a bit tighter, it would been better for moving about with no tables.

Overall 3.5 this is mostly for the food. I had a good time there are people that come to these things that I only see there and I did meet some new people. I would go again even if nothing changed. The smoothies were quite tasty and original.

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

Toshiba introduces a Motor for your Laptop

OK this is just to cool. In a press release today Toshiba introduced a viable alternative to batteries for your laptop, a direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) that ways less than ki. They have developed a process that allows the correct concentration of methanol, around 3 to 6 percent to be, attained from the process of burning the methanol which results in water and carbon dioxide. The water is recirculated back into the high concentration methanol cartridge to achieve the correct mix.

A 50cc cartridge of Methanol lasts approximately 5 hours. At first glance the piece seems a tad bulky, 275 x 75 x 40mm (825cc), but not many people use there laptops while walking anyway. The cartridges are alot easier to carry than extra batteries. The DMFC connection to the laptop is similar as the has the same electrodes as an ion lithium battery.

They should be available with two years.

I do have a couple of questions though:

How much heat does it generate?

How can I get one?

Can they work out a solution to have it run on airline bottles of tequila? Flight attendent may I have two bottles of cuervo one for me and one for my laptop.

Sunday, March 02, 2003

Status Mardi Gras Party

Finally they get a clue. Got there early, beat the lines and got in with no problems. Get on the list. If tonight is any indication it's worth the time. Want to meet producers? they show up. Good looking models, actors, and artists? well yeah. Photographers? how about Stuart Smith and Frank McMahon. Anybody who wants to meet folk who can make things happen or who are just interesting Get on the list.

Met Steve Abbott and his wife Jane again tonight. Steve's company is doing some work for an oil rig that's being refitted in Portland. Jane is an amazing, fearless woman. She is a model who communicates in several different languages. I watched her tonight chatting in Spanish with Ricardo who seemed to be sitting not able to talk with anyone as noone could speak his native tongue. OK so it turned out after going through some Spanish, German and French that he was just scamming us. But Jane jumped in with no fear.

The ratings

The Music 3.9 It was a Mardi Gras Party, the cajun tunes rang out. They turned to standard glop after ten but still it was nice to hear.

Food 0.0 I am slowly getting used to the fact that people probably aren't going to feed me. I'm a tad upset by that but hey sometimes chicken sometimes feathers.

Drinks 4.0 get good sponsors and things start happening. Didn't acually meet up up with them so no links but some tasty coconut rum concoctions were available. There were even pretty women shilling for Smirnoff. I had read about them showing up in larger cities, it's nice to know that Portland, Maine has made the grade.

People 4.0 what can I say? I meet people I like at the Status parties that I just don't see anywhere else. Woody Allen said "Ninety percent of success is showing up." Anybody in showbiz could do a lot worse than showing up at these parties.

Overall 4.1 That's right. I'm very pleased to say that the Status party at the Sky Bar at the Pavilion finally broke the 4.0 ceiling. I wasn't sure they could do it but they seem to be headed in the right direction.

doing your taxes online part 3

Got my refund from state and Feds within 10 days. Not business days, days. If you haven't done your taxes yet do em. Gather your paper work and get it done. It'll save you a trip to the post office at midnight on the 15th and you'll be alot happier. I am.

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Doing taxes online part 2

I checked back in with, the turbo tax online ap, on Monday. It told me that my return had been accepted by both the Feds and Maine and that my refund should be in my bank account by the end of the Month. I had to do some more hoop jumping, like send the state a form with my signature saying that I had done my taxes online. The feds let me sign electronically and it sounded like next year the state will send me something that will let me do that to.

I finished all this before I left for work although I left my printer churning away. Of course when I got back it patiently explained that there was a jam. I'm not sure the lexmark 3200 was the best choice. Anybody who wants me to test and review they're printer email me and let me know. But I digress.

I am very pleased with the process and I continue to stand by my recomendation and rating of Turbo Tax.

Sunday, February 16, 2003

Doing taxes online

I was reading an article in the New York Times this morning about tax software online. A very nice article that listed the URL of the IRS page on E-filing. I decided to do my taxes. I chose turbo tax, be sure to see if you qualify for their free tax offering. I had been looking for a new tax software because I just wasn't satisfied with the other major brand that I had been using. Email me if you want to know what that was.

I loved it. It was easy it wasn't alot of fun but it was way better than doing it by hand and better than loading the software. This was the first year I tried turbo tax and I am abosolutely going to use them again next year. The efiling process was pretty much seamless. It allowed me to print off a copy of both my state and federal returns and save a copy as a pdf file. Everything went very smoothly it asked the right questions. In all it took me maybe 4 hours to finish my taxes. That includes printing which took a long time so my session at turbo tax timed out and I had to go back to the home page and log in again. I had read the FAQ and been warned about that so it was expected.

Things to remember before you start.

Get your papers together. I had most everything but had to make a few trips to the filing cabinet and the car, it's kinda chilly outside in Maine, in the middle of it all.

Read the documentation. This is a stylin ap but it's on the web so things can happen and it needs to be secure. The FAQ's will tell you what to expect when to expect it and what to do if it happens. They are well written and worth the time to read.

The Ratings out of five

User Interface      4.2  Really nice, very usable. When I had questions help was available and often my question was answered by clicking on a link off to the right.

Ease of use     4.2 It did what I wanted when I expected it to do it. It was amazing.

Overall      4.2 I didn't have to load software. I have a broadband connection. I am most satisfied. It caught a few mistakes I made and allowed me to correct them. Come back in a few days to find out if the IRS accepts my form or if I have to do this over again. I think they will.

So you might ask if I'm so happy with this experience why aren't I giving it a five. Well there was no food and nobody bought me beer I didn't meet anybody particularly interesting. But hey, it cracked the 4.0 ceiling without food, beer, or interesting party goers and that's pretty hard to do.

Thursday, February 06, 2003

February NetPM

So what does it take to get over a four from me. It takes a real party not something at a bar where I have to fight for a bartenders attention for the priviledge of buying a drink. It takes a real party where interested hosts have taken the time to prepare or purchase some tasty snacks. It takes a real party where the people know me and if they don't they are interesting and have something to say not only about what they do for a living but about something else too. Music is nice too.

I went to one such event tonight. Sage Data Security hosted this month's Mesda NetPM which is always a good time. The food and drink are served with a smile by people who understand the value of a happy person. The food is often catered and sometimes quite creative. The people are techies so there is a great deal of tech talk. But it turns out that that's not all they do. Elizabeth is the skiing guide for She also works for Anne Kennedy at Beyond Ink an international Search Engine Marketing firm out of Portland. Dan Corwin from Lexicos showed up always good to see him. Didn't get a chance to talk to Morten of Interface Publishing another sponsor of the event with Mesda.

The Ratings

Food      3.9 Finger sandwichs, fruit and cheese. Nothing exciting but they didn't run out.

Drinks     4.2 Oh yeah. the beer flowed Sage picked up the tab. A good time was had by all.

Music      2.1 They had a guy there with a guitar who was actually quite good but they stuck him away in a room so I didn't hear much. But a couple of points for trying.

Overall     4.0 free food and drink fun interesting folk what's not to like.

Maine Media Market and Portland Marketing Association After-Hours

I was at the Maine Media Market yesterday. It was mostly functional but the freebies were kind of lacking. I got there kinda late and didn't get a chance to visit the lower level. I did get on camera at the booth, look for me in a couple of months. I'm thinking that you really can't have enough bags certainly their weren't any to be seen at that show. On the upside I was very selective about the stuff I brought home and didn't bring any big catalogs or brochures to immediately recycle. It's important to have a bag for people to carry stuff to many is better than none at all.

The Portland Marketing Association sponsored an after hours event at the Portland harbor hotel. Good food, met a few potential clients. One of whom bought me a beer. I met a potential new host for client sites but they didn't by me a beer either not sure I like that.

A note about the Portland Marketing Association website. Get a freaking clue! It's a redirect to the American Marketing site with not one but two popups one of which is just another window with the AMA homepage. How can they call themselves a marketing association when they can't even convince one of their members to build them a clean site. I'm thinking they aren't quite done with it yet but how much time does it take to put up a mission statement and a contact page. I mean really.

The ratings

Maine Media Market.     2.8 OK but giraffe events has done much better. So have the people that exhibited. What does it say about the state of marketing in Portland when you go to a trade show and don't come home with a bagful of office supplies and some stuff for your kids. OK some stuff but ...

Portland Marketing Association After hours event.

Food      3.0 simple but tasty could have been a bit more varied and plentiful. The fondue while tasty ran out of bread. Still it was almost enough for the group that showed up. Much better than some of the other parties I've been to in the last few months.

Drinks    4.0 should have had more people buying me drinks but I didn't pay for my beer so that was OK.

People    4.0 not really well attended but I met a strong potential client who took a bunch of my cards for her friends. Caron,, showed up, always nice to see her. So that was good. Stayed looking for an invitation to more but it didn't show up. Although, I did hear someone say, Schuyler just left as I was going out the door. So I may have left a tad to soon.

Overall for the day  3.9 I finished up a piece of a project for a client. Met some interesting people, got some good leads. I was given some stuff, a good beer and some tasty food. I didn't spend any money.

I was listening to the writers almanac this morning on Maine Public Radio and Garrison Keillor was talking about Mary Leaky, the anthropologist.

She had found a the tracks of a pair of hominids, the smaller had stopped, looked around, and continued on her way. She interpreted the action as a very human moment of doubt.

Thinking on that I realize that she was writing about herself. Sure the tracks were a few million years old but like her they were in the middle of Africa. She was hot, uncomfortable, probably dirty, wishing for a good meal, some clean water, and she found a connection with one of her ancestors. The pair pre-people were in a similar situation to her own; looking for something that wasn't always there but that was where they found themselves.

I wonder if she had been in a better mood if she would have written that the smaller of the pair had stopped and marveled at the view. I guess it turns out that even when you are where you want to be and doing what you want to do, some days are better than others.

Tuesday, February 04, 2003

BMW Films part 1

Right. So I've just seen my first three BMW Films. The Hostage, Ticker, and Beat the Devil.

Give the Hostage a pass. Not one of John Woos best. I'm thinking he needs more than 10 minutes to really get rolling. Still the opening shots were very pretty.

Ticker was sweet. Lot's of shooting driving and a nifty twist at the end that I probably should have picked up on but didn't expect in this genre.

Beat the Devil was great. Gary Oldman, James Brown what's not to like. It was a nice departure from the first two. No shooting just driving to beat the devil.

I'm running winxp pro on a 355 chip with very little room on my c drive. I tried to play the movie on WinMedia player but it wasn't happening. Maybe I need an upgrade. When I tried to play it from the download my box just stopped. It started again but golly I'd hate to see what it would have done to Win98. Quicktime stream wasn't much better. Real Player came through though. Buffered and didn't skip. Go broadband. Rah. Kinda tough to watch it on the embedded small screen though.

The Ratings

the hostage       2 of 5 Pretty but not much there. An attempt at suspense that didn't really have the chance to build.

ticker                 4.1 of 5 Gritty literally lot's of dirt and dust. Exciting with a twist like a tasty cocktail during a really good date.

Beat the Devil    4 of 5 Witty gotta love James Brown and Gary Oldman.

Not sure it's a good idea to view them all at once. I'm thinking they should be savored. I haven't seen the first season yet. Maybe next week or this Weekend.

Saturday, January 25, 2003

Friday Night at the Iguana

So another Status party. Not to shabby nobody to buy me beer this time but the molson at the iquana is cheap. I gotta thank Caron at Port City Models she has an email list that will make any party a happening thing. Right now she and her models and her email list are showing up at Status Parties.

The music tonight was rather generic I'm thinking they had like two cds because it started to repeat itself after a couple of hours. The food was once again nonexistant. The party was scheduled to start at 7 and didn't start until 8 or 9 it did give me a chance to meet some people though.

There is very little that is as sexy as a smart pretty woman. I met Amanda who is a paleontoligist, a sword collector and a model. She was able to explain to me what the big deal about mammoths in Maine was. Most folk I talk to about that just laugh and say there are no mammoths in Maine. OK so it doesn't come up much but it's been annoying me for several years.

Steve and Jane showed up. Steve is an electrical engineer working on among other things the large oil platforms in the harbor. I'm waiting for some rather interesting times when they start up their generators. Jane is a nurse a beautiful and very smart lady.

Frank McMahon showed up and Stewart was doing photography. Jesse something had just come off pitching something to MTV and was most optimistic. Looking for something tasty in the next year or so. Drew and Heidi made the scene. Drew makes for an interesting event and Heidi reminds us again that smart is sexy.

I had a really good time tonight. I am also responsible for someone going home thinking that they met John Popper, another big guy with a hat. Zoe is in Austrailia so she didn't make it. I hope she's having fun.

People gotta start pushing their sites. I'd love to link to them but noone had anything.

So the Ratings out of 5

Started at 7 as the lamest party I've ever been to and I've been to some really bad events. Again what pulled it out was the people. It was just amazing to meet Amanda.

Food 0 nonexistant.

Venue 2.8 The Iquana is not what I expected. Essentially, it is a hallway with a bathroom at one end and a couch at the other. It has a couple of levels and a bar you can dance on. Throw in a bunch of folk and give them some alcohol and it's not to bad.

Drinks2.9 I hate having to buy my own but at least the Molson was cheap. The test tubes free at the last event were a charge but they were better. Jesse and his ladies were drinking a bowl of Alabama Slammers that were pretty tasty.

Music 2.5 What is up with Portland? The only decent music event I show up at and noone else does. The music tonight was generic. OK so there was some interesting calypso stuff but they only had the one cd. I mean come on. You know when the music on the ride home on MPR is better, Jazz on Friday nights, you should probably rethink your music choices. I mean, take some chances. OK so people were dancing on the bar and moving to the beat but getting drunk people to dance isn't exactly rocket science.

People What can I say I look forward these things cause I can usually count on seeing a couple of people I like and meeting someone interesting. It happened tonight and I suspect it will happen again. As always the beautiful people showed up.

Overall I left just after Midnight. I was done. Things were still happening but it was time to go. Closing down a bar is not hard but it needs to be worth it and it wasn't tonight. Leave 'em wanting more they say. So the rating better than the Plush but still not breaking the 4 ceiling 3.6. A good time.

Want me to review your event, movie, book, new cd, whatever send me an email to and tell me about it or send it to me at

Schuyler Meyers
PO Box 11211
Portland, ME 04104

Alll Materials become mine with rights to quote from media and nothing will be returned. If I like the piece or if doesn't really suck I'll review it.