Saturday, May 28, 2005

The bike ride from Hell

I did something fulfilling, yet pretty stupid today.

I live in Bucks County, PA, and figured I would stay at my parents' place at the Jersey Shore for Memorial Day weekend. So I drove from my apartment to Toms River, NJ, on Friday night. I was supposed to get a haircut Saturday morning at the place I have gone to for years.

Well, I get in my car and go to put my key in the won't go in. I turned the steering wheel a bit to see if it was a wheel lock issue, but no dice. I call the local dealer and he says there is a similar problem with other models of their cars, but not the one I have...hence, they don't have the part in stock. The best-case scenario is that I'll have to get it towed to the dealer on Tuesday -- thanks to the Memorial Day holiday.

Fortunately, since I wanted to do a little bike riding in the area this weekend -- since I did a lot of it when I was growing up here -- I brought my 12-speed with me. And with no other mode of transportation available to me, I decided I would go on a long bike ride.

Well, I wound up riding from Toms River to Bay Head and back. For those unfamiliar with the northeastern Ocean County, that is about a 35 mile round trip. Throw in the 5 miles or so of out-of-the-way cycling I had to execute due to road construction and traffic and it probably turned into a 40-mile trek. Now, I used to go on 20-mile rides at least twice a week during the summer in my late teens, but 40 miles definitely marks a new single-day high.

Why was it the bike ride from Hell? I was only going to ride to Mantoloking, which would have probably reduced the trip to about 30-32 miles. But -- despite being in not the best of shape these days -- I felt really good and decided to go to the northernmost point of Bay Head.

That's when the Hell part started. It turns out I was tanked...and the wind in my face didn't help. But I kept going...slowly...and eventually made it back to Toms River -- three hours after I departed! After experiencing severe leg cramps for an hour or so and dealing with a really bad headache, which I think resulted from a lack of oxygen getting to my brain on the way home, I am doing OK. I don't expect to repeat the trek least not for awhile.

To give you a sense of my ride, just go to this Google Map...I left from a bit north of the word "Dover" and rode to the top of the last "t" in Point Pleasant...and back.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Return of Doctor Who finally gets mainstream attention

Well, it's about time...the Associated Press has finally recognized the return of Doctor Who to the BBC after a 16-year absence of new television episodes (except for that promising, yet poorly executed FOX/BBC television movie in 1996).

The return of 'Doctor Who'

Sunday, May 22, 2005

The first BK 2.0 song!

Well, I have written, recorded and published the first complete song of what I am calling "my second musical phase" (or BK 2.0).

The song is called "Parting of the Ways." I'm not sure this will remain the final product, but it's a complete song for the most part.

I am trying to find time to "perfect" the vocals (with my definition of "perfect" being as good as I can possibly get them) and I may try to trim it down a bit. That being said, I'm quite pleased with it. I set a goal to write something this past weekend and, as Dubya himself would say, "Mission accomplished!"

Oh, one more note about the title...since this is the first song of BK 2.0 and it comes at the same time a new version of Doctor Who (Who 2.0?) is currently airing on BBC (and everywhere, it seems, except the USA...thanks for declining, Sci-Fi Channel), I couldn't resist the chance to borrow a title from the new Who. The season finale, which airs in a few weeks, is called "The Parting of the Ways."

Parting of the Ways (7.4 MB, 5:22)

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Earth and the persistent asteroid

You may recall that around this past Christmas an asteroid named 2004 MN4 was briefly given the distinction of having the best odds of any known space rock to hit the Earth in 2029. Of course, as often is the case, additional computations and observations showed that while it would be a close call, the Earth would get through the encounter unscathed.

In announcing the Earth will be safe from that flyby, the scientists apparently left out some significant information -- that the 2029 encounter with the Earth is going to affect the asteroid's path so that there is a decent chance of it hitting us -- a 1-in-10,000 chance -- in April 2036. In fact, there are several scenarios between 2034 and 2065 in which the same asteroid has even BETTER odds of hitting the planet.

While scientists are still confident further observations will likely reduce the odds to zero, there is a problem...the rock is going to be mostly out of view from some point in 2006 through 2012.

Anyway, there is a story on about a former NASA astronaut who wants Congress to approve a space mission to monitor Asteroid 2004 MN4, which is "only" about 1,000 feet wide in diameter so it should "only" cause local or regional opposed to the whole wiping-out-mankind-global-annihilation type of thing.

Astronaut Asks Congress to Investigate Threatening Asteroid

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Ben Folds returns to Philly!

Musical genius Ben Folds played a sold-out show at The Electric Factory in Philadelphia last night. Wasn't able to get any pictures, though...since I realized earlier in the day that the display on the digital camera I bought less than two months ago cracked (GRRR!) and my cell phone camera just wasn't cutting it.

I think I saw Ben play bass for the first time at the end of "Rockin' the Suburbs" (have to check on that, though...I know I heard him play bass on a live version of "Rent a Cop" I downloaded). Also heard a new "Paul Simon" story that was nearly drowned out by the idiots screaming for "Rock This Bitch," but it was a good story (especially since there was a Philly connection).

For my friend Katie out in the Ben Folds-free zone known as Seattle, here is the setlist from the show (courtesy of Chris at the Ben Folds Tribe...

1. In Between Days
2. Consider You Gone
3. There’s Always Someone Cooler Than You
4. Jesusland
5. Bastard
6. Still Fightin' It
7. All U Can Eat
8. You to Thank
9. Landed
10. Bitches Ain’t Shit (Dr Dre cover)
11. Zak and Sara
12. Where’s Summer B.?
Band leaves-solo Ben
13. Lullabye
14. Alice Childress
15. Brick
16. Army
Band returns
17. Trusted
18. Carrying Cathy
19. Rockin’ the Suburbs
20. Philosophy
21. Late
22. Not the Same
2nd encore
23. One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces

Thursday, May 12, 2005

My new music project site

To make it easier to download and listen to my music, I am now posting MP3s of my work at my site on, which you can visit by clicking on the headline above.

However, I am only going to publish what I consider "completed" songs on that site, as opposed to some of the musical sketches I have posted in the past. I have a bunch of ideas and emotions swirling in my head and need to release them in a creative way so I will be spending a lot of time with my keyboard and PowerBook.