Stumped by Vasoline

Rock BandI would consider myself a very casual video game player, I don’t play very much, probably between 1-2 hours a week at most.  As I have posted before, I like playing Rock Band and have slowly been working my way through the solo tour.  I finished Easy a few weeks ago and started playing on medium.  I have played quite a bit of Bass on medium with a co-worker on the Xbox we have in our office but very little Guitar on medium.

So I have been chugging along, playing 2-3 songs here and there and doing reasonably well – 4 or 5 stars, consistently better than 95% even 100% every once in a while.

Yesterday I was watching the Memphis-Texas game and during half time thought I’d play a little Rock Band and knock out another 2-3 songs.  That was my plan anyway.  Until I got to Stone Temple Pilots’ Vasoline.  I simply cannot play this song.  It is the first song on Medium where you really need to be able to do Hammer Ons, a technique which I tried to get my son to explain to me but I just wasn’t grasping what he was telling me.  After failing half a dozen times, I decided to try the training mode.  It didn’t help me much so I went back and watched the tutorial.  Ah, I finally grasp the concept of the hammer on. 

Unfortunately, grasping the concept doesn’t directly translate into the ability to execute it.  I went back to the training mode but still wasn’t very successful.  I decided to give up and went back to watching the Texas-Memphis game.  Blah.  Maybe I should try the drums again!  Nah, I stink at the drums – I need to get the hang of this.  I don’t have any expectations that I will be able to play Guitar on Hard or Expert but I do think I should be able to finish the Medium tour.

Dell Lattitude X1 thoughts

I use an HP nw8240 laptop as my regular machine but I didn’t want to haul it to Japan with me.  It is pretty heavy and I wanted something  simple to use to have something to access the Internet with if I had the opportunity.  One of our IT guys loaned me a Dell Lattitude X1 to take with me.  It is a pretty nice little machine and perfect for what I was looking for.  It isn’t much bigger than the portable DVD player I own.  One of the things I really liked about it was the built in SD and CF card slots which worked great to unload the memory cards we use with our cameras.

Now that I have it, I don’t want to give it back!  I may see if I can buy it from my company – we are able to buy assets which aren’t being used any more for pretty reasonable prices.

End of the road for Villanova

Villanova UniversityMy Villanova Wildcats came up shorts against Kansas last night.  It was a stretch for then to beat Kansas as good as Kansas is this year but I had hoped they would play better than they did.  They looked a step slow across the board for most of the game.  Kansas didn’t give them many open looks and the few they did get, they didn’t convert.

If Scottie Reynolds sticks around for next year, Villanova should be pretty good.  They still need a real big man though.  Until they get one, I don’t think they can be much better than a top 20 team.  Still a good year all things considered, better than expected and nice to see them in the Sweet 16.

Now that Villanova is out, I am rooting for the Tarheels (which I do anyway).  Living here in the Triangle, you have to a have a local affiliation and the Tarheels are mine.  My wife got her MBA from UNC so we have a legit connection.  😉

Back from Japan

I am back from our family vacation to Japan.  We had a wonderful time and I will have to post some pictures soon.  We spent 2 1/2 days in Tokyo then 6 days in Okinawa where my sister lives.

Tokyo is an amazing city.  I have been to lots of the big cities (London, Paris, NY City, LA, San Francisco, Chicago, Dallas) over the years but Tokyo is by far the biggest city I have ever been to.  We stayed at the Marriott Ginza and during our brief visit saw Tokyo Tower, the Imperial Palace, the Tokyo Zoo, the Fish Market and a few other things.  The Fish Market was amazing, it appears very chaotic but is almost ballet like in how things move around.  Worth doing if you find yourself awake at 4:00 AM (like we did) and you are close (we were within walking distance).

Okinawa offered a different aspect of Japan.  While it was far more densely populated than I expected it would be, we were able to see and do quite a bit.  It would have been very hard to do Okinawa on our own so I am glad my sister was able to be our tour guide.  Of particular note was Shurijo Castle, the Aquariaum at Ocean Expo Park, and a Whale Watching Tour.

Travel was pretty easy – we flew American Airlines from Raleigh to Tokyo via DFW and JAL between Tokyo and Okinawa.  We had to change airports as JAL doesn’t fly between Narita and Okinawa but outbound it wasn’t a big deal since we were in Tokyo.  On the return we had 3 hours to change from Haneda to Narita but other than I ran out of Yen to buy bus tickets with, it was no problem.  3 hours is about the minimum to make the connection, we didn’t have a lot of time once we got to Narita before our flight boarded.  We flew back through Chicago and had a 4 hour layover which we passed in the Admirals Club.  Every year when it is time to renew my AA Club I question whether it is worth it or not but several times a year, particularly if the family is with me, I am really glad I have it.  Wednesday in Chicago was one of those days.  Passing 4 hours in the terminal with 4 kids and our stuff would havenot have been a lot of fun.

So we are home no worse for the wear – need to adjust to the time though.  I am still a bit off, Japan is 13 hours ahead of the east coast.  All for now, more details as I upload pictures to Flickr.

St. Joe's and Va Tech wins push VU out?

Villanova UniversityVillanova’s NCAA hopes took a turn for the worse yesterday when both Va Tech and St. Joe’s won. As much as it pains me, I can’t argue with St. Joe’s – they needed to beat Xavier and they got it done.  I’m not so sure about Va Tech although if they beat UNC today they will be in for sure.  CBS and ESPN show Villanova out and Va Tech in.  If Va Tech loses today then I think their profile isn’t that great – I live in ACC country and they ACC is UNC and Duke and then an enormous gap to the #3 team.  I am a Tarheel fan so rooting for them today isn’t a problem for me.

Off to Japan

On Sunday I am headed to Japan.  Although I travel internationally for work quite a bit (3-4 times a year), I have never been to Japan.  My sister and her husband live in Okinawa so we are going to visit them before they head back to the US later this year.  We are going to spend a couple days in Tokyo before heading to Okinawa.  The kids are thrilled – this will be quite the experience for the six of us.  I can’t imagine doing this without Frequent Flyer miles – it would cost a fortune!  All those trips on American Airlines come in handy when it comes to a trip like this.  I am crossing my fingers for a safe and uneventful trip.

Fixing Broken iTunes Compilations

I have been trying to import a bunch of songs from Guitar Hero III into iTunes and have them appear as single album. While it worked great for Rock Band, I couldn’t get it to work for Guitar Hero III.  After messing around with every logical control available with Get Info, I finally found a post which explained it.  Changing the Album Artist field to Various Artists did the trick and now I only have one Guitar Hero three album in the album view instead of one for every song!

My golf game stinks

I played 9 holes this morning before coming to work.  It is hard to find time to play 18 – it is rare that I have 5 hours straight but I can usually find a couple hours to play 9.  Lately the weather has been crappy when I have some time so I haven’t been out in a while.

I usually play at MacGregor Downs in Cary, NC.  The front 9 has a tough first hole – about 400 yards with part of Lake MacGregror right in front of the green.  Since I don’t usually hit the ball a mile, I tend to have a long approach over the water and today was no exception.  After chunking my second shot, I chipped into the lake and then did it again!  Nothing like starting your round with a 9 on the first hole.  Chipping is my nemesis – I tend to get tentative which causes me to decelerate which results in short or chunked chip shots.  Need to work on that.  I trippled the second so I was +8 after two holes.  Played the other 7 at +6 including pars on the 8 and 9 for a 54.  Lovely.  The weather was nice and it was good to get out and hit the ball.

I really like the new Golf Pride grips I had put on all my clubs.  I started with just my wedges but did the rest recently and I think they help a lot.  As shown by my score, I could use all the help I can get.

VU – the definition of the bubble!

Villanova UniversityAfter an awesome game against Syracuse yesterday, Villanova lost to Georgetown today.  Man do I hate losing to Georgetown.  Had VU won, they were pretty much a lock for the tournament but now – I don’t know.  They truly are the definition of the  bubble.  We’ll have to wait until Sunday to find out but I will be on a plane to Tokyo so I won’t know until much later.  Ahhhg.

Bad thing about the Big East (or any conference tournament) during work is it is hard to watch it.  We can’t get CATV or sattelite here at work and I couldn’t find it on the Internet so I was left to monitor the ESPN gamecast.  Not quite the same as watching it.  Today I found a new source – was running a live blog essentially transcripting the game.  Between the live blog and the gamecast, it was about as good as I could have hoped.  Would have been nice to find it on Internet radio somewhere.  Hoping there aren’t any more conference bids stollen!

Not looking good for VU!

Villanova UniversityNot looking to good for my Wildcats.  With Gonzaga and South Alabama losing, – at least one but pronanly two more bubble slots are gone.  Villanova must win tomorrow against Syracuse to have any chance.  I would like to think that a win vs SU would get them in but two wins, the second being against Georgetown, would be a lock IMHO.  Too bad I am not on the comittee!  I am supposed to play golf tomorrow with ny buddy Ronnie – hopefully I’ll be done by the 2nd half.