June 17, 2007

“True Colors”.

Earl and I were good little concert goers last night and heeded to the request printed on our ticket: “No photographs, recording equipment or outside beverage.” Hence, there are no pictures to share.

That being said, I must say that last night’s show was absolutely fantastic! I think it’s the first show that I’ve ever been to that started on time. At 6:00 p.m. on the nose, there was Margaret Cho, last night’s emcee, out there doing a little stand-up and introducing the first act.

Can I just say that I love Margaret Cho. While her routine is definitely PG-13 and more likely “R”, I really enjoy the fact that she says it like she sees it and she doesn’t hold anything back.

First up was a group called “The Gossip”. With three members, they are two-thirds gay with the third member GBA (gay by association). Lead singer Beth Ditto has a mighty fine set of chops on her. While I’m not a huge fan of the indy rock scene, I really enjoyed the performance.

Up next we had the Dresden Dolls. Completely unfamiliar with their style and messing up their name on the car ride video from yesterday, the Dresden Dolls are fun to listen to. They have this cabaret-punky thing going on that I was like diggin’ man. What I appreciated about the Dresden Dolls is that they were musical, in that they used music theory in creative ways in their music and I really appreciated that.

After the Dresden Dolls, Earl and I jumped up from our seats and went in search of beer and food. We secured a couple of reasonably priced Bud Lights and Chicken Fingers baskets when I saw a familiar face coming through the crowd. I walked up to my one of my best friends from high school, whom I have not seen in 20 years, and said “Hi Scott.” He replied with a “hi”, quite uncertain of who I was. I coaxed him with a “It’s John” and he still didn’t recognize me (which I was finding a little surprising) and then reminded him who I was in which he gave me a big hug and kiss after realizing that this bald, bearded guy was the flaming red-head from his high school days.

Scott and his partner Mark, along with Scott’s nephew Steve and his wife Michelle(oh gosh I hope that’s right) and Earl and I caught up on old times during the next act, Rufus Wainwright. While Rufus played in the background, we made plans with Scott and Mark to get together and reignite our friendship by going camping at Hillside together this summer. I’m really looking forward to that.

Rufus was good too.

Next up was Debbie Harry, probably most famous as the lead singer of Blondie. Back in my radio days I had the opportunity to meet and hang out with Debbie backstage at a Fly 92 concert before her performance. She mentioned then that she wasn’t big on performing her Blondie stuff, and apparently she still feels the same way because she didn’t perform any Blondie hits at all, opting for stuff from her next album as well as “French Kissin’ in the USA”. Her new stuff is fun and I enjoyed her performance, but some others around us were looking to hear “Heart of Glass” or “Call Me”.

By now it was fully dark and the lights were dancing around the pavilion. Up next came Erasure. Fantabulous! Absolutely wonderful. Earl and I were on our feet the entire time. I love how tonight’s performers had at least one band member performing with a keyboard and a Macbook Pro. We were both out of breath singing “A Little Respect” and jumping up and down to “Chains of Love”.

To bring the show to a close, Cyndi Lauper performed for nearly an hour. The one that brought this show together, she is amazing. I really like the arrangement she did of “She Bop”, turning it into a rock-based track. Her final number was a beautiful arrangement of “True Colors”.

Earl and I are now proudly wearing our purple wrist bands, a gift from Cyndi to all last night. They say “Erase Hate” (see the link in the sidebar on my or Earl’s blog).

For more information on the True Colors Tour, take a look at this short Wikipedia entry.

Microsoft and NYS Election Law.

According to this blog entry (link), Microsoft is actively trying to get a relatively new New York State Election Law to be changed. This is pissing me off.

I was unaware but am quite happy to see that the Empire State has some of the strictest regulations in the country regarding electronic voting machines. One of the regulations is that the software must be “open source”, which means that anyone can take a look at the programming code that makes up the software and observe as to what makes the program tick. This removes any doubt about vote tampering through back-door and other unscrupulous means.

Microsoft doesn’t like open source software all that much; all versions of Windows and the vast majority of Microsoft programs are “closed source”, which means that only Microsoft knows what goes on inside their programs. This has made me nervous in the past, as I’ve worked for a computer company and I know what goes on inside corporate walls. The NYS election law requires that any software used on electronic voting machines must be “open source”, and that would include the Windows operating system that it’s running on. Microsoft doesn’t like that. Electronic voting machines would have to run Linux or FreeBSD (both open source, to the best of my knowledge) in order to comply with the election law.

Small wonder I stick to my aging Mac PowerBook G4 instead of using Windows Vista on my HP laptop.

My question is: why do we have to use electronic voting machines at all? The lever and flip the switch machines that we’ve used in New York have worked fine for a good number of years. Why this huge push to change to something else? They’re basically used just once a year, I’m sure someone somewhere could maintain and repair these machines for their annual duty.

True Colors.

True Colors.

Earl and I are back from the “True Colors” concert at Bank of America Pavilion in Boston this evening. Completely wiped out from the experience, we’re settled into our hotel for the evening. I’ll have a full report tomorrow.

One thing that blew my mind: I ran into a very close friend from high school. We have not seen each other in 20 years. I’m giddy beyond belief.