The End of SoulShine

Well, we knew it couldn't last forever. Our band is breaking up due to "internal arguments over groupie access, drug distribution, guitar solo length and suckiness of the name". This is how I'll remember the band.

A photo on Flickr
A photo on Flickr
A photo on Flickr
A photo on Flickr
A photo on Flickr
A photo on Flickr
A photo on Flickr
A photo on Flickr
A photo on Flickr
A photo on Flickr

Reza asking me if I want to play bass in a band
Gigs in my NH basement
Eat The Rich should only be played by Aerosmith
Old bass & practice amp pushed to their limits

Drummer #1 moves to Chicago
Leo's Barn meets Leakyn Out - three barn band
Drummer #2 leaves for Washington Job

The long search for a drummer
Sweet Screamin Jehoshaphat, my next door neighbor is a drummer
First practice in my garage - too hot to breath too loud to open the doors
Whipping Post? maybe...
Stretch is awesome, joins the band

Winter practice in the basement
Space heaters & broken strings
Whipping Post? definitely.
Sweet festering Jehoshaphat our band name sucks
Leakyn Out -> Soulshine

New bass, bigger amp
Starting to sound like a bass player
New songs at every practice
Just What I Needed, Jump, King of Bedside Manor, Piano Man,
Hazy Shade of Winter, Summer of '69, Sweet Emotion
I'm a believer - Oy!

Leo's Barn, meet SoulShine
So cold, So much fun
Reza Originals: Blind My Eyes, Flower, Insanity

Stretch prefers Milosh
Can't seem to stop calling him Stretch

Legends & The Gael House,
Free beer!
John & Reza surprise duet Lullaby - Steve Lynch
Jenny Says, Fat Bottom Girls, Pour some Sugar on Me
College crowd going nuts, dancing girls and bar fights
Guest drummers on Me & Julio

Summer Parties
The Shrek Song
Reza agrees to play a Beatles tune

Song on the radio
"We should totally play that!"
Song on TV
"We should totally play that!"
Someone mentions a song
"We should totally play that!"
Song in a restaurant
"We should totally play that!"

Stretch's Basement
The Mackie; "The switch is in the back."
Take it from the guitar solo
Take it from the part right before the guitar solo
Stupid question: Why don't we ever take it from after the guitar solo?
Time to get ready for the storm

Legends Halloween gig - The girls dressed up
SoulShine Ti Die Banner
More than enough music for four sets
One fall down drunk guy at every gig
Out of work comic heckling. uggh

The Reza becomes Dr. Reza
Whipping Post meets "Doc"
Leave My Woman Alone - Reza Original

I find guest singer for Hotel California
Eddie Money guitar player sits in
Oh Bob, what we done?!?
Just get us to the guitar solo!
I'm no longer allowed to find guest singers

Band gets tight
Four new songs at every practice... easy
Learning a song for the first time at the gig. easy?
"What key are we playing this in?"
Shouting chords across the stage
Eye contact is worth a thousand words
John's piano solos on Southbound - bring down the house

No, Soulshine is not a Christian Rock Band
SoulShine -> Dr. Reza & the Razzletones
Life in the Fast Lane - Paul & John Harmony
Country Request: Amazed & Friends in Low Places
Compensating with Dominated Love Slave
Life in the Fast Lane Reprise (full song in 3:30)

Dr. Reza & the Razzletones -> SoulShine
Outside gig 102 degrees
Professional sound guys
Six foot woofers and speakers everywhere
Dancing, pouring water, debauchery

Reza's moving to Michigan
Damn Right I Got the Blues
Practice in my new basement - soundproofing works
Wish you Were Here
Legends one last try
Playing through all the music in my basement hours before the gig
Mackie, speakers, cables, monitors, guitars, drums, piano... in 2 cars
Stretch gets his big crowd
Sweet Child intro... finally
Guest drummer & Stretch is an awesome front man
Whipping Post (extended version)
Crowd screaming, shoulder to shoulder up against the monitors, encores
We were SoulShine

Reza and the Razzletones

Holiday Gift Giving Logistics

Each year we donate toys to Toy's for Tots. Christine and I started before the kids were born and its turned into an annual tradition. We keep alert for the Disney Stores 2 for 1 sale just before Christmas and then go on a Toy's For Tots Shopping spree. Its a lot of fun because we get to do the sort of gratuitous shopping that we'd never do for ourselves. Sort of an over-indulgence rush, but justified because its for needy kids.

In the past two years Alex has been especially helpful at showing us the right toys to pick out. Things we'd never thought to buy are his first choice. As Alex got older I thought it would become hard to get him to pick out toys for other kids without begging us to get toys for him as well. But so far he's been great! He gets excited about picking out the toys and then helps me bring them in to drop them off. This year he dutifully picked out toys (like a kid going crazy in a toy store), and as we were driving home he kept reminding me that "We need to bring the toys to the other kids."

This year a combination of the flu, colds and the Disney store holding out on their sale till the last minute caused us to miss the cutoff date for bringing toys to Toy's for Tots. Christine and I made a lot of calls but the bottom line was it was too late to give to Toys for Tots. We quickly started looking around for alternative places to donate. Christine found the Wheat Center which is providing toys for 750 kids, and I found a no kill cat shelter that was "desperately" in need of kitten food. So what seemed like a bunch of bad events turned out for the best. While Toy's for Tots is a great program, it was nice to be able to donate to specific local groups where we knew we were actually helping out people & kittens in our neighborhood.

An Inconvenient Truth

I've read a small sample of scientific literature and listened to several interviews of scientists that made it clear that global warming is a reality. The science didn't seem all that complicated and so I thought I got it: Global warming is a problem. We caused it and we need to do something about it. But boy did I have the scale of the problem wrong.

I just watched An Inconvenient Truth. In this documentary Al Gore takes the science of global warming and boils it down (no pun intended) into very simple presentation with only one terrifying conclusion. The scale of this problem is profound. It eclipses all of the problems we face today because left unchanged it will it be the genesis of such cataclysmic environment change as to create disease, famine and war like we have never known. It will reshape the land on which we live. And will happen very quickly. That was the part that surprised me. I could eat McDonald's once a week for the rest of my life and I'll likely live long enough to be killed by a side effect of global warming. Here's the Trailer...

I'm all for being skeptical, but the argument presented is very well structured and scientists (the ones that aren't paid by oil companies) are lining up to support the data and conclusions in this documentary. If your looking for a credible skeptic, check out this TED talk. Michael Shermer is a professionals debunker/skeptic who though global warming was a hoax until he saw a presentation of this material.

The documentary presents an apocalyptic outcome if we fail to act, but also describes the technology, that we already have, which is capable of fixing the problem. The thing that has been missing is the political will. The description on Google video said it best "The film is not a story of despair but rather a rallying cry." If your one of the 5 people that read my blog I strongly encourage you to see the movie (available on DVD) and then share it with someone else.

There are suggestions on how you can take action at and Over the next two months I'm going to look into ways to reduce my own carbon footprint and see how many I can actually make a reality. It should be fun. We'll see how far a some science and little creativity can go.

Moving Day

Alex Conner and Paul taking apart the guest bed When Christine and I asked Alex if he wanted to share a room with Conner he emphatically said yes. A little surprised we asked again and again over a few weeks, but Alex persisted. Both boys have a tendency to wake up at different times and we rarely go a full night without one of them waking up and to say that Conner is a light sleeper is to understate his sleep habits severely. The the idea of them waking each other had Christine and I hesitant to put them in the same room. But Alex was excited, and Conner always seems happy when Alex is around so we finally did it.

Last Saturday Alex moved in. Alex started by moving his toy house and then Alex, Conner and I moved the guest bed out and Alex's bed in. The bed time story chair quickly followed. That night we put the kids to bed in the same room at 7pm. Conner cried lightly for about a minute and then... quiet... The minutes ticked away... Christine and I just kept staring at each other in wonder. Surely Alex would roll over and wake Conner and then Conner would cry and wake Alex and we would spend the rest of the night putting them back to bed.

They slept for 12 hours. The next two nights were the same. I never would have believed it if we hadn't experienced it... They sleep better when they're in the same room.

Here's a Flickr Slideshow lite of the big move.

What do you want for Christmas?

Christmas is the season of giving, but the month leading up to Christmas is also the season of friends and family asking "What do you want for Christmas?" In the past few years I've struggled to come up with answers that satisfy because Smartwool Socks and Used Soundtracks don't seem to bring the right level of giving joy to my family. My answers tend to make them a little grumpy. All except for Reza because to him the absence of an answer means he can be creative and I'll probably end up wearing a pink bunny suit.

This year I'm asking for things from the these groups [store] - Ubuntu [store] - Firefox [store] - WikiPedia [store] - Audacity [store] - NPR [store]. All year long I've been getting thought provoking ideas, tools, hobbies, education and entertainment from these groups. When I think of things I want for Christmas they are the first things that come to mind.

It used to bug me that I couldn't really ask for them for Christmas since they are social movements, open source software and/or free. Then it occurred to me that I can support them by asking for and wearing some of the cool threads they sell on their website. All of a sudden there is no shortage of things I want for Christmas and I'm excited about asking for this stuff because supporting these groups makes me happy. Plus they have some cool logos.

So we'll see how it goes. I have a feeling I'm going to really enjoy opening presents this year. Of course I still have my fingers crossed for the socks.


Last week Christine and I went to Bermuda for a 5 days before Thanksgiving. Grandma and Grandpa came out and watched the kids while we had our 5th anniversary/Paul's almost graduated vacation. Flying out was supposed to take 2 hours, but half way there the pilot discovered the radio required to fly into international airspace was broken. Oddly Delta is unable to test such a radio until they actually get close to international space. Sounds to me like an excellent place for them to build some new test equipment. Anyway after 8 hours we arrived.


It turned out that we lasted about 24 hours before we started missing the kids a lot. On the way back we got delayed for a day which should be a warning to anyone we ask to watch our kids that acts of nature tend to cause our vacations to be extended regardless of our eagerness to get home.

While we were there we did learn a few things:

  • It is staggeringly expensive in Bermuda. $25 for an egg toast and small cup of coffee and about $1 per minute in a cab.
  • Bermuda has some of the most educated taxi drivers in the world. The one that drove us from the airport to the hotel was also the principal of one of their public grammar schools.
  • Native Bermudians are incapable of rushing.
  • Bermuda has an extremely diverse population. In the US its common to see people grouping themselves by class (low / middle / uber rich) and by race. There are exceptions and in my experience these exceptions are a good thing, but they are not common. In Bermuda the Uber rich were there but out of site. They have this sort of gated part of the island where Bill Gates and some famous movie stars have mansions. There is no poverty that I could determine.  So the middle class is all that's left, and no matter where we went on the island it was as common to see people of different races together as it was to see people same race groups. And everyone seemed to get along just fine. It was surprising and refreshing to see that at least somewhere people were getting past racial divides.
  • Bermuda has this great way of showing were you can park and where you can't. Instead of using street signs they paint double yellow lines on the street to show where you can not park. Its was a clear simple solution. Of course it relies on their complete lack of snow.
  • Delta's radio quality control sucks. We found out that the radio that broke on our way out there had broken a few days before and forced them to turn around that time as well.
  • You can get some
    great pictures out the window of a plain just before it flies into jaw dropping turbulence.
  • There's no place like home.