Holiday 2009 – Sara Jean at Schubas

Our Sarah’s High School friend Sara Jean performed with Tom Schraeder and His Ego on Dec 28th at Schuba’s Tavern in Chicago. She had done this before last year and I had asked her to tell us when she would be preforming again. She Facebooked me and since both Bette and I were on vacation the week between Xmas and New Year’s, we went for it.

We got a cheapish ($90) room at the Hampton Inn at 33 W Illinois (careful though, taxes are an automatic $15 and overnight valet parking was $42!!!) THe hotel is a nice place, with a Prarie style decor in the small lobby and the usual Hampton coffee bar and free breakfast. After checking in and grabbing some coffee, we head to the room to read and have a bit of a nap. My cell phone goes off at 5:30, and we are off to Elizabeth and Nick’s.

They live north of Belmont on Ashland in a new condo. We cab to the place – Lake Shore Drive is backed up a bit, and traffic on Belmont is terrible, so cab fare is over $20 with tip – and find the buzz box. We are buzzed in. ON the 3rd floor, none of the apartments are marked with a letter. Elizabeth calls us on our cell, and we say “we are in the hall!”. She opens the door. Guess the association does not want condos marked…

THeir condo has lovely dark brown wood, 15 foot exposed concrete ceilings, and a couple of bathrooms, but at 1200 sq ft, it is not huge. But it is nice, and overlooks Ashland. THe kitchen is modern, small and would be a galley kitchen but the space between the kitchen and living room is open with a granite counter. Nice. We are served hors d’oeurvres and wine.

The door knocks, and it is Chellie. She was let it by a resident, who gave her explicit instructions on how to get to the apartment — “2nd door in the left”.

We visit an hour and grab a cab for the 3 blocks to Schubas at Southport and Belmont. I tip the cabbie well – we could have easily walked.

It is an old bar, lots of dark wood. My parents seem to remember going there back in the day. We have dinner. I had the Texas chili, listed with the veggie chili mac. Bette and Chellie have salads. We get sweet potato fries and a small mac-and-cheese (house specialty), which is free, when you prebuy tickets on line as we did. It is also 1/2 price wine night, so Chellie and Bette split a bottle of a French Sauvignon Blanc. I got a Guinness.

The fries are thick, not the thin curly ones everyone has. The Mac is hot and good. Bus staff keeps up with plates and water is refilled.

When our entrees come, the salads are wonderful, but my chili is just – no mac. I want mac. They give me a plate of buttered macaroni with a name for $5. Yow.

So we finish, and the line at the will-call is building. At 8:30P one band is still doing a sound check and our entry is delayed. We head back with the leftover wine, stamp our hands and Chellie pays her cover. I get a Goose Island IPA for $5.50 and we head for the church pews along the south side of the room. On the north (Belmont) side are some small tables with a few chairs; these are filled (the reason for the line). A line of coat hooks is behind our pew, people are hanging coats. The center of the floor is bare. You expect a Christmas pageant to break out at any time.

The first act is Dick Prall, who, as it turns out, is performing his last gig at Schuba’s before he goes on hiatus. (As his going away present, I bought two of his CDs for $10.) I really liked him, and I have since found some concerts from Schuba’s from 2005 on Rhapsody and have enjoyed them.

The next act is John Henry & the Engine from St Louis. Eh. The lead singer kind of moans and is not 1/2 the vocalist Dick is. The band is good, and they have an electric fiddler which is cool. Chellie leaves; we give her cab fare. We are glad we brought our earplugs.

Between acts, Bette sees a girl that could be Sara. I walked up to her and saw her tattoos on her arm — it is indeed Sara. I say hi and she gives me a big hug and comes over to Bette. We chat for a while; then she must prepare.

At 11PM, Tom (and Sara) come out with the other zillion members of the band. Sara has a wonderful voice, but at times is way down in the mix so is hard to hear. But she is having fun, and so did we. I have listened to Tom’s music on Rhapsody, and was familiar with some of the songs. He makes very interested facial expressions up on stage! One song brought all the bands from the evening up on stage – that was fun.

Post show, we said our byes, cabbed back to the hotel. Next morning, headed down to the free breakfast — big mistake! Crowded, food ok but nothing good, loud — we should have gone out. As we walked down to river afterwards, and later when we were driving out Ontario toward 90, we passed a bunch of places we could have breakfasted. Nuts. Next time. Let us know, Sara…

Adios D-Link USB Hub

Finally dumping my D-Link DSB-H4 USB powered hub. I think I got it for 10 bucks, and I think it worked for about 20 minutes. Then as soon as you plug something in, all the lights would go black and I would fear for my motherboard.

I just marked it with “US” and tossed it into the electronics recycling pile. Adios.

*US. “Unserviceable”, a military, probably Canadian or English forces, since I heard it from a crotchety old Englishman while working in a laundry plant in London, Ontario, Canada many years ago – or about 1982. Alan, the chief engineer of the plant, marked one of our dead RSPE Light-Frame counters with US. I didn’t get it. He was a good guy. We had fun drinking after work.

A New WordPress Install

Get the storage folder; redirect the domain there;

Get the code into the target dir:
$ svn co .

Copy wp-config.php
$ cp wp-config-sample.php wp-config.php

Get new secret keys:

Edit wp-config.php
$ vi wp-config.php
Change dbname, hostname, password.
Change 4 secret key lines to above lines.

Run config:

Set up the profile pages; add default user;

Install Atahualpa Theme and configure.

  1. Download zip into blog base dir using wget or ftp,
  2. $ /blog > unzip -d ./wp-content/themes

More Info:
Installing using Subversion (WordPress Codex)
Installing WordPress (WordPress Codex)
Updating WordPress using Subversion (WordPress Codex)

Cousin Joe’s 15 minutes of fame

Or as Cousin Mike puts it – “Joe versus the volcano. My brother Joe’s 10 seconds of fame….”


Here is a link to the video that the Post had briefly Friday morning. It is one of the few that has me talking….. in case you care. John asked for the video where I could be heard, but it seems silly not to self promote given all the bloody self promotion that I just went through.

This was a piece put together by AP international and then sold to whomever, I was interviewed at the conference

and then the UW site doing some self promotion (ed note: some maps of locations and more video)

and finally there is the Seattle public radio station interview over the phone from my hotel room. (ed. note: videos and other info here too)

I did a recorded interview with BBC, and a live interview with CNN-International during what must have been a newscast in London, I missed a real interview with the Seattle times, and didn’t connect up with BBC’s “UP ALL night” program.

A whirlwind tour…..almost done. Hypothetically I will be on Fox and Friends on Monday morning 3:50 am my time…. They are sending a car to get me. Maybe they will change their mind and I can sleep instead.

What a nutty idea. I told my boss no, but he twisted my arm. Certainly this must be the end of this stuff? We’ll see. Maybe I will still get NPR??


Most scientists labor in obscurity. May Joe be a little less obscure now. Uncle Hank is very proud of his boy.

Some short quiet videos with ominous rumblings from magma exploding 100 feet away.

DeDuping MusikCube playlists

Or, Use SQL Squirrel and JDBC to dedupe MusikCube playlists

I use MusikCube a lot. That said, I sometimes share files from various machines that have duplicate files, and rather than hand-edit the playlists after each synchronization to eliminate the duplicate albums, I want an automated way. Since MusikCube runs on SQLite, why not do it in SQL?

First download the SQLiteJDBC JDBC driver and install to the SQL Squirrel lib folder. Restart the client and add a new Driver to the list using name=SQLite, example URL = jdbc:sqlite:test.db, classname= org.sqlite.JDBC and Website URL =

First problem – how to access the database. Doc is sketchy, but based on some investigation of the code I found that it uses everything following the “jdbc:sqlite:” prefix as a new File() argument (unless nothing is found, than an in-memory DB is assumed). So I can access the db using the JDBC URL: jdbc:sqlite:C:/Documents and Settings/username/.musikproject/musik_u.db. I love source code.

Note: I do not put any work into playlists. I am a big fan of letting the metadata do the work. I am comfortable with nuking the DB a starting over, if necessary. If you have lots of valuable annotations, you are editing in the wrong place. So if my tests blow up the DB, so what.

Then from a SQL Server site article, How to remove duplicate rows…, I can compile this query:

SELECT title, album, count(*)
FROM songs
GROUP BY title, album
HAVING count(*) > 1

I easily get 100 rows with 2 hits each.

Alternate form of query (from here)

select s1.filename, s1.songid, s2.songid, s1.title, CASE WHEN substr(s1.filename,1)=’f’ OR substr(s2.filename,1)=’f’ THEN 1 ELSE 2 END as fred
from songs s1, songs s2
where s1.songid < s2.songid and s1.title = s2.title AND s1.artist = s2.artist AND s1.album = s2.album AND s1.artist = 'Aerosmith'

and also

select s1.filename,
— my box has top priority
WHEN (substr(s1.filename, 4, length(‘mp3’)) = ‘mp3’ ) THEN 1
— handle \\m51098 machine names
WHEN (substr(s1.filename, 3, length(‘m51098’)) = ‘m51098’ )THEN 2
WHEN (substr(s1.filename, 3, length(‘m51165’)) = ‘m51165’ )THEN 3
WHEN (substr(s1.filename, 3, length(‘m51134’)) = ‘m51134’ )THEN 4
ELSE 10 END ) AS priority
from songs s1
where 1 < (select count(*) from songs s2 where s1.title = s2.title AND s1.artist = s2.artist AND s1.album = s2.album AND s1.artist = 'Aerosmith') -- limit to Aerosmith for speed AND s1.artist = 'Aerosmith'

More to come…

SQurrel SQL JDBC client
SQLite browser
SQLite core function reference
SQLite page
SQLiteJDBC driver