Sunday, January 30, 2005

A little bit of catchup -- caution, football talk

Well I know things have been slow on the weblog as of late and the band, while having some big news, has not been doing a whole lot lately. These things will be changing shortly. The new lineup will be convening for the first time this wednesday night. I'm really looking forward to it. It'll be a fair amount of work for sure to relearn all our previous songs; and write new ones too. It's going to be great to just start playing music again with the band.

I've had my 2 darling children to myself since Wednesday, my wife attending a conference on in Colorado. While hard work and tiring, definitely worth it in all ways. Something about having the kids just by myself and being the one they have to turn to when they bump their heads or get hungry or need a hug, it gets us a little closer. Kids are the best thing in the world. Well, kids and love. There are a whole lot of great things actually.

One great thing would be those Eagles winning this Sunday. I'm not really nervous for some reason. I just have hope. But no fear. That's a nice change for once. I think they could win. OK, I know that people are saying that the Patriots are on the verge of a dynasty and that they shut down the best offense and ran up the score on the best defense. TRUE.

But am I the only that notices that it seems like a blind one legged cat could shut down Payton Manning on a cold wind-swept snowy field? Get that guy outside of a dome, and he turns into the second coming of Koy Detmer. So was it the Pats amazing defense, or Payton's inability to play when the temperature deviates from a comfortable 72 degrees? Probably a little of the both.

And anyone who watched the NJ Jets / Steelers game saw that Pittsburgh was quickly losing steam, clearly peaking too early in the season. Most noticeable was a rookie QB who no longer looked a thing like the Big Ben that was wowing people mid-season. So yeah, a rookie QB who had hit a wall threw some very bad inopportune INT's (one to start the game, the other returned for a TD when Pitt was nearly going to score), forcing his team to play from behind and abandon the run (thus no longer sustaining long drives that keep their own defense off the field). It's kind of hype to say they ran up the score on the best defense in the league in my opinion.

So yeah, the Pats are a great team, and deserve to be favored, but I think the Eagles could win this game. McNabb is an incredible QB and a special player, and special players often save their most special performances for the biggest stages. Who knows? But I'm looking forward to it.

I am considering going to Jacksonville and trying to get a ticket somehow. I'm torn. I also want to watch the game with my friends here. And I don't really want to spend a bundle when there is a chance they could lose. We'll see.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

A Bad Omen For U2

The ticketing debacle has gotten worse (I didn't think it was possible). I tried to get the U2 tickets that went on sale to the general public this morning. I was logged in and trying to purchase tickets literally the second they went on sale. Guess what... SOLD OUT. There is no possible way to sell a show out in 30 seconds. The only explanation is that ticketmaster or U2 went behind our backs and sold all of the tickets to private ticket brokers. Some brokers were selling tickets on ebay BEFORE THE FANCLUB PRESALE!!! These were selling for upwards of $1000 each on ebay. Corruption my friends.

Can it get worse? Yes. U2 announced that they would be scheduling another show in Philly because of the demand for tickets. The promised their fans that the tickets would be sold through a fanclub presale that would give the $40 members another shot at getting their tickets first. Good old ticketmaster then (at about 10:10 am) announces that there is another show on sale and that one sells out in less than 5 min! I tried to get tickets to that one too. OOPS, somebody forgot the presale promise.

I don't know what is going to happen, but there are some pretty upset u2 fans right now. Somebody has some explaining and apologizing to do. All I know is that my over-priced tickets are looking better and better.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

A Good Omen for the Philadelphia Eagles

My daughter just handed me this note the other day.

I'm thinking it's prophetic.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

The U2 Ticket Fiasco continued

I came across this on a message board, pretty hilarious -- to the tune of "Vertigo"

The Sebastian Clayton references are to Adam's brother, who runs U2.com

(to the tune of vertigo)
LIMBO

Unos dos tres catastrophe!!!!

‘Turn it up Sebastian’

Site goes down, it’s dark
There’s turmoil in your head

You can hear your heart
You feel a dread so much stronger than
you thought ,Your eyes are wide
And you sold your soul
It can be bought
But then you start to wonder........

Hello, hello (f#ck that!)
I’m in a place called limbo (ticketbastard!)
I can’t refresh the page as you already know
Can you please help me someone?
I can’t Fail, Fail !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This site is full of holes
As the touts steal the tix
to sell for gold
They laugh as the
Boys play rock and roll
They know they can sell
And take our souls

I can’t stand this page
Would you rather take a cheque?
The girl fromticketbastard
Will have my hands round her neck
Listening to the bullshit
Listening to the bullshit
Ooooon Hold, Ooooooon Hold!

Hello hello (F#ck that)
I’m in a place called limbo (ticketbastard)
A pre-sale code that they say they do not know
Can you please help me someone?

I can't fail!!!, Fail !!!!

site-failure
Oh yeah
Hours of fun…

*Sebastian Clayton vocal* :
none of this, none of this will be yours
none of this, none of this will be yours
none of this, none of this will be yours
Just give me 40 bucks for nothing in return….

Hello hello (f#ck that)
We’re in a place called Limbo (ticketbastard!)
I can’t refresh the page as you already know
Can you please help me someone?

I can feel the life draining out of me, you fuck ups are teaching me how.....

how to scream!!!
SCREAAAAAAAAAAMMMMMM !!!!

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Not happy with U2.com fan club ticketing at all

In the glory days of the U2 fan club, they would send all fan club members a ticket order form. And as long as you sent it back the day you got it, I was always assured of getting very good tickets. They saved very good tickets for the fans. Imagine that!

See, the way I consider it, the people who spend $40 a year for the honor of being in a fan club are the people who won't be happy getting tickets that are upper level and slightly behind the stage.

Oh yeah, did I mention that? I logged on at 10 AM precisely. . . and the best available for me was section 221A. Behind the stage. Somehow they "sold out" of the general admission right away. That is to say, they didn't make many available to the FANS at all. It makes no sense. They should have made all of them available to the fans. Like they used to.

I'm ranting. But I just wanted good tickets. And I paid for it!

Update
Apparently I'm not the only one upset. I wrote to u2.com and told them that I want a chance to get General Admission Floor seats or else I want my $40 back. I'm normally pretty good at getting compaints heard, so we'll see.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

From Merida, Venezuela

Hello my frozen friends!

Paul and I just got back from a trip to this place called Los llanos. It was awesome! It is slightly simmilar to the everglades, wide open, lots of water, caimons everywhere you look, and thousands of birds. We went on a boat trip down a river, seeing bunches of caimons, lots of freshwater dolphins, and catching pihrannahs (Which we then ate for dinner). Next we went anocanda hunting. We went with several locals, and they wouldn´t let Plods and I in the water, but they waded up to their waists through this swamp poking around with sticks. They started yelling, all gathered around and pulled out a huge annocanda! They say it was 7 meters (who knows? I´m not metric. It was flippin huge!). We got to hold it, and mess with it for a while. We then went on a safari, sitting out on top of a land cruiser spotting ant eaters and all kinds of crazy birds. I got to climb up a tree and pet a sleeping ant eater. That was cool! I´ve never seen an animal quite so strange.

The next day we went on a horse back ride. Paul and I are now deffinately gauchos. I assumed that it would be lame because we´d bo on lazy tourist horses and ride around a trail in a straight line. I was wrong. We went racing out accross the plain at a dead gallop. I´ve never run on a horse like that! We went for hours. We chased a herd of cows, cantered right through a swamp, then took a break and paul and I caught some baby caimons. It was an all around good time. It felt like a western movie! You The sky was so wide open and blue, it was blazing hot and sunny, and we were racing at full speed! The hooves pounded the ground and raised a big cloud of dust. It would have been a complete western if we had whiskey, six shooters, and Whooping indians, but that didn´t happen. I did my part though and added some whooping.

Back in Merida the weather is nice. You can see the mountains all around and they are just beautiful! We plan on getting some much needed sleep, getting up and riding the highest and longest cable car in the world, then watching the game tomorrow. The next day we set out on a 3 day backpacking trip. We will climb to 4,000 meters and set up camp, the next day we´ll mess around (ever so carefully) on Pico Humbolt, the second highest mountain in the country. The next day we will go back down and catch an all night buss back towards the coast and make our way to a little fishing town called Santa Fe´. It should be really fun! You probably won´t be hearing from us again. I doubt that there will be internet access in the fishing village and I´m sure that there won´t be any on Pico Humbolt.


Keep rocking!

Blizzard of 2005

The winter is finally here. I love Christmas, freshly baked cookies, hot soup and all that good stuff, but nothing completes the picture link a nice deep snowstorm. I awoke this morning and looked out my window to discover that I am 5 years old again. I was jumping about so excitedly that I could not possibly fall back to sleep.

I am not sure what it is, but I love weather. Any time there is an extreme storm of some sort, I have to be right in the middle of it. During one hurricane this fall I went off-roading with my friend Joe. We got the truck practically buried in the mud and didn't get it out until midnight. 4 years ago, my brother, Nathan Palkovitz, and I canoed in the biggest flood EVER recorded in our area. Our canoe was violently pulled under the fierce water with us inside of it. It was a true miracle that we survived. You would think that would cure my intrigue, but I have no idea how many times I have tried to "shoot the rapids" in subsequent floods. One time I witnessed a tornado that cane within 200 yards of me and destroyed buildings ad trees. As soon as it passed, I jumped in the truck with my cousin and a friend and went chasing after it. Every year, just after Christmas, my brothers and I go to Vermont for a few days and try to survive the cold in an abandoned cabin in the National Forest. We always end up trying to set a new speed record for skiing behind the truck (the perfect blend of downhill and water skiing). Last year, after the biggest snowstorm of the year, Lindsay and I spent 3 days backpacking a long stretch of the Appalachian Trail. It was so cold that Lindsay’s saline solution for her contacts froze solid while we were in our tent.

Am I the only one who is insanely jealous of Jim Cantore - the guy from the weather channel with the shaved head - for having his job be to chase the biggest storms in the country and give captivated audiences a first-hand account of truly severe weather? Maybe not, but I really do think that is so cool.

I don't have specific plans yet, but with the snow piling up outside, I am sure that something exciting will be discovered.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Should I be worried?

Should I be concerned by the fact that January 24th is considered the most depressing day of the year by certain researchers. Or is a coincidence that this day just happens to be the day after the NFC Championship Game. Yeah, the game where the Eagles try to get over that hurdle for the 4th straight year.

I have to say, the Red Sox won the World Series. And this year, the Eagles will get past this game. This is the sense I'm getting. Am I wrong? I hope not. Am I nervous. Of course.

But if they do get by Vick and the Falcons, I think I'm going to Jacksonville.

By the way, for those of you who care -- U2 will be announcing their tour on Monday. If you want to be able to get tickets for sure, join the U2.com fan club (for $40). OK, so it's pricey, but still, it's less than paying a ticket broker for those sure to be sold out tickets. And you don't have to pay ticketmaster their monopolistic service charge.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Changing hosts

We're moving thelookmachine.com to a new hosting service so there may be some hiccups here and there, hopefully not. Some of the most recent comments got erased her on the weblog, unfortunately. This post is mostly a test (to see if it shows up), which is why it is packed with boredom.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Sketches of a New Song

JD asked us to write some new songs or schedule a show or something.

Well, here's a song we've been working on. I think it'll be a real beauty. Features some intricately crafted acoustic guitars, and a melody and lyrics that are very meaningful to me (at least!)

How much truth is in The Da Vinci Code?

I just finished reading Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, which has been a bestseller for forever and will soon be a major motion picture starring Tom Hanks. So if you haven't heard much about it, you will soon.

I liked Brown's earlier book, Angels and Demons a whole lot better, but this one was very entertaining and very captivating in it's own right (Da Vinci is a sequel).

It makes some fairly explosive claims, in a very laid back "everyone know this, right?" manner. Among them: that Jesus was married to Mary Magdelene, that they had a child, that the early Christian church worshipped Mary Magdelen as a goddess, that Emperor Constantine (who wasn't even a Christian, but just picked it because it was more popular than Paganism at the time) basically just decreed that Jesus was Divine (until then, the whole church just thought he was a very great mortal prophet, the book claims) and "the biggest coverup in human history" ensued to make sure that everyone forgot about Jesus being married and having kids and just being a normal dude. Oh yeah, also, Jesus wanted to found the church upon the goddess Mary, but Peter got jealous and threatened her and she had to scurry away to France with her child, and then the scriptures were re-written to make it so that Peter was the one who was to found the church. And Constantine shrewdly decided what would be in the Bible in order to support all this.

Everyone knows this, right?

:-)

The scholarship on all this is very flimsy. I read it as fiction, but the way it is written those less skeptical will read it as fact. That is the saddest thing, how many people will read it and think, "Oh yeah. . . Christianity was just invented as a marketing ploy by Contantine when he wanted to unify his fractured Empire," and then move on and decide whether to eat at Wendy's or Taco Bell's for dinner.

For instance. The book says that for Jesus to be unmarried would have been unacceptable in his Jewish culture. Completely disregarding that Propets of God were allowed and even encouraged to remain celibate. (Moses was celibate after the burning bush experience, for instance, most of the Major Prophets were as well). What about the Essenes, the sect which counted John the Baptist as a member? They encouraged fasting, poverty and celibacy.

The book claims that Christianity basically ripped of the now unknown religion of Mithra. Of the god Mithra, it says,
The pre-Christian God Mithras – called the Son of God and the Light of the World – was born on December 25, died, was buried in a rock tomb, and then resurrected in three days.

Wow. Sounds pretty incredible, right? Only problem is. . . Mithra scholars themselves have said, ""The only domain in which we can ascertain in detail the extent to which Christianity imitated Mithraism is that of art." (MS -- Mithraic Studies: Proceedings of the First International Congress of Mithraic Studies. Manchester U. Press, 1975.) Mithra was never called the Son of God or the Light of the World. He never died. He wasn't buried and he wasn't resurrected. It's just made up!

There are many many examples of these slips of the truth. But one last one just for fun. According to the book, the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls "in the 50's" (it was in 1947) was chock full of alernate Christian gospels that demonstrated just how much Contantine had altered what "true early Christianity" was all about. (Reading it, you kind of assume that these documents back up all of the whole Jesus marries Marry scenario). Truth is, the Dead Sea Scrolls don't contain any Christian scriptures at all. None! They weren't scrolls maintained by a Christian group, but a Jewish one. The one thing they did demonstrate: That the Jewish Testament the early Christian church maintained (the "Old" Testament) was basically identical to the Jewish Testament followed by this early Jewish settlement. I guess somehow Contantine missed changing those books?

If you want to know some of the key points and whether they are true, msnbc.com has a brief but interesting rundown.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

An Update From Ian

Hey everybody!  What´s poppin´?  Venezuela is an Awesome country.  We just got done chilling out on the beaches, swimming, hiking, and camping, and yes, as Childish pointed out, being searched.  We are headed for the Andes mountains now, and all night bus ride from here in Maracay. 

We will be going paragliding off the mountains, the going backpacking up and around Pico Bolivar, the highest mountain in Venezuela.

While my guitar is at home I have  not given up rock and roll!  I have been playing the harmonica and practicing my whisteling.  Well... maybe that´s not rock, but hey it´s music. 

Peace.

Hello from Maracay

Hi Everybody! What´s poppin´? I´m sitting in an internet place near a bus station in a town called Maracay. I got an hour of internet time and did everything that I needed to. Then I looked out the window and it´s pouring outside, so I splurged and spent the 40 cents that an extra hour will cost.

It´s interesting, if you read in guide books and talk to people about traveling in foriegn countries they suggest that you should be suspicious of everybody. It´s true that being american we are richer than your average venezuelan and being rich can be hazardous. However, I´m realizing that if you treat everybody you meet as a potential friend instead of a potential mugger things go much more smoothly. Sure, you have to be on your guard, but how about we assume that people are innocent until proven guilty.

This is a really nice country! It is amazingly varried. You can go from snow capped andes mountains, to corral reefs and palm shaded white sandy beaches, to the steaming amazon jungle, to wide flat grass lands, to sandy deserts, to giant flat topped mesas. It´s very beautiful!

Friday, January 14, 2005

Important Update: To What We Were. . .

The Look Machine as we have known it is changing.

We’ve had a great time as a band. We played our shows like we meant it, we recorded our songs like we wanted them to sound, and we had a lot of fun practicing, joking and hanging out together.

Isaiah has a girl friend in New York -- a really great girl, the kind of girl you would leave home and move to New York for. So it makes sense, he will soon be moving up there to spend more time with her.

Isaiah was an awesome part of the Look Machine and we will miss him being in the band – his talent, his humor, his creativity. We know there are a number of cool bands in New York where he is moving and he should be able to get into one with no problem.

So we’re taking this moment for a short break to regroup.

Collin and Ian and I thought about things a whole lot, we talked with David and all decided that we really wanted to give Shane a chance to live out his dream and play with us.

We just want to say a few words about David. David was everything that you could ever look for in a fellow band member! He was so incredibly devoted he would drive up from Virginia to practice, he would come when he was totally sick, he never missed anything we did.

He was also an excellent musician, with a sense of rhythm like a metronome. He was very creative and provided a number of excellent beats! Ian and Collin would rather have David in a band with them than any drummer in the world who is not their brother. If Dave Matthews' drummer or Larry Mullen Jr. had begged to be in the band, we would have told him to get a life.

We really respect and look up to both David and Isaiah as musicians, as
people, and most of all as friends. We look forward to both of them getting into bands that we can play with.

As for the future, we’re going to take this time while Ian is in Venezuela to chill a little, but don’t worry… the Blog will rock on even during the break. When Ian gets back we will start again on the mission of trying to reclaim the title of biggest rock group in the world.

Who will the new bassist be, you ask? Good question. You know him as “Xerxes.” And in our first show he will play a solo, for 20 minutes, naked. Just kidding. Xerxes, or Drew Copeland – Jason’s brother-in-law – is a great bassist and a talented musician. He can sing, play a variety of instruments (he is even playing the trombone on boy sets fire’s upcoming album), and write music (in the classical sense, you know notes and all that). It’s going to be fun. He’s away on his honeymoon right now, but I’m sure he’ll say something for himself when he comes back.

And Shane… all you probably know about him is that he is Collin and Ian’s brother and that he has more blogger names than should be legal. Well, that’s about all there is to know. Just kidding. Shane is a fantastic musician. He can play the guitar, and the base, he can sing, and he is a phenomenal drummer. He will primarily be playing drums, but his ability to play multiple instruments will allow for some shuffle of who plays what in Look Machine live shows. Get ready for some exciting concerts!

Well that’s about it. Big changes we know. Sad and happy at the same time. Like most changes. Rock on, brothers and sisters.

I have enough real bills to pay. . .

I thought this was pretty funny. It's so serious and urgent. . . and then. Well, you will get the irony.



I'm tempted to write them a check for the amount due. . . Or maybe I should ask if I can please extend my payment date.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Anaconda it is. . .

My deadly beast set is finished. . . for now.



Has anyone ever distributed deadly maneaters by animal type? Because 3 of mine are reptiles, and one is a fish. Maybe I'll try to figure that out.

Mammals can be scary too, Human, Grizzley Bear, Lion, Tiger.

I really want to know which order is the most dangerous type of animal. Does anyone know?

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Kind of proud of my new deadly beast icons

Yesterday I got a new hard drive. I'm working on more and more video and photo stuff and it chews up hard drive space. (Side note, as of the end of this week I will actually have a tetrabyte of storage. Nice and geeky.)

Anyway, I didn't reallly like the icon my new hard drive had. It looked like a nuclear meltdown symbel of something. And I thought, "I should find some deadly beast icons."

Yes, I am fascinated with animals that can consume me. And I wanted my hard drives named after them.

But search and search I did, to no avail. Nothing.

So I made my own.



I'm pretty happy with them.

So now one of my hard drives is called Gator and the other Raptor. What do you think I should name the 400 GB monster that is coming later this week? I've been suggested an Anaconda, which I like.

Rocking out in Venezuela

Goodbye! I'm going to leave at 7:30 this morning and fly down to Venezuela. I'm going with a good friend of mine named... well he has a lot of names but you know his as Childish. We will be down there for three weeks, backpacking, snorkeling, and exploring the country. It's going to be an awesome trip!

If anybody wants to contact me while I am down there you can email me at ianpalkovitz@yahoo.com. I would love to hear from (almost) any of you! Have a good January, and please pray that we arive home in one piece!

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Pictures of Nepal

Well, I finally got some film developed from my trip to Nepal. Here are some of the pictures.



This is a Hindu temple, a common sight anywhere in the country. Nepal is the only official Hindu nation in the world. It is an amazingly spiritual country! Everyday life is tied up in ritual and tradition. Ancient and present blend into one surreal reality.



I took this picture from the back of an elephant. This is in Chitwan Royal National Park, one of the last places on earth where the one horned rhinoceros lives in freedom and relative safety.



You are looking at the main East-West highway accross the country. It winds for hundreds of kilometers along a river canyon. It is one of the most beautiful and terrifying roads in the world.

Yellow Lab Puppies

Today, the world has seven more dogs than it did before. My dog, Kwali, just gave birth to a litter of puppies. Man, they are so cute!

If anybody would like to purchase a really good dog, talk to me. If you want to know the technical scoop, they are pure bread, AKC yellow labs. The mother is OFA certified and has champion blood lines. In normal English, they are really cute puppies and you would deffinately like them.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

The Chronicles of Narnia Movie

I know where I'm going to be December 9th, 2005.



My absolute favorite series of books in CS Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia. I just love them all, love the layers of meaning, adore the world of wonder he created. I first read them in second grade and continue to re-read them every so often.

And honestly, I've always despised the BBC versions of these works. (I know there are people who love them, but I will not be dissuaded. Aslan is a majestic untame lion, not an actor with a huge paper machiere head.)

Anyway, I've been nervously anticipating the newest project being produced in New Zealand. I love that WETA workshop (The Lord of the Rings special effects wizards) are the ones designing and bringing everything to life. I'm not so sure about the director of Shrek 2 working on it (hoping he doesn't treat it in a goofy manner.)

But today I came across this, and now I'm sold. It looks incredible! I think it's going to be excellent.

And I want one of those swords. I'll start checking eBay.

The countdown begins.

I love looking forward to a movie event.

Poor Ashlee Simpson at the Orange Bowl

I know that she has ridden her sister's coattails. I know she lip-synced. I know she only sold albums because of the MTV reality show.

But my goodness, is she even 18 yet? And she has 72,000 people booing her on live TV in front of 100 Million viewers? I can't imagine being 17 and getting that kind of treatment. You already think everyone secretly thinks ill of you at that age anyway.

In a fame obsessed country, this is worst than a public execution.

I can't imagine what she is thinking. Really. I know she doesn't deserve what she's gotten (the record deal, the platinum sales. . . the final episode from last season featured her first live show ever. . .and she had a deal?), but unless one is a homicidal maniac, noone deserves what she is getting now.

Let it go, consumers of America. She is trying. She's really trying.

She's just not that good.

But I for one will be watching the second season of her show. I want to see the up close reactions to the SNL debacle and then this show too.

So maybe she's good at something.

Oh, and by the way, if that game had been played in Philly, all the media would be talking about would be "Of course those Philly fans, all they do is boo." Just an aside.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Tsunami Revisited

I saw some videos of the Tsunami, and I wondered how anybody could have drowned. It looked so slow, almost gentle. Well, time to refigure that thought. Here are some pictures courtesy of abouttsunamis.blogspot.com.



You wonder how anybody could have survived!



This is deffinately tragic! First I was angry at the world for people's lack of concern. However, I'm coming around, or maybe the world is. Amazon.com alone has collected over $14 million for the red cross. People are reacting the way that I hoped they would. Please, if you can, donate money! If you can't, then keep on praying. Your prayers make a big difference.