May 2006

As promised, I have more comments on seeing “Wicked” (click here if you missed my previous post on winning the Wicked lottery!). I thought the show was fantastic. It was a lot “cuter” and certainly funnier than I thought it would be. It’s definitely not a “serious” musical (and I didn’t expect it to be), even though it seems like it almost wants to be at some points. It’s just a fun ride and a really good time. The audience was great and everyone seemed really into it and appreciative of the performance.

The person playing Galinda/Glinda (Kendra Kassebaum) was awesome. She did a completely wonderful job and I thought she was phenomenal. She was so animated and energetic, and really funny. She also seemed to really enjoy playing the role. I was somewhat less taken with Elphaba (Julia Murney), but still I thought she was very, very good. She seemed to be fighting a cold or something (she coughed several times during the show, but not while on microphone), so perhaps it was an off night. The rest of the cast was great, too, and really the whole production was top notch.

Despite the fact that the plot seemed kind of convoluted from listening to the cast recording and reading a synopsis online, I thought it was pretty easy to follow once you add all of the action that happens between the major songs. I just really wish there was a two-disc recording of the show with everything instead of the single disc that really ends up leaving out quite a bit.

I would definitely love to see Wicked again if I ever get the chance. It was a great show and I really, really enjoyed it. I can’t go so far as to say that it’s my favorite musical (that spot still belongs to Les Miserables), but it’s right on up there.

Just to add another perspective, Joy also really liked Wicked and she has decided that it is in fact her new favorite musical (I don’t think she’s as attached to Les Miserables as I am, even though I’ve tried to show her the light). And she put the cast recording in to listen to on the way home from Atlanta, which says a lot because I usually get some grief when I want to listen to musicals on road trips. You can read more of her thoughts here.

Click “more” to see a list of all of the interesting web sites I found this week. I keep track of my favorite sites using, a free web site where you can access your favorite links from any computer and share them with friends. You can also see all of my favorite links (not just the ones from this week).


Joy and I went down to Atlanta to see the musical “Wicked”. We had tickets for seats in the second row in the balcony, but while I was at the theater’s website getting directions before we left, I noticed that they did rush tickets kind of like “Rent” does. Instead of first-come, first-served like the tickets were when I saw Rent in Boston quite a few years ago, the rush tickets for Wicked are given away by lottery. Whoever is there two and a half hours before the show can put their name in a drawing, and then two hours before the show they draw names for the tickets.

Anyway, Joy and I ended up with some extra time before the show started, so we went down to the theater to put our names in the drawing. We arrived about two hours and fifty minutes before the show and we were the fourth people there waiting for rush tickets, so we thought that our chances looked pretty good. But by the time the two and a half hour cutoff arrived, there were probably between 175 and 200 people trying to get tickets (all of the remaining shows in Atlanta were completely sold out, so getting rush tickets was pretty much the only way to get tickets for anything even close to the face value).

We put our names in and then waited around another half hour for for the drawing to take place. Joy was trying to be very positive, but I thought there was no way in the world they would draw our names. When the time for the drawing finally came around, the woman in charge drew 12 names (with everyone anxiously calling out the count as she drew them). Then she started reading off the names. The first card she read: Brad Guilford. Unbelievable! I was really excited. Seeing the show from the second row in the balcony would have been great, but seeing it from up close on the floor was even better! Joy and I got our rush tickets and then we ended up selling our balcony tickets to a man who was trying to get tickets for his son’s birthday, so that worked out well.

The show was absolutely terrific. The seats we won in the lottery were third row orchestra, off to the left-hand side. I love sitting that close where you can see all of the expressions on the actors’ faces. It was great. And though I will write a separate post with more thoughts about the show, let’s just say I’ve been waiting to see the show for quite a while, and it was definitely worth the wait.

The amount of comment spam I get on this blog has been increasing steadily for quite some time now, but lately it’s been getting even worse. In the past 24 hours alone I received 181 new spam comments, which is simply ridiculous. I had to do something because manually getting rid of the spam is a hassle, so I installed the Akismet spam filter plugin. Hopefully things will go smoothly with the new plugin, but if you leave a comment and it doesn’t appear within 24 hours or so, please let me know via email because it’s possible that the new plugin incorrectly marked it as spam (but it’s supposed to be pretty good, so hopefully that won’t happen).

Click “more” to see a list of all of the interesting web sites I found this week. I keep track of my favorite sites using, a free web site where you can access your favorite links from any computer and share them with friends. You can also see all of my favorite links (not just the ones from this week).


I called the video card company back today during business hours and they were not paricularly helpful. They said that the BIOS that originally came on my video card was not yet “approved for release”, so they could not give me the file. So you are shipping a BIOS that you cannot yet release? That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. Anyway, I figured that other people were probably have the same problem I was having, so after doing a bit of web searching, I found a copy of the BIOS I needed posted online.* I downloaded that, reflashed the card, and then everything started working again.

So now I’m just installing all of the software programs that I use and soon I should have everything back to normal. But I’m writing this post from the new machine, so that’s definitely good news.

* And how exactly did the file end up online if it’s not available for release?!? Now that’s a good question.

Yesterday I left things with just a plain vanilla XP Pro installation on the machine, so tonight I started installing the latest drivers for each of the hardware components. I successfully updated the drivers for the motherboard, RAID controller, LAN, sound card, and video card. I also flashed the motherboard BIOS without any trouble. And the last thing I did was flash the BIOS on the video card, but when I rebooted the machine the monitor was blank. It couldn’t even display motherboard BIOS screens. The machine was still running and it seemed like things were generally working, but there was no video output whatsoever. I called the video card tech support line and they said that I would probably need to flash the video card back to whatever BIOS version was originally installed, but that I would need to call back during normal business hours to get them to email me the original BIOS installer (I guess they can’t do that after hours for some reason?). So I guess I’ll call them tomorrow and see if re-flashing the original BIOS solves the problem. Until then I’m stuck because I can’t do anything without a monitor.

I stopped by the store on the way home from work to pick up the cables I needed to get the floppy drive connected. I also got some cable ties to clean up the wiring inside the case. When I installed everything yesterday, I just left the wiring a mess until I knew that everything would boot up okay, but now that things are working, I wanted to organize the wiring a little better. I finally got all of the wiring worked out, including the floppy drive this time, and then I put in the Windows XP disc, booted the machine, and successfully installed Windows without any trouble. That a big step along the way, so I feel like I’m definitely making progress now.

The motherboard and RAM arrived today, so this evening I started really putting things together. I got the motherboard mounted in the case and got everything wired up. Things went along fairly well, except I did not anticipate that the motherboard would need a power input from a standard IDE type power plug (in addition to the normal motherboard power connections). I don’t know what it’s used for, but the instruction manual says it is required. The placement of the input plug on the motherboard made it impossible to connect the optical drives, the fans, the floppy drive, and the motherboard power all at the same time (with the cables I had on hand). So I connected everything up except the floppy drive.

The machine successfully booted on the first try and I could navigate around in the motherboard BIOS and everything seemed to be connected up and working okay. Unfortunately, I couldn’t do much more than that because I am using the RAID controller on the motherboard and in order to install Windows I have to use the RAID driver that came with the motherboard, which is on a floppy disk, which of course I can’t use because I can’t connect the floppy drive yet because of the power cable issues. So tomorrow I’ll have to pick up the cables I need in order to get the floppy connected.

I finally decided it was time to buy a new computer. I was trying to wait for Vista to be released, but considering the frequent delays and the fact that maybe I really don’t want to be a guinea pig for the initial release of a new operating system, I decided to go ahead and get a new machine now. After some encouragement from Randy at work, I decided to build my own machine from the ground up this time instead of just buying one from Dell. I think my last three computers all came from Dell, but I used to tinker around with building them in college.

Anyway, I placed my order for all of the parts last week, and almost everything arrived today. Well, all of the major parts, anyway, except for the motherboard and RAM. I couldn’t really get too much done without the motherboard, but I did manage to install the hard drives, DVD drive, an extra case fan, and the power supply. Hopefully the motherboard will arrive on schedule tomorrow.

Next Page »