Yesterday I rode my bicycle up Lefthand Canyon Road to Ward (up to 10,000 feet in elevation for the first time in Colorado) and on the way down I saw four Moose. Pictured above are three of them: a standing Juvenile, another sitting, and their mother also sitting a bit farther to the right (the tree is pointing to her). A few hundred meters down the road I saw a bull moose, but I decided to not stop again for pictures because I was already late returning home. Combined with our sightings in Yellowstone last week, I've seen quite a bit of wildlife lately! It certainly beats the month in San Diego a few years ago when I saw (or even worse, only heard) a rattlesnake on every other ride.

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Phil Collins – Face Value

I am a fan of the BBC auto/entertainment show Top Gear. Often the three presenters, Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond, will be given a humorous challenge which involves accomplishing some ridiculous set of goals with inappropriate vehicles. A couple examples are crossing the Channel in a car-to-boat conversion and "caravanning" in questionably designed and executed homemade car-to-RV conversions. As a bonus to these challenges, often a pair will work together to sabotage the third presenter's car in some humorous way. A favored method is to (permanently using glue) set the radio to loudly play music disliked by the target. In the case of James, it's anything contemporary, and for Richard, it's progressive rock.

Face Value by Phil Collins is solidly in the category of progressive rock, also known as "prog rock", and every time I listened to it I thought about Richard getting stuck listening to prog rock. There are some aspects I like about this album, most notably the lead track "In The Air Tonight", but the things I dislike the most about this album are actually what define prog rock and annoy Richard the most. Things like directionless piano solos and the over-use of synthesizers. It's those songs that made me feel, well, bored, and stuck listening to the music.

Overall, this album isn't anything special, and chances are you've heard the only good song enough times that you can safely skip this album.

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Today Melissa and I went to Yellowstone. I have read that only 3% of Yellowstone's visitors come in the winter, and although it's only a month until Summer, the park was still pretty empty. I figure it's for good reason. The park is still very snowy, and today it was windy, nearly freezing, and often snowing.

The internet at our hotel in Jackson isn't very fast, so here are a just a few photos.

I show how much snow is still in Yellowstone. The Grand Tetons on our drive from Jackson. A mother black bear and her cub. The cub is on the mother's back. It was over half a mile away, making me wish I had a longer telephoto lens with me. Melissa and Stephen at the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone A Coyote hunting small animals under the snow. more ...

Boulder Creek in May

James Taylor – Dad Loves His Work

It's really hard to write a review of an album while asleep. Because that's what Dad Loves His Work by James Taylor has done to me. It is a boring, pointless album. I actually like some of his earlier work from the 1970s, but this album is very uninspired.

Furthermore, what kind of musician needs welding glasses and gets his face dirty in the course of his work? The answer is, of course, an awesome one! I have trouble imagining what music that would require active welding might sound like, but chances are it would be more interesting than this easy listening drivel. I have listened to this album twice, and I hear no evidence of welding sounds. The cover is definitely false advertising.

Furthermore, again, I can't figure out what James Taylor's fatherhood has to do with anything on this album. It's hard to tell, like I said, because I'm asleep, but there are no songs about or to his children. The album could equivalently be titled "White Male Loves His Work" or "33 Year-Old Lennoxian Loves His Work". If he's implying by the cover and the title that he loves to weld, I'm just confused, and so his he.

Huzzah! With this review I've caught back up to my review schedule. In fact, the next review isn't due for a week and a half.

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Yahoo! Mail is Run By Idiots

I have heard from a couple people that Yahoo! Mail will not send messages to my new email address. Below is a screen capture demonstrating this (not that I doubted them):

Yahoo Mail is Wrong

My email address is indeed valid, and I have now sent and received hundreds of emails using it. Furthermore, the specifications for email addresses are very simple, and my email address follows them (obviously). Yahoo! clearly needs to hire someone who can read a Wikipedia page and write a simple regular expression validating email addresses. Actually, a quick Google search (natch) proves that this has already been done dozens of times.

Just yet another reason why I'm glad I finally switched away from Yahoo! Mail. Good riddance.

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My Siblings on Ralphie

In April, Adam:


and today, Talitha (plus Melissa):

Talitha + Melissa

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AC/DC – Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

Interestingly, although this is the second AC/DC album I've reviewed as part of my 30 Years On project, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap in fact originally came out before Back in Black. This album was released in Austrailia in 1976, and only came to the `states in 1981, after the 1980 release of Back in Black.

I suspect that AC/DC was a major inspiration for the 1984 mockumentary (that I think is brilliant) This Is Spinal Tap. In fact, I think a straight line can be drawn from AC/DC's song "Big Balls" to Spinal Tap's "Big Bottom". If you enjoy Spinal Tap, you're likely to enjoy AC/DC and this album.

Most of what I said about Back in Black can also be applied to this album. AC/DC is fun band to listen to if you're in the right mood. However, because the songs on this album don't quite get the same airplay as those on Back in Black, this album is worth checking out at least once.

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Grover Washington Jr. – Winelight

Here's a quick and simple review of Winelight by Grover Washington Jr.:

  • Every time I listened to this album I felt over-dressed. No, I never listened to it wearing a tuxedo or a three-piece suit. I mean that wearing any clothes at all is being over-dressed for this album. It's that kind of album.
  • It has only one song on it you've ever heard, Just the Two of Us, and likely only because you saw it in Austin Powers 2.

In summary, if you're naked, go ahead and listen to the album. Or, you can watch Austin Powers 2 and hear the only song on this album you care about, but see some funny stuff happen at the same time. What's funnier than little people?

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Spring Weather in Boulder

Campus Flatirons

Two days ago it was nearly 30C/85F in Boulder. This morning I woke up to snow falling outside our windows (but it wasn't sticking because it was just above freezing where we live). It's now changed to rain, but as the picture above shows, at just slightly higher elevations the snow is sticking. The forecast says that within a week we'll be back near 30C. Living with four seasons is interesting!

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The Who – Face Dances

Face Dances was the first album put out by The Who after the death of Keith Moon. I'm not familiar enough with The Who to know if that had an effect on this album. I'm guessing it probably did. The best I can say about this album is that the songs are all very "poppy" and the lyrics and melodies stick in your head very easily. But overall, it's a fairly unremarkable album and probably got on the top-10 due only to the strength of their previous albums. The fact that the band disbanded two years after this album came out is a good sign that they were already on the decline as a creative unit.

According to the Wikipedia page, the cover artwork was commissioned from various famous artists. Judging from the top and bottom rows, it looks like the artists were handed the same photos. The bottom row is the most disappointing - three of the frames are basically identical, and I'm guessing they filled in the fourth with random icons to break the monotony.

Edit: Anyone want to proffer a guess what the middle-row, left-column icon is?

My recommendation is that this album is not worth checking out.

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South Boulder Creek from Walker Ranch Loop

Walker Ranch

Taken today on the bridge in the middle of this Google Map view.

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Eric Clapton – Another Ticket

The album Another Ticket by Eric Clapton is mostly a blues album with only a few rockish songs. That's pretty typical for Clapton. Curiously, the first 3 (of 5) minutes of the title track is instrumental, which is unusual for album title tracks in my opinion. The only hit single off this record is "I Can't Stand It". According to Wikipedia, this song sometimes gets played during interludes on Bill O'Reilly's radio show. I cannot confirm this, for obvious reasons, but I imagine that Bill does not use it for its original meaning of an ahem troublesome woman. He must want to share something in common with one of his heroes.

I generally like Clapton, and this is a decent album. The only legitimate knock on the album is its bright red cover.

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Boulder Creek in April

Steve Winwood – Arc of a Diver

Springtime in Boulder is a tumultuous time. Most evenings the clouds get blown down off the mountains and it rains, and a few times it's turned into snow overnight. The days are blustery and mild, but not what I would call warm just quite yet. The album Arc of a Diver by Steve Winwood does not fit well into my seasonal or geographical mood. If I were in Florida sipping a fruity drink on the beach, I think it would be more appropriate. It would help if I was older and fatter, too. I'm trying to say that if you are in the right place and frame of mind, this album could be quite pleasant. And sometimes pleasant is all you need.

I'm going to try to catch up completely this week.

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