Ken's Brain Drain
Sunday, November 30, 2003
Neat little trip to New England Bonsai Gardens in MA yesterday. Lots of greenhouses with Bonsai of many varieties. They had a Saikai demonstration (bonsai landscapes) and free sushi. Thought I would give it a shot. Bought 2 plants, pots, soil, etc. Here are my first Bonsai creations. Figured I'd put up a pic right away... cause these puppies are likely to be dead in a couple of weeks ;-)

Friday, November 28, 2003
  TG, Day after
Great Thanksgiving Day. Yeah, Family, Food... etc. But the thrill for the day was running the 5 mi. Manchester Road Race along with 11,000 other runners, and thousands of spectators. It was a BLAST! The whole scene made it an incredible experience. Top runners from all over the world are there, but the crowds, the cheers, the bands really spurred you on. I felt I could have run another 5 miles, I was so pumped. I didn't even feel the aches and pains that I usually get with a long run like this. What a way to start Thanksgiving Day. WooHoo! Next year I better improve my time by 4-5 minutes.

As for TG dinner. It was great to have the family together. Sorry Barb and family wasn't there.. Then, there was another no show - (wtf?). Anyway, the food came out great, I've got to give the obligatory mention that we have SOOOOO much to be thankful for; Parents can still make the drive, and are relatively healthy, we have a good life, roof over head, food on table... most of all we have happy healthy kids. It was a joy to have the Laster and Gagne children (Teens) all together, and have some Q time with the three generations all together.

But man... we have so many leftovers. Damn, Turkey Dinners every night for the forseeable future.
Sunday, November 23, 2003
  Big Race
Entered the 5 mile Manchester Road Race. Its a big race. It is run on Thanksgiving day morning and should be lots of fun. Last couple of years, over 11,000 runners registered. It is one of the oldest races going... this is the is the 67th running. Some of the top runners in the world compete. I will not be one of those. My time during training pretty much sucks, but I just started running this year, and I am 50 years old.

Been training, and lately running has been giving me pain in hips, knees and heals. So why do I do it?? Don't know. I like to keep in shape, and I guess that Runner's High kicks in. Actually just the feeling of accomplishment from running a certain distance, or time, or just getting out there and doin' it feels great.

I think I have beaten the pain problem (at least temporarily). Got some great running shoes (Asics 2080 gels), gel heal inserts, arch supports, Glucosimine/Condroiten/MSM supplements, lots of Ibuprofen daily... maybe I should just enter the wheelchair competion!

Well, wish me luck.
Tuesday, November 18, 2003
  Bill *Copy Cat* Gates... does it again.
Is Micro$oft capable of ANY innovation of its own making? Microsloth has announced its intention to launch a music download service during 2004. Once again, Microsuck will steal Apple's revolutionary idea, and benefit from the negotiating that Steve Jobs has done with the Record Industry. Through Windoze Operating System, Microshit has the lone advantage of leveraging their monopoly to place their virtual music store on the desktops of 95% of computer users. This has the potential to squeeze out any competition whatsoever.

Will the major record labels show any loyalty to Steve Jobs for breaking the ice and creating an environment for legitimized legal music downloading? Can any other service compete with the marketing advantage, capital ($$), and industry muscle that Microshorts can apply to this venture? Will Microstink's entry into this market allow for a fair playing field for the competition? I THINK NOT?

This is exactly why the courts were WRONG to overturn the appropriate penalties issued by Judge Jackson (under pressure from the Bush Administration, IMHO). But that is what happens when Bill Gates and Company is the third largest contributor to Bush's presidential campaign. This is a classic case of Anti-Trust. MicroSlop, though convicted of Anti-Trust, was given a mere slap on the wrist, with virtually no penalty, and nothing to prevent their monopolistic actions to continue.

Computer users need to be educated as to the importance of this issue, and the need to support alternative operating systems and application software.
Tuesday, November 11, 2003
November 11 is a most significant day for me and my family, as it is the birthday of our dearly departed sister Laura. It is also within a few days of the anniversary of her death. Diana and I traveled to Sharon MA yesterday to visit her grave site. This time, it was not the gut wrenching emotional upheaval of previous visits. It was a time of reflection and rememberence of when she was alive, and how we miss her. It was a beautiful sunny, brisk day a lot like last year when we gathered to honor her memorial exactly 1 year before.

Veterans Day
Nov 11 is also veterans day. On this day, my thoughts are with the servicemen that are risking their lives for the mission in Iraq. A sensless war to be sure. As I see it, nothing is being accomplished there. The purported justification for this war has turned out to be completely false (no WMD, no Al Qida links, no threat of nuclear weapons, etc), the region is now more ripe for terrorist activity than before the occupation, American casualties have surpassed those during the invasion, there is no sign of self-government or free elections for the Iraqi people, anti-American sentiment is as bad as it has ever been in the region. Yet we will commit 87 billion more dollars and untold loss of life to this war.

Some would say that such statements are unpatriotic, and that I am not supporting our soldiers. On the contrary, I think about the soldiers daily (perhaps because I have a close nephew stationed near Fajulla, Iraq). Getting the soldiers out of Iraq and back home is the surrest way to show concern for our soldiers health, safety and well being. I think that those phony flag waving so-called patriots are not nearly as concerned about soldiers as those with the courage to speak out about this travesty.
Friday, November 07, 2003
  To be a college student
Dave just called from Madison Wisconson. He is attending the Free Press: National Conference on Media Reform. Now that is what being a University Student should be all about. Dave has the wonderful opportunity to attend this conference and learn the importance of Free Speech from an incredible array of speakers. He will hear Bill Moyers, Jesse Jackson, Ralph Nader, Al Franken and many others. I have to give him credit for seizing the opportunity to take advantage of such a great learning experience.

I hope David learns how important our free press is and how in these times there are forces in power trying to control the news. That has been evidenced recently by the pressure to take the Ronald Regan documentary off the air, the embedded war coverage which let the administration control the news, and by Bush's banning of media coverage of the return of soldiers coffins.

There is a lot for Dave to learn at this conference, and I hope he comes back informed, and can then inform me as well as his peers.
Thursday, November 06, 2003
  Pat Metheny Concert
Had the extreme pleasure of attending a Pat Metheny Trio concert last night. Concert started out with a solo acoustic guitar set. Man, I have never heard such a full, orchestral sound coming from one solitary instrument. He played about 4 solo numbers and then was joined by Christian McBride on bass and Antonio Sanchez on drums. The trio played a real eclectic set with acoustic, electric, synth... lots of free improvisational stuff. Great evening of music. Pat played 2.5 hours or more without a break.

After the concert, did some on-line research about Pat's guitars. That led me to the Manzer Guitars page. This is where Metheny's guitars are made. Check out the Pikasso 42 string custom guitar that Pat played on one number. Woa!
Thoughts that flow through an ethernet cable connecting my brain to the World Wide Web.

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Name: Ken Laster
Location: Connecticut, United States

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