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Luke Melia

5/31/02, 2:06 am

I’m just about packed. Tomorrow I leave for South America. Here’s the message that went out to the travels list:

Dear friends,

I’m getting on a big ol’ jet airliner this Friday bound for Lima, Peru.
This time, it’s a family affair.

Packed into the plane with me will be my mom, our family friend Patty,
my guitar and various other travel knick-knacks. We’ll be making a
pitstop in Atlanta to pick up my brother Will, and then later catching a
plane from Lima to La Paz, Bolivia to meet up with our travel guide for
the trip, my sister Jessica. Jess has been studying in Bolivia this
spring semester, and we’ll be traveling with her through La Paz, Lake
Titicaca and La Isla Del Sol, into Peru to Cusco and Macchu Piccu and
then back to Lima.

I’m hoping it’s a good recipe for adventure and I plan on sending a
story or two from the road back to this list. If you want to
unsubscribe, or subscribe with a different address, you can follow the
instructions in the header of this message or at

And, for those of you wondering… Yes, the rubber ducky and the camera
are both coming on the trip.

Adios amigos,

5/28/02, 12:51 am

Update from today’s mountain biking expedition: my ass hurts.

Seriously, though, it was a fun trip on part of the Greenbelt trail. We did a loop called Stillwell that was pretty intense (by Long Island standards anyway…) and then went south from there. Thirteen-and-a-half miles overall, and they were definitely physically challenging. My stepdad and his neighbor Kenny were good teachers and didn’t admonish me for recklessly attempting (and, thankfully, being successful at) obstacles inappropriate for a beginner like myself. I look forward to doing it again.

Ed gave me a a cordless mouse for the PC that he was given gratis by Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield. If you happen to receive one of these, you’ll notice that the scroll wheel is preprogrammed to got to Empire’s website on click. This wasn’t optimal behavior for me, and so I changed the site to a more desirable URL. If you find yourself needing to do the same, here are the Windows registry keys that you should change:


I was hoping to be able to use it as a remote control for iTunes on my Mac… Maybe I’ll point the RollerButton at a URL on my Mac that will trigger an osascript command to tell iTunes to stop or start…. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe when I get back from South America.

5/26/02, 11:02 pm

First place. I like the sound of that.

I played “grab bag fours” beach volleyball today on the south shore of Long Island in an East End Volleyball tournament. You get assigned randomly to a team. Today, with clouds keeping things a little chilly and rain making empty threats all day, there were five teams. Format was every team plays every other team twice in games to 11. The top three teams advance to the playoffs. 2 plays 3, and the winner plays 1.

And we won. We didn’t lose a game all day actually. Our setter, Martin, was great (and a little crazy — he went for a swim in the ice-cold ocean after the tournament!), and Aaron, a recent New York emigre from most recently from Austin is strong left-handed hitter. I had fun hitting power side and getting ample practice on my beach digs. After the last playoff game, someone told us we had won the first place prize of $120. It ended up not being true, but we did each get a nifty backpack.

The backpack (one of the trendy kinds with one strap… or maybe they’re not so trendy anymore… trendiness tends to escape me) sat proudly on my back tonight on my trip uptown to have dinner with Judy and Ed. Pretty neat!

Speaking of Ed, the play he’s in, “16 Wounded,” has been extended a week. It’s at the Cherry Lane Theater in the West Village through nest Saturday. If you’re in New York, enjoy good theater, and interested at all in the Palistinean-Israeli conflict, I’d highly recommend going to see it.

Yesterday, I spent the day at Point Pleasant Beach on the Jersey Shore. I’d intended on playing in a tournament there with Matt, but missed the train and got there too late to sign up.

Tomorrow, I change gears to mountain biking (get it? change gears…) on Long Island with my stepdad, Michael. By the time dinner rolls around, I’m going to be mighty hungry for some of mom’s cooking.

5/26/02, 12:19 am

The beach. The beach.

I love the beach.

I want to live in New York City but with a beach and a great smooth bikepath where I could rollerblade and watch the surfers. And urban skate culture and beach skate culture could be merged into a new thing.

And all of New York’s songwriters would have another thing to inspire them.

5/25/02, 12:36 am

Have you ever had a day you wished you could just start over? Today was one of those.

I made a dentist appointment a couple of week ago because one of my teeth has been sensitive to temperature lately. On occasion, it hurts like, well, like getting a cavity filled. This morning was the appointment.

I hopped the train downtown and got there early. Nice place. Friendly vibe. I filled out the paperwork and tried to relax. For most of my life, I’ve had problems with medical situations. I wrote about it a few months back in the context of my foot injury.

I thought I was doing OK when, 6 x-rays into 16, I started feeling woozy. I asked the hygienist to wait for a moment and tried to pull myself together. I remember asking her to take the heavy lead apron from me and then I lost consciousness. It’s very disorienting coming back to the world after a seizure. It takes a moment to realize where you are, why you’re there and piece together what must have happened.

The staff there was very kind, concerned about me and asking questions. One dentist, the only male doctor there I think, described it as “white coat syndrome,” not uncommon in 20-30-year-old men, who don’t admit to their doctor (or themselves I’d guess) that they’re uncomfortable or scared, so their body takes responsibility for the mind’s failing and throws an off switch.

It’s nice to know that other people have that experience, but that doesn’t really fit for me. This has happened for my whole life, from before I knew enough to be scared and past when I knew too much to be scared.

The sensation is like this: chemical, the steadily progressing coursing of something through my body, though my mind. I feel disconnected to the biology, but scared by it because I know it can take me out. I try to gain control of it, and either my body wins or my mind wins. This morning, my body won.

After I recovered and talked things through with the dentist, they offered to continue the x-rays and exam. I wanted to take them up on it. I really did. I’m a big believer in getting back on the horse after you fall off.

But I didn’t have the heart this morning. Instead I walked out, thanking my dentist and putting her questions for my doctor to answer in my bag. I got in the back of the first cab I saw and asked the cabbie to take me home.

I curled up in bed, safe, sad and tired and went back to sleep.

I started the day over a few hours later.

It went a lot better the second time around.

5/23/02, 2:21 am

Up late blogging when I ought to be getting my volleyball beauty sleep. Ah well, I’ll try to make it quick.

I saw a play tonight with Mary (a wise, zen friend), Judy (the two-time Emmy Award winner) and Dani (my favorite teenage girl in New York city). The play, at the Cherry Lane Theatre in the West Village, is called “Sixteen Wounded.” It’s very well-written, well-acted and extraordinarily timely, dealing with a Palistinean and a Jew and their friendship in Amsterdam. Judy’s partner, Ed, is in it and does an excellent job. It’s on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7 pm. See it if you can. (If you need pushing over the edge, it’s only $15.)

Caught up with Elbert last night over tacos, and retrieved Singapore Devi, the guitar that Aji’s girlfriend gave me. It’s sharing my plane ticket to South America.

I listened to Moby’s new album a lot today and when I got home tonight, I was inspired to do some recording. Came up with a drum track on the drum machine (tried to steal the patter from “We Are All Made of Stars”), converted it to a keyboard MIDI drum track (’cause I can’t figure out single-note MIDI playback with the drum machine), then added some etherial organ melody as a MIDI track. Recorded some lead guitar over that. Found a poem in a notebook of mine from the summer 1996 and adapted some lyrics.

Wake up in a bed no longer your own
you don’t feel right
you don’t feel at home
oh no

I recorded a bunch of variations of that, then a simple bass guitar track. The cool thing is that it’s unlike any music I’ve made before. The not cool thing is that it’s more of a riff or a jam than a song at this point. It has no shape or ending or tension really. Hopefully, I can incorporate it into song sometime.

That’s it. Bedtime for Bonzo…

5/22/02, 8:54 am

A New York Times reporter discovered the my favorite food find from my trip to Laos. Florence Fabricant (which seems to be an unfortunate name for a reporter seeking accuracy!) writes about kaipen in today’s Times.

I’m excited about the opportunity to try kaipen in New York, but I doubt it will never taste as good as it did that first night at the Cold River Guesthouse in Lunag Phabang where Elbert and I ate it freshly flash-fried with some sticky rice and a shot of lao-lao.

5/20/02, 9:58 pm

Arrived home to a nice postcard from Bri in West Virginia, via PostcardX. Fun!

Three new CD purchases recently. Rusted Root’s Welcome To My Party, Moby’s 18, and an album of the Dead covering Dylan tunes. Super-different and all enjoyable.

There’s a fascinating look into corporate IT culture in general and Microsoft specifically in this transcript from a meeting that preceded the end of RealNames. My favorite quote is “…this was really a fundamental and forward looking decision about us going forward.” Just another reminder that Dilbert is mild compared to reality.

The front page of this site sports a new little box which shows a random link from my frequently surfed list. I rigged it up with blogrolling.com‘s RSS feed, a shell script, and a PHP xml parser. Anthony asked me about it this morning, wondering if it was real-time like the iTunes listening box is. It’s not, but I seem to be sometimes unable to differentiate between curiosity and a challenge so… I did some experiments and wrote a parser for the IE history file, which is maintained in by the app as HTML in real-time. The parser is smart enough to identify sites visited in the last ten minutes. (Gotta love having perl ship with your desktop system!) From here it should be fairly straightforward to make it update the site. I need to think through the implications a bit first though…

5/20/02, 1:06 am

Exhausted. Drained by the sun, five hours of volleyball and a trips to both Long Island and New Jersey.

On Saturday, I went out to help Nana set up a cable modem and give her a lesson on using the internet and email. Yes, my eighty-year-old grandmother has joined the internet age. She and I had lunch at Mother Kelly’s, a family-operated Italian joint with great food and congenial service.

Later, I hopped in the back of the yet-to-be-named VW bus and went down to to the Jersey Shore with Anthony and Liz. We saw a beautiful sunset, ate Mexican food and watched Spiderman in the suburbs. It was fun. The movie was only eight bucks (it’s ten here in NYC). Still, I’m glad I don’t live in the suburbs.

Spiderman was fantastic, BTW. Really captured the best of the comic book.

We slept in the bus at a family campground. (I guess I was Jr. in the family…) In the morning we headed for the beach and arrived in plenty of time to sign-in for the beach volleyball tournament and pick up Matt from the train station.

We played four-on-four and did ok for our first tournament of the summer. Matt has played beach tourneys before, but none of the rest of us had, so there was a lot of adjustments to make, especially to serving. We went 2-6 in pool play, missing a playoff berth but having a lot of fun and improving as the day went on. Definitely want to do that a bunch more this summer!

5/18/02, 2:30 am

Warning, pure blogging geek content ahead…

This blog now has MovableType as the content management engine behind it. I’m pretty impressed with the software, particularly how polished it is and how excellent the documentation is.

I made the switch out of some frustration with Blogger service outages and a desire to have the site be more self-sufficient. MT’s got an import feature, so moving my 175 blog entries(!) over was pretty straightforward.

Because I was publishing XML out of Blogger, I just needed to get MT to produce the same XML format and my PHP templates are happily churning along, none the wiser that the publishing engine has changed.

The damage from the move seems to be minor. A doubled time stamp on most of my older posts. I’m hoping to write a script to get rid of that. (UPDATE 2:50 AM: Whoa. MT has search and replace, with perl regex, built in. Doubled dates are gone. This software rocks my world!) My old, uh, permalinks are semi-broken. The thousands of users who have bookmarked my individual posts will still end up the right week, but their anchor tag won’t work. This is because I was unable to preserve the entry IDs while importing from Blogger.

The upside, besides self-hosting and (hopefully) more consistent availability, is a lot more flexibility to add new features. Email-this-entry would be cool, and maybe comments, too.

LukeMelia.com created 1999. ··· Luke Melia created 1976. ··· Live With Passion!
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