Thursday, July 26, 2007

Another Networkers Done...

Well today we had the final day of the conference. The keynote today was given by John Cleese of Monty Python fame. He was extremely funny, but at the same time had a great message about life and how we need to allow ourselves mistakes or we won't be able to learn. We had a lot of people coming in late and hung over this morning after the customer appreciation event that happened last night. The feature act was KISS.

Tomorrow I fly home in the afternoon and will hopefully be in Springfield by 11pm or so. I plan on crashing at my parents in Sherman and then finishing the drive to Jacksonville Saturday morning.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Seven Points

So this morning I took my free certification exam at networkers. Thankfully the keyword was free. I really should have studied just a bit more. I missed passing by 7 measly little points. Nothing like a good start of the day ego deflater. I have two tests left for my CCSP, the one I just blew and the IPS exam. Need to get my butt in gear and study hard for both and get this thing done. I've been working on it for 2 years now.

Last night NetQoS hosted a party at the House of Blues that I was invited to (should have stayed in my hotel and studied). I must not be a normal geek or something. The food was completely vegetarian and meager at that. Guess the others were happy getting drunk on free beer. Oh well.

Tonight is the KISS concert. I'll go to the event for sure, just wondering if I'll be able to stay up late enough for the KISS part since it's not starting until after 10pm which is still midnight body time.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Networkers 2007 Post 1

Well I made it to Anaheim Saturday night after an eventful day of flying. First I woke up late and missed my flight by about 5 minutes in Springfield due to some faulty alarms. I made it to Chicago on the next flight and thankfully my corporate travel agent was able to get me to San Francisco and then on to Anaheim. Yesterday's Techtorial was a bit of a disappointment. Usually techtorials are highly packed training, but this one was basically a marketing deluge about a new product.

Today has been good, my morning lab was extremely hands-on and very good. Right now I'm waiting for my afternoon session to start on DNS implementations in the Enterprise... sounds exciting to you non-geeks now doesn't it?

On a random note I found out today that is also in the LA area this week for something. Being so close to Disneyland I feel that a rousing chorus of "It's a Small World" might just be in order... but then again maybe not.

Friday, July 13, 2007

NPM Thoughts and Reflections

Well I'm back in Jacksonville. I ended up skipping the morning session today in the interest of getting the drive home underway while alert. Overall the convention was great. I got to personally meet and talk to David Haas, Fr. John Foley, SJ, Fr. Roc O'Connor, SJ, Fr. Bob Dufford, SJ, Steve Angrisano, and Tom Booth! Totally awesome to get to discuss liturgy and music with the guys that are composing our church's music. The St. Louis Jesuits gave a concert which was awesome, it's amazing how much energy they all have considering the youngest is right around 60. Fr. Roc O'Connor is like a kid at times. When he gets excited he just starts hopping with a grin and his tongue sticking out. Yes I know... I am Ben Story and I'm a Catholic music junkie. Come on of course I am, who else would have bought David Haas, Marty Haugen and Bob Hurd CDs in high school instead of say Greenday?

Speaking of CDs, I splurged a bit at the booths and bought a few CDs and even got one given to me. The free one is a CD/book set from Good for the Soul Music. It's part of their Companions on the Journey (COJO) series. They're geared as guided reflections either for personal use or in a small group situation. I was getting ready to buy the one they have entitled Love Letters and the guy at the booth gave it to me for free in exchange for me giving him a review when I was done listening to it. I've listened to the first few tracks and it really is quite good. This set's goal is to explore love in the context of our relationship with God, ourselves and others. Really powerful songs accompany each reflection. They also have COJO's for Music Ministry, Lent, Christmas and Grief. They're working on more to come. I really think I'll try to get a young adult faith sharing group setup this fall and use the Love Letters one to start.

I also bought a new Steve Angrisano CD called Welcome Home and a new Matt Maher one called Overflow both from OCP. The Matt Maher one is going to need to grow on me a bit. The first listening caught me off guard when compared with the other CD of his I have. Steve Angrisano's was really good. I also bought a CD entitled Defining Beauty by a lady by the name of Danielle Rose that I talked about in a previous entry. She is currently an artist with WLP. That CD is really really awesome.

As for the sessions themselves, they were generally good although most of mine turned into marketing seminars of sorts for the artists involved. I was a little bit surprised with the seemingly uniform push to go to songs with antiphons that the congregation sings and then having either the choir or cantor only singing the verses. This seems like a step backwards to me in terms of Vatican II's push for "full, active and conscious participation" in the Mass by the congregation. The other big push seemed to be Spanish music. I'm a little bit perplexed at this because I'm trying to figure out when the US went from being a melting pot to a compartmentalized society. I'm fourth generation Italian American, but I don't go around wanting things in Italian to support my heritage. I'm an American first and foremost as were my ancestors once they arrived here. My Grandparents both spoke English as a point of pride in being American. While I look forward to the Mexican influences in our music, I think it can be done while still using English which more of the congregation knows. You should have seen the blank stares when they had the 2nd Reading at Mass completely proclaimed in Spanish. I'm sure it was a wonderful reading, but until I look it up in my Bible I will have no idea.

Well that's enough for now, time to go to the parental units and go see Harry Potter. :-)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Crawling In..

Yes, that's right I'M crawling back to my hotel room after midnight while attending the National Association of Pastoral Musicians conference. They had a concert tonight with some of the best of the best of contemporary Catholic Christian music including Tom Booth, Steve Angrisano, John Angotti, as well as some newer artists from GIA and WLP that I hadn't heard of yet. The concert was awesome! One of the newer artists, a lady by the name of Danielle Rose. She was on FIRE with the spirit, smiling from ear to ear and then some. She announced she was soon going to move to a Fransiscan community in Texas to become a novitiate which is probably where her glow came from.

What an awesome night.

Sunday, July 1, 2007


Ok so I've been watching a lot of Star Trek Voyager on DVD lately and it's gotten me to thinking. Several of the episodes revolve around things occurring on the ship's holodeck. For those of you not familiar with Star Trek technology, the holodeck is a large room on the ship where holographic images of places and characters can be produced that the crew can interact with as if they were real. One of the programs that became a favorite of the crew was called Fair Haven. Fair Haven was a small Irish coastal town complete with the local Pub and church. For a while in their day crew members can retreat to the Holodeck and immerse themselves in a kind of dream to unwind from their stress.

This has gotten me thinking about where and when (it could be any time period) I would choose to go to relax if I had a holodeck at my disposal. I think I would like to find a program that would be in a small town somewhere in Italy (hey it's Star Trek, I'd have the universal translator). I'm not sure what year, but definitely in a slower calmer time. It would be nice to sit at a street side table drinking some wine and watching people stroll around.

How about you? Where and when would you go?

Lyrical Thought #50


Krystal Meyers

We all long to belong
We all need to be needed
Loneliness is our disease
Still we bite the hand that feeds
Where did we go wrong
Insecure and self-sufficient
Building up walls instead of bridges

Let our lonely hearts collide
We're made to live this life
Reach across this great divide
Cuz standing side by side is better

All the pride we defend
Teaches us to pretend
Like we can make it on our own
But we were never made to walk alone

Let the lines between us disappear
It starts now
It starts here