Thoughts and essays about music, physics, martinis and pretty girls.

[ about the author ]
Name: Roger L. Smith
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Interests: Astronomy, Science,  Bicycle Racing, Music,  Photography, Tennis, and why...
Occupation: Computer Scientist, Software Engineer

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Martini Records

Roger's original music ]

Martinis at Midnight

Sunday, February 29, 2004


i have no idea what to write tonight. my mind is all mixed up with a lot of nothing, but some images and faces from my past. i see people that i'll probably never see again. i remember times that no one probably remembers, but for some reason, seemed special to me. i remember girls that i wanted to know, but they already knew they didn't want to know me.

now i have stress that is renewed with every rising sun and every rising moon. i've no idea what tomorrow will bring, but i remember yesterday. times were bittersweet.

tomorrow holds a new flavor. it may be something new, never tasted before. it may be bland, something boring, more vanilla. it all goes in the mindblender, and what comes out is life.


to create something from nothing at all
in chemistry class, Harris Hall
friendship, happiness maybe more
we made something I can't ignore

it was this tension when I'd breathe
around my heart like an Easter wreath
something held me carelessly high
and the safety net was never tied

it was warm, delicate, a candle's flame
for my soul I felt her claim
this feeling was soft as feathers fall
and as free as wind and aerosol

love's as free as aerosol
that once blew through Harris Hall
now her perfume fades away
into a warm summer day
it's a scene that'll share us all
love is only aerosol

our experiments in chemistry
are now taught in history
we were pure as distilled water
'til the eye of another caught her

and her flame burnt the wreath
left my heart falling beneath
for now she's gone, maybe forever
i missed the chance to say i love her

love's as free as aerosol
that once blew through Harris Hall
now her perfume fades away
into a warm summer day
it's a scene that'll share us all
love is only aerosol

can you feel the summer breeze
can you feel my burning knees
can you hear my endless prayer
to touch again her golden hair
can you hear my desperate call
please bring back my aerosol

love's as free as aerosol
the one that blew through Harris Hall
now her perfume fades away
into a warm summer day
it's a scene that'll share us all
love is only aerosol

copyright 2004 © Roger Smith

Friday, February 27, 2004

outhouse racing!

as you may already know, i'm a racing fan. i like to race anything. i love bicycle road racing (tour de france) etc. and NASCAR to name a couple.

i thought i'd share with you a different form of racing, outhouse racing. this is a highly refined sport, and draws an elite crowd. the rules are simple: build an outhouse, with seat; put it on skis; push it all as fast as you can for 500 feet.

if you are interested in this type of exciting outdoor winter activity, you better hurry. the next race is this weekend. check it out for yourself:

Thursday, February 26, 2004

grand challenge

today i found an easy way to win $1,000,000. just win the grand challenge. how come i'm always the last to know about these things? oh, how i would love to be involved in something like this!

if you didn't follow the link above, the grand challenge is a race from LA to Las Vegas. the catch is that you only have 10 hours to complete the journey. sound simple? oh ya, and one more thing. you can't have anybody driving the vehicle, it has to drive itself. check this site for answers to your questions.

the first run is in a couple weeks, and there are a bunch of teams that have qualified. check out this list of teams.

the winner of the $1,000,000 will be the first team to cross the finish line, or the first team to complete the course in under 10 hours.

science and machines, what a beautiful combination!

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

what's the point?

do you ever have days where you just get bombarded from every angle with things that you don't know how to deal with? i'm not talking about simple things like work, i'm talking about major life changing situations that will either effect you or someone very close to you.

i don't know how to deal with today... i don't even know how to explain it...

why are we all here? every day i feel like i'm failing at more and more of the things i committed to.

who started the universe?

who created God?

who is God's God?

if i fail in heaven, where will i go? ... if i fail in hell where will i go?

what if there is no God, or heaven, or hell....

what happens if i fail at life....?

what's the point?

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

stirred please!

last night, not two seconds before i was going to sign off for the night, i noticed that Michelle from http://www.shellynna.blogspot.com/ added a link to M at M. i thought it was pretty cool that she linked to me, but what puzzled me was what she wrote about this blog.

she added this as a new entry for the interesting/weird blog title files.

so Michelle, is this blog interesting or weird?

she also declined to listen to my song "Martinis at Midnight", which is a simple solo acoustic guitar instrumental. just between you and me, i think Michelle's a little up tight about the use of the word "Martini".

at any rate, if you'd like to hear my original song called Martinis at Midnight please listen to it at:


it's short and not offensive in any way.

feel free to leave a comment here, i'd love to know what you think!

Monday, February 23, 2004

outsourcing / offshore

there have been 2.5 million jobs lost since bush became president with only a slight recovery since september 2003. since then we've seen the addition of about 73,000 jobs per month.

in the 90's the ITAA (Information Technology Association of America) claimed that in 2003 there would be 1 million new IT jobs, 500,000 going un-filled because there wouldn't be enough educated professionals. of course that debt in IT never occurred, and in fact many of the existing jobs have floated offshore.

in a recent pole, 68% agree that outsourcing is a bad idea, even though economists believe it is good. analysts say that the high tech service sector is outsourcing jobs to india because of cheaper rates which in turn creates less expensive products. this keeps competition in the industry and is good for the economy. they keep claiming that free international trade is positive for our economy, but in my opinion it doesn't work when the economies between countries are not well balanced. theoretically indian software engineers make our money, and then buy american cars? do software developers in india buy american cars? if they do, how can they afford them?

but what is the real savings to US companies when there often is a lack of communication and things occasionally get done incorrectly. for the extra time spent re-doing work or re-communicating the specifications, wouldn't it have been cheaper and quicker to hire someone locally that understands the specific needs and is on location for continuous feedback?

i now have a good job (for the past 6 months), but it took over 4 years to find it. and then when i found it, i had to take a pay cut to get it. luckily i managed to keep the job i had during a particularly nasty downturn in the industry. the company i left immediately outsourced the projects i was working on. this is rather humorous since a different project i originally worked on, i was the one that had to fix the problems that were created by the original developers. the original developers were an IT consulting firm from india.

in the good old days, each college grad had about 7 job offers to choose from, today college grads get on average .5 job offer. that means for every 100 college grads, there are 50 jobs open for them. couple this with the outrageous cost of college, and ask yourself this question "is going to college worth it?" and how can people in india afford to attend universities in the usa?

speaking of costs, what does it cost to buy a loaf of bread in india? today, the exchange rate is 45.33 rupee for each dollar. i read online that what we buy for $1 really only costs about 10 rs in india, therefore in terms of actual purchasing power, someone making $10/hour has actually $50 purchasing power. it also claimed that a microsoft access IT professional isn't worth more than $10/hour, duh that's $50 an hour here! i also read that for $700/month you could get a real good skilled programmer. what good american business man wouldn't pay $10/hour for IT work? ... considering that a cashier at walmart makes more than that.

so what's wrong with sending work overseas if indian IT professionals are educated, thorough and work happily at poverty levels? i don't know that you can blame US based companies that need IT work done. why should they pay 5 times as much for the same work? the fault isn't with american business, it's with the government. our overpaid and bloated government needs to figure out a way to level the playing field.

the information that i've provided was taken from programs on NPR and also taken from some on-line sources. if my facts are wrong, let me know. i'm not trying in any way to put down american companies or india IT firms. i just believe that there is an imbalance somewhere.

from NPR programs 2/23/2004, other online sources and personal opinions

Sunday, February 22, 2004

10,000 Hz legend

today was a great day for me. it's been a long time since things were this easy. my kids made me proud. i'm a happy dad.

i'm listening to some "new to me" music. Air - 10,000 Hz legend. i know this record has been out for a few years, but i'm just getting around to checking it out. it seems to have a lot of "beck" influence, which is good. in fact "the vagabond" was co-performed with beck. i'm liking this record, and looking forward to hearing more of their new release. with titles like "sex born poison" and "wonder milky bitch" you can't go wrong. this cd has a unique flavor that i like.

i think i may devote part of this blog to music reviews. if anyone has a record or song they'd like me to review, let me know.

if you'd like to check out my original music, go to:


i'm always open to reviews and comments.


Friday, February 20, 2004

Snowy Moon

belts, straps, leather-skin tight
i hunt the unicorn tonight
winter whites, midnight blues
mercury lights, china shoes

long since set my harvest sun
feed the hunt fearless one
better fly south crazy loon
by the light of snowy moon

magic powers, working proud
meteor showers, atomic cloud
savor solitudes leather cocoon
tasting the light of snowy moon

onward soldier, we must fight
by the glow of heavens light
catch a breath, catch it soon
in the shadows of snowy moon

lie still my precious one
because tonight I have won
there's nowhere for you to run
lie still, your game is done

you should've flown like a loon
through the light of snowy moon
lunch is done, bells ring noon
i bathe in the freedom of snowy moon

copyright 2004 © Roger Smith

Thursday, February 19, 2004

human christmas trees

for almost 5 years i worked in a fairly large international corporation. to be successful in this company one only had to appear to be valuable, not necessarily have the skills to be productive. if you were able to dodge problems by quickly pointing a finger at someone else, and you appeared valuable, then you survived. unless of course you were one of the few that could actually solve problems.

the past 5 years for this industry were trying times. many people were let go, almost 50% in some cases. it seemed as if there were cuts happening every few months. you could always tell when the axe was falling, the local tv news truck was pulled up outside with their skylink satellite dish pointing toward God letting him know that there was going to be less in the church collection plate for the next few months.

i managed to survive until i was offered a job with another company and managed to make a quick exit. i hope the reason that i was never "let go" is because i had some level of skill that they valued. i surely didn't point the blame finger to anyone, and i never sank low enough to wear an "important person disguise". by this i mean i was never a human christmas tree.

you see, human christmas trees are the people that decorate themselves every morning with several items that have blinking lights, make sounds and sometimes even go buzz buzz. what i'm talking about are the cell phones, beepers, and palm pilots. the standard mentality of the people i worked with was such that they thought the more blinking lights they had hanging from their growing mid-sections, the better their chances were at keeping their jobs. it was quite common to see people with more than one cell phone, more than one beeper and a pda. and they tended to walk like either they just hopped off their horse, or they had a lap-top stuck sideways between their thighs. in corporate america it's a bad idea to carry anything in your hands, you may have to make a quick finger point to divert blame.

i guess the thing that bothers me the most about the christmas trees is that they managed to survive many cuttings. their disguises convinced the axe man they shouldn't be cut. and i also saw good people get the boot, and i can't explain why.

to all the christmas trees in the world, christmas is past. put away the decorations and do your job. and i hope all the hard working people that lost their jobs have now gotten new and more meaningful positions.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

new haiku

ice begins to thaw
water seeps into the earth
zamboni rusting

dvd burner
flat plasma screen monitor
worthless tomorrow

register domain
web code, pay pal, shopping cart
who really gets rich?

green beer, shamrock shake
ruben and his own sandwich
not st. atkins day

dean out, kerry in
who will race the president?
hillary beats bush

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

when electrons were free

i was just reading an article titled Physicists attach cosmological model found on
PhysicsWeb. it has some interesting information that relates to a post i made earlier about dark energy.

Monday, February 16, 2004

what a great feeling

i just realized that i had a nice comment on one of my original songs! the song is called "Snow Dance" and it is online at my SongRamp website. i also received a vote for this song too. what great timing this is to get encouraging words on one of my creations. i've been feeling a bit apathetic about my music lately. maybe this will be just the kick in the butt i need.

Snow Dance is a song i wrote a year or so ago. it's solo acoustic guitar, played be your truly, recorded in one take. if you have a minute, take a listen to this song, or maybe the other two that i have at SongRamp. i always welcome any comments, positive or negative.


Sunday, February 15, 2004

gentlemen start your engines

every blogger has the right to deviate, from time to time, from the description of their blog. today i shall do just that.

it was a big day for me, being a NASCAR fan, or NASCAR dad as we are now known. today was the start of the 2004 NASCAR Nextel cup series. it was such a big deal that the president was there. it looks like he is trying real hard to connect with a large portion of the voting public, the NASCAR dad. he needs to do something because it looks like his approval rating is just about to go a lap down. at any rate, i suppose it was cool that he was there for the opening race, even though he probably didn't see the finish or even care to see the finish.

i started watching racing when i was a young kid. i rooted for Richard Petty, Cale Yarborough, and eventually Dale Earnhardt. now that i have two great kids, i've found myself becomming even more of a racing fan. i was happy to see Tony Stewart do well today, and was very glad that Michael Waltrip was not hurt during his accident. i'm always rooting for Johnny Benson, but it always seems he gets the short end of the stick. Johnny, your day is coming again soon! hang in there!

with the 2004 NASCAR season now under way, a presidential election beginning to heat up and a summer olympics just around the corner it should be an interesting year. i wonder where George W will show up next? probably not at the tour de france.

Saturday, February 14, 2004

tonight i'm enjoying some music i haven't listened to in a little while. i'm listening to moby's record "play". there is something about this record that i really like. i particularly like "if things were perfect", which is playing right now. this song really captures what i'm feeling right now. mid-winter... cold.... alone on valentines day.

give me summer...

go enjoy moby

my valentine

rose petals and satin sheets
champagne and chocolate treats
music smooth as your silky skin
caress your body and soul within

those eyes sparkle like diamond chips
the sweetest taste of strawberry lips
and a smile as fresh as morning dew
my valentine, i do love you

relax your body, open your mind
solace is waiting for us to find
just say you will always be mine
together we'll fly my valentine

we'll fly on cupid's silver arrow
whether our path turns wide or narrow
we'll always find the perfect line
together, forever, my valentine

i'll hold you close and you will hear
a love song start it's twentieth year
it's soft as petals on satin sheet
or the pitter patter of tiny feet

it's warm like tiny kitten kisses
'cause cupid's arrow never misses
it took a path straight and true
my valentine, i do love you

relax your body, open your mind
solace is waiting for us to find
just say you will always be mine
together we'll fly my valentine

copyright 2004 © Roger Smith

Friday, February 13, 2004

dark energy

is this what is causing the expansion of the universe to accelerate? does it really exist?
who knows?

in 1917 Einstein came up with a theory that described something he called the cosmological constant. Einstein believed that the universe was static and that some force kept it that way, otherwise it would collapse inward on itself. Edwin Hubble later proclaimed that the universe was not static, but instead it was expanding. after Hubble's discovery, Einstein quickly discarded his idea of a constant force keeping the universe static. Einstien's cosmological constant could have actaully been the first theory of dark energy.

in recent years experiments have shown that it is possible for the vacuum of space to be not as empty as once thought. particles can form from energy in space and then immediately be destroyed. some say that this bubbling of energy could act as anti-gravity and could be what we are now calling dark energy.

it is thought that gravity, which is the warping of space/time, holds ordinary matter together like planets, stars, and galaxies. conversly dark energy (anti-gravity) could be pulling or stretching the fabric of space/time causing the universe to expand.

scientists have also shown that there is more heat energy in the cosmic microwave background (cmb) where there are more galaxies. the cmb is the blanket of radiation left behind from the big-bang. the explanation for this extra heat energy in the cmb could be that as light particles (photons) are tugged by the gravitational force of galaxies they gain some energy and are not losing that energy as they move away from the galaxy. an explanation for this may be the repulsive, anti-gravity force of dark energy. this extra energy found in the photons may explain the increase in heat in the cmb near galaxies.

a guess of whats out there
the concordance model is a popular model of the universe, and it states that the universe contains about 5% ordinary matter, 25% dark matter, 70% dark energy.

but there are other questions and inconsistencies about dark energy.

since there is such a small amount of ordinary matter in the concordance model, galaxies in the universe should have stopped changing a long time ago and should be similar today as they were then. by examining galaxies at different distances from us, scientists can get a picture of how things were in the past and how things are as time passed. it has been shown that galaxies in the distant past were emitting more xrays, which show that things have changed. this makes scientists believe that there is more matter in the uinverse because things are still changing. their assumptions are that there is much more ordinary matter in the universe and much less or possibly no dark energy.

read more about dark energy from these references


Thursday, February 12, 2004

off center society

i listen to the radio most of the time i am at work. i primarily list to NPR (National Public Radio) on Michgan Radio. i hear a lot of political and government speaking, among other things, that is always very interesting, educational and entertaining.

i particularly enjoy diane rehm, fresh air, science friday, all things considered, and talk of the nation.

one of the things i have observed is that when guests are talking about science, technology,
medicine, books, music etc... they respond to questions with understandable and logical answers.

however when guests talk about government, business and politics, they sometimes go into a mode where
they feel privledged to respond to questions with answers that have nothing to do with the question.
why is this behavior acceptable in our society?

this reminds me of a year ago when there was a lot of news about the first cloned human baby. some lady (that's nearly as smart as a box of hammers) attempted to answer techinal questions about how the baby was cloned. she could give no scientific proof of their claim and was briefly laughed at and quickly forgotten. why do we as a society, allow business people, politicians, and government officials dodge touchy questions, when scientists and technical people are expected to be direct and honest?

why is this even important? it is becuase i believe that scientists, authors, musicians and creative people are more honest and held to higher standards than those running our nation and it's largest corporations. it is these same honest, creative, technical people that struggle the hardest to rise above middle class, while politicians, and buisiness people reap the riches of an off center society.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

2004 predictions

1. Kerry will gain much support and win the democratic presidential nomination.

2. OBL will be extracted from the "Cave-Inn" somewhere between Afghanistan and Pakistan just before the 2004 presidential election.

3. Bush will win re-election because of this.

4. real music will return to the 2005 grammys

timeless words of advice

make sure you know what you're doing before you "shock & awe" a middle-eastern country.
make sure you are wearing a bra before you "shock & awe" a superbowl halftime show.
even the most powerful people in the world can suffer from "intelligence failure".
jackson, bush, jackson, stewart

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

i'm not sure what to write tonight. my feelings and mind are scrambled like eggs. in reality it's the same old - same old... but i had a comment on my blog. and that makes me feel great.

other things make me feel sad, but i'm not going into that right now....

i wish i had the same old drive, to sit down and write a real song...

maybe someday it will come back.

Monday, February 09, 2004

2004 grammy awards

i thought the 2004 grammy awards was the saddest display of music in years. apparently this was the year for r&b and rap. a couple years ago, i found myself liking alicia keys, but I can't say the same this year for beyonce.

i was happy to see pat metheny score another grammy, but I argue that "one quiet night" is not a new age record. i find it hard to believe that solo acoustic guitar is new age, it's more like old age. don't get me wrong, i think pat metheny is one of the most talented and gifted musicians alive today. "one quiet night" is a good record, but IMHO it isn't one of his best.

i'd like to congratulate alison krauss and union station on their win for best bluegrass album - Live. this is a fantastic double CD, a must have for any lover of acoustic music.

otherwise the grammys didn't grab me much this year. do you have an opinion? let me know.

Sunday, February 08, 2004

The universe seems to have no end. Every day it expands, getting bigger, bigger and still bigger. Energy is being compacted and converted into mass at the speed of light. New stars evolve. Eventually they'll get friends to run circles around them and worship them and do whatever they want. With this pattern, the universe continues to swell and nurture.

I seem to have fallen out of the arms of the universe. I haven't enough energy to become a star. I haven't the talent or personality to attract new friends. It seems I barely have to strength to continue. Yes, I'm feeling overwhelmed with life...

The universe has no end, but I do. I hope that when comes my end, I will have done the things that were important to me.

Saturday, February 07, 2004

Middle Age Musician (lunch hour life)

twenty four hours in repetition
to realize my life's ambition
but only an hour is really mine
all the rest is bound in twine

bound in responsibility
squeezing the life out of me
that's not what i'd hoped it'd be
some nobody dying for time

but every day i have one hour
where i'm the one that has the power
to cut some twine with a plastic knife
i live for my lunch hour life

for it's an hour every day
I can do whatever I please
I can play sing or try to dance
with my glad wrapped ham and cheese

my lunch hour life comes then goes
i need a break like no one knows
i breath deep as life goes through me
i exhale the warmth of my history

my future is tomorrow noon
i'll try to play a better tune
dance, sing and pretend to smile
a middle age musician in denial

and every day i have one hour
where i'm the one that has the power
i cut some twine with a plastic knife
i live for my lunch hour life

for it's the hour every day
I can do whatever I please
I can play sing or try to dance
with my glad wrapped ham and cheese

and every day i have one hour
where i'm the one that has the power
i cut some twine with a plastic knife
i live for my lunch hour life

copyright © 2004 Roger Smith

I'm not sure what I posted last night... Could have been a song, but most likely just more late night random thoughts.

This evening I took a nap for more than a couple hours. I needed the sleep in a bad way.

Everybody has heard of burning the candle at both ends, mine seems to be like that too... and it's also in the microwave.
I wonder if a candle would burn in the microwave... Sounds like and experiment for tomorrow. :)

Anyhow, I have no new bits of science, physics, or music to offer today.


Thursday, February 05, 2004


why is music good
when it makes you cry
why is life bad
when it makes you cry

it's an emotion - relation
ships gone to sea
just to see
what they can see

why is life good
when it makes you laugh
why is sex bad
when she starts to laugh

it's a spectrum of feelings
wrapped up in a bow
and how much it hurts
you'll never know

why am i here
don't know the answer
just waiting in line
till i get my cancer

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

SPACE.com -- Something Amazing Every Day

Monday, February 02, 2004

Quark Gluon Plasma, QGP, RHIC, Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, Brookhaven National Laboratory, BNL, phobos, phenix, brahms, star

Check out the link above, it is a link to Brookhaven National Laboratory and their Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider. For a general re-fresher on nuclear physics, check out the following link:


Sunday, February 01, 2004

Tomorrow's Door

i don't care what people think
i may shave my head, paint it pink
i just might get a blue tattoo
that looks just a little like you

if you think to me ask why
it's 'cause you blew our final try
now i'm gonna do what feels right to me
then do it for all my eternity

i've already got my pajamas on
i'm dancin' down the amazon
i'm not afraid anymore
what's behind tomorrows door

you say i'm the nerd of the herd
the all time looniest, looney bird
that must've eaten a radioactive worm

i don't care what anyone thinks
if i take too long fixing my sleepy drinks
because, to me, my worlds a bore
i wanna play behind tomorrows door

i've already got my pajamas on
i'm dancin' down the amazon
i'm not afraid anymore
what's behind tomorrows door

because when i think, i tend to sink
my lifeless stare dies in a pepper blink
and i don't care what you may think
i'll say goodnight and forget to wink

i've already got my pajamas on
i'm dancin' down the amazon
i'm not afraid anymore
what's behind tomorrows door

copyright © 2004 Roger Smith


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