Monday, November 29, 2004

King of the Road

Mission accomplished. I have a new car. Well, new to me, anyway. Last Friday, we got to Long Island and picked up a 1992 Oldsmobile Ninety Eight that is still in pretty sweet condition. It's got about 101,000 miles on it, but the owner took good care of it. It's definitely a mack daddy mobile, a big steel cruiser in a world of plastic compacts. Drove it from L.I. to New Jersey with no problems. We had a good weekend hanging with Matt, Tricia and the boys and celebrating Timmy's 1st birthday on Saturday.

Sunday morning, we left early in the pouring rain to hopefully beat the traffic jams, me leading the way and Deb and the girls following. About two minutes into the trip, the "check battery" light comes on. This car warns you when the gas tank gets below a quarter, so I wasn't sure if it was just a warning to have the battery checked soon. When the message didn't go away, I called Deb and we pulled over. After consulting the manual, I decided it was better not to chance it and break down somewhere on I-84 or the Mass Pike, so we turned around to head back to Matt's house. Good move. About five minutes away, the battery just died. I pulled over and waited for help while Deb went back to Matt's. He came and joined me and eventually we had the car towed by AAA to a garage, but since it was Sunday, there was no way we could get it looked at until Monday. So we had to extend the stay for another day and hope we could resolve it quickly and inexpensively.

This morning, we learned that the alternator had crapped out, so we had it replaced and the battery recharged for $200, and off we went hoping and praying we'd make it home all right. I'm pleased to report I didn't have a problem at all and we made it home in good time, helped by the beautiful weather and decent traffic. Of course, we both missed a day of work, but what can you do? Now I just hope the Olds can give me a couple of years of commuting to Marblehead and back.

In important invention news, some MBA student has invented glow-in-the-dark thongs. I'm kind of surprised that this hasn't already been developed. Wonder if the guy came up with the idea after watching Skin Deep, the John Ritter flick with the glow-in-the-dark condom scene. Don't waste your money renting it, look for it late night on Starz37, airing right after the immortal Loverboy, starring the equally immortal Patrick Dempsey. And Tayback. How can you forget Tayback?

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Heading Out to the Highway

Ah, Thanksgiving. Probably the biggest stress-inducing time of the year for most folks, what with the driving and the eating and the uncomfortable family gatherings and the GLAAAAYVEN. The last few years have been pretty relaxed for us. We're having it here again, with Deb's mom doing the cooking and her brother Steve and his wife Patty joining us. But the driving begins early Friday morning, as we hit the road for Long Island so I can at long last get a car. A '92 Oldsmobile (not sure what model) to be exact, a gift from the mom of a friend of Deb's. She was getting rid of it anyway, but supposedly it still runs fine. After we get the car, we continue on to New Jersey to visit Deb's other brother, Matt, and his family; there's a party Saturday for his boy Timmy's first birthday. Then we bring the ve-hicles back Sunday.

Last Friday night was a blast as I got together with my fellow nerdz from Webnoize to celebrate the third anniversary of Black Friday, the day we were all laid off. We met at the Miracle of Science, one of our regular watering holes in Cambridge. Although we didn't do so much lamenting and rehashing as we did catching up since the last time we gathered. 'Twas much fun indeed.

Also Friday night was a less cordial affair during the Pacers-Pistons game, when Ron Artest went into the stands after a fan who dumped beer on him and all hell broke loose. I'm not going to rehash the details because it's been beaten to death by this point, but it did remind me an incident way back in '79 when a bunch of Boston Bruins climbed into the stands at Madison Square Garden and fought with Rangers fans. Allegedly provoked by a fan who grabbed Bruin Stan Jonathan's stick, the melee's high and low points occurred when defenseman Mike Milbury was caught on tape ripping a fan's shoe off and beating him with it. It's remembered as a comical episode, but if it happened today, I suspect the response would have been similar.

Happy Tryptophan Day!

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Running Free

Hey there, ho there.

Today's headline doesn't refer to my return to running. Alas, I've decided to shut it down for the year rather than start again. The Achilles' soreness is getting better, but it's not 100% yet. Although I did sign up for the Vermont City Marathon in Burlington on May 29th. I plan to start running again after January 1 and should have plenty of time to ease back into it. It's been tough just riding exercise bikes and cardio machines, but I have been getting in some good leg workouts. And nobody's been showing up for hockey on Tuesday nights, so we've had some grueling 4-on-4 games that have been whipping me into shape.

So anyhoo, the headline refers to the great metal meisters Iron Maiden, who I've been listening to courtesy of a compilation made for me by a co-worker who also was a teenage metalhead back in tha day. I had all their albums on vinyl up through 1986's Somewhere In Time; after that, I started drifting away from the metal and getting into the so-called alternative stuff like U2, INXS and Camper Van Beethoven. Eventually, I gave away all my metal records, a move I regret. But I still had some cassettes that I'd listen to every so often. I picked up Number of the Beast, which I consider their best, on CD a few years back. The comp I got, dubbed Maiden Marblehead (where we work) by my friend Paul, features a great cross-section of their stuff from their first two albums with singer Paul Di'Anno through their more popular albums with Bruce Dickinson. Dickinson left the band in the early '90s for a solo career and is now back with them. They had some ridiculous songs, to be sure (Harry Shearer once cited them as one of the influences for Spinal Tap), but they also kicked major butt. Listening to this stuff takes me back to my days as a scrawny little puke who wore Maiden and Rush pins on his ski vest. Rawk.

Speaking of rock, the name of the game lately seems to be reunited. And it feels so good for fans of the some great alt-rock bands of the '80s. The Pixies are doing boffo business on their extended reunion tour; I'm going to see them in Lowell in a few weeks with another reunited act, Mission of Burma, opening up. Camper Van Beethoven, Wire, the Buzzcocks and Television have all gotten back together and Gang of Four just announced they'll be hitting the road again soon. But one band for which a reunion seems unlikely is Husker Du; at least it did until a few weeks ago, when Bob Mould and Grant Hart jumped on stage (NYT: registration required) to perform a few Husker songs ("Hardly Getting Over It" and "Never Talking to You Again") at a benefit for Soul Asylum's Karl Mueller, who has cancer. Here's photographical evidence of the performance, which brought together two-thirds of one of the greatest bands of all time. It was an unlikely pairing given the rancor that existed within the band before they split in the late '80s. And although Husker fans got all wound up at the possibility of a reunion, Mould poured some cold water on the idea this week in his blog (scroll down to the November 15 entry). Oh well, one can dream. For a schmuck like me who missed out on all these great bands the first time around (because I was busy listening to the metal), reunions are my only chance to witness them live. I've seen Mould play solo and with his band Sugar several times, but it'd be nice to see Hukker Pu, as Briggy likes to call them. And the Replacements, too, dammit.

After a five-month absence due to InterWeb issues, Doctor Doobs is back at it with his Thespians Anonymous blog, unveiling the rare and interesting rock from his vast collection. Wilkommen.

Well, the FCC's at it again. Oh, the outrage against ABC, which aired a teaser before the Eagles-Cowboys game Monday featuring Terrell Owens and an apparently nude Nicollette Sheridan of ABC's new hit show Desperate Housewives (good show, by the way). FCC Chairman and Head Pig-Dog Michael Powell bemoaned the incident, wondering what Walt Disney would have thought. Puh-leeze. Unlike Nipplegate, no body parts were flashed, except for the implied nudity when Sheridan dropped her towel. You see more skin from the cheerleaders and the Coors Light commercials. Ridiculous.

Not that Apple needs any more exposure for the iPod, but dayamn, Vince.

Mmm...miracle sandwich.

Saturday, November 13, 2004


We got our first snowfall of the season yesterday. It only amounted to about three inches of the white stuff, just enough to create havoc on the roadways. Lucky for me, I had to head up to Manchester, NH, to pick up my bro and his wife from the airport. During rush hour. As it turned out, the snow was worse down here than it was up there. Still, it was a cruel reminder that winter's right around the corner.

A 56-year-old woman gave birth to twins this week, and next month, a 59-year-old grandmother will do the same. Dizzamn. Those kids are getting moms and grandmothers all rolled into one.

In NYC, even the mannequins have got back. This is perfect timing for the producers of the "Mannequin" movie series, who can now complete the trilogy with Beyonce as their bootylicious babe.

This is truly awesome.

Science is truly amazing. Ladies and gents, I present to you the Drumbot 3000.

Late-breaking rap news: ODB just died. Seriously. The guy was kinda nuts, but he was pretty talented. In tribute, I bring you this oldie but goodie: the Wu Name Generator. Just now, the name I received was Bitter Wizard. But my favorite Wu Name was the first I ever ran through the generator, back when I was kickin' it at the Webnoize: Sheepish Lord of Chaos. Nice. Rest in peace, dawg.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

November Reign

Well, well, well, Georgie Boy won. At first, it appeared we might have a repeat of 2000 on our hands, with hundreds of thousands of provisional ballots in Ohio holding things up. But it became apparent that Bush's lead was just big enough that it wouldn't have made a difference, so Kerry conceded quickly on Wednesday. Although I have to laugh when Bush talks about his "clear mandate." Fifty-one to 48 isn't a clear mandate, it's a country divided. The real deciding factor in this election wasn't the war on terror, the economy, or the candidates' war records (or lack thereof). It was the issue of gay marriage that brought out conservative Christian voters in droves, voting down same-sex marriage ballot initiatives throughout the country and voting in the presidential candidate who was against same-sex marriage. In the end, the states for Kerry were up and down the coasts, while Bush took the heartland. There have been a lot of conservatives gloating in the last few days, as well as liberals threatening to move to Canada. It also inspired this fine piece of cartography, which is making the rounds on the InterWeb.

Canadian immigration officials felt the need to warn would-be American expatriates of the piles of paperwork necessary to apply for Canuckian status. Being a Canadian by birth (and a U.S. citizen for the last 15 years), I have no desire to live in my homeland. Too damn expensive. There are taxes on everything, including the taxes. Cool place to visit, though.

The NHL canceled the 2005 All-Star game. It won't be long until they wipe out the entire season. I don't see any hope for this year; they haven't even been meeting, let alone making any progress. At least the Hockey Hall of Fame is still honoring a superb class this year, with Ray Bourque, Paul Coffey, Larry Murphy and Cliff Fletcher getting inducted tomorrow night. Here's a great feature from the Boston Globe about Bourque, one of the classiest and best d-men of all time.

Today would have been my dad's 64th birthday. Here's to you, big guy. And will you turn off the TVLand reruns and go to bed?

Monday, November 01, 2004

Dora, Elvis Superfly and Boots kick it at a Halloween party. Sweeeeeet. Posted by Hello
I Wanna Be Elected

After months of jibber-jabbering and mudslinging, it all comes down to tomorrow. Election Day. Why do I get the feeling we're still going to be wondering who the next president is a month from now? Yeesh.

Halloween was fun for the girls. My office hosted its annual Halloween parade in which employees' kids come and do their trick or treating in the office. It's a good candy haul for the kids and a lot of fun. Some departments go all out in decorating their areas; the Finance Department took top honors for their painstaking rendition of Fenway Park. The timing was good because the Sox won the World Series the night before. My group ended up not doing anything, so I dressed up as Elvis Superfly. The costume can be summed up as such: jumpsuit, 'fro, fat. Deb brought the girls in. Hannah was dressed as Dora the Explorer and Lily was Dora's sidekick Boots the Monkey. Photo to come. They had a blast. The Halloween vibe continued as we went down to Joisey to my bro-in-law Matt's house for their kids' Halloween party Saturday. And then we got back to Sunday and took the girls to a few neighbors' houses for Halloween itself. We don't get many trick-or-treaters on our street, which is off the busy Route 1A. I counted six groups of kids the entire night, which set a new record for us. All of which means we've got a ton of candy sitting around that I need to take to work before I inhale it all.

The Patriots finally had their 21-game winning streak snapped yesterday by the Steelers, who soundly thrashed them 34-20. Hey, they were due.

Instead of Hockey Night in Canada, the CBC is showing Saturday night movies. And the sad thing for the NHL is, they're getting nearly the same ratings. My guess is folks are gathering around their sets in the Great White North, hoping against hope that the Leafs game will be on. I suspect there won't be any games for quite some time. Although it's nice to see that some dissension is growing among the players, especially the lower-paid ones who have the most to lose from a prolonged work stoppage.

As always, The Onion kicks ass.