Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Gravity's Gone

Back in the Bay State again. I got back yesterday from Orlando after three days in the Magic Kingdom at a conference. It was good to see the girls again. I didn't have much time to enjoy Florida; when I wasn't working, it was raining. At least I got a couple of runs in.

Hello? Is it me you're looking for?
  • I managed to crank out a guest post this morning for my pal OJ's Clicky Clicky blog, pontificating on Canadian music, so go over there and patronize that fine Internet home page.
  • I was psyched that the NHL draft started at 6 p.m. Saturday because I figured I'd be able to watch it when I got to Orlando. But of course, my flight was delayed nearly three hours, so I didn't arrive until 8:30 and didn't get to my hotel for another hour after that. I was pretty happy that the Leafs traded for Bruins goalie Andrew Raycroft, even though they had to give up a good prospect in Tuukka Rask. I was hoping they'd sign a big-name free agent defenseman since it looked like Bryan McCabe wasn't going to finalize the deal he'd agreed to weeks ago, but TSN's reporting that he signed it. Not sure how this is going to affect the rest of their offseason signings, but they need more.
  • We never knew how prescient Mike Myers was with his "Austin Powers" movies until this case came along, raising the profile of a certain kind of pump, so to speak.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Video Killed the Radio Star

Just testing out a little YouTube goodness for ya. This is a pair of Japanese commercials that David Lee Roth did for Toshiba circa 1988. Classic.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Everybody Gets One for Free

Hey now now. Just throwing a little midweek blogification at ya. A couple more days of work before I fly out to lovely Orlando on Saturday for a conference; should be nice and sweltering.

Big ups to the Carolina Hurricanes for prevailing over the Edmonton Oilers in game 7 Monday night to win the Stanley Cup. I was rooting for the Oil to complete their comeback from a 3-1 series deficit, but it wasn't to be. The seventh game was a hell of a battle, though. The Canes took a 2-0 lead, but the Oilers scored early in the third and kept coming until Carolina scored an empty-netter with a minute to go. The hitting was ferocious, the goaltending spectacular. I'm happy for guys like Glen Wesley, Rod Brind'Amour and Bret Hedican, grizzled veterans who had gone Cupless until now. NBC did a nice job with its coverage, despite the fact that the ratings were predictably paltry. Now on to the offseason: The NHL awards are handed out tomorrow, the draft is Saturday, and on July 1, the free agent derby begins.

Woohah! Got you all in check:
  • When I get back from the land of Disney, I will be doing a little guest blogmatizing for my good buddy OJ, who will be off partying it up in Jamaica at a wedding next week. His Clicky Clicky music blog is always an interesting read for anyone interested in the indie rock and such. I will drop some rock knowledge on the CC next Wednesday, in case you want to check it out.
  • I read Pitchfork every day, but its "indier-than-thou" 'tude doth grow tiresome at times. Still, I must bow down with respect to its awesomely awesome feature, 100 Awesome Music Videos. It's a collection of YouTube clips compiled by the Pfork staff and it is truly inspired: everything from Talking Heads to the Super Bowl Shuffle to Journey's amazingly craptastic "Separate Ways." Don't try watching them at work, because you'll never get anything done.
  • This story came across the digital transom last week, but I wanted to mention it. Boston Globe sportswriter Chris Snow, a 24-year-old covering the Red Sox beat, was named director of hockey operations for the Minnesota Wild of the NHL. Cue spit-take. Snow covered the Wild for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune before getting the Globe job last year, and apparently he impressed GM Doug Risebrough. One of the last stories he broke before leaving for the Globe was one during the lockout in which he got a copy of the NHL Players Association's proprietary database; maybe that knowledge peaked the Wild's interest. Whatever the case, congrats to him for landing a sweet gig.
  • Alert the media: The two Coreys are back together again, this time trying to get a sitcom off the ground. What, no Dream a Little Dream 3?

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Here Among the Cats

I do believe summer has finally arrived. It's a sweltering 85 degrees out, and temps are expected to hit the 90s the rest of the weekend and into next week. About freakin' time.

Today's a big day for the sporting events; well, watching them on TV, anyway. The U.S. plays Italy in the World Cup in a little while. After their dismal performance on Monday, they pretty much have to win to move on. Then tonight, the Oilers will try to take the Stanley Cup finals to a game 7 against Carolina. My arse will be planted in front of each game.

UPDATE: Well, both the teams I was rooting for had good results today. The U.S. were aided by Ghana's upset of the Czechs, and then went out and tied Italy 1-1, despite playing two men short for most of the second half. The nitwit ref gave two U.S. players red cards, which for you non-soccer folks means they were kicked out. I missed the second one, but the first red card call was absolutely ridiculous; it was a late tackle, the likes of which had been allowed all game without any call whatsoever. Despite the ref's idiocy, the U.S. played a smart, aggressive game. Now they need to beat Ghana to advance to the second round. Meanwhile, the Edmonton Oilers laid a serious beating on Carolina, shutting them out 4-0 and forcing a seventh game on Monday night in Raleigh. They've come back from a 3-1 deficit and have all the momentum with outstanding performances in the last two games. It was nice to see Erik Cole make a surprise return for the Canes; he'd been out since March with a broken bone in his neck. He actually played well, although his timing was off (understandably) on his shots. I've been rooting for Edmonton all along, but when it was 2-0 Carolina, things didn't look so good. I hope they can continue their excellent play and take the Cup Monday night.

Take it away, boys:

  • I had a busy Thursday night. First, I met up with a bunch of my co-workers in Boston to run the J.P. Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge, a 3.5 mile race that starts at Boston Common. There were about 11,000 runners and walkers. The first year I did this, I started too far back and got stuck behind a lot of walkers, and last year, I started right at the front and went way too fast for my liking. This year, I started a little further back and ran a good steady pace. We repaired to Remington's afterward for some beverages and food; turns out we were sharing the downstairs room with New Balance, and sure enough, my buddy Bob showed up. Lately, we've been running into each other inadvertently at sporting events; already this year, we've bumped into each other at a BU-UNH hockey game, a Red Sox game, and now the Corporate Challenge. After a little while at Remington's, I headed over to Avalon to see the Arctic Monkeys show. I was bummed that I missed most of the opening set by We Are Scientists, a band I really like, but the Monkeys made up for it by playing a blistering one-hour set that had the joint jumping. This was the end of their U.S. tour. I suspect when they come back, they'll be playing larger venues. I'm glad I got to see them in a fairly small setting. There were a lot of Brits in attendance, fitting since the Monkeys are absolutely huge in the U.K.; I saw a lot of Guinness being consumed and heard a lot of talk about the World Cup.
  • Hey, I like to think I'm pretty open-minded about stuff, but this story about a male doctor who is getting a sex change makes me wonder how I'd react if I were one of his patients. It would definitely be weird to go in for an appointment and find that he was now a she.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

While You Were Out

Hello. Yes, yes, I'm a slacker. I'm currently taking a break during the third intermission of Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals. The Canes and Oilers are tied at 3 going into overtime. Edmonton has to win to avoid elimination. I love this stuff.

Played hockey for the first time in a month last night and was definitely sucking wind. Although my defining moment of the evening occurred when I was screening the opposing goalie and took a shot from a teammate right in the cup. It hit me so hard I felt the impact through the cup, right in the crotchal area. Not fun. Fortunately, the pain went away and all is right with the world. But that was scary.

What the dealio?
  • I haven't been a regular comics reader in about 17 years, but apparently Spider-man no longer has a secret identity. Interesting.
  • The World Cup has begun to much fanfare everywhere in the world but here. The U.S. team got off to a terrible start Monday with a 3-0 loss to the Czechs; it doesn't look promising for the Yanks. Best name of the tournament is Brazilian star Kaka. I always thought that was a pretty universal term, but I guess not.

Gotta go watch hockey now. More later.

UPDATE: Hey, I'm back. Edmonton dominated the beginning of the OT, took a penalty, and then Fernando Pisani of the Oilers stole the puck at the Hurricanes blue line and scored on a beautiful shot to the top right corner. Oilers win 4-3 and go back to Edmonton for Game 6 Saturday night, down 3-2 in the series. Awesome.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Six-Sixty-Six

Before you get all freaky-deaky about the ramifications of this date's numerals, allow me to point out that it was much freakier on November 11, 2001 at 11:11:11. And nothing happened then. But the marketers are going nuts today, what with the Omen remake, the National Day of Slayer, the celebrations in Hell, MI, and superstitious moms worried about having their babies on 6-6-06. Whatevah.

I played in my first softball game of the year last night. Can't recall if I wrote of my decision not to run my coed team this season. After 13 years of running the team, it just got to be too much of a burden. The hardest part was making sure we had enough players to field a team every week. And you know what? I don't miss it a bit. I miss the playing, but not the managing. But I am a reserve on the men's league team that my company is sponsoring. Last night was our second game of the season, but the first one I played in; they put me in at catcher, where I hadn't played since the late '90s. This is a modified pitch league (meaning faster than slow pitch), and runners can steal bases if a pitch gets past the catcher. We ended up losing 15-13 after blowing an 8-1 lead; I only allowed one passed ball, but unfortunately it led to the go-ahead run. Nevertheless, it felt good to play, even though I was pretty beat up after blocking balls with my knees, shins, feet, and hands. I also went 1-3 with a sacrifice fly and a RBI. Of course, today my legs were extremely sore and even moreso during and after I ran five miles at lunch. It was my first run since the Vermont marathon, but I'm glad I got it in. I'm still hacking a lot from my chest cold and between that and my legs, I'm skipping hockey for another week.

They call me mellow yellow:
  • I watched the last two periods of game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals last night, and wow, what an exciting game. The Oilers raced out to a 3-0 lead and looked like they had the win in the bag, but Carolina never gives up. They stormed back and actually took a 4-3 lead in the third before Edmonton tied it up. Then a goalmouth collision led to Oiler goalie/MVP candidate Dwayne Roloson suffering a sprained knee; he may be out for the series. Enter backup Ty Conklin, the former UNH netminder who shared the duties with Jussi Markkanen all season until the Oil acquired Roloson at the trade deadline. The game appeared headed to overtime until with 30 seconds left, Conklin went behind his net to stop a puck and leave it for Oilers d-man and captain Jason Smith. The puck hopped over Smith's stick and Canes leader Rod Brind'Amour swooped in and tucked it in the net for the game-winner. Just a brutal way to lose. Everyone's blaming Conklin, but Smith shares in the guilt. The experts now say the Oilers will fold, but I don't think so. They've been too good this offseason; if they can get decent goaltending from either Conklin or Markkanen, they'll give the Canes a rough ride. As it was, Edmonton's Shawn Horcoff was robbed of the tying goal with 3 seconds left by Carolina goalie Cam Ward. I still think this series will go at least six.
  • My girls will be pleased to know that Dora the Explorer has had quite the impact on these playoffs. First a Dora live show affected the scheduling in Ottawa's first-round series, and now the same show was scheduled to appear in Edmonton's arena on the same day as game six (if necessary). Fortunately for Oilers fans and their kids, the show was moved to another arena in town. Wonder if Dora's a good goalie?

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Your Little Hoodrat Friend

It's been a strange week around these parts. I caught a nasty chest cold from the girls last weekend, but it really got bad the last few days. Lots of coughing up phlegm and stuff like that. Very enjoyable. Haven't tried running yet, even though my legs feel okay. My right little toe still looks pretty disgusting, but it doesn't hurt anymore. I may try to do something in the next few days.

The real weirdness took place late Friday when Deb went upstairs to bed and I heard a yelp on the monitor. She came running downstairs and said a bat or a bird had flown past her in our bedroom. Our bedrooms are in a converted attic, so it was certainly possible that a critter had gotten in from outside. She took the kids downstairs and I went up armed with a cookie sheet and a plastic bag to look for the creature. I found nothing, but decided to go back up in the morning when it was light out to conduct a full search. We slept downstairs, and in the morning I went back up and again found nothing. There are a lot of nooks and crannies up there in our bedrooms, but I wasn't able to draw it out. I'm pretty sure it was a bat, just because a bird would have tried harder to get out and would have made a lot of noise, especially in the a.m. Last night, I slept upstairs with the kids, keeping the hall light on and a broom nearby in case anything decided to start flying around. Still nothing.

You wanted the best, you got the best:
  • The Stanley Cup finals are set: Edmonton vs. Carolina. The games start Monday. I'd like to see a seven-game series, and while I'm rooting for the Oilers because they've been such an underdog, I would not be disappointed to see the Hurricanes win.
  • I've said it before: I'm glad I'm not out there on the dating scene. Especially when you've got women getting together with cobras.
  • A job even scarier than Spinal Tap drummer is Grateful Dead keyboardist: Vince Welnick died this week, becoming the fourth Dead keyboardist to end up, well, dead.
  • The power of Christ compels Pat Robertson to leg-press 2,000 pounds. Riiiiiiight.