Saturday, September 30, 2006

Big Day Coming

Greetings from New Jersey. We're down here for the weekend and I was so busy this week I didn't get a chance to post anything.

On Thursday, I joined OJ, Doobs, and my friend Rob and his peeps at the Yo La Tengo show at Avalon. All manner of nerds and nerdettes were in attendance. YLT played two hours full of space-rock jams, tight pop ditties, and feedback-drenched Neil Young covers. Good schtuff.

Last night, I cranked out the latest episode of Completely Conspicuous. OJ noted that the music was down lower in the mix than my yakimafying, so I'll need to do some tinkering next week to even that stuff out. At least I didn't start hacking uncontrollably this time.

The NHL season is nearly upon us, with games kicking off next Tuesday. I've got my fantasy hockey draft tomorrow night; hopefully we'll get back in time. Otherwise, I'll be phoning in my first pick. In the meantime, I'm finally doing my research this weekend. As for the Leafs, looks like it's going to be a long year. Every preseason prediction I've seen has them missing the playoffs, and it's hard to argue. Same as it ever was.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

A Dab'll Do Ya

Hey there. I'm still dealing with a cranky back, although it seems to get a little better every day. I'm going to try and get out and do maybe five miles at some point today. I'll try and get back to a normal running schedule next week. The marathon is exactly a month away.

We all live in a yellow submarine:
  • Finished episode 7 of Completely Conspicuous last night. It should sound better, because I picked up a better microphone and a mixer (just Radio Shack's lowest end stuff, but better than what I was previously using, which was a $10 PC mike). Also, OJ graciously contributed an instrumental he recorded a few years back for use as the show's new opening and closing themes; it's pretty cool. Also, at the 22-minute mark, check out the coughing fit. I thought I had edited it out, but after I finished the show, I listened again and discovered it was still there and by that point, I didn't feel like redoing the last two minutes. So there you have it. Nothing but the best.
  • South Park's celebrating its 10th anniversary. Hard to believe. I haven't watched it since the second or third season, but I may have to revisit it.
  • Congrats to David Ball, the amazing wide receiver for UNH's football team who yesterday tied Jerry Rice's 1-AA record for career touchdown receptions. UNH played its third game of the season yesterday (a 56-14 shellacking of Dartmouth), so he's got plenty of time to break the record. And UNH is ranked no. 1 in the nation in 1-AA, so hopefully they can keep that going as well.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Not Quite Done

Another year, another birthday. Not much to say about it, really. I think the girls were more excited about my cake than I was; it was good cake, though. My sore back had me feeling a lot older than 39 earlier this week, but it's a lot better now. I still haven't worked out this week, but I plan on getting out and playing a little street hockey at lunch tomorrow. Nothing too strenuous. I'll try and get out for a couple of runs this weekend.

Take me to the bridge:
  • Made a run to Newbury Comics tonight, but they didn't have the new Sloan. Looks like I'll have to get it from Canada. Bummer.
  • As if the Jays' season wasn't disappointing enough, ace Roy Halladay had to shut it down for the season after leaving last night's game early with a right forearm strain. He was a contender for the Cy Young a month ago, but wasn't able to get his 17th win because of injury and bullpen failure. The Jays still have a shot at finishing second ahead of the Red Sox, but it's small consolation for yet another lost season.
  • Hey, I'm no fan of George W., but Hugo Chavez is just plain nuts.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Fading Into Obscurity

It's pouring like a mofo out. Given the great weather we've had lately, I can deal.

I am kind of bummed this week. I was out for a long run Sunday morning and about 30 minutes in, I felt my lower back tighten up. I walked for a little bit and was able to keep going, hoping it would pass, but it never did. Three days later, it's still pretty sore. It hurts when I get up from a seated position, or bend over to pick something up. I got a massage today and the therapist said it was likely caused by the tightness in my hamstrings and quads from all the running. So I haven't been able to work out the last few days, which drives me nuts. Hopefully I'll feel okay to run by the weekend.

Dog will hunt:
  • Just in time for the holiday shopping season, Fisher-Price has rolled out a new Elmo stuffed toy that laughs so hard, he rolls around on the floor, slaps his knee and pounds his fists on the floor. This thing was so under wraps only 50 people had seen before it was unveiled today. And get this: it's called the T.M.X. Elmo, as in Tickle Me Extreme. I shit you not.
  • Apparently, they can transplant just about anything these days.
  • The new Sloan album, Never Hear the End of It, is out today in Canada, but the band doesn't have a U.S. deal in place yet. I'm hoping Newbury Comics will have it, otherwise I'll have to order it through a Canadian retailer.
  • So the band on CBS' Rock Star: Supernova reality show found out it had to change its name because another band had been using it since the early '90s. So what did they come up with? Probably the least original moniker they could think of.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Brighter Than a Thousand Suns

Hey there, I remember you guys. Agh. Sorry it's been so long. Busy week. This morning, I joined my running club to help run a 30k race; got out there at 6:30 a.m. and didn't get home until 1. It ended up being a pretty hot day. Temps got up close to 80. I was just doing stuff like putting up signs and directing runners along the route. Tomorrow, I have to get up early and get 20 miles in. Five weeks to the marathon.

Exactamundo, Mrs. C:
  • Just posted the latest episode of Completely Conspicuous for your listening pleasure. I haven't gotten a ton of feedback, but I know that somebody's listening, so thanks for that.
  • So it turns out that the nutjob who shot up a Montreal college, killing one person and injuring others before killing himself, was of Indian descent. Much is being made of his interest in Goth culture and his membership in an online community called VampireFreaks.com, but what struck me as strange were the sentiments he expressed--about jocks oppressing others, being angry at the world, playing Columbine video games. The guy was 25, and yet if you didn't know better, it seemed like he was really worked up over high school issues. Once you hit that age, you've hopefully worked out a lot of those issues and moved on to other crap like your career and finding your soulmate and paying your bills.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Leftover Life

So it has been five years since 9/11. There's been a lot of hype about this particular anniversary, with TV movies and news specials and memorials, but I've steered clear of most of it. Not because the date doesn't mean anything to me, but rather I think it means more if I don't get caught up in the clatter. It's enough to me to remember the uncertainty of that day, not knowing what the hell was going on, thinking about Deb being pregnant with our first child and fearful of what the future would hold. Five years later, we've got two girls and are a little older and wiser. The specter of terrorism is definitely more of a presence than it was before 9/11. Reading about the seemingly unending strife in the Middle East has a numbing effect, which was reflected by respondents to a Boston Globe poll; while people expect another terrorist attack on the U.S., few have taken precautions. And it's easy, and comforting, to get distracted by more immediate concerns like work, school, family, sports, etc. But ultimately, I don't think anyone has forgotten what happened that day, nor will they.

Gentlemen, you can't fight in here. This is the War Room!:

  • We watched the movie Brick the other night. Holy crap, was that good. Essentially, it's a film noir set in a modern-day high school, right down to the '40s-era snappy patter. Some of the lingo is difficult to pick up at first, so you really have to pay attention. I discovered that director/writer Rian Johnson posted the script on his Internet home page, so I went back and read it and it clarified a lot of the stuff I missed. The film stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt (who found fame as that little kid with the long hair on Third Rock from the Sun) and Lukas Haas (the Amish kid in Witness). It's a tale of murder, lost love, drugs and features a troubled protagonist. Really great stuff.
  • Looks like it's time to update the E! True Hollywood Story of Dana Plato, what with her son filing a wrongful death suit seven years after she OD'd on painkillers.
  • Trying to pump a little excitement into your long, boring commute? Be careful, or you'll end up like this guy. Of course, you'd stay awake if you drove past this on your way to work. He couldn't believe he ate the whole thing.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Autumn Music

Still trying to wake up on a quiet Saturday morning. Luckily, my head cold seems to be getting better. I'm going to head out for a 15-miler in a little while. Six weeks to go until the marathon. I just booked my flight to Chicago and a rental car so I can visit my brother while I'm out there; he's in Peoria, about 2.5 hours from Chi-town.

Speaking of trips, it looked like I was going to Anaheim for a work conference in December, but things have changed and I might actually be going to New Orleans instead. Hopefully that will work out and I'll get to see what the Big Easy looks like a year post-Katrina; from what I hear, the French Quarter is getting back to normal, minus a lot of the visitors. I haven't been to New Orleans since 1998, so it should be interesting.

A little dab'll do ya:
  • I finished the fifth episode of Completely Conspicuous last night. This week, I discuss the Army's new take on prisoner interrogation, the improved quality of TV, music recommendation engines, why the NFL is the best sports league, and the Pinhead of the Week. Thanks to everyone who's listened to the show so far. I've been having fun doing it.
  • Well, the Senate released a report yesterday that confirms that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with al Qaeda before 9/11, which Dubya had repeatedly contended was our main reason for invading Iraq. Nice.
  • Here's a shocker: Arnold Schwarzenegger said something stupid. The real surprise is that he doesn't do stuff like this more often.
  • A judge ordered a Malaysian restaurant called McCurry to change its name to avoid confusion with McDonald's. Yeah, McD's has its new line of Crispy Tandoori Chicken sandwiches coming out, so they don't want to mess with that.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Old September Blues

It's good to be back home. Florida was hot and sticky, as expected, but I'd say it was a successful trip. The girls were great on both flights, although Lily was getting antsy on the way back. The wedding went off without a hitch, although it didn't look that way at first. Jen and Easton had their wedding at an art gallery in St. Augustine, which was pretty cool, but it was a busy weekend and the gallery doublebooked a private art exhibition at the same time as the ceremony. Hannah and Lily were flower girls and it looked like Lily wasn't in the mood to cooperate, but when it was time for them to walk down the aisle, she was great. Of course, she conked out during the reception and ended up snoozing in a corner for a few hours, but that's okay. On Sunday morning, we drove back down to Orlando and surprised the girls with a trip to Disney World (although Hannah guessed it about halfway there). Disney is a gigantic vending machine with mouse ears, but the girls had a blast. They got to meet all the princess characters they love, went on a couple of rides, saw the Downtown Disney parade, ate a lot of junk food, and generally had fun. On the downside for me, I caught a cold and left my favorite fleece on the plane yesterday, so that sucks.

Rock and roll hoochie koo:

  • It was sad to hear of the death of Steve Irwin, the self-styled "Crocodile Hunter" who met his end after taking a stingray barb to the heart. The girls know him from their endless viewings of the Wiggles' Wiggly Safari DVD, which features Irwin in a prominent role. In fact, they were watching it yesterday on the flight back from Orlando. Strangely enough, another featured player in the Wiggles world, Paul Hester, committed suicide last year; he was Chef Paul on the show, but was better known as the drummer of Crowded House and Split Enz.
  • I enjoy the writing of Chuck Klosterman, although I think this stupid "voice of a generation" stuff is a bit much. I've only read one of his four books, but the dude is without a doubt a talented mofo. He's got that snarky pop culture referencing and subreferencing thing that I enjoy going on.
  • The NFL season is starting next weekend, and I have to say, I'm pretty excited. And on the horizon, the NHL is getting ready to open training camps. And the baseball playoffs will start next month, although I'll just be rooting against the Yankees. It's a great time of year.