Tuesday, November 28, 2006

They Ride

Thanksgiving has come and gone. Now we're sliding down the hill towards the holidays. The long weekend was enjoyable. Ran the Wild Turkey 5-miler in Salem on Thanksgiving Day and managed to catch the one hour of the day that didn't rain. Despite the roast beef sandwich and beer I had consumed the night before, I ran the race in a PR time of 36:33. Back at the ranch, we had a full house and did some serious chowing. By the third football game at 8, I was already falling asleep. The rest of the weekend was fairly mellow. We had some problems with our heat not working on Thursday (fortunately, it wasn't too cold out) and our toilet leaking water, so we had repair guys in to fix those problems on Friday and Saturday, but luckily we managed to escape any major bills.

I'm getting ready for another work trip, this time to New Orleans on Thursday. I haven't been to Nawlins since 1998, which seems like an eternity, especially now in this post-Katrina phase for the city. I'm staying in the French Quarter, which seems to have rebounded fairly well; it'll be interesting to see how the rest of the city's doing. It's a quick trip. The conference is Friday and Saturday and then I fly back Sunday morning. I'm looking forward to some of that great food.

Testify:
  • I don't know about you, but I'm just shocked and chagrined about Pam Anderson and Kid Rock getting divorced. Who could have seen that coming?
  • I watched the Patriots-Bears game Sunday at my buddy Phil's house on his 42-inch HD plasma screen. Wow, what a difference. Not that I'm going to go out and buy one because those things cost an arm and a leg, but man, that's an impressive viewing experience. Of course, HD just made seeing Junior Seau's broken arm that much more disgusting. Hell of a game. Nice to see the Pats pull one out, especially against such a tough defense.
  • Hats off to the UNH football team, which won its first-round playoff game against Hampton Saturday in a 41-38 shootout. Now it's on to UMass this weekend, which will be tough because the Minutemen have a killer defense this season.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Starts Off With a Bang

So there I was, minding my own business, fast asleep dreaming some silly dream, when at about 2:50 this morning, a loud BOOOOOOM!! woke me up. The whole house shook for several seconds. And then all was quiet. I sat up, trying to figure out what was going and then the phone rang; it was my mother-in-law, calling my wife, who was already downstairs. I ran downstairs and we scrambled around the house trying to figure out what happened. The girls, meanwhile, slept right through it; step on the wrong stair and the creak will wake Lily up, but a massive noise and house-shaking, nothing. The street was calm and dark, lights in most houses were out, and there was no sign that anything was amiss. We continued looking around when we saw one of our neighbors outside with a flashlight; he said he felt the same thing we did and thought his furnace had blown, but it was fine. Just then a fire engine went racing by with its flashing lights on. We went back inside. Deb and her mom were wide awake and decided to drive around and see if they could find out what happened. I stayed home with the kids and tried to get some more sleep, but my mind was racing as I thought it could have been a small plane crash (we have a small airport nearby).

I woke up at 6 to my alarm and Deb told me we felt an explosion at a Danvers chemical plant about three miles from our house. Turns out people felt it as far as 30 miles away, thinking it was an earthquake. Nobody was killed and only 10 were injured, but it looks a bunch of people in the area will have to find shelter for Thanksgiving. It's all over the local news right now.

Stuck in Lodi again:
  • We're getting ready to host Thanksgiving. Deb's mom is cooking, and our guests will include my mom, Deb's brother Matt and family, and her aunt Marsha and cousin Tim. Matt and I are going to run the Wild Turkey 5-Mile run in Salem tomorrow morning, which gives us license to chow down later.
  • I played football with a bunch of guys from work on Saturday and my hamstrings are still sore. It didn't help that the field was pretty slick and muddy after all the rain we got last week. Fun stuff. I was only able to play for an hour of the two-hour game because I had to be home to take the kids, but it was a blast.
  • Here's the best kids' soccer team sponsor ever: Motorhead. Lemmy and the boys sponsored a U-10 team in the U.K. Man, my team in the seventh grade was sponsored by my dad's union: our name was something like "Ontario Hydroelectric Engineers Local 312." Catchy.
  • Still in shock over the whole Michael Richards meltdown last week at a comedy club, where he lost it and made some nasty racist comments to a couple of hecklers. Unfortunately for him, an audience member had a camcorder and recorded the whole thing, and it made the rounds quickly. It's pretty unbelievable. Jerry Seinfeld was on the Letterman show Monday and had Richards on via satellite to apologize; it was as uncomfortable an interview as you'll ever see. There was some nervous laughter in the Letterman audience as Richards talked; Seinfeld admonished them, saying, "Don't laugh. This isn't funny." Richards seemed sincerely upset at his actions and claimed he wasn't a racist, just angry. Maybe, but that stuff had to come from somewhere. He said he likes perform on the edge and tried to amp it up to make it all sound like a joke, but obviously it didn't work. He's going to have a tough time overcoming his videotaped tirade. He was fairly beloved from his days as Kramer on the Seinfeld show, but he pretty much blew that.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Completely Conspicuous 14: More Stuffing, Please

Just in time for Thanksgiving. Check it out here (right click and save as).

Show Notes

Topics:
  • The robots are taking over
  • OJ Simpson (Slight Return)
  • NOW That's What I Call Crap
  • Thanksgiving and football
  • Pinhead of the Week

Music:

  • My Morning Jacket - O Is the One That Is Real
  • Danko Jones - Baby Hates Me

Completely Conspicuous is now available through the iTunes, Podcast Pickle, and Yahoo podcast directories.

Find out more about My Morning Jacket here. Find out more about Danko Jones here. Find out more about the Podshow Music Network here.

The opening and closing theme of Completely Conspicuous is "Theme to Big F'in Pants" by Jay Breitling. Find out more about Senor Breitling here. And the incidental music used in the show was "Clibopb (Fosco Groove)" by Me and Boris the Bull. Find out more about Me and Boris the Bull here.

Completely Conspicuous is a Tan God Production.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


Greg Dulli of the Twilight Singers at the Paradise in Boston, 11/14/06. Posted by Picasa
Flashback

I had the good fortune of attending the Twilight Singers show Tuesday night at the Paradise. I had caught Greg Dulli's previous band, the Afghan Whigs, a few times at the same venue in the '90s, most recently on their 1998 tour for their final album, 1965.

Dulli always puts on a great show, and he didn't disappoint this time around. The Twilight Singers are ostensibly touring behind their excellent new EP, A Stitch in Time, as well as Powder Burns, the band's full-length that was released earlier this year. After fine sets from openers Stars of Track and Field and Twilight Singers keyboardist/guitarist Jeff Klein, Dulli and crew took the stage of the not-quite sold out club. A little paunchier than in his Whigs days, Dulli took center stage with his mike stand specially tricked out with beer holder on one side and ashtray on the other (the Twilight Singers like their cancer sticks--most of them were chain-smoking throughout the show).

The band ripped through a 90-minute set chock full of Dulli's roiling, dark tales of addiction and love gone wrong. There was nary a song by the beloved Afghan Whigs, but Dulli offered snippets of covers throughout, including a line from Led Zep's "Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You" and later from Steve Miller's "The Joker." Highlights included the opening three songs, "Teenage Wristband," "I'm Ready," and "Bonnie Brae," as well as the band's take on TV On the Radio's "Wolf Like Me."

Guest star Mark Lanegan lent his formidable presence to the show, coming out to sing three songs in mid-set and two more during the encore; Lanegan performed a similar role when I saw Queens of the Stone Age last year. Unlike the jovial Dulli, who was cracking up throughout the show with his bandmates, Lanegan was all business. He came out, sang his songs--a cover of Massive Attack's "Live With Me," "I'll Take Care of You," and "Sideways in Reverse"--and walked off stage before the last song even ended. The dude's got some serious presence, though, with that awesome low growl of a voice of his. After his last song during the encore, he barely acknowledged the crowd with a slight nod of his head.

Dulli was quite the showman, dropping to his knees at one point, playing steady rhythm guitar, and playing a few songs on piano, which was right in front me as you can see from the photo I took on my camera phone. You can almost make out facial features. Woo hoo! Dulli even took a shot at the Red Sox for their expensive pursuit of Japanese pitcher Daiksuke Matsuzaka: "I can't believe you guys paid $51 million just to talk to him." The show ended just before midnight, meaning I had a long day ahead of me, but it didn't matter. Good times.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Completely Conspicuous 13: Sleepwalking

Lucky number 13 is here. Check it out here (right click and save as).

Show notes

Topics:

  • Sleep deprivation
  • The glut of computer-animated kids' movies
  • What's the deal with Van Halen?
  • Soccer: Ignored in America
  • Pinhead of the Week

Music:

  • Jets To Brazil - Perfecting Loneliness
  • Nada Surf - Do It Again

Completely Conspicuous is now available through the iTunes, Podcast Pickle, and Yahoo podcast directories.

Find out more about Jets to Brazil here. Find out more about Nada Surf here.

The opening and closing theme of Completely Conspicuous is "Theme to Big F'in Pants" by Jay Breitling. Find out more about Senor Breitling here. And the incidental music used in the show was "Clibopb (Fosco Groove)" by Me and Boris the Bull. Find out more about Me and Boris the Bull here.

Completely Conspicuous is a Tan God Production.

The Kids Don't Get It

Hey. Just scraping together a few sentences before heading off to work. Only 10 days until Thanksgiving, but the Christmas advertising has already begun. Some stores just roll right into it after Halloween. Honestly, I don't even want to think about it right now.

Kibbles and bits:
  • So the Democrats indeed won the House and Senate, and now the Bush administration is making nice with the Dems. It's a strange new world.
  • The Leafs are playing well, even with their best player and top goalie out with injuries. They've won four straight and seven of their last eight. They still have stretches of inconsistent play that are infuriating and make me wonder about their chances to go very far in the playoffs, but they're picking up key points now.
  • Speaking of hockey, I've skated the last two Wednesday nights in Lynn. The skill level is pretty similar to the guys I had been skating with the last nine years in Waltham and Concord. I'd say the overall talent of the skaters might be a little better with this group, but the goalies were better with my old group. Despite my timing and fitness level being off, I managed to score a goal on both nights.
  • If you were ever wondering if a burrito was a sandwich, now there's legal precedent for you to check out. A judge in Worcester, Mass., says no, ruling in a case where Panera was trying to block a Mexican restaurant from opening in its plaza. I'm glad that burning issue has been settled once and for all.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Lure Would Prove Too Much

Word up. A big change is sweeping the land tonight. Democrats are doing well in the midterm elections. Don't know quite yet if they'll win control of the House, but they're certainly making an impact. Not surprising, really. Should be an interesting next couple of years.

Right now, Deval Patrick is making his acceptance speech as the new governor of Massachusetts. He's the first Democrat governor we've had in 16 years, and he's the first black governor this state has ever had. Change is afoot indeed.

Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon?
  • There's other big news besides the elections today. Holy crap, Britney's divorcing K-Fed! Is this a surprise to anyone?
  • The mid-80s pop trio lineup of Genesis is reuniting for its first tour in 15 years. I liked them more when Peter Gabriel was fronting the band in a flower costume, but they had some decent songs until Phil Collins totally de-progified them.
  • Congrats to Lance Armstrong, who finished the NYC Marathon on Sunday in 2:59 with minimal training. Imagine how he would have done if he had seriously trained. Also, crazy Dean Karnazes finished in 3:00, which was all the more impressive considering it was his 50th marathon in 50 different states on 50 consecutive days. UK rapper The Streets, aka Mike Skinner, had to drop out of the race because of a torn muscle. I just read recently that the late Joe Strummer of the Clash was a marathon runner (scroll halfway down the page for a couple of photos of him running); he ran the London and Paris marathons in the early '80s during the height of his career. Whoda thunk it?

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Completely Conspicuous 12: Slinging Mud

Another busy week, another late episode. You can download another episode here (right click and save as).

Here be the show notes:

Episode 12

Topics:
  • Political attack ads
  • The new wave of gory movies
  • Musicians going Vegas
  • Do the Olympics matter anymore?
  • Pinhead of the Week

Music:

  • They Might Be Giants - Am I Awake?
  • Dirty on Purpose - Light Pollution

Completely Conspicuous is now available through the iTunes, Podcast Pickle, Pod-Planet, and Yahoo podcast directories.

Find out more about They Might Be Giants here. Find out more about Dirty on Purpose here.

The opening and closing theme of Completely Conspicuous is "Theme to Big F'in Pants" by Jay Breitling. Find out more about Senor Breitling here. And the incidental music used in the show was "Clibopb (Fosco Groove)" by Me and Boris the Bull. Find out more about Me and Boris the Bull here.

Completely Conspicuous is a Tan God Production.