Friday, February 29, 2008

Completely Conspicuous Episode 50: Pump Up the Volume

Happy Leap Day! Just cranked out the milestone 50th episode of CC just under the February wire. Download it directly here (right click and "save as") if you're not already subscribed.

The show notes...

- The return of Ralph Nader
- The imminent death of the CD
- Pinhead of the Week

- The Monkeywrench - Low on Air
- Bob Mould - Stupid Now
- Bon Iver - Skinny Love
- The Dirtbombs - Wreck My Flow
- The Pursuit of Happiness - Completely Conspicuous

- New England Podcasting.

Completely Conspicuous is available through the iTunes, Yahoo Podcasts and Podcast Pickle podcast directories. Subscribe and write a review!

The song from Bob Mould is on his new album District Line on Anti Records. The song from The Dirtbombs is on their album We Have You Surrounded on In the Red Records. Both songs are courtesy of the Podsafe Music Network.

The song from The Monkeywrench is on the album Gabriel's Horn on Birdman Records. The song was provided by IODA Promonet:

Gabriel's HornMonkeywrench
"Low on Air" (mp3)
from "Gabriel's Horn"
(Birdman Records)

Buy at Rhapsody
Stream from Rhapsody
More On This Album

The Bon Iver song is on the band's new album For Emma, Forever Ago. The song is courtesy of Jagjaguwar Records, where you can find out more and download the song.

The song from The Pursuit of Happiness is on the album Where's the Bone on Iron Music. Visit to learn more and buy the album.

The opening and closing theme of Completely Conspicuous is "Theme to Big F'in Pants" by Jay Breitling. Find out more about Senor Breitling at his fine music blog. Additional music used in the show is by Me and Boris the Bull, which is the brainchild of Mark Campbell.

Completely Conspicuous is a Tan God Production. Word.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Hotel Illness

The illing of our household continues. Just when we were all back to work and/or school, poor Lily came down with a fever today at preschool and came home early with Deb. Doesn't appear to be anything serious, just a cold that hasn't quite gone away.

We got a surprise snowstorm last night that none of the weather forecasters predicted. It started around 9:30 and kept going for about three hours or so. Made for some slippery driving conditions as I was coming home from hockey last night, but ultimately we only got about two inches. Of course, we're supposed to get some more tomorrow night.

Hit me:

Monday, February 25, 2008

Wreck My Flow

Hey all. I've been draggin' all day. Not because I ran 20 miles yesterday, even though I did. Felt pretty good as I dodged snowbanks and cars, but managed to stay on my feet the whole time. No, I'm wiped because I ventured out for a rare Sunday night rock show, catching the rifftastic Black Mountain at the Middle East upstairs in Cambridge. I met up with my buddy Rob to see the British Columbians, whose latest album, In the Future, has been playing nonstop on my iPod lately. Opening act was Bon Iver, who have been getting much blogger love lately and deservedly so. The three-piece led by Justin Vernon specializes in folksy acoustic sounds that quickly accumulate into loud rockimafication and back again. Good stuff. The Middle East Up is tiny and I hadn't been up there in a loooong time; I believe the last time I saw a show there was for the late great Dandelion back in '95. Anyhoo, we went up directly to the right of the stage, where we had a great view of everything, literally five feet from the band. Black Mountain played a bunch of tracks from their latest album (including this one, which they played on Conan last Thursday night): lots of heavy Sabbath-esque riffs, eerie Witchypoo vocals from Amber Webber, and spacey keyboards. There were a lot of serious beards going on, from band leader Stephen McBean to plenty of folks in the audience. They played about 70 minutes, closing out with the awesome "Druganaut" from their first album. I was home in bed by 1 a.m., but damn, that makes for a long, sleepy Monday.

The sickness in the hizzy continues. Deb's still hurtin' and stayed home sick today, Hannah's got a cough going, and poor Lily came down with a fever today. Guess the pendulum will be swinging back to me soon. Hopefully everyone will feel better by March 8, which is Lily's 4th birthday and the date of the girls' combined birthday party.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Home Field Advantage

Man, a week sure flies by around here. Of course, that will happen when you only work three days. I had Monday off for President's Day (but fortunately did not buy a car, although I did buy myself an acoustic guitar) and then also took today off for vacation purposes. The idea was to hang out with Deb and the girls and maybe go to the Children's Museum or something, but the snowstorm we're currently enjoying put the kibosh on that. Also, Deb has come down with a cold even nastier than the one I was suffering through last week, so she's pretty much down for the count. She went to the doctor this morning and was told she was in the early stages of a sinus infection; she got some antibiotics and is chilling in the living room. Meanwhile, once Lily gets up from her nap, I'll take the girls outside to do some shoveling and frolicking in the snow (I'll do the former, they'll do the latter, in case you were wondering).

My cough was gone by the end of last weekend, so things were back to normal for me this week. I played hockey on Wednesday night for the first time in three weeks, although I had to play with my glasses on (under my full cage) because my right eye has been really red all week. I'm guessing it's some manifestation of the cold I've had; I'm still a bit stuffed up and blowing my nose a lot. With any luck, I'll be able to wear contacts again when I head out for a 20-miler Sunday.
Hockey was good, although we only had one sub so I was out there for most of the 90 minutes sweating all over my glasses. Still managed to pop in a few goals, including a nice breakaway move on the goalie. It's amazing how much you lose when you miss a few weeks, but fortunately my fitness level was still pretty good. It's the timing that really gets out of whack.

  • We don't have Showtime, so I never got the chance to watch the show Dexter until CBS began running it last Sunday as a strike replacement. I know, it's out on DVD, but I just haven't gotten around to renting it. Anyhoo, I watched the first episode and really dug it, even with the annoying edited dialogue ("I'm keeping my eye on you, motherlover!"). The show's about a serial killer who kills serial killers, so naturally the pompous blowhards at the Parents Television Council are all up in arms about it running on CBS. They're calling for a boycott. Whatever. It airs at 10 p.m. on Sunday nights; if little kids are allowed to stay up and watch anything at that hour, somebody should boycott their parents.
  • Yeah, it's snowing out and cold and all that, but never fear: Baseball's right around the corner. I'm trying not to get too excited about the Jays' chances this year. They've got a strong starting staff and bullpen and they should rebound from the horrendous year their offense had last season. New additions Scott Rolen and David Eckstein should help, as should a surgically repaired Vernon Wells. Still, I've been burned many times in the last 14 years since they won the World Series (Joe Carter, baby! The single greatest sports moment I've ever witnessed) and they are still in the same division as the stacked Red Sox and Yankees. They basically need career seasons from just about everybody to even have a chance. Here's the Deadspin Jays preview. Oh, and check out this moustachioed piece of fluff previewing the 1984 Jays, who would go on to get smoked like everyone else by the Detroit Tigers.
  • A guy selling on eBay his 3 million-piece record collection finally found a buyer, who agreed to pay $3 million for it. So basically, the dude got $1 per item. He was originally hoping for $50 mil, so he must be disappointed.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Completely Conspicuous Episode 49: Driving While Old

I'm happy to say I was able to get out and do 18 miles today, and I felt good. The rest of the day was pretty lazy; we all just hung out and chilled all day. But I was able to finally record an episode of the CC after a few weeks of feeling like crap. Download it directly here (click right and "save as" if you're not already subscribed).

The show notes, if you will...

- What to do about senile drivers
- A new approach to reading books
- Pinhead of the Week

- Bob Mould - The Silence Between Us
- Jason Collett - Out of Time
- Ladyhawk - The Dugout
- Black Mountain - Druganaut
- Fu Manchu - Hung Out to Dry

- New England Podcasting

Completely Conspicuous is available through the iTunes, Yahoo Podcasts and Podcast Pickle podcast directories. Subscribe and write a review!

The song from Bob Mould is on his new album District Line on Anti Records. The song from Fu Manchu is on their album We Must Obey on Century Media. Both songs are courtesy of the Podsafe Music Network.

The song from Jason Collett is on the album Here's to Being Here on Arts & Crafts Records. The song was provided by IODA Promonet.

Here's To Being HereJason Collett
"Out Of Time" (mp3)
from "Here's To Being Here"
(Arts & Crafts)

More On This Album

The Ladyhawk song is on the band's self-titled album. The song from Black Mountain is on that band's self-titled album. Both songs are courtesy of Jagjaguwar Records, where you can find out more and download the songs.

The opening and closing theme of Completely Conspicuous is "Theme to Big F'in Pants" by Jay Breitling. Find out more about Senor Breitling by visiting his fine music blog. Additional music used in the show is by Me and Boris the Bull, which is the brainchild of Mark Campbell.

Completely Conspicuous is a Tan God Production. Word.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Between Me and the Ground

Ah, gotta love a lazy Saturday morning. Deb's watching some "Project Runway" shows on the TiVo, the girls are playing and I'm sitting here in my PJs blogimafying. Last night, I met with up with the Webnoize crew and their wives at Redbones for some beer and BBQ action; Deb was supposed to attend but we couldn't find a babysitter. I rocked some steak tip chile and Texas beef ribs along with some Gritty McDuff's Stout. Mmmm good.

As a result of last night's gorgefest, I'm not doing my long run until tomorrow afternoon. I'm planning to do 18 miles this week and that just wouldn't be feasible today. We're in the midst of a long weekend; I get Monday off for President's Day. Meanwhile, Deb and the girls are off all next week for February school vacation. I'm taking next Friday off so it'll be a really short week.

A list of short items:
  • Man, what the hell's going on with all the mass shootings lately? There have been a bunch of them in the last couple of weeks, most recently the incident at Northern Illinois University Thursday when a gunman opened fire into a lecture hall full of students, killing five and injuring 16 others. Obviously these shooters are deranged, but it makes you wonder how far gone you have to be to think that taking out a bunch of other folks is going to make things better.
  • Doobs and I were both noting last night that it's nice to see that America has no problems with war, the economy, healthcare or corruption so our Congress can focus on the real issues: Roger Clemens and Bill Belichick. Don't know if you saw or heard any of the Clemens hearing earlier this week, but that was the biggest waste of time since Geraldo Rivera opened up Al Capone's vault on live TV. The hearing seemed to alternate between Clemens blaming everyone else but himself for his steroid allegations, congressmen defending Clemens and criticizing his former trainer, and other congressmen attacking Clemens' story. And all for what? Meanwhile, Senator Arlen Spector is vowing to push forward to investigate Pats coach Bill Belichick and his taping of opponents during NFL games. Again, I'm so glad our taxes are going toward these endeavors while the rest of the country is in such good shape.
  • Some hilarious outtakes of ESPN's Chris Berman cussing out staffers and basically just acting like a dink surfaced this week. ESPN had them taken down off the YouTubeses, but Deadspin was good enough to host the videos. Good stuff, but don't watch them around the kiddies.
  • Speaking of video, my man Doobs posted on the YT some hilarious clips he made in tribute to the fictional holiday Phat (created by our buddy Arthur; think Festivus but even more ridiculous and fun). The best is Phat Phone, in which he messes with telemarketers while getting the word out. Hilarious.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Stormy High

So I went to the doctor yesterday and found out I don't have anything more than an annoying cough. No bronchitis, no pneumonia, just a cough. He didn't even prescribe me anything, so I'm still hacking away. But I do feel better than I did over the weekend. I'd say I'm at about 65%-70%. Went to work yesterday and today and got through it all right. I even ran on the treadmill today, although the first five minutes or so were a struggle; ended up doing six miles and getting a good sweat going. Hopefully I'll be able to get back to normal by next weekend so I can get a good long run in.

We're getting some snow right now but it's supposed to warm up tomorrow and be rainy all day, so whatever accumulation we get tonight will be washed away.

On with the bullets:
  • Check out this great collection of clips posted on YouTube by a Finnish dude who overdubbed footage of well-known guitarists/bands (Eddie VH, Santana, Clapton, Steve Vai, Iron Maiden) with his own parody solos. Funny stuff, but apparently some of the artists complained and YouTube yanked the vids. Fortunately, Wired is hosting them again, so take a look while you still can.
  • You may have seen this scary incident during the Florida Panthers-Buffalo Sabres game Sunday night in which Richard Zednik had his carotid artery severed by a skate blade. Amazingly, he had the presence of mind to press down on the wound and skate to his bench before he lost consciousness and bled out. As it was, he lost five pints of blood. Fortunately, they were able to get him to the hospital quickly and save his life; he's currently in good condition in the hospital. It immediately reminded me of a similar injury that happened to Buffalo goalie Clint Malarchuk back in '89. He too was saved by quick thinking by the Buffalo trainer. It's a wonder these kinds of injuries don't occur more often. Most players don't wear any kind of neck protection and this incident probably won't change that.
  • Man, Obama just keeps kicking butt. He won the DC, Maryland and Virginia primaries tonight, making it eight straight over Clinton. Things are getting mighty interesting, especially since Hillary just fired her campaign manager.
  • The writer's strike is officially over. Get back to work, you bastids!
  • And here's a great behind-the-scenes look at the awesome Conan-Stewart-Colbert brawl.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Ill Communication

The good news is I feel better than I did when I last posted a few days ago. The bad news is I'm still hacking away and my chest is still full of congestification. I wisely opted not to run the Hampton Half today; I probably could have finished, but I would have been miserable and probably would have made myself even more ill. My running buddy Molly ran it and said things got pretty wet and windy out there by the ocean. It's frustrating, though; that's the first race I've ever signed up for that I didn't run. Not counting the Vermont City Marathon in 2005, which I had to drop out of months in advance because of Achilles problems; I was able to sell my number to someone else (which was allowed and encouraged by the race organizers).

So I plan to go to the doctor tomorrow and get some antibiotics and hopefully get rid of this thing. I try to avoid using antibiotics as much as possible, but in this case, I need to make an exception. As my good buddy Briggy likes to say, enuff' z'nuff.

Some more ill videos:

Run DMC--You Be Illin' (just the song, basically, but a great song)
Queens of the Stone Age--Sick, Sick, Sick
The Descendents--Sick o' Me

Friday, February 08, 2008

Sick as a Dog

Hey there. I sure hope you're feeling better than I am. This cold I've been battling for the last three weeks or so has been really kicking my ass the last few days. I've been coughing non-stop, even when there's nothing to cough up. I went home early yesterday and stayed home from work today. I actually had to finish editing a book proof at home and then went in to drop it off, but after that, I've just been chilling out and watching TV and The Simpsons Movie, which I enjoyed (despite hearing mixed reviews from some folks).

I'm signed up for the Hampton Half Marathon Sunday morning up in my mom's neck of the woods in NH. I'm still hoping to run it, but it's going to be a gametime decision. I actually ran 5 on the treadmill yesterday and it was the only time I didn't cough for an extended period of time all day, but I don't think I could handle 13.1 in this shape.

Tito, get me a tissue:
  • Not a real shocker that Mitt Romney dropped out of the Republican race yesterday, but it was funny to see him getting booed by the conservative group he was speaking to. They obviously don't like McCain because of his moderate (i.e., reasonable) positions and were behind Romney, so now they're faced with an interesting dilemma: Do they get behind the GOP nominee or go Democratic? I don't see too many right-wingers flocking to Hillary or Obama, but it's amusing to see them get all worked up about it.
  • In keeping with today's theme, here are some quality rock videos: Aerosmith's Sick as a Dog (from a recent tour with Tyler on bass for part of it), Led Zep's Sick Again (from '79 at Knebworth!), and Mudhoney's Touch Me I'm Sick (from '89 in England) and Here Comes Sickness (it both rocks AND is a public health announcement).

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Everyone Choose Sides

Today was just your ordinary run-of-the-mill Super Fat Duper Tuesday. We had our primary here in Massachusetts today, so I voted after dropping Hannah off at school because that happens to be our voting location. Looks to be a real slugfest in the Democratic race, with Obama and Clinton battling it out. On the GOP side, McCain kicked total butt today. If you thought things were heated so far, they're just going to get more intense.

I'm still smarting from the Giants' upset victory over the Pats on Sunday. I give full credit to them, they really stepped up and played a great game. The Pats didn't play great, but they had their chances to win late and couldn't do it. It was just stunning to watch the end of that game. But as brutal a loss as it was, Pats fans, you've still got it made. Your team has won three Super Bowls this decade and went 18-1 this year in just missing a fourth. And they'll be right back in the thick of things next year. Meanwhile, you want it tough? Try being a Toronto Maple Leafs fan. Already mired in a horrendous season and faced with the prospect of having to trade a lot of players with big contracts to rebuild, they went out and got shellacked 8-0 by the equally crappy Florida Panthers tonight. Just awful. They missed the playoffs the last two seasons and seem a shoo-in to miss them again in a league where 16 of 30 teams get in. I'm still watching the games, almost like a spectator at a freak show, waiting to see what new depths the team will sink to. They were like this throughout most of the 1980s, but I didn't have a satellite package then and only read about their exploits in the newspaper. Now I see and read about every minute detail of their hideosity. Lucky me.

Break out the paper bags...
  • The Hollywood writer's strike may be over by the end of this week. Geez, I hope so. My TiVo hasn't been this empty since I first got it. Of course, the WGA is saying people shouldn't get too excited because there's no deal yet, so we'll have to wait and see.
  • In the meantime, faced with having to fill space without the benefit of a writing staff, late night hosts Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and Conan O'Brien have been engaging in a three-way crossover "feud" that culminated last night in joint appearances on all three shows and a hilarious battle royale on Conan's show. Silly, stupid and awesome stuff.
  • The writer's strike has delayed the season 6 debut of "24," but according to this WSJ story, the problem may also be a backlash against the show's formula of "terrorist ass-kickification." Apparently, the producers have been toying with presenting a kinder, gentler Jack Bauer but haven't quite figured it out. Let's hope they don't. The whole reason to watch that show is to see Bauer improbably and singlehandedly defeat terrorist threats (be they Islamic, European, or whatever) through ridiculously violent means. It's an ultraviolent cartoon and a silly one at that, full of clunky dialogue, boneheaded plot points and melodramatic interplay. And yet I love watching it. Wussify Bauer and you might as well cancel the show.
  • Word is they're planning an Arrested Development movie. No, not these guys, but rather the awesome but short-lived Fox comedy. If they can get everyone back on board, this could be great.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

My Mind is Ramblin'

Finally, it's here. The Super Bowl is tomorrow night and it's about friggin' time. Go Pats!

In the meantime, I'm getting to ready to head out on a 17-mile run. It poured all last night, but it's sunny and in the 40s right now. A little windy, but not bad for Groundhog Day. Speaking of which, good ol' Punxsutawney Phil says we're in for six more weeks of winter. Whatevah, dude. It's pretty amazing that this tradition is still around. Even more amazing is the fact that it has been 15 years since the excellent Bill Murray movie came out.

We've entered the rare 29-day February, thanks to this being a leap year. February 29, 1984, was notable for me because that was the day I got my driver's license. I remember the driver's test was really easy; the guy just had me drive from the RMV in Epping, NH, a mile or two into town, make a few turns and drive back. No parallel parking, nothing tricky.

I love the InterWebs for so many reasons, one of which is you get access to cool stuff like this: The isolated vocal track that David Lee Roth laid down for Van Halen's "Running With the Devil." Awesome.