Friday, June 27, 2008

Completely Conspicuous Episode 57: Superconnected

Another episode of CompCon hot out of the oven. Enjoy it by downloading it directly here (right click and "save as"). Or subscribe and never miss an episode.

The show notes...

- The expanding workplace
- The controversial Beijing Olympics
- Pinhead of the Week

- Dead Meadow - I'm Gone
- Broken Social Scene - Hotel
- Against Me! - Don't Lose Touch
- The Murder City Devils - Midnight Service at the Mutter Museum

- New England Podcasting.

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

The Murder City Devils song is on the EP Thelema. The song is on Sub Pop Records, where you can find out more and download the track.

The Dead Meadow song is on the album Old Growth on Matador Records, where you can find out more and download the track.

The Against Me! song is on the album Searching for a Former Clarity on Fat Wreck Chords. The song is courtesy of the Podsafe Music Network.

The Broken Social Scene song is on their self-titled album on Arts and Crafts Records. The song is provided by IODA Promonet:

Broken Social SceneBroken Social Scene
"Hotel" (mp3)
from "Broken Social Scene"
(Arts & Crafts)

Buy at Rhapsody
Buy at Napster
Stream from Rhapsody
Buy at Amazon
Buy at mTraks Download
More On This 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.

Salute Your Solution

Happy Friday. It's been a Florida-esque week: lots of random thunderstorms and torrential downpours interspersed with mucho heat and humidity. I had every intention of running a 5-miler in Danvers tonight, but when I got home, the skies opened and it poured for about half an hour. So I bagged it and cracked open a coldie. Sure enough, 45 minutes later, it was cool and sunny out. By that point, it was too late.

At any rate, I ran the last two days, including the Corporate Challenge last night. As is typical for the Challenge, it was a humid night with 12,000 runners crammed into the streets around Boston Common. The race distance was reduced from 3.5 to 3 miles because of construction in Kenmore Square, where we would normally turn around. It's a different kind of run because you're dodging and weaving, slowing down and darting between people, and hoping you don't trip or cause someone else to trip. I was done in just under 24 minutes, which isn't bad considering how many people I had to wade through at the start. There was a group of about 50 folks from my company who took a bus into the city to run, walk or drink. We went to Jacob Wirth's afterward and enjoyed some post-race libations. Good times.

Send in the clowns:
  • The weather in the Midwest has been insane lately, but the latest news is the strangest: They're blaming muskrat holes for the levee break in Missouri, causing floodwaters from the Mississippi River to pour into Lincoln County. It's bad enough the elements are against those poor folks, now they have to deal with angry muskrats.
  • The U.S. Air Guitar Championships hit LA last night and looked to be a good time. But can any of those jokers play rockin' air guitar AND drums while driving? Didn't think so. Bring it, chumps.
  • You've no doubt heard of George Carlin's death last Sunday at age 71. The man was a genius. I saw him perform at UNH my freshman year of college (1985) and he was amazing. He pulled no punches and liked to point out hypocrisy in all its forms. He will be missed.
  • Good God, y'all. Even Mini-Me's got a sex tape. If you're any type of celebrity at all and you make a sex tape, the thing's going to get out on the Web. Why bother acting surprised anymore?

Sunday, June 22, 2008


We're in the midst of one of those great weekends where we don't have much of anything planned. Which is a good thing because it allowed me to catch up on my sleep. Usually, Friday nights end up being pretty mellow for me after a long week, but that was not the case this week. I ducked out of work a little early to make the trek to see Iron Maiden in Mansfield. I actually had to go to Littleton, which is about 45 minutes from home, to pick up my buddy Gary, who had the tickets. Then it was another 50 minutes or so to get to the Concert Venue Formerly Known as the Tweeter Center (which itself was the Concert Venue Formerly Known as Great Woods). It was nice and sunny in Littleton, but we quickly drove into a nasty band of downpours and lightning as we made our way down 495. We also saw a huge rainbow that would have made Ronnie James Dio proud.

Once we got to the Comcast Center, we parked, did the old "pour your beer in an iced tea bottle" trick and walked around the parking lots to check out the scene. This was almost as entertaining as the show itself, because as a 30+ year-old band, Maiden attracts fans of all ages. Granted, it's 97% guys, but still, we saw a lot of guys with their kids (including some really young children, around 3 or 4--what's up with that?). We saw some guy offer up his girlfriend in a boob-flashing contest with some other woman; the other one was totally up for it, but the girlfriend did NOT look pleased with the situation. Despite much egging on, the contest never materialized because it started pouring. There was some good thunder and lightning, too. We got pretty soaked and got back in the car to wait it out for a few minutes. We then roamed the lots again looking for a bootleg T-shirt salesman; we found a few guys wearing what appeared to be bootleg (i.e., much cheaper than the $35-$50 official merch; there was a nice soccer jersey that sold for $130) shirts and they said they got them for $20 from some guy. But we were unsuccessful and just got more wet before the rain finally stopped.

We skipped opening act Lauren Harris (daughter of Maiden bassist Steve Harris) because I had heard bad reports from my co-worker Brian, who saw the band in NJ back in March (the link isn't to his review, but it was the same show and same setlist) and said Lauren H was pretty awful. We headed inside after her set ended and ran into Brian, who had tickets a section over from us. Once in our seats, we met the guys Gary had to sell his extra tickets to after another friend bailed at the last minute; it was a guy in his early 20s and his dad, who looked to be in his 40s and was a huge Maiden fan. There were a lot of younger fans there who seemed to know all the songs as well. The party started early for some folks; a couple of guys sitting behind us were pretty toasted and had passed out before the show even started.

Our seats were toward the back of the covered section and to the right, but we could still see just about everything. The band played nearly two hours and on this greatest hits tour, played nothing but old classics (unlike last time at Agganis Arena, when they played their new album in its entirety and a few old chestnuts). The place was about 9/10 full and standing and screaming for the whole show. Highlights included "Aces High," "2 Minutes to Midnight," "The Trooper," "The Number of the Beast," "Run to the Hills," "Hallowed Be Thy Name," and yes OJ, "Wasted Years."

Lots of pyro and a series of backdrops with themes from their '80s albums. Singer Bruce Dickinson is in amazing shape for a 49-year-old; his voice still sounds great and he was constantly running around the huge stage set. The band's three-guitar attack was intense and Harris' bass is as much of a lead instrument as any of the guitars. Sure, there were lots of Spinal Tap-ian moments, with copious amounts of fog, especially during the 17-minute "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" when at one point you couldn't see anyone on stage through the fog. Guitarist Janick Gers, who joined the band after Adrian Smith left in the '90s and then stuck around after he came back, was particularly fond of all the flashy guitar-as-machine-gun and flip-the-guitar-around-my-neck moves, but if you can't do that stuff at a Maiden show, when can you?

Afterwards, we sat in the lot for what seemed like forever waiting for the traffic to let out. And as we approached the exit, I spotted the Bootleg T-shirt Guy and called him over. He was selling them for $10, so we got a pretty sweet deal. Mission accomplished, we got the hell out of there, entertained by videos of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog and Eddie Murphy's "Delirious" concert film on Gary's iPod video (don't worry, I just listened). I made it home by 1:30 for the second time in three nights. Whew.

Cue the 'splosions:
  • After I got home, I watched about 20 minutes of the NHL draft coverage that I had TiVoed earlier in the evening. Of most interest to me was the Leafs traded up to the number 5 position and drafted Luke Schenn, a hulking defenseman who will add much-needed bulk to the Leafs' traditionally soft defense. Also, the Leafs have agreed to a deal with Montreal for captain Mats Sundin; the Habs have until July 1 to work out a contract with Sundin. If it happens, it'll be weird to see him playing for the team's biggest rival, but if they're going to rebuild, they might as well start fresh and give him a chance to win a Cup before he retires.
  • In other Toronto sports news, the Blue Jays fired manager John Gibbons and his staff, which was not a shock given their recent tailspin. But what was surprising was the hiring of Cito Gaston for the rest of the season. Cito led the Jays to their back-to-back World Series titles in '92 and '93 and had been out of baseball for 11 years. Not sure if his laid-back style will help turn things around, but it's worth a shot, I suppose. Of course, they've lost their first two games under him. The pitching's been good this year, but the offense has been dead in the water. I suspect GM JP Ricciardi may not be long for the firing block if things continue like this. Fine by me.

All right, I need to go for a 10-mile run. Later.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Post-Paint Boy

I had promised a photo of the house painting in progress. Here's one from last Friday of the old gray paint, which was cracked and peeling, sanded off the front of the house. The crew has since put down a layer of primer, so the house is gray again. They're still doing some woodwork, replacing window sills and such, and that stuff will need to be primed before they can start putting the final coat of paint on. We're hoping they'll be done by the end of next week. More photos of the job as it progresses will be forthcoming.

All I Am Is All You're Not

So considering I got to bed at 1:45 this morning, I'm surprisingly awake. Although I suspect if I got comfortable on the couch, I'd be out in seconds. Yesterday, I went from work to a cookout at Hannah's school; a farewell of sorts since it's closing as an elementary school after this week. At 8, I headed into Cambridge and met Senor OJ at the Middle East for a couple of beers. Around 10, I headed next door to TT the Bear's to see Sloan. I caught most of the Golden Dogs' opening set; they were pretty good. Sloan came on at 11 and played until about 12:50. In all, they played about 27 songs and sounded excellent. TT's is tiny and was packed with fellow Sloan nerds; I wedged myself up front to the right of the stage, unfortunately right in front of the amps. When they came out, I was a little taken aback at how gray drummer Andrew Scott and guitarist Patrick Pentland had gotten; they're both around my age (40) but are even grayer than me. Andrew in particular has gone totally gray. I'm mostly gray on the sides, the top is still primarily black. Meanwhile, Deb stresses over the one gray hair she gets and plucks.

The band had a funny gag going on throughout the night: they had a faux radio DJ dubbed Skip Lowe "broadcasting" between sets and interacting with the band while they were on stage. His "station" was 108.8 MRCH and he was stationed at the merch table (get it?); he would play fake and real commercials (including the old Meow Mix jingle) and pump up the crowd to buy stuff. He also came on between songs when the band members were switching instruments. Kinda reminded me of Roger Waters' Radio KAOS tour, only not as pompous.

Sloan played a bunch of stuff from their great new album Parallel Play and several songs from their last one, Never Hear the End of It. They also dug deep and played some songs I hadn't heard in years, like "G Turns to D," which is one of my favorites. For the encore, they took some requests and actually brought up some fans to sing the songs with mixed results. The first jamoke tried to sing "The Lines You Amend" but was just goofing off and didn't really know the words, so it kinda sucked. The second guy was into it and did a decent job with "I Can Feel It." All in all, a great, late night.

Break out the victory cigar:
  • Congrats to the Celtics, who emphatically won the NBA championship Tuesday night with a 131-92 ass-whupping of the LA Lakers to take the series 4-2. Today, the Celts held a rolling victory rally through the city. Man, this stuff is getting to be like old hat around here. The Sox have won two championships in the last five years and the Patriots have won three since 2001. Sports fans really have nothing to complain about (unless they're Bruins fans, but even that time had an encouraging playoff showing this year), but of course, they'll find something. You want misery, try rooting for Toronto teams. It's painful, man.
  • Crazy stuff going on in NYC, where the NHL today threatened to take action against Madison Square Garden, which owns the Rangers, in retaliation for a lawsuit filed by MSG against the league. MSG filed an antitrust suit to prevent the NHL from incorporating the Rangers' web site into First Isiah Thomas and now this. MSG's running a tight ship over there.
  • Speaking of crazimafied, severed feet have washing up on on the shores of British Columbia in recent months. A sixth foot turned up yesterday, but it was found to be a hoax; it was actually an animal paw stuffed into a man's sneaker. Still, it's a freaky deaky mystery.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Cheap Champagne

Whiling away the minutes until Game 6 of the NBA finals...

It's hard to believe, but Hannah's finishing up her kindergarten year this week. We found out last week that she'll be going to first grade at a school across town, not far from where I lived for a few years before Deb and I got a place together. I'll have to change my route to work to drop her off each day, going back to the route I took from '97 to '99, because it goes right past her new school.

My golf outing Saturday wasn't as successful as the previous one, but it was still fun. I shot a 50 (compared to the 42 I pulled out of my butt three weeks ago), but it was a beautiful day and I had some good shots.

Sunday morning, I got up and had a nice 10-mile run. Well, it was nice until the rain started pouring at about mile 8. I was drenched by the time I got home. After I got back, my stomach started bothering me and I was out of sorts for the rest of the day, kind of the lingering after-effects of a mild bug that had ailed me for about a week. Feeling a lot better now, though.

Getting psyched to see a couple of shows in the next few days: the power-pop goodness of Sloan at TT the Bears in Cambridge tomorrow night and the classic metal of Iron Maiden at the newly rechristened Comcast Center (aka Tweeter Center aka Great Woods) in Mansfield on Friday. Talk about different ends of the rock spectrum. Looking forward to both shows equally.

Drum roll, maestro:
  • The baseball season lurches into the dog days of summer, and teams have been sucking long enough for people to get fired. One of those people is Mets manager Willie Randolph, who was deservedly shitecanned this morning. Although the way it was handled by Mets GM Omar Minaya was pretty bush league, announcing it in an e-mail press release at 3:14 a.m. Randolph found out from reporters in his hotel in Anaheim, where the team was in town to play the Angels. Weak.
  • Beauty news, eh? Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas are reviving their classic SCTV characters Bob and Doug McKenzie for an animated series. Looks like it'll be on in Canada only at first (makes sense, I suppose, since the McKenzie brothers are quintessentially Canuckian), but hopefully it'll make its way Stateside. If you're some young whippersnapper reading this and saying, "Bob and Doug who?", then get thee to a video store and rent "Strange Brew," dammit. And if you're too lazy to do that, then watch this or this. And if you still don't think that's funny, well, just take off, you hoser.
  • Back to baseball. My fantasy team has been snakebit all season, with at least eight regulars going on the DL at one point or another. The latest is Yankees starter Chien-Ming Wang, who injured his foot while running the bases the other night. Seriously. I love baseball, but some of these guys (mainly pitchers) are the sorriest excuses for athletes you'll ever see. Noted pantload Bartolo Colon of the Red Sox strained his back last night while striking out. So of course Yankees loudmouth owner-in-training Hank Steinbrenner (son of George) starts ranting and raving about how it's the National League's fault for having pitchers hit. Yeah, I'm sure it has nothing to do with your pitcher not being able to run 90 feet without injuring himself. Jackass.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Living the Dream

Y'know, I kept meaning to post something during the week and then for whatever reason didn't and here we are on Saturday. It's been a busy week around the homestead; we've had workers painting the house. The first few days they were sanding the old paint off, which meant all the windows had to be closed to keep the dust from getting in. Not particularly fun to come home to after a 90-degree day. But now they're actually painting. We're also getting new gutters put on because our old ones were hanging off and full of pine needles and crap. At some point, we're getting a new front porch put in because the old one is rotting. So big changes are in the works. I'll post some photos soon.

Tough week for the girls. First Hannah was sick, then Lily caught her own version of the stomach bug, which left her pretty listless and unable to eat much for a few days. I came home at 1 on Wednesday to watch her and she spent much of the afternoon hanging all over me, which again wasn't fun with all the windows closed. Fortunately both of them are back to normal now.

I'm getting used to running in the hot weather. All three of my runs this week were in 80 or 90+ degree temps. Not easy but since most of my running is done at lunch, it's necessary. I've got to run an 8-mile leg in a relay on July 4, so I need to be able to deal with the heat.

Thursday night, I saw Mission of Burma play an impressive set at the Paradise. Met OJ for a beer before the show; he went to see them play last night. I found a spot up in the balcony, which was good because I didn't feel like standing in front of the stage, but tough because it was hotter than hell in there. Plus somebody had puked in there before the opening band played, so that smell was wafting around as well. I was pretty tired going in and the heat didn't help matters. But Burma kicked butt; the sound mix was better than the last few times I had seen them there. They played primarily stuff from their early days of 1979-80, including all of their classic EP Signals, Calls and Marches (which features their best-known songs like "That's When I Reach For My Revolver" and "Academy Fight Song"); after their 80-minute main set, they came back out and played some songs from their recent albums. They were done just before midnight and as they were leaving the stage, bassist-singer Clint Conley came back out and said, "We're up 5 with 15 seconds left," referring to the Celtics in Game 4 of the NBA Finals.

Turns out I missed a pretty good game. The Celts were down by 24 in the first half before storming back to win the game. Now they're up 3-1 over the Lakers and have a chance to win the championship tomorrow night.

The weather the last few days has been awesome. I'm supposed to play 9 holes of golf with Stevie Z. this afternoon, so I'm looking forward to that. Then I plan to run 10 early tomorrow morning.

Some bulleted items:
  • I was never a big fan of the guy, but sad to hear about the death of NBC news dude Tim Russert. He was only 58; looks like he had a heart attack.
  • So if you're an established rock band looking for a sales boost for your new album, where do you turn? The InterWeb? Radio? TV? Nope, apparently you sign an exclusive deal to sell the album at Wal-Mart. It worked wonders for the Eagles, Journey and Garth Brooks, and now next up is none other than AC/DC. Wonder if some anti-rock preacher is going to start protesting outside Wal-Mart stores because of this? AC/DC has never been considered inoffensive by any means, although they're pretty tame compared to some of the other stuff out there.
  • Speaking of bands and publicity stunts, here's an interesting twist on those "Rock Star" shows where bands like INXS find a new singer via the reality show: KISS is in talks to do a reality show in which they replace the entire band. Not a shocker, since these guys have been holding farewell tours for the last 12 years. They'll probably pick KISS Jr. and then go out on tour with both bands.
  • Interesting story out of major league baseball about Milwaukee Brewers slugger Prince Fielder (son of Cecil), who hit 50 homers last year but this year had seen his power numbers decline. Coincidentally (or not), he became a vegetarian in the offseason. Is the lack of meat contributing to his lack of power, or is he just having an off year? Fielder's a big dude (270-300 pounds), so what's he eating instead of meat? He's a streaky hitter, so he still could get hot and at least approach last year's numbers. I'm sure a lot depends on whether the Brewers are providing him some decent meat alternatives in the clubhouse spread; pass the veggie burger, dude.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Completely Conspicuous Episode 56: This is Your Brain on Drugs

Just cranked out the latest ep of CompCon. Some good stuff, methinks. Do check it out here (right click and "Save as").

Show notes...

- The world of pharmaceutical drugs
- The obsolescence of the necktie
- Pinhead of the Week

- Mudhoney - I'm Now
- Wolf Parade - Language City
- The Chelsea Smiles - Nothing Wrong
- The Black Halos - Disbelief
- The Zambonis with James Kochalka - Hockey Monkey

- New England Podcasting

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

The Mudhoney song is on the new album The Lucky Ones. The Wolf Parade song is on the new album At Mount Zoomer. Both songs are courtesy of Sub Pop Records, where you can find out more and download the tracks.

The Zambonis song is on the album More Songs About Hockey...and Buildings and Food on Tarquin Records; find out more and buy the album here.

The Black Halos song is on the new album We Are Not Alone. The Chelsea Smiles song is on the album Thirty Six Hours Later. Both albums are on Acetate Records and both songs were provided by IODA Promonet:

Thirty Six Hours LaterThe Chelsea Smiles
"Nothing Wrong" (mp3)
from "Thirty Six Hours Later"
(Acetate Records)

Buy at iTunes Music Store
Buy at eMusic
Buy at Napster
Buy at Rhapsody
Stream from Rhapsody
Buy at Amazon
Buy at mTraks Download
More On This Album

We Are Not AloneThe Black Halos
"Disbelief" (mp3)
from "We Are Not Alone"
(Acetate Records)

Buy at iTunes Music Store
Buy at Napster
Buy at Rhapsody
Stream from Rhapsody
More On This 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.

Just a Little Heat

After a couple of days of rain and cool weather, the heat is back. Temps hit the mid-90s yesterday and are well on their way to getting back there today. Yesterday, we went to a couple of kid birthday parties, where the girls had a blast. Fortunately, they were able to keep cool with a slip-and-slide at the first party and a huge inflatable water slide thingy at the second. Hannah didn't eat much all day and turns out she's got a bit of a stomach bug today; Deb and I both were having some stomach issues as well, but not on Hannah's level. Poor kid's been in the bathroom a lot today.

I got up at 6 today so I could get a 10-mile run in before it got too hot out. As it was, I was out the door a little after 6:30 and it was already in the mid-70s and humid. Fortunately, there were some shady stretches along my route so I didn't get totally fried. Unfortunately, those aforementioned stomach problems came and went from about mile 3 on. But I survived and was glad to be done with it.

It was a strange week, what with the cold I was fighting (still dealing with the last vestiges of it, but it was nothing compared to the last one I had) and my sore back. It bothered me more after I'd been sitting at my desk for a while and then went to get up. Today, it doesn't feel bad and it didn't bother me at all during my run. Hopefully I can get back to my regular weight workout schedule this week; haven't lifted weights in a few weeks.

Put another shrimp on the barbie:
  • Congrats to the Detroit Red Wings, who won the Stanley Cup Wednesday night with a 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. They deserved it, as they were clearly the better team throughout. Still, the Pens made it interesting right to the end, coming oh-so-close to tying the game in the dying seconds. Looks like the Wings are already wreaking havoc with their prize.
  • I freely admit I've jumped on the Boston Celtics bandwagon as they battle the LA Lakers in the NBA Finals. It's been a long time since I watched the NBA and I still have a tough time watching a game all the way through. Unlike other sports where every run, point or goal can be crucial, there's so much scoring in basketball that it really comes down to the last quarter in most games. But I watched most of Game 1 Thursday night and it was a good game. The second game is tonight; should be interesting.
  • Finally, Hillary Clinton conceded the Democratic nomination to Barack Obama and is working to get her supporters to back him. Although Obama and John McCain have been taking potshots at each other for a while now, things will really heat up now that everything's official. The mudslinging will ratchet up a notch, if that's possible.
  • Talk about efficient: This crazy dude in Tokyo drove his truck into a crowd and then jumped out and stabbed 17 people. He said he was "tired of life." Duly noted.
  • Okay, now there's an actual South Asian Spelling Bee? (Hat tip to Sepia Mutiny.) Apparently, it isn't enough that little Indian kids dominate the regular spelling bees. For whatever reason, we're good at 'em; of course, it doesn't help that some of these parents are drilling their kids with flash cards as soon as they're able to talk. I know what I'm talking about: My dad had me memorizing multiplication tables at age 4. Unfortunately for him and fortunately for me, I eventually developed other interests like sports, music and girls and didn't become an accomplished mathlete.
  • Following up on the VH item from last post, it came out this week that the DLR-enhanced Van Halen earned $93 freakin' million on their reunion tour. Wow! Top that, Chickenfoot.
  • One of the fun things about the Celtics' great season, just one year removed from being one of the worst teams in the league, has been the excitement generated around "Gino." As I've chronicled here previously, the Celts have been playing an old "American Bandstand" clip from the '70s of a bearded disco dancer shaking his groove thang while wearing a Gino Vannelli t-shirt. The clip is played when the team is about to win a game, serving as the modern day version of Red Auerbach's victory cigar. But folks have always clamored to find out who the dancer was. Turns out, according to the Wall Street Journal, that Gino actually died in 1990. But his beard and smooth moves live on.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Losfer Words (Big 'Orra)

The weather's getting nice, sunny and in the 80s, so naturally, I'm stricken with a nasty head cold and cough. Thanks to Lily, who's been dealing with it for about a week. To make matters worse, the AC in my office was shut off while they're doing roof work, so it was about 90 in there. I was really miserable yesterday as I sweated and hacked my way through the day, so today after I wrapped up a meeting and some work, I headed home at noon. I'm still hacking, but not as much as yesterday. Plus there's some fumes from the glue they're using on the roof that sent a few people near me home. Nice.

I haven't gotten much sleep the last few nights, either. Sunday night, I kept coughing and couldn't stop coughing until I slept on my side or stomach. But I have a chronically sore back, so sleeping that way the last two nights has me in some pain today (sucks getting old, man).

Another reason I'm beat today is I stayed up until 1 a.m. watching Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final, which went to triple OT before Pittsburgh beat Detroit to stave off elimination and take the series back to Steeltown. Despite the Penguins jumping out to a quick 2-0 lead, the Wings dominated much of the night and were a little over 30 seconds away from winning the Cup when Max Talbot banged home the tying goal. Then on to the OTs, where Pens goalie Marc-Andre Fleury was amazing, singlehandedly keeping Pittsburgh alive. Finally in the third OT, Petr Sykora scored the winner on a power play; the cool thing is in the second OT, Sykora told NBC commentator Pierre Maguire that he would score the winning goal. It was a great, gutsy game, but I'm sure glad it didn't go into a fourth OT period. Next game is tomorrow night; hopefully the Penguins can win and send it to a seventh game on Saturday.

Today is the big vote in Beverly on the override. I actually was out holding a "Yes" sign with Deb on Saturday. I've always been more of a sidelines guy, not an activist or a signholder, so it was strange for me. But I'd say about 90% of the reaction we got from the folks who drove by in the two hours I was out there was positive (this doesn't include the folks who just drove by and didn't react one way or another). We probably won't find out how the vote goes until late tonight, but it looks like it'll be a close one. [UPDATE: Well, I was dead wrong. The override failed by a wide margin, 63%-37%. In retrospect, I suppose I shouldn't have been shocked given the tough economic times, but I guess I got caught up in the positive vibes. Now we wait to find out where Hannah will go to school next year. She's pretty bummed about it, and Deb's devastated, but we'll deal with it. Just sucks, that's all.]

Great googily moogily:
  • Good news for fantasy sports nerds like myself: The Supreme Court decided not to hear a case in which MLB claimed a fantasy baseball game owner needed a license to use players' names in its product. Since most of the leagues I'm in use free services, I'm glad at least one thing related to major league sports remains affordable.
  • You always hear the jokes about a player being so bad he was traded for a bucket of balls or something, but recently a minor league player was traded for 10 bats. Hey, in the team's defense, they were really nice bats.
  • It was funny to see former White House press secretary Scott McClennan, free of his Bushian overlords, come out with a book that slams Dubya and his administration's deceptive dealings with the media. McClennan, whose sweaty, doughy presence made for many an unintentionally funny press conference back in the day, is now being characterized as a nutjob by his former compatriots. But of course.