Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Completely Conspicuous Episode 63: Rattled by the Rush

Just under the wire, I recorded another episode of CompCon before the month was over. You can download it directly here (right click and "save as").

The show notes...

- Is ignorance truly bliss?
- Lance Armstrong returns to cycling
- Pinhead of the Week

- Prima Donna - Stray Doll
- Pavement - Rattled by the Rush
- The King Khan and BBQ Show - Fish Fight
- Deltron 3030 (featuring Del the Funky Homosapien and Dan the Automator) - Mastermind

- New England Podcasting.

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

The Pavement song is on the album Wowee Zowee--Sordid Sentinels Edition on Matador Records; find out more and download the track here.

The King Khan and BBQ Show song is on their self-titled album on Goner Records; find out more and download the track here.

The Prima Donna song is on the album After Hours on Acetate Records. The song from Deltron 3030 is on their self-titled album on 75 Ark Records. Both songs were provided by IODA Promonet:

After HoursPrima Donna
"Stray Doll" (mp3)
from "After Hours"
(Acetate Records)

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

Deltron 3030Del The Funky Homosapien, Dan the Automator
"Mastermind" (mp3)
from "Deltron 3030"
(Deltron Projects)

Buy at iTunes Music Store
Buy at Rhapsody
Stream from Rhapsody
Buy at mTraks
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 by visiting his fine music blog. Additional music used in the show is by Me and Boris the Bull, which is the brainchild of the mighty Mark Campbell.

Completely Conspicuous is a Tan God Production. Word.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Goodnight Bad Morning

Back home and chillin' on a Sunday night. After attending yet another successful birthday bash for my nephews (this one with a Star Wars theme) and consuming generous amounts of birthday cake, whoopie pies, candy, and Sam Adams Octoberfest (I think I found room for dinner, too), I got up early this morning and met Matt's buddy Joe for an 18-miler. It was cloudy and very muggy, but the rain held off. I saw several deer during the run, but fortunately no bears. I felt pretty good and we met up with Matt for the last two miles; he was finishing a 10-miler of his own. Joe's training for New York in early November, and Matt will likely do the half in Philly while I do the full marathon. Got cleaned up and we hit the road by 11:30. Amazingly, we made it through the entire four-hour trip without stopping for a single bathroom break. I don't think that's happened in a long, long time.

Last night, my good buddy OJ attended the Built to Spill/Dinosaur Jr./Meat Puppets show at the Orpheum. I had purchased the ticket a few months back, scoring second row center seats, and was very excited for the show, at least until I found out we'd be away for the weekend. Fortunately, I was able to find a good home for the ticket with OJ, and he says the show didn't disappoint. His review mentions the last time I saw BTS, which was in 2001 with him and Doobs about a week after 9/11. It was a great show and also a weird time to see a show. I also had a ticket to a blues fest featuring the great Buddy Guy at Harborlights (now the BankBoston Pavilion or something) on September 12, but it was postponed for a week or so. Hey, we had to do our part so the terrorists wouldn't win, right?

Pass the peas:

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Get Innocuous!

Greetings from NJ. We drove down through some nasty rain and traffic on the Mass Pike, but things improved once we got into Connecticut. We had to deal with some crankiness from the girls for the first half of the trip, but after we stopped for dinner, that just turned into silliness and giggling, which is much more preferable.

I watched some of the debate last night, but couldn't get into it. My brain was kinda fried from the week and watching those dudes bicker didn't help. I was glad McCain dropped his silly "suspension of the campaign" ploy; it sounded like the whole bailout negotiation was just more political grandstanding on both sides. Looks like nothing's been resolved yet on that front, anyway. But I thought Obama acquitted himself well on foreign policy issues, despite McCain's best efforts to paint him as a dangerous neophyte. Hopefully it helped some undecided folks make up their minds some.

Speaking of the campaign, I love the cover of Entertainment Weekly this week, with Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert parodying the controversial New Yorker cover of the Obamas.

An update on the guy from my hockey group who suffered a stroke: He's still under sedation, but apparently they were going to do an MRI last night to better determine the extent of the bleeding/damage in his brain. His buddies were planning to move a bunch of his stuff from the rooming house he lives in to prevent anyone else there from ripping it off. The group has really pulled together, which is nice to see. Let's hope the news is positive today.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

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Angels Come to Comfort You

The coming and going of another birthday is always a chance to get a little morbid about one's existence on this rock, but I've always been pretty good at avoiding such navel-gazing. But last night something else altogether unexpected and unwanted definitely gave me pause. I went to hockey, running a little late because Deb had a meeting that went long. I actually made pretty good time, suited up and headed out to the ice. As I was walking by the opposing team bench, I noticed one of the guys looked like he was in pretty rough shape. He had his helmet off and his face looked red. Somebody told me he fell as he was getting on the ice and hit his head, so I thought he might have a concussion. We start playing and about 15-20 minutes later, I notice an ambulance pull up and EMTs come inside. Sure enough, the guy had a stroke. He lost feeling on the left side of his body and was slurring his words, but he was lucid enough to talk to the EMTs. They took him out on a stretcher and off to Salem Hospital. We didn't find out the stroke diagnosis until after the skate, so we played on, wondering how he was doing. Afterward, the shock started setting in. The guy's only 35. Granted, he was kinda pudgy, but he was a decent hockey player. Come to find out he had high blood pressure and hadn't been taking his meds. He was transferred to Mass General and right now the doctors are still trying to determine how much damage was done. All we can do is hope for the best. I don't know him that well, but that doesn't change the fact that this is pretty shocking. It's been really tough on a lot of the other guys, who have known him for years. Hopefully he can beat the odds and come out okay on the other side.

In much, much cheerier news, my morning routine has changed once again now that Hannah's taking the bus to school. I had fully expected and was happy to driver her to school every day, but pickup was difficult for my mother-in-law, who has to go to work in the afternoons. At first, Hannah was dead-set against it, but when she found out one of her best friends was taking the bus, she was sold. So far, so good. Of course, it means I need to have her ready a little earlier so we can be out on the corner by 7:15, but it's not that much harder. Lily and I go out there with her (that should be fun in the dead of winter) and then come back in for a few minutes until I leave for work.

We're heading down to NJ this weekend for a combined birthday bash for my nephews. Looks like the weather's going to be pretty soggy, but that won't keep the kids from having a blast. At some point, I need a squeeze a long run in of 15-18 miles, too.

Market fluctuation:
  • Holy crap, the economy's in a tailspin. Looks like McCain's using it as an excuse to bail on a debate and take some credit for leading the charge to resolve the situation. The whole $700 billion bailout just sounds like a bad idea to me.
  • Hiyoooooo! Looks like Ed McMahon has found a new way to pay off his mounting debt: Making like Kool Moe Dee. Sorry Ed, I gots to stick with the real thing.
  • Federal judge to RIAA: Suck it!
  • Damn, looks like TV series killer Ted McGinley was unable to prevail against "Dancing With The Stars." Or was he?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Dignified and Old

Another year, another birthday. I'm officially a fortysomething. So I'm 41. Big deal. I can still bring it. Whatever "it" is.

It actually was an interesting day. I got out and ran a strong 20-miler. It was a nice fall day, I felt good, and all was well until mile 15, when I stopped to buy a Gatorade in Beverly Farms. I went to pull out the $2 I had in a Ziploc bag with my cell phone from my fuel belt and found that the zippered pocket was open and there was nothing inside. I was flabbergasted. Had my phone fallen out somewhere along the route? Or did I just forget it? I remembered putting the phone and money in the bag, but I couldn't recall if I actually put it in the belt. I hoped that it was sitting at home. When I got home, it was nowhere to be found. Deb and the girls got home from church and we drove part of the route but couldn't find it. We stopped at the Verizon Wireless store and had them suspend the phone line just in case somebody found it and decided to use up the minutes. Then we headed into Boston to go to the Museum of Science, which held a science teachers day for which admission was free. The girls had a blast and I TiVoed the Pats-Dolphins game. When we got back, we drove the entire route of my run but couldn't find the phone, so we figured we'd just get new phones, since ours are three years old, anyway.

Boy, was I glad I recorded that football game, because it was awful. The Pats were smoked, 38-13. The only positive was I could fast-forward through the horrendous affair. It wasn't much better for me on the baseball front, as the Jays were blanked by the Sox.

We had a nice dinner and the girls gave me homemade birthday cards, and as Deb was putting them to bed, I took one last look at that fuel belt. And sure enough, there was the friggin' phone, wedged in the front of the thing. Oy.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

As We Go Up, We Go Down

Another Saturday morning check-in. I'm taking advantage of the calm before the youth soccer-induced storm. Lily's got soccer at 9 and Hannah has her game at 10:30, so things are going to get pretty busy in a little bit. Deb's off at a flea market selling stuff to raise money for her next Costa Rica trip in June, so I'm solo this morning.

We're starting to get that crisp fall weather that I like so much: Sunny but with temps only reaching the low 60s. Great for running. I've got to get a 20-miler in early tomorrow. Marathon training has been going well. I'm feeling pretty good for the most part. My back has been bothering me a little, but I got a massage this week and that helped. Philly's only two months away.

Met up with OJ and Amy last night and went to a small birthday bash for Big Audio Douglass, who lives across town. Good time with a good bunch of folks.

Change the channel:
  • So after all the hullaballoo about the Large Hadron Collider and how it was going to doom us all, the thing's now on the fritz. Guess they don't make black-hole creating particle colliders like they used to.
  • I don't place much stock in polls, but it sounds like people are finally tiring of Sarah Palin hype. Tina Fey totally nailed her on SNL last weekend, but I thought the rest of the show was pretty weak. They had a chance to really make some good political satire with one of the best political impressionists around in Darrell Hammond. But NBC foisted Michael Phelps as the guest host, which meant they had to do a lot of dumb sketches built around him instead.
  • Metallica had a nice number 1 debut with their latest album, Death Magnetic. I haven't picked it up yet, but I heard a good preview of it and found some tracks online and it sounds like they're definitely getting back to their classic mid-80s sound.
  • Speaking of metal legends, Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson has been keeping busy with his other job as a commercial airline pilot. He spent last weekend flying to Egypt to pick up stranded British passengers for XL Airlines. Aces high, indeed.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Completely Conspicuous Episode 62: Start Me Up

Hey, just recorded the latest ep of CompCon. Check it out. You can download it directly here (right click and "save as") if you haven't already subscribed to the program.

The show notes, if you will...

- Bands going online to find their new singers
- Energy drinks
- Pinhead of the Week

- Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks - Baltimore
- The Lords of Altamont - Altamont Sin
- South San Gabriel - Trust to Lose
- Alejandro Escovedo - Always a Friend

- New England Podcasting.

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

The Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks song is on the album Real Emotional Trash on Matador Records, where you can find out more and download the track.

The Alejandro Escovedo song is on the album Real Animal on Back Porch Records; visit his Internet home page to find out more and download the track.

The Lords of Altamont song is on the album Altamont Sin on Gearhead Records. The song from South San Gabriel is on the album Dual Hawks on Misra Records. Both songs were provided by IODA Promonet:

Altamont SinLords of Altamont
"The Altamont Sin" (mp3)
from "Altamont Sin"
(Gearhead Records)

More On This Album

Dual HawksSouth San Gabriel
"Trust To Lose" (mp3)
from "Dual Hawks"

Buy at iTunes Music Store
Buy at Rhapsody
Buy at Napster
Stream from Rhapsody
Buy at Puretracks
Buy at GroupieTunes
Buy at mTraks
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 muy excellente blog de music. Additional music used in the show is by Me and Boris the Bull, which is the brainchild of the mighty Mark Campbell.

Completely Conspicuous is a Tan God Production. Word.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Needles and Pins

Another crazy week. I spent much of it getting punctured. Tuesday morning, I had a physical for the first time in two years. In addition to getting blood drawn to check my cholesterol and thyroid level, I got a tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis vaccination. And then yesterday afternoon, I gave blood for the first time ever at a blood drive that was held at my office. I'm not sure why I've never done it before; I'm certainly not opposed to it and I'm not freaked out by needles. I think it was just the fact that a blood drive was never in such close proximity before. At any rate, I never realized how much went into blood drives. I had to read a ton of material beforehand about various reasons I may not be allowed to give blood, fill out a questionnaire, and then answer a bunch of questions about my sexual and drug history. Once I finally got hooked up to a blood bag, it went pretty smoothly. I was a tad lightheaded afterward, but nothing serious. They had a snack table set up for donors and I had some cookies and juice before heading back to my office. I was told not to drink any alcohol last night and not to do any strenuous exercise for 24 hours. Of course, the latter was a problem because I had a tight window to get my long run in today.

I took Hannah for her soccer photo shoot at 9 a.m. and then dropped her off at Lily's game, which took place at the same time. I went home and then went for a 13-mile run, which was a real struggle. I just felt sluggish the entire way and not just because of the humidity. I didn't have the energy that I would normally for a run that short (since I've been doing runs of 17-20 miles for the last three weeks). But I got through it. Afterward, we took Hannah to her soccer game and then went to a get-together down in Dedham. We just got home around 10.

Tomorrow will be equally nuts, because I'm volunteering at a race in the morning and then we're heading up to see my mom in NH in the afternoon. No rest for the weary.

Wiggity wiggity:
  • Looks like the oil companies are using Hurricane Ike as an excuse to gouge us some more on gas prices. Gas stations down south have hiked their prices by a dollar in some areas, while on Friday alone I saw one station raise its cheapest gas by 10 cents over the span of eight hours. Ridiculous.
  • Sarah Palin didn't do so well in her first big television interview since getting the nomination. I'm shocked.
  • How about this Green Bay mom, who posed as her 15-year-old daughter because she wanted to be a high school cheerleader? I suppose I can understand wanting to be young again, but 15? Really? I could maybe see wanting to do college again, but high school? Hell, no.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Get Back Again

Busy times. Lily started preschool today, if only for a few hours. She seemed to enjoy herself. I've gotten into a good routine with Hannah's drop-off; I get to the office by 8:20 pretty much every day, which is fine by me.

Tropical storm Hanna made itself known on Saturday, dousing us with some rain in the morning before really letting us have it in the evening. Lily's morning soccer game was rained out. I ran some errands and then booked it over to Holliston for my buddy Bob's party celebrating his recent wedding, purchase of a house, and new baby girl. Yeah, he's been busy, too. It was a good time, but I could only stay for a few hours because Hannah's soccer game was at 3. I wolfed down some of the Redbones food they had procured for lunch and then hauled ass back to Beverly, got changed and then headed over for Hannah's game. As it turned out, we did two split-squad games simultaneously against our opponent. The head coach handled one team while I coached the other, both 4-on-4. The other team had the upper hand early, but my squad came back and made it interesting. We definitely need to work on basic stuff like passing, positioning and defensive coverage, but considering the girls are 6-8 years old, they did pretty well and seemed to have fun. In the end, we lost by a few goals. About a half hour after the game, it got really dark and started pouring. The winds picked up overnight.

I headed out for an extremely humid 18-mile run Sunday morning, but I felt good. It was a struggle at times, but nothing compared to a few weeks ago. We went to a friend's house to watch the Patriots-Chiefs game; alas, the Pats' hopes for another shot at the Super Bowl went down with Tom Brady, who was victimized by a late hit to the knee. The team announced today that Brady was done for the season; he'll have to undergo surgery for what is believed to be a torn ACL. They won the game Sunday behind backup QB Matt Cassell, but he ain't Brady. And I thought I couldn't get more depressed after that Super Bowl loss.

Fall colors...
  • In typical late season fashion, the Jays are winning games now that they're virtually guaranteed to miss the playoffs. They swept the Rays over the weekend and have won eight in a row. They still have a lot of games against contenders, but they're so far behind they'd need a lot of help to get in as the wild card.
  • Meanwhile, VeloNews is reporting that Lance Armstrong plans to make a comeback and ride in the 2009 Tour de France. I hope he doesn't, just because you hate to see great athletes who don't know when to call it quits(Michael Jordan, Guy Lafleur, Steve Carlton, and more recently Brett Favre, although he looked pretty good yesterday).

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Giddy Like a Schoolgirl

It was an eventful morning: Hannah's first day of first grade at her third school in as many years. I got up early and got the girls in their morning boot camp mode (breakfast, brush teeth, get changed, then a little TV) before dropping Lily off downstairs (she doesn't start preschool until next week) and taking Hannah to her new school. Unlike last year when it was a two-minute trip, her new school is across town (10-15 minutes, depending on traffic). The school is located at the end of a street, so there was a total bottleneck heading in. We parked on a nearby sidestreet and walked over. I snapped a quick picture of her out front with my cellphone camera and walked her into the gym, where the classes were gathering. She handled it pretty well. I think there was so much going on, there was no time to get emotional. We'll see how she does in the weeks to come.

After dropping her off, I hightailed it to Ipswich for my dental checkup (look ma, no cavities), then booked over to Marblehead by 10. Got some work done and had a meeting and then had to leave at noon to take Lily off my mother-in-law's hands. Worked from home in the afternoon until Deb called and said she was stuck in traffic, so Lily and I headed over to pick up Hannah from school. She seemed pretty pleased about the day.

Tomorrow we start all over again.

Also tomorrow, I begin my soccer coaching career as an assistant on Hannah's U-8 girls team. Neither I nor the head coach have ever done this before, so it should be interesting. But we both have played for many years, so that should help. I hope. Tomorrow we have our first practice and Saturday is our first game, if Hurricane Hanna (the storm, not the girl) doesn't put a damper on things.

Talking points:

  • So tonight is Sarah Palin's big speech at the RNC, where she is expected to slam Obama. I love the spin the Republicans are working, saying that she actually has more executive experience than Obama (or even McCain or Biden) because she's been a governor for 20 months. Wow. I'll give them credit. They're really talking a great game about what a great VP she'll make. Meanwhile, they're slamming the media over all the coverage about her daughter's pregnancy, possible corruption probe, etc., etc.

  • The NFL season starts tomorrow night. And the NHL season is a month away, as are the baseball playoffs. Gotta love it.