Friday, October 30, 2009

Mr. Scary

Man, there are few things I hate more than being sick. I picked up a chest cold from Lily and have been stuffed up and hacking for the last three days or so. I've been trying to hit the sack by 11 all week to get some extra sleep (obviously, I'm a little past that deadline tonight).

Halloween's in full swing and the girls have had a blast this week with all the festivities. Tonight we went to a Halloween dance at their school and tomorrow night is the actual trick-or-treating. Hopefully, we won't get rained on.

Well, I'm going to get some sleep, but thought I'd leave you with this creepy classic from Ozzy:

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Kids Don't Get It

As I get older, I find it simultaneously amusing and horrifying at how in some ways I'm turning into my parents. There are many more ways that I'm not like my parents, but now some of the things they'd say that drove me crazy when I was a kid, I actually find myself agreeing with.

My parents were very overprotective, which of course I hated. They made me quit my part-time job senior year of high school because they thought it was affecting my schoolwork. They wouldn't let me go to the senior prom after-party because they were worried I'd be too tired driving home; never mind the fact that I had already been working night crews and had driven home plenty of times after working all night, and the fact that not being able to go made me look like a wuss. I couldn't wait to go to college and get the hell out of the house.

But while some of their decisions were nonsensical and borderline insane, I can understand where they came from. Especially when I read stories like this one about a 15-year-old girl who was gang raped by a group of students outside a school dance. As a father of two girls, it makes me want to not let them out of the friggin' house. Knowing what's out there in the world is enough to turn a parent into an overprotective psycho. But you can't shelter kids forever. You have to teach them to make the right decisions and hope they can follow through. Right? Even when they go to college and beyond, I hope my girls have the good sense not to drink to the point where some asshole can take advantage of them. I've seen so many women put themselves in such a stupor that they become easy prey. There's just so much that's out of my control. But it has always been that way for parents, I suppose.

Funny thing is, even though my parents were very controlling in some ways, I had a lot of freedom in others. I walked to school with my buddies, went trick-or-treating without parental supervision for hours on end, was out playing all day long in the summertime while both my parents worked. It was the late '70s. It was no big deal for 7-year-old boys to be out on their own all day without adults around. We'd play street hockey, ride our bikes all over town, buy candy and comic books, just do kid stuff. There was no fear of predators or even other kids picking on us. Think that could happen today? Hell, no. And there's no way I'd let my 7-year-old walk down the street by herself nowadays. Part of it's paranoia, part of it's justified. I'm not sure if things are really more dangerous now or if child abductions/assaults are just reported and publicized much more these days.

I try to think back to how I was as a 7-year-old and Hannah still seems so much less mature to me. I don't know if that's accurate or if I've got this unrealistic image of myself at that age, but I do remember that we were already swearing back then. Certainly not in front of our parents or other authority figures, but amongst ourselves, definitely. I remember feeling guilty about it at times, but boys will be boys, right? The fact was, I had this whole other reality that my parents didn't know about. When I was hanging out with my buddies, I was a wise-ass, cracking jokes, tossing insults, goofing off. At home, I kept that under wraps so I wouldn't get a smack from my dad.

Hopefully, my kids won't feel the need to hide stuff from me like I did from my parents. But I'm sure it'll happen at some point, especially as they get into their teens and get all rebellious. My thing was just to go into my room and listen to music. I didn't drink and thus wasn't a partier, so it was rock and comics for me. So when it comes time for the girls to not want anything to do with me because I'm old and don't understand them, I hope I don't take it too hard. Because it's gonna happen.

Here's a hot jam from the days of my youth in the Toronto suburbs:

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Completely Conspicuous 99: The Decade in Rock, Part 4

The podcast's back with the conclusion of my review of the decade in rock with special guest Jay Breitling. Click here to listen to the show in streaming audio or download it directly here (right click and "save as").

The show notes...

Topics:
- Breitling's 2007 picks: Dinosaur Jr., Meneguar, Assembly Now, Answering Machine, Radiohead, Spoon, Dntel, Ringo Deathstarr, Johnny Foreigner
- Kumar's 2007 picks: Grinderman, Black Francis, Andrew Bird, Okkervil River, LCD Soundsystem, MIA
- Breitling's 2008 picks: A Weather, The Notwist, Johnny Foreigner, Dinosaur Pile Up, Swimmers, War on Drugs, Destroyer
- Kumar's 2008 picks: Gutter Twins, King Khan and the Shrines, Hold Steady, Ladyhawk, Black Mountain
- Chloe and Amy B. make guest appearances
- 2008: Videogames became a viable way to sell music
- Big box exclusives: AC/DC, Eagles, Pearl Jam, GNR
- Chinese Democracy bombs big time
- Autotune becomes ubiquitous
- Breitling's 2009 picks: Dananananaykroyd, Project AKO, Morrissey, Calories, Fleeting Joys, Johnny Foreigner, Beatings
- Chloe interjects
- Kumar's 2009 picks: Gaslight Anthem, Jay Reatard, Jarvis Cocker, Japandroids, Art Brut
- Death of Michael Jackson should lead to endless albums
- Death of the album
- Bonehead of the Week

Music:
- Dinosaur Jr. - Almost Ready
- Destroyer - Dark Leaves Form a Thread
- Johnny Foreigner - Feels Like Summer

Completely Conspicuous is available through the iTunes podcast directory. Subscribe and write a review!

The Dinosaur Jr. song is on the 2007 album Beyond on Fat Possum Records, where you can download the track.

The Destroyer song is on the 2008 album on Merge Records, where you can download the track.
The Johnny Foreigner song is on their 2009 album Grace and the Bigger Picture on Best Before Records. The song is courtesy of RCRDLBL, where you can download the song.

The show is sponsored by Budget, the country's premier car rental service. Go to Budget and save 10% off any reservation or $30 off a weekly rental. Help out the show by patronizing my sponsors.

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 blogs Clicky Clicky and Keeping Some Dark Secrets. Additional music used in the show is by Me and Boris the Bull, which is the brainchild of the mighty Mark Campbell. Thanks to Bob Durling for the album art; find out more about his photography here.

Completely Conspicuous is a Tan God Production. Word.

Sunday

Just hanging out before dinner on a Sunday afternoon. It was a terrific day: Sunny with temps in the 60s. I got a nice 10-mile run in this morning while the girls were at church. Then we headed up to my mom's for the annual Halloween party her condo complex has for the residents' grandkids. The woman who organizes the thing has a screechy voice that could cut through diamonds. Deb and I tried to stay on the periphery to avoid it as much as possible. If you didn't have a headache to begin with, you'd soon acquire one. Fortunately, the Pats game was on a huge screen TV, so we watched that for a while. At any rate, the girls had fun and loaded up with their first of several trick-or-treating opportunities.

It's October 25 and the Leafs are still winless on the season after losing a 3-1 decision to Vancouver last night. Not what Brian Burke had in mind going into the season; and if he thought they would suck this badly, he would never have traded their first-round picks for the next two seasons to the Bruins for Phil Kessel. They played pretty well last night, but some stupid penalties in the first led to two power play goals for the Canucks and then Roberto Luongo shut the door the rest of the way. They play Anaheim tomorrow night, which probably won't be much easier.

I plan to record the latest episode of CompCon tonight, wrapping up the decade in rock review that OJ and I did. My next couple of shows will cover the best of the decade in sports, with my buddy Phil and I bringing the noise. The plan is for him to come over tomorrow night to record, if his schedule allows.

My latest running column was published the other day. This time around, I took a look at how to put together a road race.

Speaking of races, I'm pretty sure I'm going to do the Cox Sports Marathon in Providence next May 2. The course sounds good and it's a race I haven't done before. And it's not a long drive to get there.


I was listening to Sloan's Navy Blues album this afternoon on the drive to and from NH and this song frickin' rules. They're coming to TT's in December, too:

Friday, October 23, 2009

1, 2, 3 Partyy!

Ah, the weekend's here. Not a moment too soon. I believe we will kick it off in grand style by watching Disc 1 of Season 1 of "Friday Night Lights." It's called living it up, people.

These old dudes know how to bring the noize:

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Let It Slide

Man, life is just hurtling by. Can't believe it's already Wednesday. Before we know it, we'll be swimming in birthday/Halloween parties for the girls starting this weekend.

Deb got home from San Fran Monday night after finishing the Nike Women's Half Marathon in 2:35 Sunday. She had a great trip and did a lot of sightseeing around SF, which is a truly beautiful city. Her flight ended up getting delayed because of storms and didn't arrive at Logan until 11:30 Monday night, so we were both pretty beat yesterday. But it's good to have her back home.

Congrats to my bro-in-law Matt, who triumphed Saturday over the Mountain Madness 50K (that's 31 miles) in his town of Ringwood, NJ. He finished in 8:55. Having done some butt-kicking 10+ milers through those trails, I can't even imagine being out there for almost nine hours. Also kudos to my buddy Rick, who finished the Baystate Marathon Sunday in 3:40; it was a truly lousy day out, with driving rain and strong headwinds.

I went to the BU-Notre Dame hockey game last night at Agganis Arena with my friends Rick Z. and Hugh; BU got bounced 3-0 in their home opener. They outplayed ND in the first but the Irish took the game over in the second, just dominating the period. BU coach Jack Parker is no doubt putting his players through some nasty practices this week as punishment for their lackluster effort.

And now, for your Hump Day enjoyment...


Monday, October 19, 2009

Completely Conspicuous 98: The Decade in Rock, Part 3

The podcast is back with part 3 of my look at the decade in rock with special guest Jay Breitling. Click here to listen to the show in streaming audio or download it directly here (right click and "save as").

The show notes...

Topics:

- Breitling's 2005 picks: A-Sides, Meneguar, The Hold Steady, Wolf Parade, Logh, Mazarin

- Big ups to Philly indie rock

- Was the Hold Steady influential?

- Kumar's 2005 picks: Bloc Party, Spoon, New Pornographers, Death From Above 1979

- 2006: Ringtones were big business

- Bands selling out in commercials

- Breitling's 2006 picks: Fields, Snowden, Armalite, Lemonheads, The Hold Steady, Okay Paddy, Up Up Down Down etc., McLusky, Haywood

- Kumar's 2006 picks: Mission of Burma, Drive-By Truckers, Arctic Monkeys, TVOTR, Destroyer, Sloan, Mastodon

- Bonehead of the Week

Music:

- Wolf Parade - You Are a Runner and I Am My Father's Son

- Bloc Party - Helicopter

- The Lemonheads - No Backbone

- Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Start - Janet Bateman

Completely Conspicuous is available through the iTunes podcast directory. Subscribe and write a review!

The Wolf Parade song is on the 2005 album Apologies to the Queen Mary on Sub Pop Records, where you can download the track.

The Bloc Party song is on their 2005 debut Silent Alarm on Dim Mak Records. The song is courtesy of Mevio's Music Alley.

The Lemonheads song is on their 2006 self-titled album on Vagrant Records, where you can download the song.

The Up Up Down Down song is on the 2006 self-released EP Girls Names. Find out more and download the song here.

The show is sponsored by Eastbay/Footlocker.com, a leading supplier of athletic footwear, apparel and sports equipment. Find gear from top brands such as Nike, Adidas, Asics, Reebok, New Balance, Converse and Saucony. The promo code AFCOMP15 will get you 15% off any order at Eastbay and the code AFCOMP20 will get you 20% off any order of $75 or more at Eastbay. And the code AFCOMPFL will get you 15% off any order at Footlocker.com. Help out the show by patronizing my sponsors.

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 blogs Clicky Clicky and Keeping Some Dark Secrets. Additional music used in the show is by Me and Boris the Bull, which is the brainchild of the mighty Mark Campbell. Thanks to Bob Durling for the album art; find out more about his photography here.

Completely Conspicuous is a Tan God Production. Word.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Missing Time

As I type this, Deb's on her way to San Fran. She should arrive there in a few hours and on Sunday, she'll run the Nike Women's Half Marathon. She'll be hanging with her friends Kate and Cindy and will do a bunch of sightseeing and fun stuff. Meanwhile, I'll be here with the girls. It's only a couple of days; she was gone for 10 days last year when she took a group of students to Costa Rica, so this is a piece of cake compared to that. Tomorrow, the girls both have soccer games in the morning and then Deb's mom will take them for haircuts while I get a run in. Then we'll do something fun in the afternoon, although I haven't quite figured out what yet. Sunday's supposed to be pretty crappy out here, so we may be spending most of it indoors. Then the girls have school on Monday and that night, Deb gets back.

As for me, I'll spend much of the evenings catching up on TiVo and watching sports. I'm a party animal, people.

She's not the only one running a big race this weekend. Her brother Matt is doing a 50K (31-mile) trail run Saturday through the state park that sits behind his house. I had briefly toyed with the idea of running it, but I wisely backed off on that. Matt's trained really hard for this, so I'm sure he'll do fine. He's thinking it'll take him something like 8 hours. Damn. And my buddy Rick is running the Baystate Marathon Sunday; I did that race two years ago and enjoyed it. Hopefully the weather won't be too crappy for him.

In the meantime, here's a classic salute to Friday from the great Joe Jackson:


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Completely Conspicuous 97: The Decade in Rock, Part 2

Jay Breitling joins me again on the podcast to continue our discussion of the decade in rock music. This time around, we review 2002-2004. Click here to listen to the show in streaming audio or download it directly here (right click and "save as").

The show notes...

Topics:

- 2002: MP3 blogs come to the fore

- Indie rock re-release craze starts with Pavement's "Slanted and Enchanted"

- Nirvana box set disappointed

- Breitling's 2002 picks: Spoon, Wilco, Interpol, Notwist, Destroyer, Manitoba

- Breitling laments his journalism degree

- Postal Service, Bigger Lovers had big songs

- Kumar's 2002 picks: Broken Social Scene, Trail of Dead, Ted Leo, QOTSA

- Breitling's 2003 picks: Moonbabies, Shins, Pernice Bros., Stars, Strokes, Belle and Sebastian, Lefty's Deceiver, Ted Leo, Dresden Dolls, Clown Down

- Kumar's 2003 picks: Radiohead, Malkmus, Black Keys, Twilight Singers

- The Darkness: Joke band?

- American Idol albums started coming out: Clay Aiken, Ruben Studdard, et al

- iTunes store took off

- New Metallica album overshadowed by documentary

- The power of video (case in point: Billy Squier's "Rock Me Tonite")

- 2004: Bands reuniting (Pixies, Mission of Burma, Dinosaur Jr.)

- Breitling's 2004 picks: MIA, Lali Puna, Walkmen, !!!, Jon Brion, Dirty on Purpose

- Kumar's 2004 picks: Arcade Fire, Hold Steady, Green Day, Burma, Lanegan, Wilco

- Bonehead of the Week

Music:

- The Postal Service - Such Great Heights

- Ted Leo and the Pharmacists - Where Have All the Rude Boys Gone?

Completely Conspicuous is available through the iTunes podcast directory. Subscribe and write a review!

The Postal Service song is on the 2002 album Give Up on Sub Pop Records, where you can download the track.

The Ted Leo and the Pharmacists song is on the 2003 album Hearts of Oak on Lookout Records. You can download the song at Insound.

The show is sponsored by Eastbay/Footlocker.com, a leading supplier of athletic footwear, apparel and sports equipment. Find gear from top brands such as Nike, Adidas, Asics, Reebok, New Balance, Converse and Saucony. The promo code AFCOMP15 will get you 15% off any order and the code AFCOMP20 will get you 20% off any order of $75 or more at Eastbay. And the code AFCOMPFL will get you 15% off any order at Footlocker.com. Help out the show by patronizing my sponsors, willya?

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 blogs Clicky Clicky and Keeping Some Dark Secrets. Additional music used in the show is by Me and Boris the Bull, which is the brainchild of the mighty Mark Campbell. Thanks to Bob Durling for the album art; find out more about his photography here.

Completely Conspicuous is a Tan God Production. Word.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Elephants

I see a fair amount of rock shows. Not as many as I used to, obviously, but still a decent number for an old married guy with kids. I don't take too many chances with my concert dollars, usually seeing bands I love or newer acts whose albums I really dig. Last night, I attended a show at the House of Blues featuring a band that has yet to release a full song: it was the Boston debut of Them Crooked Vultures, the new supergroup featuring Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age, John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin and Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters/Nirvana (the less famous but talented Alain Johannes of QOTSA is also part of the touring band). Being a huge fan of all the principals and watching plenty of live fan-shot clips on YouTube from the band's handful of previous gigs, I knew this was going to kick ass. I was not mistaken.

I wasn't alone in my anticipation. The show was sold out, a pretty big leap of faith for a band that won't release its debut album until late this year. Right off the bat, TCV ripped into "Elephants," an 8-minute breakneck stomper that featured Grohl pounding the living crap out of his drumkit while Homme, Jones and Johannes wailed away on their instruments. Grohl really belongs behind the drums, not "singing prom songs" with the Foo Fighters, as Bobby D. put it last night.

Bob and I were lucky enough to witness the first Foo Fighters tour in 1995, a few months before their debut came out in the same venue (then called Avalon). The Foos played a blistering opening set of songs we'd never heard before, and then served as headliner Mike Watt's backing band with two drummers: Grohl and original Foos/Sunny Day Real Estate drummer William Goldsmith. Then we saw the Foos come through again as headliners a few months later.

Last night, as awesome as Homme was, and he was the frontman and architect of the music, it was Grohl and Jones who commanded most of the attention. I've seen some great rhythm sections over the years (Geddy Lee and Neil Peart of Rush come immediately to mind), but I can't think of a better one than Grohl and Jones. The songs were primarly big riffers; to my mind, it sounded like QOTSA with Led Zep's rhythm section. If anyone could step into John Bonham's shoes these days, it'd have to be Grohl. We tend to forget about his skills as a drummer since his main gig is singer and guitarist of the Foos, but it's projects like this and his stint behind the kit on QOTSA's 2002 album Songs for the Deaf that remind us of his immense talent.

It was also pretty cool to see Jones play for the first time. I was too young to see Zeppelin before they split up after Bonham's death in 1980 and Jones hasn't done much in the way of touring since then. He looked like he was having a good time and was in good shape, keeping up with his younger cohorts while playing an impressive array of basses, including a slide bass.

TCV played about 80 minutes with no encore (check out Blabbermouth for some half-decent fan-shot video of a bunch of the songs). All originals, no covers. I'm looking forward to the album to dig into the songs more. If the band does come around again, you can bet they'll be playing a much larger venue. I'm glad I was able to see them from about 25 feet away. Doesn't get much better than that.

Check out TCV kicking into "Elephants" at Brixton Academy in London back in August:

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Slow Faucet

A good time was had in Harvard Square last night; not so good this morning when I woke up feeling rather fuzzy and had to get it together quickly to coach Lily's kindergarten soccer. Still don't feel fantastic, but ran a bunch of errands with Lily in tow and am now getting the house ready for guests.

In the meantime, enjoy this classic and apropos song from wacky Canuck rockers Max Webster:

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Forget Yourself

Another work week draws to a close. The girls are already on their long weekend. They had a half day of school today and get tomorrow and Monday off as well. The weekend will be a full one. I'm meeting up with some of my Daily Grind buddies tomorrow night to celebrate a couple of birthdays in Harvard Square. Saturday, Lily's got a makeup of last Saturday's soccer rainout and then the Siegels arrive from New Jersey later in the day. Sunday night, I'll be attending the Them Crooked Vultures show at HOB.

Earlier in the week, I made an appearance on the great Rink Podcast, talking hockey and the Leafs with host James Gralian. He talked to several hockey podcasters/bloggers in different cities about the teams they follow. It was a lot of fun. James is going to be in town for work in February, so I may do an entire show with him then.

I also had a new running column in the Salem News today, this one about whether marathons are worth all the aggravation. Speaking of which, I've given up on doing a half this fall, just because I'm too busy on the weekends and some races have already filled up. I've started thinking about which marathon (not Boston) I want to run in the spring. I'd like to do one I haven't done before, which would rule out Vermont and New Jersey.

Deb's gearing up for the Nike Women's Half next weekend in San Francisco. She's flying out Friday afternoon and getting back the following Monday. She's done a hell of a job training and building up her mileage despite having to go to physical therapy for a knee problem.

Well, the Leafs are off to an 0-3 start. Ottawa beat them 2-1 Tuesday night. Rookie goalie Jonas "The Monster" Gustavsson played pretty well in his first NHL start, but both he and standout rookie forward Viktor Stalberg are on the shelf with a groin strain and suspected concussion, respectively. Oh, and they play the defending Cup champs Pittsburgh Saturday night. That could be ugly.

The baseball playoffs are underway. As I type this, the Red Sox are taking on the Angels. People around here are pretty cocky about the Sox winning this series because they've had the Angels' number over the years, but you never know...

Tonight I watched King's Ransom, a great documentary about the Gretzky trade directed by Peter Berg. It's the first in ESPN's 30 for 30 series and offers a behind-the-scenes look at what went into the biggest trade in hockey history. Even if you're not a big hockey fan, it's well done and worth checking out:


Monday, October 05, 2009

Completely Conspicuous 96: The Decade in Rock, Part 1

I'm joined on the podcast by special guest Jay Breitling as we discuss the decade in rock music. In this episode we look back at 2000-2001. Click here to hear the show in streaming audio or download it directly here (right click and "save as").

The show notes...

Topics:

- In the year 2000

- Y2K mania was a dud

- Working @ Webnoize

- Napster was all the rage, MP3 players were out

- Breitling's picks: Mendoza Line, Pedro the Lion, Radiohead

- Kid A was huge; leaked early on Napster

- White Stripes emerge

- Gratuitious CompCon testimonial

- JB: Yo La Tengo release a classic

- Heavy rock: At the Drive-In and Fu Manchu bring the noize

- "Who Let the Dogs Out" came out; still lives on in football stadiums

- 2001: Dotcom economy collapsed

- Rap-rock was big: Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park, et al

- Napster shut down, iPod rolls out

- Breitling: Destroyer, Death Cab for Cutie

- Kumar: Radiohead, White Stripes, The Strokes, Spoon

- Webnoize bites the dust

- Bonehead of the Week

Music:

- Destroyer - The Sublimation Hour

- Pedro the Lion - A Mind of Her Own

- Spoon - This Book is a Movie

Completely Conspicuous is available through the iTunes podcast directory. Subscribe and write a review!

The Destroyer song is on the 2001 album Streethawk: A Seduction on Misra Records, where you can download the track.

The Pedro the Lion song is on the 2000 album Winners Never Quit on Jade Tree Records, where you can download the song.

The Spoon song is on the 2001 album Girls Can Tell on Merge Records, where you can download the song.

The show is sponsored by Budget, the country's premier car rental service with 900 locations. Go to http://budget.com/compcon and save 10% off any reservation or $30 off a weekly rental. Help out the show patronizing my sponsors, willya?

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 blogs Clicky Clicky and Keeping Some Dark Secrets. Additional music used in the show is by Me and Boris the Bull, which is the brainchild of the mighty Mark Campbell. Thanks to Bob Durling for the album art; find out more about his photography skillz here.

Completely Conspicuous is a Tan God Production. Word.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Feel the Pain

After a day of rain yesterday, I headed into Cambridge and was at OJ's house by 7:30 p.m. We cracked open some seasonal beers and got started with the podcast recording, running through the decade in rock music. It took us about 2.5 hours, with a few breaks and visits from Jay and Amy's super-cute baby Chloe. We jumped in Jay's car to head to the Middle East for the Dinosaur Jr. show when we realized that he only had one ticket and I had thought he bought a ticket for me. Of course, this got me doubting myself, thinking I might have actually bought one and left it at home, but my initial belief was that he bought us tickets from the club box office. We headed back to his place and he ran up to check if there was another ticket there. The show was sold out, so if there wasn't another ticket, I would just have to go home. It wouldn't have been a total waste of an evening because we recorded about four shows worth of material for the podcast, but I had been psyched for this show for a few months now.

To my relief, Jay ran out wielding a second ticket. We had originally hoped to catch Dino bassist Lou Barlow's opening set, but we got to the club just before 11 and wedged ourselves in the middle of the sold-out crowd just as the band came out. The band sounded great and of course were extremely loud, but thankfully I brought earplugs. They launched into "Bulbs of Passion" and ripped through a thoroughly excellent 90-minute set. The band played plenty of songs from their two post-reunion albums, Beyond and Farm, as well as some older selections from the first three albums they did together. There were also a few tunes from the post-Barlow albums, including "Feel the Pain" and "Get Me." As always, Mascis roared on guitar, overlaying the rhythm section with rippling solos.

There wasn't much stage banter; Mascis didn't say a word between songs, even though he sang about 90% of them, but Barlow started making some wisecracks later in the show. At first, I could barely see the top of Mascis' head and had a slightly better view of Barlow, but eventually we moved a little closer. The crowd was about 87.5% male and a little older than your average Middle East audience.

It was the second of two nights at the club and a great time. I had missed them the last few times they'd come through; I even had second row center seats at the Orpheum last time the band toured a few years ago with Built to Spill and the Meat Puppets, but had to sell them because we were out of town that weekend. So it was nice to finally feel the pain.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Freak Scene

Normally, I'd be coaching Lily's kindergarten soccer team right now, but it was postponed because of the rain we're getting deluged with today. I'm glad, because it's hard enough to get 5-year-olds to pay attention when they're dry and comfortable. They haven't cancelled Hannah's game at noon yet, but that may well happen.

Tonight, I'm heading into Cambridge to meet up with OJ to do some podcast recording for a few hours before we go to the Dinosaur Jr. show at the Middle East. It's going to be for my series on the Best of the Aughts; we're going to be discussing the decade in music. Should be a blast.

It was a tough week for the girls. After having Monday off for Yom Kippur, Hannah came down with strep and was home Tuesday and Wednesday. Then just as she's feeling better Thursday, Lily wakes up that morning and starts puking up bile. So I ended up working from home in the afternoon to stay with her; all the hurling took place in the a.m., but she was pretty lethargic after that. Deb guessed she may have ingested too much pool water at her swimming lesson the night before. She was fine by the end of the day and they both went to school yesterday.

Played hockey this week for the first time in three weeks and actually felt pretty good out there, popping in a couple of goals. Not sure when I'm going to get a long run in this weekend, probably sometime tomorrow after Deb does hers. She's gearing up for the Nike Women's Half Marathon in two weeks out in San Francisco.

It looked like the Jays were going to go out on a positive note, as they put together a six-game winning streak and pounded the crap out of the Red Sox at Fenway. Way too little, way too late, as usual, but at least it was something. And then the story broke that the players were staging a mutiny against manager Cito Gaston, claiming that he didn't communicate well and demanding that he be replaced in the offseason. As much as I love what Cito did with the team in the early
'90s when they won back-to-back World Series, the game has changed and it's clear he relates better to veterans than young players. He made strange decisions all year long (I have no idea why he keeps putting that has-been Kevin Millar out there), but the problem extends way beyond him. After this shitshow of a season, I can't see how Jays ownership keeps either Gaston or GM JP Ricciardi around. Clean house and get a fresh start. [UPDATE: And only a few hours after I posted this, the Jays shitcanned Ricciardi. Good riddance.]

Hope springs eternal with the Leafs this year. Game one of the year was Thursday night against Montreal and it was fun until the end, when Montreal scored in the waning seconds of overtime to win 4-3. The Leafs played well and young forwards like rookie Viktor Stalberg looked great, but the familiar problems from last year plagued the team: Stupid penalties, sloppy defense and soft goals allowed. Tonight they play Alex Ovechkin and the Caps, who humiliated the Bruins on opening night, so hopefully they can step it up. Speaking of that Bruins-Caps game, I couldn't watch it because it's on Versus and that Comcast-owned channel is currently not being carried by DirecTV because of a contract dispute. Fortunately I have the Center Ice package and can watch most games, but not the exclusive ones carried by Vs. Hopefully they can work something out, but Vs. was quick to trumpet that it had its best opening-night ratings ever despite the lack of a DirecTV presence.

Even more bizarre this week was the story that came out about David Letterman, an extortion plot and his own admission that he has slept with many female staffers over the years. As has been noted repeatedly, Letterman has made a career of skewering politicians and celebrities who screw around, so this puts him in a pretty awkward position, so to speak. What, if anything, will CBS do about all these revelations? Letterman was smart to get ahead of the story and just reveal everything in the middle of his show Thursday night. He beat the tabloids to the punch and just put it all out there. Even stranger is the fact that the guy who was trying to extort $2 million from Letterman is a respected producer for CBS' "48 Hours" who allegedly has done his own fair share of sleeping with colleagues. Including Stephanie Birkitt, the former Letterman assistant who made plenty of appearances on the show; she also allegedly was one of Letterman's dalliances. All this comes as Letterman was dominating the late-night ratings. Somewhere, Jay Leno is snickering.