Friday, May 28, 2010

Mixology: Rattle and Homina

Mixology is a recurring feature in which I take a look at one of the many mix tapes I made over the years. Some are better than others, but all of them are fun to revisit.

Rattle and Homina (5/14/90)

It's pretty amazing that it has been 20 years since I made this mix. It was nearly a year after I had graduated from UNH. I was 22, working as a reporter at the Peabody Times, living in Wenham, Mass., with three friends as we house-sat for one of the editors at the paper, who had taken his family to China for a year.

We had some epic parties in that house, the likes of which it has never seen again. There was a core group of reporters at the Essex County Newspaper chain (comprising the Beverly-Peabody, Gloucester and Newburport papers) that were all hired around the same time, all in our early to mid-20s and all single. It was a great time. We worked crazy hours; one of my roomies, Eric, worked in Peabody with me and we would often be up at 2 a.m. playing table hockey to decide who had to get up in four hours and cover the police and fire beat on deadline. High stakes, man.

There was much hue and cry in the news over the Exxon Valdez, the oil tanker that in '89 caused the biggest oil spill in U.S. history (well, until the ongoing BP clusterfvck, anyway). Nelson Mandela was finally freed from a South African prison. Buster Douglas knocked out Mike Tyson in a shocking upset. Microsoft released Windows 3.0. The Gretzky-less Edmonton Oilers swept the Boston Bruins to win the team's fifth Stanley Cup in seven years.

This mix covers quite a range of musical styles. I was all about broadening my horizons at this point, getting into stuff like James Brown and old blues guys like John Lee Hooker. Not so much of the metal, but still some hard rock like GNR and the Chili Peppers. And stuff like Clapton that you couldn't pay me to listen to nowadays. All things considered, it was a fun, fairly responsibility-free time of my life. Hard to imagine these days, but I'm okay with that.

Side A
99 Worlds - Peter Wolf
Blues Before and After - The Smithereens
Could I've Been So Blind - The Black Crowes
Before You Accuse Me - Eric Clapton
The Other Side - Aerosmith
She Gives Me Love - The Godfathers
Rocket Queen - Guns 'n Roses
Sunshine of Your Love - Cream
A Little is Enough - Pete Townshend
Love is the Drug - Roxy Music
Knock Me Down - Red Hot Chili Peppers

Side B
No More - Neil Young
Train in Vain - The Clash
Liars Dance - Robert Plant
Hoochie Koochie Man - Jimi Hendrix
Cold Sweat (live) - James Brown
I'm in the Mood - John Lee Hooker with Bonnie Raitt
Can't Get There From Here - R.E.M.
All Lovers are Deranged - David Gilmour
The Great Embrace - Kim Mitchell
Two of Us - The Beatles
Almost Hear You Sigh - The Rolling Stones




Knock Me Down:


Cold Sweat:

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Completely Conspicuous 127: The Boob Tube

Noted bon vivant Ric Dube joins me again on the podcast for part 3 of our adventures in TV programming. Listen to the show in streaming audio or download it directly (right click and "save as"). If you missed them, check out parts 1 and 2.

The show notes...

Topics:

- Wednesday: Kumar presents The Great American TV Theme-a-thon

- Dube: Million Dollar Pet Challenge, a competition show based on Stupid Pet Tricks

- Kumar: That Guy Again

- Dube thinks it's a Quantum Leap ripoff

- Dube: Dover, a nighttime soap based in the NH city

- Kumar: Slow Case

- Dube came up with Good Cop, Black Cop, a TV take on the old Eddie Murphy movie 48 Hours

- Thursday: Dube presents Gulf Hospital

- Kumar: Dolly, starring Dolly Parton and Pam Anderson

- Kumar: Schmasier, with Kelsey Grammer as a snooty garbageman

- Kumar: Norm and Tony, starring Norm MacDonald and Tony Danza

- Kumar: Snoop, There It Is

- Dube: Public Option

- Kumar: Skank Quest: Tara Reid

- Friday: Dube's sci-fi show, Werewolves of Grunden

- Dube gets deep

- Kumar: Sad Men

- Dube: Honey Island, the "anti-LOST"

- Kumar: 30/30, a short attention span newsmagazine show

- Bonehead of the Week

Music:

The Henry Clay People - Your Famous Friends

Japandroids - To Hell With Good Intentions

Versus - Invincible Hero

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

The show is sponsored by Eastbay/Footlocker.com. Find gear from top brands such as Nike, Adidas, Asics and more. Use promo code AFCOMP15 to get 15% off any order at Eastbay.com, AFCOMP20 to get 20% off any order of $75 or more at Eastbay.com and AFCOMPFL to get 15% off any order at Footlocker.com.

The Henry Clay People song is on the forthcoming album Somewhere Along the Gold Coast on TBD Records. Download the song for free at Clicky Clicky.

The Japandroids song is on the No Singles compilation on Polyvinyl Records. Download the song for free at Saucony.

The Versus song is on the band's forthcoming album On the Ones and Threes on Merge Records, where you can download the song for free.

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 at his blog.

Completely Conspicuous is a Tan God Production. Word.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Mixology: Homey Don't Play That

Mixology is a recurring feature in which I take a look at one of the many mix tapes I made over the years. Some are better than others, but all of them are fun to revisit.

Homey Don't Play That (2/21/93)

The early '90s were a wondrous time. Crazy-ass Day-Glo colors were in vogue. My wardrobe included several items that were purple, mustard yellow or teal. I wasn't wearing an 8-ball leather jacket like Puddy on "Seinfeld," but I might as well have been. At least I wasn't alone.

By the time I made this tape, I was still living here on Roosevelt Ave. with my girlfriend, but within a few months, we had split up and I was renting a room in Middleton. I was the City Hall reporter at the Peabody Times, but was about to move over to the Beverly Times. I was going to cover the corruption trial of Congressman Nick Mavroules, which would have been a great career move for me and would have garnered some high-exposure clips (not to mention some OT pay). But alas, he ended up agreeing to a plea deal before the trial ever began, so I did some regional coverage before moving onto the copy desk as a layout editor. It was a move I didn't really want to make, but my editor-in-chief asked me to do it and I didn't want to seem unambitious. All of these things culminated in a pretty miserable stretch for me, but at the time of this mix, I was still in a good place.

On the rock side of things, I started listening to harder-edged alternative stuff that's reflected on this mix: Sonic Youth, Rage Against the Machine, Mudhoney, Dinosaur Jr. There was a lot of great music out at that time; it was a great time to be a rock fan. I also started noticing that kids were getting into so-called alternative music at a way younger age than ever before. I would be at Newbury Comics browsing through the same punk CDs as 8-year-olds. That was due to the whole Nirvana-led "rock revolution" that swept over the music scene in the early '90s. Eventually, boy bands and prefab pop regained its footing in the latter part of the decade. MTV was still pretty cool at this point, playing a lot of good videos but also premiering non-music content that I enjoyed, like "The Real World" and a new show called "Beavis and Butt-Head."

Side A: Hey Homestead!
Fully Completely - The Tragically Hip
Waiting for the Sun - The Jayhawks
Seen the Doctor - Michael Penn
Dizz Knee Land - Dada
Teen Angst - Cracker
Somebody to Shove - Soul Asylum
I Wonder - Blind Melon
Taillights Fade - Buffalo Tom
Bone China - Mother Love Bone
Angry Chair - Alice in Chains
100% - Sonic Youth
Racked - Gruntruck
Drawing Flies - Soundgarden

Side B: Don't Play That!
Killing in the Name - Rage Against the Machine
Unsung - Helmet
Tearing - Rollins Band
Body Farm - Gruntruck
Mind Riot - Soundgarden
God Smack - Alice in Chains
Sugar Kane - Sonic Youth
When in Rome - Mudhoney
Come Bite the Apple - Mother Love Bone
A Small Victory - Faith No More
Velvet Roof - Buffalo Tom

The title of this mix came from Homey D. Clown, a character played by Damon Wayans on "In Living Color," a good sketch comedy show airing on Fox on Sunday nights at the time:





Taillights Fade:


Sugar Kane:

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I Got Lost

There aren't many TV shows that can claim to be appointment viewing for the entirety of their run. The Sopranos, The Wire, The Shield all qualified, but many more did not. The X-Files kept going a few seasons too long after David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson left, 24 has been rather batshit crazy the last few seasons trying to up the ante for Jack Bauer (although its series finale is scheduled for next Monday), M.A.S.H. got pretty preachy its last couple of years. But LOST has had me hooked from day 1.

Sure, there have been a few missteps here and there, but show co-creators Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse have done a remarkable job keeping the show's mythology interesting and mind-blowing for six seasons. The penultimate episode ran last night and the 2.5-hour series finale airs on Sunday and I'm giddy with anticipation.

ABC, which mishandled the show in its early seasons with constant reruns and midseason interruptions, is going all-out with a two-hour retrospective from 7 to 9, the finale from 9 to 11:30 and a special live Jimmy Kimmel Show featuring the LOST cast and some alternate endings at midnight. The turning point for the series came a few years back when the Lindelof and Cuse announced after that it would end after season 6 and run mostly uninterrupted for the last few seasons.

While not a huge ratings-grabber, LOST has had a consistent audience of diehards who have watched from the beginning and others who have caught up by renting previous seasons on DVD. The show's mysterious plot and possibilities have made it a natural for Web-savvy viewers to pontificate and debate about what's really happening on the island. The X-Files engendered a similar devotion in the early days of the Web, but LOST fans have taken all that to another level.

Plenty of LOST fans waste time and energy getting all pissed off because the show doesn't provide them with all the answers they demand. I've just been enjoying the ride. I'm sure there will be plenty left unanswered Sunday night, but that's okay. The show's been great fun for six years. So many great characters and great performances. I'm going to miss it.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Completely Conspicuous 126: TV Eye

The brilliant Ric Dube joins me again on the podcast for part 2 of our discussion about alternative TV programming. Listen to the show in streaming audio or download it directly (right click and "save as").

The show notes...

Topics:

- Sunday night: Dube presents Old Harry Potter

- Like Archie Bunker's Place for old wizards

- Kumar: 60 Minutes--Survivor

- Dube: Movie of the week featuring One of My Adenoids is Missing

- Kumar: Bevilacqua for Hire

- Kumar: Battle of the Network Jackasses

- Kumar: Sunday late night offering is Ben Stein's Test Pattern Theatre

- Dube: M-F syndicated programming from 7-8 includes This Evening in Witchcraft and The Price is Unstable

- Kumar: The Broad Couple

- Kumar: Two and a Half Sheens

- Dube: Monday Night Playground

- Kumar: Wheels of Blue Steel

- Kumar: Wall (a medical show)

- Dube's late night strategy: Bring back old failed talk shows

- Kumar's late night: Different talk show each night from Stephen Hawking, Carrot Top, etc.

- Tuesday: Dube presents Grungy Days

- Dube: Rejected ideas include Who Wants to Punch a Millionaire?

- Kumar: Found

- Dube: In Seasickness or in Health

- Kumar: Ex-Cop Janitor starring Arsenio Hall

- Dube: As You Wish

- Theme songs are barely played anymore

- Kumar: Have Gavel, Will Travel

- Dube: Plantation Vacation

- Bonehead of the Week

- Tribute to Ronnie James Dio

Music:

The Dead Weather - Die by the Drop

The Dum Dum Girls - Bhang, Bhang, I'm a Burnout

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

The show is sponsored by Eastbay/Footlocker.com. Find gear from top brands such as Nike, Adidas, Asics and more. Use promo code AFCOMP15 to get 15% off any order at Eastbay.com, AFCOMP20 to get 20% off any order of $75 or more at Eastbay.com and AFCOMPFL to get 15% off any order at Footlocker.com.

The Dead Weather song is on the new album Sea of Cowards on Third Man Records. Download the song for free at RCRDLBL.

The Dum Dum Girls song is on the new album I Will Be on Sub Pop Records, where you can download the song for free.

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 at his blog.

Completely Conspicuous is a Tan God Production. Word.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Last in Line

Today started off in a fun way as I rousted the girls early and we went to watch Deb and Tricia do the Marblehead JCC Triathlon (1/8 mile swim/10-mile bike/3.5-mile run). It was Deb's first and Tricia's fourth and they both did really well. Congrats to both, especially Deb who trained her butt off these last several months. We went out for dinner to celebrate the accomplishment and her birthday, which is on Tuesday.

But when I got home, I discovered that the great singer Ronnie James Dio had died at the age of 67. He'd been suffering from stomach cancer for a while, so the news wasn't too surprising, but it still came as a shock. A native of Portsmouth, NH, Dio had been a force in hard rock and metal for nearly 40 years, first with his own band Elf, then with Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Dio and most recently, Heaven and Hell. His operatic voice was as powerful an instrument as any guitar and he introduced the "devil horns" salute to metal.

I first became aware of RJD in 1980, when he took over for Ozzy as the lead singer of Black Sabbath. The first two albums he did with Sabbath, Heaven and Hell and The Mob Rules, rank among the greatest of the metal genre. A few years later, he formed his own band Dio and released a couple more classics, Holy Diver and The Last in Line. I saw Dio play at the Worcester Centrum in the fall of '84 and again in Portland a few years later. The dude was a powerhouse of a showman. Sure, he was rather cartoonish in his reliance on dungeons-and-dragons-esque lyrics, but dammit, the guy could belt it out with relish.

Dio was almost a professor of metal, very thoughtful and erudite in his interviews. But he had a sense of humor about himself, working with the hilarious Tenacious D to lampoon the image he had spent decades cultivating. He was still touring with Heaven and Hell--the Sabbath lineup that recorded those classic early '80s albums--right up until the stomach cancer forced him to be admitted to the hospital for treatment. I know what I'll be cranking over the next few days.

The last in line:


Kickapoo:


Mob Rules:

Friday, May 14, 2010

Mixology: More Songs to Mow the Lawn By...

Mixology is a recurring feature in which I take a look at one of the many mix tapes I made over the years. Some are better than others, but all of them are fun to revisit.

More Songs to Mow the Lawn By... (7/18/88)

The summer of 1988 was a busy one for me. I was interning at the Peabody Times, making the 45-minute commute from Kingston, NH to the Tanner City every day and working night crews at the Market Basket in Plaistow, NH on the weekends. In all, I was working about 60-70 hours a week. Part of the reason was the internship was huge for my future ambitions, but it didn't pay squat: After taxes, I was taking home $57 and change per week. Hence the night crews, which at least gave me some spending money for my upcoming final year of college.

Despite all the working for the weekend, I managed to have a good time. The day before this tape was made, my buddy Tat and I caught Iron Maiden at the Worcester Centrum and nine days later, we saw Judas Priest there. In June, there was an ill-fated trip to the Oxford Plains Speedway in Maine to see the Monsters of Rock tour with Van Halen, Scorpions, Dokken and Metallica. The traffic was brutal getting into the place and then a thunderstorm moved in right after we got there. We saw the very end of Metallica and some of Dokken's set before we couldn't take anymore; we were getting drenched and lightning was flashing all over the place. The show ended up being cancelled after we left.

The summer of '88 was also the summer Wayne Gretzky was traded from the Edmonton Oilers to the LA Kings. He had just led the Oilers to their fourth Stanley Cup in five years with a 4-0 sweep of the Bruins and was at the peak of his powers. He had just married actress Janet Jones and then the news came that he had been traded. I was shocked, as was all of Canada. I still have the issue of Sports Illustrated about the trade with Gretzky and Magic Johnson on the cover.

The summer wrapped up with a great party at the home of one of the reporters I worked with at the Peabody Times. He went to BU and lived in Allston with a couple of buddies, but had recently gotten engaged. As a result, they had a final bash at the place they called "The Rock House" before they all moved out. It was an epic party featuring three bands playing in the living room and kegs of Molson. I think one of the bands was called the Pit Bulls and had a singer who looked like Fred Flintstone. It was the first time I'd ever been to Allston. Even though I only knew two people there, I had a blast. While I drank like a fish at college, when I was home for the summer, I didn't drink a drop. I made sure to rectify that when I returned to UNH the following day.

The name of this mix actually has some bearing in reality. Our house in Kingston was on a 3-acre plot of land and mowing the lawn was an endeavor. We had grass in the front and on both sides and it took well over an hour to mow it all, so I would bring my Sony Walkman to break the monotony. This tape came in handy on a few of those mowing expeditions. I taped over a cassette of blues-rock dude Mason Ruffner; guess I wasn't listening to it much and really needed to make a mix. It's a good collection of the stuff I was digging during that time period.

Side A:
Begin the Begin - R.E.M.
The Only One - Jimmy Page (with Robert Plant)
Cult of Personality - Living Colour
Man for All Seasons - Billy Idol
Intruder - Peter Gabriel
Give Blood - Pete Townshend
Show Me Some Emotion - Jon Butcher
Helen of Troy - Robert Plant
Consider Me Gone (live) - Sting

Side B:
Lager and Ale - Kim Mitchell
Couldn't Stand the Weather - Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble
Rain - The Cult
Shelter - The Alarm
Hell's Half Acre - Robbie Robertson
Over the Hills and Far Away - Gary Moore
One Slip - Pink Floyd
Silver and Gold - U2
Expresso Love (live) - Dire Straits




Give blood:


Lager and ale:

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Seven

So it comes down to this: The Bruins once held a 3-0 lead in their series against Philly only to see the Flyers storm back to tie it at 3 games apiece. Tomorrow night the teams face off in game 7 to decide who goes on to the conference finals to face Montreal, who decisively eliminated defending Stanley Cup champs Pittsburgh last night in game 7 of that series.

Playoff hockey is awesome, and game 7 is the ultimate sports do-or-die situation. Unfortunately for the Bruins, momentum is squarely on the side of the Flyers. Even after losing their goalie, Brian Boucher, to a knee injury in game 5, Philly stood tough and edged the B's 2-1 last night by blocking 30 shots and generally making it difficult for Boston to must any sort of attack. The Bruins have struggled to score all season and it didn't help when their best offensive player, David Krejci, was knocked out of the playoffs with a dislocated wrist in game 3.

The Bruins are back home tomorrow night and they need to rediscover their game or face becoming only the third team to lose a series after being up 3-0. I can't say I have a lot of confidence in them right now, but you never know. Montreal awaits...

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Completely Conspicuous 125: The Camera Eye

The podcast's back with special guest Ric Dube as we program our own TV networks. Listen to the show in streaming audio or download it directly (right click and "save as").

The show notes...

Topics:

- Wiping out the CW

- Check out Dube's blog and forthcoming podcast, More Lost Time

- Part of the NAC podcast network

- Saturday morning programming

- Kumar: The Misadventures and Sad Life of Scrappy Doo

- Many ghost-chasing cartoons in the '70s

- Dube: The Blair Witch Laugh Factory and Crazy Hour Featuring Woof Woof

- Kumar: The Haughty Endorphin Seizure Hour

- Dube: Toredeing Ukado

- Kumar: iMarley

- Dube: Next of Kin Bandstand

- Kumar: Thundarr the Librarian

- Dube: Cereal Wars

- Ric's co-worker Rachel suffered through this pitch

- Kumar: Wile E. Coyote's Revenge

- Road Runner's dark side is revealed

- Saturday night

- Dube: Route 128

- A look at pissed off Mass. drivers stuck in traffic

- Kumar: The Wonderful World of Hakayashi

- Dube: Arkancilliopoulos

- Promo: Arkancilliopoulos

- Kumar: Trump's Trillions

- Kumar: KTV Movie of the Week

- Opposite of Lifetime movies

- Dube's SNL competitor: Chipmunk Playhouse

- All squeakquel, all the time

- Promo: Chipmunk Playhouse does Jaws

- Kumar's SNL competitor: Yakov Smirnov's What a Country Laugh Riot

- Bonehead of the Week

Music:

Interpol - Lights

Wolf Parade - What Did My Lover Say? (It Always Had to Go This Way)

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

The show is sponsored by Budget, the country's premier car rental service with 900 locations. Go to Budget.com/CompCon and save 10% off any reservation or $30 off a weekly rental.

The Interpol song is a new song released by the band; no new album information is available yet. Download the song for free from the band's site.

The Wolf Parade song is on the new album Expo 86 on Sub Pop Records, where you can download the song for free.

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 at his blog.

Completely Conspicuous is a Tan God Production. Word.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Mixology: -30-: It's the end of the world as I know it

Mixology is a recurring feature in which I take a look at one of the many mix tapes I made over the years. Some are better than others, but all of them are fun to revisit.

-30- It's the end of the world as I know it (9/28/97)

Turning 30 can be a traumatic experience for some people, but not for me. I embraced it. Granted, 10 years earlier I had thought by the time I hit 30 I'd be working for a big newspaper and maybe writing a book and have a wife and kids, but honestly I had no clue. When you're 20, you don't know anything about the world. Which is okay. If I had any disappointments, they weren't about the wife and kids deal; all in due time. I was a little bummed that my career hadn't gone exactly as planned by that point, but I was also pretty happy with my job at the time.

To celebrate my 30th, I decided to throw a big bash at the house I was sharing with my two roommates (coincidentally, we're going to a 40th birthday party for them tonight; they're twin brothers). I had been dating Deb for about a month and a half at that point; it was going well but I was also taking things extremely slow. I had come off a couple of weird relationships. But she came to the party and wasn't scared off by my friends, so that was a good sign. It was a great bash. I invited folks from various stages of my life: UNH, my newspaper friends (who are always up for a good party), my current co-workers and friends from Beverly. Truly an epic occasion. As befits such an event, I felt so lousy the next day that I vomited for the first time in eight years while watching the Patriots game. Good streak. Unfortunately, I didn't have to wait too long until it happened again.

This tape was put together a week after my birthday but I wanted it to have the same epic scope as the party, encompassing all the music I was into at the time. You got yer Can-rock, some classic hard rock, some alt-rock. It kicks a lot of arse. Still holds up, too.

Almost 13 years have passed. Much has changed for me since this tape was made, all of it for the better. But the fall of '97 was a great time in my life.

Side A: Too old to mosh...
Itchy & Scratchy theme
I'm an Adult Now - The Pursuit of Happiness
G Turns to D - Sloan
Rumor Has It - Kim Mitchell
Sinner's Swing! - Van Halen
Raw Power - The Stooges
Kick Out the Jams - MC5
Looking for a Kiss - The New York Dolls
He's a Whore - Cheap Trick
Custard Pie - Led Zeppelin
Young Man Blues (live) - The Who
The Rocker - Thin Lizzy
Peace Dog - The Cult
Elvis is Dead - Living Colour

Side B: Too Young to Polka
Take Off - Bob and Doug McKenzie with Geddy Lee
Nautical Disaster (live) - The Tragically Hip
Novacane - Beck
Flavor - Jon Spencer Blues Explosion (with Beck)
Scratch - The Delta 72
Middle/Born in '69 - Rocket from the Crypt
Stereo - Pavement
Hoover Dam - Sugar
It was a very good beer - Homer Simpson
Happy Birthday to Me - Cracker
Hangover (live) - Max Webster




I'm an adult now:


Stereo:

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Have a Drink on Me

Yeah, it's Cinco de Mayo, another excuse for people to go out and get s-faced. It's not quite on the level of St. Patty's or Arbor Day for sheer alcoholic mayhem, but it's up there. I don't imbibe like I used to and I definitely don't feel the need to join in on amateur hour, so I'm home tonight enjoying a cold Sam Summer or two.

Nevertheless, here's a few good drinking songs to ring in the occasion...

Have a drink on me:


Killer parties:


Is there a doctor in the house?

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Hot Rails to Hell

Remember how I wrote the other day that I hoped running the Cox Providence Marathon wouldn't be a repeat of the hot mess that was my race in '06 Vermont City Marathon? Well, unfortunately, it was. Worse, actually.

It started off with such promise. I got into Providence at 3:30 yesterday afternoon, listening to the Bruins-Flyers game on the radio. Right after I pulled into the garage, Marc Savard scored the game winner for the B's, but all I could hear through the static was that a goal was scored and it sounded like the home team because the big horn sounded. Anyhoo, I checked in and went to the expo next door to pick up my number. Turns out there was a GI Joe convention down the hall; serious nerd action going on, let me tell you.

I met up with my old roomie/BevTimes colleague Gail for dinner at a nearby Italian restaurant. She lives in East Providence now and we hadn't seen each other in probably seven years, so it was good to catch up. I was back at my hotel by 8 and hit the sack at 10, although there was some crazy art installation/concert going on outside that made it a little tough to fall asleep at first.

I woke up at 6 and it was cloudy out and 55 degrees. The local forecast call for temps to hit the 70s by 11 and 80 by noon. I got down to the start area by 7:20 and it was nice and cool out. I was hoping against hope that it would somehow stay that way, but I knew at some point I'd have to deal with the heat. My plan was to run for a PR for as long as I could and then hope that I had something left in the tank to finish with a decent time.

The course was pretty hilly, even though most of the hills weren't that bad. I felt good at the start and they didn't bother me. As I approached mile 10, I started getting some side stitches but was able to run through them. It wasn't a good sign, though. It was intermittently sunny but not too warm yet. I was able to keep up my 8:20-per-mile pace through mile 15, but then the stitches really started to bother me and I had to start walking a bit in the hopes of shaking them off. The next two miles were a struggle as the heat and humidity started to ratchet up. Then I hit upon the idea of trying to do a Galloway-style run/walk strategy to get me through the last eight miles. If I could do them even at a 5-minutes running/1-minute walking clip, I could still finish well under 4 hours. It worked okay for a few miles and I was feeling confident again. Then I hit mile 20 at around 3 hours and the old dreaded leg spasms began, a sure sign of dehydration setting in. I had dealt with this at Boston in 2003 and it was awful. I would stretch and walk a bit and try to run, but the cramps kept getting worse and more frequent. Finally around mile 21, I could only walk, with the occasional attempt to run lasting only a few seconds. So frustrating. About the only positive that came out of it was that it provided me with much fodder for my Salem News running column, which is due this week.

I finished in 4:31, a far cry from what I had hoped to do. I knew it was going to be hot, but I never figured I'd have to walk the last five. I certainly wasn't the only one struggling in the heat. When I saw the finish line, I shuffled in so I at least could say I ran over it. Some guy standing in the finish area told me that I didn't look I had even broken a sweat; I know he meant it as a compliment, but I wanted to tell him to STFU. I just shuffled past him and got the hell out of there.

So what now? I'm pretty sore and have a couple of blisters on the balls of my feet, so I'll have to ease back into running. Probably late in the week if I feel okay. No races on the near horizon. The next big things are Reach the Beach and the Salem Half Marathon in September, and possibly another marathon in October (maybe Baystate again?). For now, I'll just have to chalk this one up to Mother Nature being a cruel mistress.

Hell:

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Mixology: Too Cool for Humans

Mixology is a recurring feature in which I take a look at one of the many mix tapes I made over the years. Some are better than others, but all of them are fun to revisit.

Too Cool for Humans (winter '91)

This tape's origins are a bit fuzzy to me, partly because unlike most of the mixes I made, I never wrote the songs or date on the inlay card. I got all artsy-fartsy and cut out a cool looking picture of an eskimo fishing while a deer sits next to him, using it as the "album art." I think it was from a vodka ad in an issue of SPIN.

So I'm just guessing at the date. I was living in Beverly and all the songs are from '91 or earlier, so I think I made it while I was renting a place in an old Victorian in Centerville. It was built in the 1600s and was fairly spacious, but the old odd-sized windows let in a lot of cold air in the winter. My girlfriend and I only stayed there about nine months before moving across town to the very house I live in now.

Pretty clear dividing line on this tape: Alt-rock (except for John Lee, I guess) on the first side, harder stuff on the second before circling back. Matthew Sweet's Girlfriend album had just come out and "Divine Intervention" was getting a lot of local airplay. That song just blew me away. Side B got a little silly with the run of Cult/VH/Extreme, but it redeemed itself with the subsequent songs. Fishbone got some love on this mix; their The Reality of My Surroundings album from '91 was their peak, IMHO. U2 was also at the pinnacle of their recorded career with Achtung Baby, which is a ridiculously great album. Strong collection for the most part. One sidenote: This mix was recorded over a 1989 Rolling Stones show that I had recorded off WBCN; I never listened to the concert and must have needed a tape, so there you have it. There's a little clip left over at the very end of the mix.


Side A
Divine Intervention - Matthew Sweet
Even Better than the Real Thing - U2
Low - R.E.M.
Hurry Down Doomsday (The Bugs are Taking Over) - Elvis Costello
Obvious Song - Joe Jackson
Union, Jack - Big Audio Dynamite
I Took a Fall - Bim Skala Bim
Stripped Me Naked - John Lee Hooker
Big Sky Country - Chris Whitley
Everyday Sunshine - Fishbone
Love and Happiness - Living Colour

Side B
Jesus Christ Pose - Soundgarden
Sad But True - Metallica
Earth Mofo - The Cult
Poundcake - Van Halen
It's a Monster - Extreme
Get Down, Make Love - Queen
Sunless Saturday - Fishbone
Head in the Sand - Hoodoo Gurus
Highway Girl - The Tragically Hip
Ultraviolet (Light My Way) - U2
Girlfriend - Matthew Sweet
I Want to Hug You - John Lee Hooker




Girlfriend:


Sunless Saturday (directed by Spike Lee, methinks):