Monday, November 28, 2011

Completely Conspicuous 203: Do It Again

Part 1 of my conversation with special guest Matt Phillion as we count down our favorite movie remakes. Listen to the show below or download it directly (right click and "save as").





Show notes:

- Seems like every movie's a remake these days

- Hollywood's afraid of original ideas

- Many different types of remakes

- Many American movies are remakes from films originally made overseas

- Remakes of TV shows

- Reboots of franchises (Spider-man, Superman, Hulk, Bourne)

- Recent remakes include Footloose, The Thing, Fright Night

- Matt's list of best remakes starts with: The Magnificent Seven

- Toughest actors in toughest movie

- Jay: The Departed

- Based on Korean movie

- Jay recommends checking out Oldboy, crazy Korean thriller

- Matt: True Grit

- Liked it better than the original

- Jay: Cape Fear

- Another Scorsese remake, DeNiro plays creepy

- Matt: 3:10 to Yuma

- In praise of Ben Foster

- Jay: Evil Dead 2, a sequel that's also a remake

- Bruce Campbell rules

- Matt: Bad Lieutenant, Port of Call New Orleans

- Nic Cage brings the crazy

- Cage's wacky career choices

- Jay: Scarface

- Totally over the top

- Matt: Insomnia

- Christopher Nolan's followup to Memento

- Jay: Fatal Attraction

- Glenn Close played classic scorned woman

- Matt: Ocean's 11

- Fun movie with great cast

- Bonehead of the Week

Music:
The Dodos - So Cold

The Delta Spirit - Gimme Some Motivation

Damien Jurado - Nothing is the News

Benjamin Shaw - How to Test the Depth of a Well

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

The show is sponsored by Eastbay/Footlocker.com. Use the following codes to get athletic gear from Nike, Adidas, Asics and more. AFCOMP15 will get you 10% off any order of $50 at Eastbay.com, AFCOMP20 will get you 15% off any order of $75 at Eastbay.com and AFCOMPFL will get you 10% off any order of $50 or more at Footlocker.com.

The Dodos song is previously unreleased and is available for free download (in exchange for your email address) at the band's website.

The Delta Spirit song is on the EP I Think I've Found It. Download the EP for free (in exchange for your email address) from the band's blog.

The Damien Jurado song is on the album Mariqopa on Secretly Canadian. Download the song for free at http://rcrdlbl.com/2011/11/23/download_damien_jurado_nothing_is_the_news.

The Benjamin Shaw song is on the album There's Always Hope, There's Always Cabernet on Audio Antihero. Download the song for free at IODA Promonet:



There's Always Hope, There's Always CabernetBenjamin Shaw
"How to Test the Depth of a Well" (mp3)
from "There's Always Hope, There's Always Cabernet"
(Audio Antihero)
Buy at Amazon MP3
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 blogs Clicky Clicky and Keeping Some Dark Secrets. Thanks to Bob Durling for the album art; find out more about his photography at his blog. Voiceover work is courtesy of James Gralian; check out his site PodGeek.

Completely Conspicuous is a Tan God Production. Word.

Friday, November 25, 2011

You and I are a Gang of Losers

This piece originally ran in Cold as Ice, the hockey column I write for Popblerd.

These are strange days for Toronto Maple Leafs fans. A quarter of the way through the season, the Leafs are near the top of their division and boast the NHL’s leading scorer in Phil Kessel. And most of this was done with top goalie James Reimer out with “concussion-like symptoms.”

Still, if you’re a long-suffering Leaf fan like I am, you’re not getting overly excited just yet. After all, this is a team that hasn’t made the playoffs since the league came back after losing the entire 2004-05 season to a lockout. The team is among the youngest in the league, as GM Brian Burke has turned over the roster a few times since taking over the reins in 2008. There are still plenty of holes, and as dominant as Toronto looked in recent 7-1 victories over Washington and Tampa Bay, the team looked equally pathetic in two crushing losses to division rival Boston.

It hasn’t been easy, this lifelong relationship with the Leafs. I was born in Toronto in 1967, a few months after the team won its last Stanley Cup in the last season of the Original Six. My first memories of watching the Leafs were at age 4 with my dad, and I was quickly hooked. The team looked to be on the verge of something good in the late ‘70s led by the likes of Darryl Sittler, Lanny McDonald and Borje Salming, but a batshit crazy owner named Harold Ballard tore the team apart after a few years and sent it into a near-death spiral in the ‘80s.

We moved to the U.S. in late 1981 and it became harder to follow the Leafs, especially the two years I lived in Washington. There was no Internet and no summaries in the local paper, but eventually I discovered this new channel called ESPN that would show nightly hockey highlights. I didn’t get to watch any Leafs games on TV until we moved to New England in ’83 and the Leafs would play the Bruins. It wasn’t much fun watching them then, because despite the presence of some good young players like Wendel Clark, Russ Courtnall and Vincent Damphousse, Toronto was just plain bad.

Despite all that losing, I never considered switching allegiances to another team. I could have easily adopted the Bruins, a team whose games I watched religiously because they were always on, or maybe the Hartford Whalers. But that wasn’t an option for me.

Things started looking up in 1991 when the team acquired Doug Gilmour from Calgary and caught fire. Led by Gilmour (who was recently inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame) and coach Pat Burns, the Leafs were a win away from reaching the finals in the spring of ’93 before falling to Wayne Gretzky and the Kings. They lost in the third round again the following year and didn’t return again until ’99, led this time by the great Mats Sundin. Alas, despite being a perennial playoff team and winning a few playoff series each year, they couldn’t get over the hump. After the lockout, they barely missed the playoffs a few times before sinking to new lows in recent seasons.

So here we sit in 2011, with the Leafs finally seeming to field a competitive team on most nights. Whether they’ll make the playoffs is still a big concern. After Kessel and Joffrey Lupul on the top line, the team doesn’t have a lot of proven scoring depth. Of late, younger players have been stepping up, so maybe that won’t be an issue. The defense is led by captain Dion Phaneuf and is young but improving. After Reimer went down on Oct. 22, the Leafs went through some harrowing games with subpar goaltending from backups Jonas Gustavsson and Ben Scrivens, but both seem to have stabilized in the last week. Reimer is expected back soon, which will help.

Nevertheless, I can’t help but be pessimistic about this team. It’s just in my nature. I compare being a Leafs fan to the lot in life that Chicago Cubs fans endure as each season without a championship drags on. We don’t abandon our teams, we just sadly watch them lose year after year. I have the Center Ice satellite package so I can watch every Leafs game, so those losses sting even more. I’ve watched fans of teams like the Bruins, Blackhawks and Rangers win Cups after excruciatingly long droughts and I’ve felt happy for them. Should the Leafs ever manage to win a championship in my lifetime, I’m not sure what I’d do, but I’m pretty sure I’d be the only guy in my town hooting and hollering with joy. Years of mediocrity have tempered my expectations, though. Right now, I’ll be happy if they just make the damn playoffs. Such is the mindset of the Maple Leafs fan.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thank You

Thanksgiving is my favorite of the holidays. Eating, drinking, lounging...how does it get any better? Sure, there's some family angst, but that stuff has dissipated over the years. This year, I'll miss running in the local 5-mile race, but there's nothing I can do about that. For me, it's gorging until I'm about to burst and watching football until I pass out. Bring it on.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Completely Conspicuous 202: Stuck Between Stations

Part 2 of my conversation with special guest Brian Salvatore as we discuss the current state of television. Listen to the show below or download it directly (right click and "save as").



Show notes:

- Watching movies on IFC sucks now because of commercials

- Portlandia is a great show

- Crushing on St. Vincent

- Albini vs. Odd Future

- Is this the greatest era of late night TV?

- Jay: Letterman at 12:30 on NBC was legendary

- Daily Show and Colbert Report are amazing

- Remember Kilborn?

- Reality TV

- Brian likes the cooking shows

- Brian doesn't get 30 Rock

- Jay recommends Parks and Rec and Community

- Five favorite shows

- Jay's favorite is Breaking Bad, Brian's is Mad Men

- America loves its procedurals (NCIS et al)

- Ripped from the headlines

- Growing up with old-school cable access

- Keeping up with media

- A kid can make great media (podcast, movie, music, etc.)

- The podcast battle for earbuds

- Check out Brian's new podcast Expectations about becoming new parents; also, donate to Brian's mustache fundraising campaign

- Bonehead of the Week

Music:
Deer Tick - Main Street
J. Mascis - I've Been Thinking
Wye Oak - Civilian
Gross Magic - Yesterdays

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 Deer Tick song is from the album Divine Providence on Partisan Records. Download the song for free at Insound.

The J. Mascis song is the B-side of the 7-inch single Circle on Sub Pop. Download the song for free at Stereogum.

The Wye Oak song is the title track of the album Civilian on Merge Records. Download the song for free at Insound.

The Gross Magic song is from the EP Teen Jamz on Fat Possum. Download the song for free from RCRDLBL.

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. Thanks to Bob Durling for the album art; find out more about his photography at his blog. Voiceover work is courtesy of James Gralian; check out his site PodGeek.

Completely Conspicuous is a Tan God Production. Word.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Large and in Charge

Holy ratfarts, my brain is a puddle of mush right now after a long week at work. Probably not the best state in which to write a blog post, but I've been slacking lately. With Thanksgiving rapidly approaching, I'm looking forward to a little downtime next week.

I finally started running again this week, in tiny increments: Five minutes of walking on the treadmill followed by five minutes of running. Did it three times, twice at PT and once at the gym tonight. So far, I feel pretty good. Increased my speed each time.

Still, it's amazing how quickly whatever fitness level I had just dissipated. I'm about 15 pounds heavier than I was at the start of the year. This is about the heaviest I've ever been in my life; not fat by conventional standards, but I feel like a friggin' blob. Because work has been busier, I haven't been able to hit the gym with any regularity during the week. But once I'm able to really go hard after the holidays, I'm planning on increasing my activity and going on a diet to cut back on the junk. Hoping to lose about 20 pounds if I can.

In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy my last weeks as a fat bastard:

Monday, November 14, 2011

Completely Conspicuous 201: On With the Show

Part 1 of my conversation with special guest Brian Salvatore as we discuss the current state of television. Listen to the show below or download it directly (right click and "save as").



Show notes:

- First-ever Skype-recorded show

- Drinkin' beer and talkin' TV

- Check out Brian's new podcast Expectations about becoming new parents; also, donate to Brian's mustache fundraising campaign

- New fall network shows have been lousy

- The awesomeness of Breaking Bad

- AMC is on a roll (Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Walking Dead)

- FX has also had some quality shows (The Shield, Terriers, Louie)

- HBO still bringing good shows (Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones)

- Walking Dead is more than just zombies eating people

- Watching a show all at once vs. week-to-week

- Lost generated so much analysis and discussion, like Twin Peaks in the early '90s

- Netflix instant streaming is great

- Catching up with the Larry Sanders Show

- On-demand and streaming seems to be the wave of the future

- Will the Arrested Development movie be any good?

- Jay: Rarely watch shows when they air

- DVRs are great for late night shows

- Bonehead of the Week

Music:
Mighty Fine (featuring Greg Dulli) - Ready to Roar
Fishbone - Crazy Glue
Les Savy Fav - Clear Spirits
Johnny Foreigner - 200X

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

The show is sponsored by Eastbay/Footlocker.com. Use the following codes to get athletic gear from Nike, Adidas, Asics and more. AFCOMP15 will get you 10% off any order of $50 at Eastbay.com, AFCOMP20 will get you 15% off any order of $75 at Eastbay.com and AFCOMPFL will get you 10% off any order of $50 or more at Footlocker.com.

The Mighty Fine song is on the album Get Up to Get Down on Drug Front Records and is available for free download at the Village Voice.

The Fishbone song is on the EP Crazy Glue on Cockroach Media. Download the song for free at IODA Promonet:

Crazy GlueFishbone
"Crazy Glue" (mp3)
from "Crazy Glue"
(Cockroach Media)
Buy at Amazon MP3
More On This Album



The Les Savy Fav song is on the album Root for Ruin on Frenchkiss Records. Download the song for free from the Frenchkiss sampler Battles of the Squid-Faced Massacre Men at Amazon.

The Johnny Foreigner song is on the album Johnny Foreigner vs. Everything on Alcopop Records.

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. Thanks to Bob Durling for the album art; find out more about his photography at his blog. Voiceover work is courtesy of James Gralian; check out his site PodGeek.

Completely Conspicuous is a Tan God Production. Word.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Flashback


I'm totally happy with parenthood and family life, but one thing I definitely miss about being single is going to Halloween parties. Coming up with a great costume and then having a blast with friends. It's been several years since we went to a rip-roaring costume party and this Halloween came and went similarly. But it was cool because our friends Jai and Sara threw an '80s party last night that was a ton of fun and definitely reminiscent of days gone by.

I've had some good costumes over the years: Milli Vanilli (uh, Rob, I guess), Moses, Don King, Bootsy Collins, the Grinch and many more. For this year's event, I was thinking of going as Rick James. Unfortunately I didn't think of it until after Halloween had passed and I couldn't find a good dreadlock wig. I picked up a big poufy-haired wig that I thought would make a good Magnum P.I. costume along with the mustache I had grown, a Hawaiian shirt and tight shorts (my present state of fatness would make that easy).

However, after trying the wig on yesterday I realized it didn't make me look so much like Tom Selleck as Geraldo Rivera. Which was even better. I grabbed a blazer and an old red power tie from the late '80s and I was in business, although I wish I had picked up some medical tape to mimic Geraldo's look after he had his nose broken during a brawl on his '80s-era talk show. I grabbed my old podcasting mike to complete the look, although wisely opted to leave the director chair I was going to wear over my head. At the party, my Geraldo costume went over well, but I was impressed at how everyone really went for it with their costumes: a couple of guys came as the Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari characters from "Bosom Buddies," a guy showed up in full MC Hammer regalia and there were plenty of variations on '80s rock chicks/groupies/Madonna. I've gotta say my 'stache was the best of the night; the guys who came as Magnum and Mike Ditka had fake ones on that fell off not long after they got there.

We got home well after 2 a.m. and I was surprised at how good I felt this morning, given the lateness and amount of beverages consumed. Next up is an '80s party in late January thrown by Matt and Tricia; there's plenty of time to come up with something good.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Running on Nothing

This is the time of year when I usually start looking forward to running a Thanksgiving Day road race and gearing up to begin training for next spring's marathon/half marathon/relay/whatever. Only problem is, I haven't run in seven weeks.

My last run was on September 17, a 3.4-mile sprint as we were wrapping up Reach the Beach in Hampton. I had been dealing with Achilles tendonitis in my right foot for three or four months by that point and I knew I had to stop or risk doing something really bad like tearing or snapping the tendon. Since then, I've done limited cardio workouts and lifted weights, as well as played hockey a few times, but man, am I out of shape. It didn't help matters that I took on a new position at work and have been a lot busier the last two months as well, meaning fewer trips to the gym during the day. As a result, I've put on a few more pounds than I'm accustomed to. Doesn't help that I enjoy beer, I suppose.

I started physical therapy a few weeks ago, so hopefully that's helping speed things along a bit. I'm hoping to be back on the road by the end of the year. I'd like to do a spring marathon, but I don't want to commit to anything just yet. It's been tough to watch these beautiful fall days go by (well, not today, but the rest of this week has been gorgeous) and not be able to go out and run.

But I know I'm being smart about this in taking things really slowly. I want to be able to bounce back at 100% like I did the last time I went through this in late '04/early '05. In the meantime, gimme another doughnut.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Completely Conspicuous 200: Race for the Prize

Part 2 of my conversation with special guest Phil Stacey as we discuss what happens when your favorite team finally wins the big one. Listen to the show below or download it directly (right click and "save as").






Show notes:

- Jay reminisces about '93, a good sports year for Toronto fans

- Rooted for the Bruins to beat Vancouver

- Phil covers occasional Bruins games

- We're now older than pretty much every pro athlete

- Phil and Jay attended a few games in Toronto back in the day

- Maintaining objectivity in the press box

- Nothing better than sudden death OT in hockey playoffs

- Jay started rooting for Patriots in early '80s

- Many years of misery for Bruins fans

- Phil makes some musical requests

- Bonehead of the Week

Music:
Chixdiggit - The Highway Man

The Big Sleep - Ace

Frightened Rabbit - Scottish Winds

Kisses - Johnny and Mary

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 Chixdiggit song is from the band's recent Daytrotter session. Download the song for fr
Linkee at Daytrotter.

The Big Sleep song is on the band's forthcoming album Nature Experiments on Frenchkiss Records. Download the song for free at Stereogum.

The Frightened Rabbit song is on A Frightened Rabbit EP. You can download the EP for free (in exchange for your email address) at the band's website.

The Kisses song is available for free download (in exchange for your email address) at the band's website.

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. Thanks to Bob Durling for the album art; find out more about his photography at his blog. Voiceover work is courtesy of James Gralian; check out his site PodGeek.

Completely Conspicuous is a Tan God Production. Word.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Completely Conspicuous 199: We Used to Wait

Part 1 of my conversation with special guest Phil Stacey as we discuss what happens to long-suffering sports fans when their favorite team finally wins the big one. Listen to the show below or download it directly (right click and "save as").





Show notes:

- Bruins' Stanley Cup win was a long time coming

- Plenty of championships in Boston in recent years

- Phil predicted Bruins win before last season

- The greatness of Tim Thomas

- Bruins did it the hard way

- Game 7 is always special

- Watching the big game alone

- Bruins had many heartbreaking losses over the years

- Last time the Leafs won the Cup, NHL was very different

- Sports is less life or death as you get older

- Texas Rangers came so close to winning

- Jay watched the Blue Jays win two World Series in early '90s

- Bonehead of the Week

Music:
Superchunk - Where Eagles Dare

The Hush Now - The Legend of Dudley Town
Guided by Voices - The Unsinkable Fats Domino
Nada Surf - When I Was Young

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

The show is sponsored by Eastbay/Footlocker.com. Use the following codes to get athletic gear from Nike, Adidas, Asics and more. AFCOMP15 will get you 10% off any order of $50 at Eastbay.com, AFCOMP20 will get you 15% off any order of $75 at Eastbay.com and AFCOMPFL will get you 10% off any order of $50 or more at Footlocker.com.

The Superchunk song was recorded especially for Halloween and is available for free download at Superchunk.com.

The Hush Now song is available for free at Bandcamp.

The Guided by Voices song is on the band's forthcoming album Let's Go Eat the Factory on Guided by Voices Records. Download the song for free from Matador Records.

The Nada Surf song is on the album The Stars are Indifferent to Astronomy on Barsuk Records. You can download the song for free (in exchange for your email address) at the band's website.

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. Thanks to Bob Durling for the album art; find out more about his photography at his blog. Voiceover work is courtesy of James Gralian; check out his site PodGeek.

Completely Conspicuous is a Tan God Production. Word.