Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Black Friday

Happy Black Friday everyone...

The Christmas shopping is in full swing.

Somebody stop me!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just taking a moment to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving (where applicable)

Enjoy the day folks!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

People Who Hate the Montreal Canadiens Will Love This

Ryan O'Byrne is now officially my all time favorite Montreal Canadian.

Thanks man, Boston fans will love you for this.

I LOVE the way he covers his head as the puck goes into the net. You are the MAN!!

So close you can taste it!

The four day weekend is less than an hour away. Soooooooo close.

Tonight Larry and I are going to visit Mike. Mike's wife is visiting family in Wisconsin so Larry thought it would be a good idea to keep him company for a while on this the night before Thanksgiving.

My fiancé and Larry's wife are going to dinner and a movie. This is the first time Jen and I have both gone out separately in... in... ever? I can't remember the last time I went out somewhere without her. She thinks I'm going to have a ton of fun and forget all about her. I know better. ;)

Hi sweetie!

The Longest Day of the Year

Today is the longest day of the year, hands down. Nothing comes close. (at least for me.)

The day before Thanksgiving. Thursday is a holiday, Friday is a day off work, and then the weekend. This week the week is shorter than the weekend. I mentioned before that I love this holiday, but the down side of it is Wednesday.

The last day before the four day weekend.

The single longest, least productive, unmotivated day of the year.

The result is... lots of clock watching for Robbie. Here, let me help you join me:

and how about this... a countdown to Rob's quittin' time...

Yeah, that should help me get through the day.

Hope you find a way to enjoy your longest day of the year.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Happy Rush DVD Release Day!

Actually... in most stores the DVD came out yesterday to make up for the holiday... but today is the officially announced release date so we're celebrating today.

Snakes and Arrows Live is now in stores. I defy you to find a more obsessed Rush fan than I, but honestly... I'm holding off on this one and putting it on my Christmas list. Rush has toured three times in the 21st century, and now all three of those tours were followed by a concert DVD. If you start with the Different Stages album released in '98, every other Rush release has been a live record. Enough is enough I think. To make it worse, the audio portion of the new DVD was released as a live album months ago. The previous live releases all stepped on each other. This one does too but to a lesser extent. There are nine songs from the last Rush studio release on this record. That means we get live performances of new songs. That's nice. There are also a few songs on the DVD that either had never been played live, or hadn't been played live during the lifespan of many of the people in the audience. Again, that's nice. At the same time though, we have still more versions of the concert staples. It just feels repetative after a while.

Having said that, I can't wait to see this. I saw 4 shows on the 2007 leg of the Snakes and Arrows tour, the leg this video comes from, and 4 more on the 2008 leg. I loved every second of all of those shows. I traveled all over the place to see them. Two shows in Massachusetts, two in Connecticut, one in New Hampshire, one in Wisconsin, and two in New York including my first visit to Madison Square Garden. There were a few differences between the '07 setlist and the '08 setlist, but the DVD has the '08 songs included in the bonus material. That's a nice touch.

Being an embarassingly obsessed Rush fan means I do a lot of digging on the internet for Rush related news, info, rumors, and wild speculation. I generally hit two sites in this pursuit, The Rush Forum, and Rush is a Band. The Forum is a message board site that anyone can post to. Rush is a Band is a blog. Through Rush is a band I have gotten some nice tid bits of info lately, including a link to a Best Buy page where you can download the new DVD version of 2112 that comes from one of the 2008 shows which was not included on the Snakes and Arrows Live album.

Rush is a Band caused some Rush fan pain the other day with this post. It seems as though the band may be planning to use the "F" word in the near future. In this case the "F" word is "Farewell." Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson did a television interview in October where Geddy mentions they might try to do one more tour. At the time the circumstantial evidence lead us to believe that he was talking about doing one more tour before taking an extended break. In other words, a 2009 tour. However, since then Geddy did an interview with Billboard magazine pushing the new DVD where he says the band is planning on taking an extended break now and looking at releasing another album maybe in 2010 and touring again in 2011. The additional rumor is that Neil Peart is saying that he does not want to be touring into his 60's, and he turns 60 in 2012. Sooo... that means if they follow their rough outline the farewell tour will probably happen in 2011.

That's the bad news. The good news is that they are all rumored to be saying that they have no interest in ending the band. The touring may stop, and frankly that sucks, but the band will continue. That means more new music. There was also an interview with Alex Lifeson not long ago where he talks about having a lot of interest in releasing music via the internet. Couple that with the fact that their deal with Atlantic records will be finished with the soon to be released Retrospective 3. Think of the possibilites... instead of waiting 2-3 years in between Rush studio projects the band could get together a few times a year, write and record a couple of songs each time, and release them straight into the waiting arms of the desperatly obsessed fans. Or, they just continue to write and record as they do now and release the records themselves. They were an independent band once before, there is no reason why they can't do it again.

A lot of the people who read the same rumors I did were really upset about the end of Rush as a touring band. They were acting as if it were the end of the band. That is clearly not the case. As much as I would miss seeing them live, I remain very optimistic for the future of my favorite band. They seem to still be dedicated to making new music together, and as a die hard fan that is all I could ever wish of them.

Now, in honor of the new Snakes and Arrows Live DVD release here are a few pictures I took on the 2008 tour. Most of these are garbage, but being the crazed maniacle fan I am I think they are awesome.

First, a few from the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, NY. We were sitting in the last row of the balcony.

Now a few from the Verizon Arena in Manchester, NH. This is probably the closest I've ever been at a Rush show, and the band was incredible that night. Unfortunately my camera battery died so there aren't quite as many pictures as I would have liked.

If you are a firefox user you can right click on the pictures and chose "view image" to see a much larger image. If you are using internet explorer, download firefox and use that from now on.

So, go out there and get your copy of the Snakes and Arrows Live DVD and bask in the glow of Canada's finest musical achievement. You won't be sorry.

And I have a post-script for this too that I almost forgot about. There was some question as to whether the DVD had any hidden content. Through Rush is a Band I got this link. It is a review with a reader comment that tells how to open up an easter egg. I don't know if it's accurate or not, but if you have the DVD you can give it a try. Allow me to quote it here...

Select 5.1, wait like 7 cycles, Jerry comes on and tells you to push play already, then when suitcase (Envy) Al tells you to listen to the man and go for it, go for it! You'll see no menu options, just Al crossing his eyes at you. Hit enter or play You get a bonus extra What's That Smell behind the scenes with interviews of Ged and Al in character being interviewed.

This is on the Blu-ray as well - go to Bonus Features, go down to Oh, Atlanta! then press 'down' again and then enter/select

And speaking of comments... LEAVE ONE!


Saturday, November 22, 2008

I didn't jinx anything!

There goes my fiance and her wedding dress. The dress is going in for some repair work.
Just came home from the jewelery store with a ring. Yeah, that ring.

Bruins continue their winning ways... unbelievable!

Last night the Florida Panthers became the latest victim of the Bruins roll. 4-2. Beating the Panthers isn't all that impressive (no offense to the Panther's fans) with Florida in last place in the east and all.

I did not have a repeat of my guilty copyright conscience this morning and I downloaded the highlight video... but then I couldn't get it to play, so there goes that. Click here to watch most of the highlights.

I say "most of the highlights" because the Lucic vs Boynton fight isn't included. Last night the Bruins had a tribute to the movie Slap Shot that included an appearance by one of the guys who played a Hanson brother. In that spirit, Nick Boynton and Milan Lucic beat the crap out of each other. I was always a Boynton fan when he played in Boston. I was a fan when he played in Providence for that matter. I was a little sad to see him go, but it was typical Bruins business practice to be so cheap during contract talks that the good players just couldn't wait to get out of town.

The Bruins play the Canadiens tonight. I hate the Canadiens. I loathe them to the core of my soul. I hate them. I hate them. I hate them. Go Bruins.

On a slightly related note the Lowell Devils broke their 7 game losing streak last night. They had the lead 3-2 against Hartford with 6.4 seconds left in the third... and won in the shootout. That's the kinda team they are. They play Norfolk this afternoon. We aren't going, but maybe I might try and listen to some on the radio at WCAP's website. Go Devils.

In closing, enjoy the Lucic vs Boynton fight. Milan Lucic could run for mayor of Boston and win in a landslide thanks to efforts like this. He's only about 20 years old or so and already he's a Bruins folk hero. Keep up the good work. Go Bruins.

Friday, November 21, 2008

One of the great questions: Answered

Warning: This one is going to be even lamer than normal.

Look at this picture:

These two guys are brothers who are both professional drummers.

The guy on the left is Carmine, the guy on the right is Vinny.

I first heard Carmine play with Jeff Beck in a band called Beck, Bogart, & Appice. Not long after that I heard him play in an older band called Vanilla Fudge. He also played in Rod Stewart's band, I think that was during the embarrassing "do you think I'm sexy" disco years. I think he's been in a couple of thousand other bands too. The only one popping into my head now is a session appearance on Tommy Bolin's last album.

Click to listen to Carmine with Vanilla Fudge on You Keep Me Hanging On.

Either during high school or my first, first year in college (yes you read that correctly) my friend Larry told me that Carmine had a brother who was also a drummer. Vinny. I only know of two gigs Vinny has had. He was in Black Sabbath and played on the Mob Rules record, then when Ronnie Dio left to start his own band Vinny went with him. I know he played with Dio for a long time and he went back to Sabbath at least once too.

Click to listen to Vinnie with a reunited Dio-era Black Sabbath on TV Crimes.

(Side note: I saw Vinny play with Dio at the Club Casino Ballroom in Hampton Beach, NH on the Strange Highways tour. Late 90's, I think. I was never a Dio fan, but I was definitely a fan of the stuff Ronnie Dio did with Rainbow. The Rising/On Stage lineup was a fantastic band. I had heard Dio with Sabbath and liked what I heard, but I was never that big a Sabbath fan. Dio's solo band didn't do anything for me. I don't know why. I consented to see them in Hampton Beach though in the hopes that I might hear a Rainbow song or two. The crowd that night was nuts. There were actually stage divers. At one point some guy jumped up on stage and took the dive and Ronnie Dio looked terrified. I could almost hear him thinking, "we're old... what the hell are you people doing?" It was seriously funny. Late in the show we saw a guy get pushed up onto the stage. He had no interest in diving off but didn't know what to do. He stood up there next to Dio for a second, smiled at him... he may even have waved at him even though they were about 2 feet apart, and then was escorted out of the building. Years later I was playing with Break Even. We were discussing how cool Rainbow's song "Stargazer" is to play when I mentioned that Dio show. Turns out the smiling waving guy was Break Even's other guitar player, Steve. It really is a small world. End side note)

The confusion, pain, and suffering (for Larry and me at least) stems from their last name:


Forgive my poor phonetic spelling attempts here, but when I first heard of Carmine I guessed his name was pronounced something like AH-piss-ee. Larry, after actually looking at their faces, thought it was probably much more Italian and pronounced it ah-PEACH-ee. I caved in quickly and thought that he was probably right and adopted his pronunciation as my own.

Then at that Dio show in Hampton Beach Ronnie Dio said his name to the audience. I couldn't make out what he said, but I knew without question it was not ah-PEACH-ee. We didn't know what the hell he said. So we remained confused for years upon years upon years.

Until this week.

During the dying days of Napster I went completely overboard with downloading, thinking incorrectly that the mother lode was about to be taken away from me. I downloaded mountains of stuff and then never listened to it. Last Christmas Jen bought me an 80 gig iPod Classic. I have since taken it upon myself to fill that sucker as close to capacity as possible. This brought me to all of those Napster files I had never touched. Included in the mountain was just about the entire Black Sabbath catelog. Over the last week or so I have been in a weird place musically, just jonzing for 70's metal bands. I put all Ozzy, Dio, and Ian Gillan Sabbath records onto my iPod and have been listening to them while driving to and from work. The other day I had reached the very forgetable Live Evil album. On that record Vinny does a drum solo. Upon completion, Ronnie Dio yells out his name.

Vinny AH-piss-ee!

At last! Thought I, the great question is answered irrefutably! My original attempt at pronouncing Appice was correct! I got to work and immediately sent Larry and email telling him of this great news. There was much rejoycing. Happiness for all!

I told you this one was going to be lamer than usual.

Good day

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Who are you and what have you done with my Bruins?

I didn't see the Bruins game last night. I checked the score before I went to bed. They beat Buffalo 7-4.

That's not the incredible part. The incredible part is they were down 4-2 in the first period.

and they came back.

These are not the Bruins I know. The Bruins I know would have lost 7-2 after giving up in the first period. I think you should be able to watch the game highlights if you click here. I actually downloaded that video this morning, intending to post it here myself, but a combination of copyright conscience and the absolutely dreadful Buffalo play by play announcer has made me decide to just link to it. I'll trash the video when I get home. I don't know the guys name, but he is the 2nd worst sports announcing voice I've ever heard. The worst does (did?) play by play for the Red Wings on the radio. Who was it that decided a cracking, prepubescent, squeaking voice was a good choice for commentary?

But I digress...

The Bruins made the playoffs last year. I didn't think they would but they did, and they stood up about as well as possible for a team that was eliminated in the first round. They weren't all that good last year, but they handled themselves well.

This year I expected more of the same. Not very good. Fragile. Prone to caving in when things got tough. I know it's only November, but it sure looks like I was wrong again.

First in the Northeast division.
8-1-1 in their last 10 games.
A whopping 12-3-4 over all.
2nd in the Eastern conference, only 2 points behind the Rangers with 3 games in hand.
Mark Savard, 25 points in 19 games.
Phil Kessel, who was a healthy scratch in the playoffs last year, 9 goals already.
Patrice Bergeron, still alive despite last year's head injury and playing like his old self.
Denis Wideman is +10!!!!
Tim Thomas... TIM THOMAS!!! 1.78 goals against average and a .944 save percentage! They left him off the all-star ballot despite the fact that he is clearly the King of all Goalies!

I try not to get overly optimistic about sports. Yes I know Boston is the capital of all pro sports with the recent unbelievable successes the Red Sox, Patriots, and Celtics have had, but we went so long doing nothing but losing that I still find it hard to look on the sports-bright-side. I still expect to lose, and I still expect the Bruins to revert to their old losing selves.

But for now I am just going to sit back and enjoy this.

Go Bruins!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I just watched this and am now in full on geek mode...

What can I say? I love Star Trek. Probably not as much as Star Wars mind you. Star Trek is lacking in the light saber department.

The new flick comes out on my birthday. Guess what I want to do that night?

I haven't seen the new Bond movie yet, but I am itching to do that. I was thinking about seeing if Jen wanted to go see the Lowell Devils game Saturday night, but now I think Bond is the better option.

Getting back to the Space theme, check out this story:

Astronaut loses tool bag during spacewalk

In summary, an astronaut doing a space walk on the ISS had the zero-g equivalent of a grease gun in a tool bag. Some how it started leaking and got lubricant all over all of the other tools in the bag. The astronaut took out the gun and started cleaning it off... all while standing outside of the station. While she was doing this she did not see the tool bag drifting away from her. By the time she noticed it had floated out of her reach.

This poses the question: Actually it doesn't pose any questions to anyone other than a supreme geek like me, but what can you do? Anyway, now that the bag is officially an artificial sattelite of the Earth, should we give it a name? Also, has anyone at NASA calculated the approximate time it will take for it to be sucked back into the atmosphere to die a horrible firey death? And did the producers of Dead Like Me have anything to do with it?

And speaking of Dead Like Me why the hell didn't anyone tell me there was going to be a movie? A direct to DVD release possibly scheduled for February 17, 2009? Is this the best direct to DVD news ever? Even better than the direct to DVD Futurama movies? Yes I think it is! Yes I think Robert is happy right now!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Wedding Planning/Supply Shopping in High Gear

We went to an arts and crafts store tonight intending to look at do-it-yourself wedding invitation kits.

We got more...
Much more...

Invitation kit? Yes
Program kit? Yes
Guest book and pen? Yes
Cake topper? Yes
Cake knife and server? Yes
Place cards? Yes

Check all that stuff off of the wedding to-do list babie, we got it all!

We also got some cool ideas for flower-free centerpieces. I propose we use nothing but candles and set off some fire alarms!

Now we sit in our office looking at more centerpiece ideas, installing visual studio .net so Jen can teach me how real web programmers do things, (you mean they don't write HTML code in notepad like me?) and listening to Blue Oyster Cult.

Yup. It's been a weird 70's metal kinda week for me. I'll probably write about that later (after I finish plowing through the Black Sabbath catalog I have on my iPod).