I can’t tell you how awesome it is that Duncan can now draw something totally recognizable.
Sure, it might look a little like a leg of lamb or one of those giant turkey legs you see at Disney World but he called it a guitar and my wife labelled it as such.
As proud as I am, though, and as truly excited I am to soon see those horrific family drawings in the near future (you know, where everyone has a huge head, crazy hair, and no legs), in an odd sort of way, I kinda wish he’d drawn an instrument, you know, that all the cool people in high school play(ed).
Like a tuba or something.
Maybe next time…
- – - – - – - – - – - – -
In other news, my total credit card debt balance is down to $7045.14.
Not too shabby — that’s $1350 lower than it was at the start of the month.
Oh, and yes, I played the tuba.
And I was tres cool.
I’m just sayin’… the tuba is really cool.
Sure, I could look this up but my first thought was to ask frequent contributor DD (the inspiration for my spending reports)…
So, when I started the car tonight on the way home from work, Even Flow by Pearl Jam was just starting on the radio.
I nodded my head and uttered, “Good tune” even though I was alone in the car.
Yeah, that’s how I roll.
Even Flow came out on, like, the same day that I started grade 10. Everyone was all into the first single, Alive, because it had a music video but the song before it (Even Flow) on the cassette (yeah, I bought it on tape) was, in my opinion, far better.
It totally rocked.
And I’m not ashamed to admit that I don’t think I’d even heard the most popular tune to come off of that album (or ever from the band), Jeremy, until it was released as a single like 6 months later.
You know, back then, it took effort and time to fast forward. Jeremy was the last song on side A — not a great spot. Basically, I’d play Sega in my room while listening to the first four songs, hit rewind, and play again. If you’re under 30, this paragraph probably doesn’t make any sense.
Anyway, I like to think I’ve got a pretty good ear when it comes to music.
I hear everything. Even without headphones, I pick up on the small stuff like taps on an open hi-hat on the upbeat of every third bar — you know, stuff that you wouldn’t normally tap your foot to.
So, tonight, as I’m rocking out to a Pearl Jam song that I “think” I know pretty well, I notice something different.
More guitar, like tons more layering, and even the solos faded gently in and out instead of being layed on top like some ridiculous Eddie Van Halen “I think I’m so awesome, let me play 200 notes in 4 seconds with some help from a synthesizer” post-production afterthought.
There were even extra Eddie grunts — so much so that I began to question my version of the lyrics and, um, grunt noises and I really began to listen more carefully.
This *was* different.
Not a live cut or some crappy bootleg with audible heavy breathing — still a studio recording but…less polished.
Simply put — it was better than what I have at home here on iTunes. I did a test listen, with headphones. The “original” almost sounds cheesy in comparison.
So, DD, is what I heard today the version that you paid like $1000 for a couple of years ago?
If so…I take back what I may have said then.
It was probably worth it.
I’ll confess openly to actually desiring a Snuggie anyway but now I *really* want one!
To think, if it weren’t for the Snuggie being included, I probably would’ve lifted the better of the songs off of the internet somewhere for free… I know it’s wrong.
Now, though, I’m going to spend $30 on the album. Or someone will get it for me for Christmas. (Hint, hint — the blue one, not the zebra print.)
Great marketing on Weezer’s part.
Unlike my previous post, this one actually is about Michael Jackson.
Even though I wasn’t born in the US, if I had been, I’d be one of those bicentennial babies. What that basically means is that the Jackson 5 were a little before my time. But it also means that I was the perfect age for MJ’s solo career.
My parents were still listening to popular music when “Off the Wall” came out in 1979 so I got my share of “Don’t Stop ’til You Get Enough” and “Rock With You” riding in the back of the car.
I don’t remember either song being a favorite (neither could top Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust” or Christopher Cross’ “Ride Like the Wind”), but I certainly remember hearing them an awful lot.
By the time Thriller came out, sure, my parents had turned the dial to the oldies stations instead but I was six years old by then — I had access to my own radio dial.
Best of all, our next door neighbor was an audiophile. His “band” was the Who but he also had the Michael Jackson album before anyone that I knew. I’m not sure he’d be willing to admit it but he had it in his collection probably the same day that it came out.
We used to go over there, put on his enormous headphones and giggle endlessly wondering what on earth “Ma-Ma-Se, Ma-Ma-Sa, Ma-Ma-Goo-Sa” meant… Back then, you couldn’t just jump to a song as easily as you can now (partly because we weren’t allowed to actually touch his turntable) so we listened to “Wanna Be Startin’ Something” (the first track on the album) more than any other song on the record. In fact, I’m not sure we ever listened to the flip side…
My friend Chris and I even used the “Ma-Ma-Se” thing as a greeting? Weird.
We were living outside Chicago at the time and I remember walking to school with Chris and his older brother Kurt pretending that the sidewalk was lighting up in front of us like it did in the “Billie Jean” video.
I also remember very long sessions of attempting to moonwalk on the kitchen tile with our slipperiest socks on. I never quite mastered it.
I remember the hi-fi guy, Kurt and Chris’ dad, saying that it was a fake special effect but we kept trying anyway…
As 1st graders, we had no idea what the song, “Billie Jean”, was about but we certainly knew all the words. When “Beat It” came out, well, game over, everyone that I knew was asking for the Thriller record for their birthday.
I got it on tape that summer — along with a tape recorder.
Then we moved to Connecticut and my access to Hi-Fi music was dashed. But with the move to New England came something new — cable television and MTV.
Not only could I listen to MJ, now I could see him too! I’d seen the videos before, probably on Solid Gold or something, but never over and over and over again.
I remember when the Thriller video came out — I think it was even listed in TV Guide — my parents even watched. And they enjoyed it!
Imagining my son being 7 years old now instead of one month, I’m not sure I’d be able to “enjoy” the music or the videos he might be watching right now. Somehow, in the early 1980′s Michael Jackson was able to appeal to 7 year olds AND 37 year olds.
My next big MJ memory came a few months after the big Thriller music video.
I had the jacket from Thriller in 3rd grade — it was awesome.
Yeah, my parents were too cheap to buy me a glittery glove that I also wanted but they totally went all out and hooked me up with a red and black pleather jacket.
Did I mention yet that it was awesome?
I remember it almost having a Michael Jackson like effect at the bus stop.
No, the girls weren’t passing out or anything just being in my presence but they were asking to try it on and I thought that was pretty cool.
While I can’t prove it here with photographic evidence as I’m not sure a photo of me in the jacket even exists — thank god, too, evidence like that would have jeopardized my popularity in high school — trust me, I had it. And it *was* awesome.
I’m sure that if I dug through the attic enough, I’d find it. Or maybe my parents still have it? Mom?
Anyway, I’m not really sure where it ended up but I’d hate to think that we just threw it away…
The next time Michael Jackson came up was when I was just heading into junior high school.
It was the end of the summer and I had a birthday party to go to and I wanted to buy the “Bad” tape for my friend Ryan.
Problem was, the album was being released the day of the party *and* it went over the $10 birthday present limit my mom had set. (Yeah, back then, cassettes were $16.99 for a new release).
My mom ending up buying the tape last minute (going over the $10 limit) and as my friend was opening his other presents, I was a little worried about how he’d react to mine.
See, Michael Jackson wasn’t as cool as he’d been when we were in third grade but when he opened it, everyone at the party was excited. (I did a little fist pump in my head. Yes!)
I remember after the party, when his mom was driving us all home, she had the tape playing in the car (they were loaded so, unlike the rest of us, they had a tape player in the car – remember, this is 1987!) and we were all in the back clapping along to “The Way You Make Me Feel” which was the first song on the album that none of us had ever heard before.
If I remember correctly, that was pretty much the last real birthday party that wasn’t just a sleepover with a few friends that I ever attended. Later that week, we were, afterall, junior high schoolers and far too grown up for “Fudgie the Whale” cakes.
His next album was “Dangerous” with the big prime time network debut of the “Black or White” video and the morphing faces at the end.
I was in high school at this point and while it was okay to admit that you thought the end of his video was cool, it was best to keep being a fan on the hush-hush.
I bought his Dangerous album in Germany on tape because, yeah, I didn’t have a CD player yet and because I was certain that I would probably never again see any of those Germans there to witness me purchasing it.
Yeah, in 1992, there was a little bit of shame in admitting that you liked Michael Jackson *and* Pearl Jam.
I’d say that it was the first MJ album that I didn’t play the crap out of.
It’s not that it wasn’t worthy, but I think my tastes had begun to slide over to less mainstream stuff like They Might be Giants. And, um, Pearl Jam.
Crazy to call a guy like Michael Jackson mainstream, huh?
The last time I gave Michael any thought, prior to Thursday, was when HIStory came out in 1995. It was in the summer of 1995 and I was taking a few courses in University.
My friend Alison, almost as a joke I think, suggested that we line up to buy the album at midnight.
Thinking that sounded like more fun than watching Baywatch and Unsolved Mysteries reruns I said that I’d be up for it.
When we got to “House of Sounds” on Princess Street in Kingston, which still sold records at the time, there was already a line up?!
I couldn’t believe it!? At a time when few would admit to even liking Michael Jackson, he could still get people to line up in the middle of the night to buy one of his albums. Amazing.
Anyway, 6 minutes and 15 seconds past midnight, I owned HIStory… and Disc 1 (best compilation EVER!) is the CD player in the car right now…
(Though I must admit, I had to dig through a few boxes this morning to find it.)
Perhaps it has much to do with growing up in New England, and even though they’re from Vermont (a state at which I like to poke fun), Phish is one of my favorite bands of all time — not far behind They Might Be Giants.
As different as the two bands are, it’s shocking how much their audience’s overlap.
Anyway, Phish unfortunately broke up a few years ago and for the last few years that they were still together, they were just releasing one live album after another.
Now, I know, some people are really into live recordings and bootlegs and trading them and all of that nonsense but no one will ever convince me that a live recording sounds better than a studio album.
Especially when you listen to it with big ol’headphones on like I do.
Seeing a band live is one thing… Listening to a ‘recording’ of a band live is a whole different animal.
A boring one.
Like a mallard duck, or a beagle, or something generic like a squirrel or something…
Give me a studio album any day.
So get this… The band is getting back together for a 3-night show this weekend down in Virginia and since they know that it isn’t possible to every fan to attend (and they’re cool like that), they’re offering mp3′s of all three shows on their website…for FREE!
Yep — FREE. (for a limited time, so… hurry!)
Now I know that I just poo-poo’ed recordings of live shows but when they’re free, hey, I’ll take it.
Here’s the link.
All you have to do is register — and no worries, they don’t spam the hell out of you like other places do and once you snag your free tunes you can always opt-out and be done with them.
You heard right — when you opt-out, they really stop sending you stuff.
Now I just have to hope and pray that they don’t go into a bunch of beat-less 45-minute jam sessions… Yawn…
No, no, not about her growing waistline.
This isn’t even about her attempt at making mom-jeans fashionable… though I do wish her the best in that effort.
See that little graphic over there? The little one, not the big one up top…
Yeah, it popped up on the right-hand side of my Facebook profile this afternoon. I’m not sure exactly why, I mean, I don’t list her as a favorite of mine or anything.
In fact, I’m not sure I could name a single Jessica Simpson song.
I know “who” she is but I’m not really sure “why” she’s as popular as she is, um, as she was…
But that’s not what this is all about…
Can you believe that her IQ is apparently 111?
Okay, that’s not what this is really about either…
Take another look at that little advertisement. It’s apparently for an application that I’m sure can be added to your Facebook page. Though I didn’t actually click on it, I think that much is clear.
Now, take a closer look…
Obviously, to me anyway, the person who created the advertisement has an IQ significantly lower than Jessica’s.
It’s not a total loss, I mean, they evidently knew the difference between “then” and “than”, but c’mon, if “you’re” creating an ad for an application that compares IQ scores, you’d better make darn sure that “your” copy is correct.
(For those that are confused but this entire post, the copy should have read, “Jessica Simpson scored 111 on the IQ Challenge! See if you’re smarter than her now!”)
Sorry, seeing errors like that in prominent places drives me bonkers…
Really, someone was paid to put together that graphic. Talk about shoddy work…
Have you seen the latest Geico commericals? You know, the ones with that stack of cash with eyes “watching” people?
They’ve been running pretty heavily for a few weeks now… maybe even a month.
Now, as much as I like to hear a Rockwell re-mix, I just don’t get these commercials.
Plain and simple… they suck!
Kinda like Rockwell did.
Now, Geico’s message has been the same for years. You can save money by switching to them. Their advertising campaigns for the past 5 years or so have been brilliant!
I mean, who would have thought that an auto insurance company could be so successful with a bunch of goofy commercials featuring digitally animated lizards and a trio of cavemen hocking their product/service?
It makes no sense, but even 5-year-olds know that “a 15 minute call could save you 15% or more on your car insurance” and that “it’s so easy, a caveman could do it”.
These commercials actually feature, well, “the money” you could be saving — they’re cutting right to the chase (for once) — but it just doesn’t work.
Anyway, the whole ad campaign is worse than Microsoft’s Jerry Seinfeld spot…
What do you think?
Often times when I mention it, the response I get is a blank stare.
“Never heard of him…”
End of discussion.
Seems you have to be of a certain age while also having been fortunate enough to have lived in an area where HBO was available in the late 1970′s and early 1980′s. Yeah, we’re a select bunch, it seems…
It’s sad, really. It’s one of the best Christmas specials ever made and so few have ever even heard of it.
A couple of months ago I read some where that the average 5 year old these days can’t name any of the Muppets — even when shown their pictures?!
Crazy how quickly they became, well, irrelevant.
Giggity – Giggity.
Furthering my disappointment, and confirmation of the Muppetdom’s decline, while down in Florida at some sort of Disney souvenir tourist trap, my wife and I purchased a small Gonzo doll.
At the checkout, my mother thought he was “cute” but had no idea who (or what?) he was. What the hell is Gonzo anyway? I’m not sure that was ever answered…
But seriously, my mom had no recollection of Gonzo. None. And she’s not old enough — not even close — you know, where you’d almost expect people (I used the term loosely) like Gonzo to be forgotten.
Out of sight, out of mind, I guess. The Muppets have been collecting dust for nearly 20 years now — except for a few Miss Piggy cameos in Pizza Hut commercials.
Jim Henson’s death is partially to blame, sure, but so is Disney. They took over the Muppets in 2004 and then shelved them.
So it was a pleasant surprise when, earlier this week, I read in the newspaper that a local opera house was going to be putting on a production of Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas this holiday season.
No. Freakin’. Way.
And this isn’t just some community theatre group putting it together — it’s a real full blown production in a real opera house.
Needless to say, after all of this build-up, we’re going.
In true Muppet fashion, to be like Statler and Waldorf, we selected seats on the balcony to the right of the stage — but unlike them we’ll try to keep out comments to ourselves during the show. Tickets were pricey, a little over $50 each, but that’s to be expected for the opera.
Yeah, that’s right, I just made it sound as if we frequent the opera house.
For the record, we don’t. In fact, I’m not really sure what I should wear. I’m guessing that an airbrushed Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem t-shirt would be frowned upon…
Realistically, though, I think I’ll be a little disappointed, you know, expecting to see an all Muppet performance but having many of them as live action people instead — but hopefully as the show goes on, I’ll be able to “connect” with the new look Emmet.
But it’s the music that I’m most looking forward to. You can’t beat a Christmas themed show with a song about barbeque as one of the main features.
And hopefully now I won’t be afraid of the Riverbottom Nightmare Band. Really, even in high school I avoided the metal-heads because of the Riverbottom Nightmare Band…
Anyway, the world premiere musical production of Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas will be running from December 7 through January 4 at the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, Connecticut. If you’re in the area, and you’re familiar with who Emmet Otter is, you might want to check it out!
Guns N’ Roses were last relevant when I was in high school. That was a long time ago.
On bus rides to Cross Country meets, it was as if everyone was listening to one or the other on their Sony Discmans.
I didn’t even have a real CD player at home yet, so I felt a little left out — that was okay though, I was a MUCH bigger fan of Metallica anyway like the metal-heads except I was never a metal-head… Made for some lonely bus rides…
Anyway, it wasn’t long, we’re talking maybe a week, before Nirvana came around and squashed them both…
In the case of GNR, I’d say that Nirvana all but eradicated them…
Their long awaited album titled Chinese Democracy is set to come out tomorrow.
OMG! OMG! Can you feel the excitement!
I, for one, am not that excited. Actually, I could care less — I just think it’s funny that something that has been talked about and hyped since I was still in high school is coming out now. And still has some hype…
I mean, why? It’s pretty apparent that it’s going to bomb.
No, it wasn’t…
But there is one good thing about GNR’s album release…
Dr. Pepper, in a silly sort of promo betting that the album would NEVER actually be released, said that they would give everyone in America a free Dr. Pepper when/if the album ever came out.
Tomorrow’s the date and Dr. Pepper is sorta pulling a fast one by only offering the coupons on their website for 24 hours (LAME!), so don’t forget to head over to DrPepper.com and print out your coupon.
But wait for tomorrow.
There isn’t any mention of the promo there yet.
Again, lame… like the album.
This is photo I took today of Gerry Beckley from the rock band America.
We saw them today at the Hebron Harvest Fair for $10. Yes, that’s two dollars less than it cost us to see Smash Mouth last week.
For the younger set that may have never heard of the band America, well, guess what? They’ve been ripped off by Janet Jackson, used in the video game Grand Theft Auto, and in a recent Vera Wang commercial for Kohl’s.
Guaranteed, you’ve heard their stuff — you probably just didn’t realize it. And no, it doesn’t suck.
Janet Jackson sucks.
I mean, who resorts to a “wardrobe malfunction” to generate press? Who does that? Seriously… That’s bush league…
Anyway, America’s show was much, much, much better than that of Smash Mouth last week, even being a member short — founding member Dewey Bunnell wasn’t on stage due to a “medical problem”.
No worries for me though, my favorites by the group are all sung by Gerry Beckley and he was great.
Being that I’m not really old enough to have heard their original hits when they first came out, my personal favorite is from the 1980′s.
“You Can Do Magic” from 1982 still holds up. I don’t know why, but for me, it does.
Watch the video. I mean, it doesn’t get any cheesier than that. It just doesn’t. Five guys facing forward with silly smiles on their faces. Cheezy but great at the same time.
Remember when all videos were like that? I do.
Surprisingly, they opened the show with one of their bigger hits, “Ventura Highway“.
At first, I was a little worried that that might mean they’d fill the next half hour with a bunch of new stuff that I wasn’t really interested in, you know, “Here’s a cut from our upcoming album…”, but they didn’t disappoint.
I’m not much more than a casual fan, but they only played one or two songs that I hadn’t heard before. They had that many hits.
Sure, these days the only place you’ll hear them in their entirety (and not just a few bars sampled by some talentless rapper) is at the dentist’s office or in line at the grocery store, but there aren’t too many bands that can play for well over an hour and fill the time with songs even the casual fan knows the words to.
They closed the night with “Horse with No Name” which, unfortunately, was only so-so because Dewey Bunnell usually sings lead on that one. As I said earlier, he wasn’t there.
The high point that really got the crowd going was an extended version of “Sister Golden Hair“. It’s another of their big hits and Gerry Beckley (the guy pictured above) was full of energy and sounded exactly like he did on the original recording some 33 years ago.
Anyway, great show at a great price.
Up next for us is the Guess Who in a couple of weeks. I’m not feeling real great about that show — I’m pretty sure the only real members touring with them right now are the drummer and the bassist. Neither one sang their hits.
That’s the case with a lot of bands from the 60′s or 70′s (even the 80′s and 90′s really). You know, you run the risk of seeing a band full of a bunch of replacement members touring under the name of a popular band. A great example is Journey. I’m sorry, but without Steve Perry singing lead, you can’t call yourself Journey. But they do.
America, to a degree, is no different in that respect. But the two lead vocalists are still around and the drummer and guitarist we saw today are the same two guys in that “You Can Do Magic” video from 1982…
That was 26 years ago.
Not much of a rotating line-up, which is probably why they still put on a pretty good show.
So, I think it’s been pretty well established that I enjoy cheap entertainment.
And to think, I never even mentioned that I’d also taken in Weird Al Yankovic, the Jonas Brothers, Aaron Carter, Bowling for Soup, and some kid from High School Musical (I forget his name…) recently as well. We even saw those two hip-hop violin guys that are on America’s Got Talent right now…
Some are big names. The Jonas Brothers, specifically, are apparently HUGE right now.
Others, well, admittedly, are not. Like Aaron Carter. Or the violin guys…
But all of these concerts have had one thing in common — they’ve been cheap. Highest ticket price so far was last weekend’s rather disappointing Smash Mouth show. Twelve bucks.
I bring this up because later this month Miley Cyrus is coming to town. Now, she’s not exactly one of my favorite artists — I can’t name a single song she sings — but I’d still be interested to see what all of the fuss is about.
And I’ve no doubt that someday, in the future, I’ll see her at one of the agricultural fairs or something similar. No doubt.
But not this year.
Her tickets are (ready for this?) $300, $250, and $150 per seat.
Can you believe that? It’s real. No joke.
A nosebleed seat to see Miley/Hannah will set you back $150. Now, most of her fans aren’t old enough to go on their own (and the venue happens to be in a casino), so make that $300.
If you actually want to visually see her, well, that’s a minimum $600 investment.
I can’t believe I just called that an investment…
Ironically, it was only a few years ago that I blew off seeing her father perform at a po-dunk little agricultural fair because I thought it would be a dud of a show.
I mean, he had, what, maybe one or two hit songs?
Don’t get me wrong, I know he was HUGE, but still, it’s not like he was on his way to becoming a music legend.
History will undoubtedly repeat itself — I wouldn’t be surprised if I see Hannah Montana perform for less than $20 in fewer than three years once the hype runs it’s course.
But back to those INSANE ticket prices — it blows my mind that someone can command that kind of ticket price and still sell out in a matter of minutes. It also blows my mind that ticket prices can be so high for an artist whose songs I’ve never even heard on the radio before.
I mean, I get out.
I don’t live in a box.
Or maybe I do? Who the heck is Lil’ Wayne?
Anyway, I know what Hannah Montana looks like and I’ve stumbled upon her TV show numerous times, but does she even have “a” hit song? Does she have two hit songs?
Let’s be serious, that’s A LOT OF FREAKING MONEY for a concert!
I’m trying to think of anyone I’d spend $300 to see.
The Beatles can’t happen. McCartney on his own isn’t that big a draw. Springsteen? No way. The Rolling Stones are a complete joke at this point. Led Zeppelin? Nah, still not worth $300.
Maybe Michael Jackson? Sure, he’s wacked out and a little creepy these days, but he’s got an endless supply of hit songs and, well, based on what I remember from the 1980′s, he has the ability to put on a show good enough to make people pass out. You don’t see concert footage like that anymore…
Put them next to one another, Miley and Michael, and ask yourself, who’s the bigger star?
Age aside, who would you pay more to see perform?
It’s a no-brainer. This Miley Cyrus concert is a complete rip-off…
In my mind, Miley ranks about as high as Steve Harwell…