One of my favorite albums of the last year or so has been Tom Petty's Highway Companion. I first heard about how good it was because Patterson Hood, from the Drive by Truckers, wrote in his blog about how much he loved it. I have been watching the Tigers play the Angels on ESPN tonight and they played something by a band called Mudcrutch. I heard one of the announcers mention that the bad had Tom Petty in it. Naturally, I was intrigued.
I poppped the bands name into Google and discovered that the band Mudcrutch was the band Petty was in before the Heartbreakers formed. I read an article on the Entertainment Weekly site here. I am going to have to give the album a listen.
I still think it's odd that I first heard about the album on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball.
I've always wanted a laptop. I've been experiencing some serious dang jealousy lately while watching people at the library sit at tables and fire up their laptops and connect to the whole dang world. I am on my back porch now drinking a beer and typing on my brand new Gateway laptop. How did I get here, you may wonder.
Recently at work we were discussing putting up some kind of flat screen display. We wanted to use it to bring attention to programs and to display pictures we take during these programs. We did some research into flat screens and found that they are expensive and, since we are a library, we have a limited budget. I submitted our interest to the website Metafilter in the Ask Metafilter section. I joined Metafilter about a year ago and in the last couple of weeks I've submitted a couple of questions to the site. How it works is that other members of the site/blog answer questions if they know the answer. Metafilter has an intelligent community and the answers I have received have blown me away.
The best answer to my question concerning a digital display at the library suggested we try digital pictures frames. It made sense to me. After a couple hours of research the one I found on Newegg looked to be the best deal out there. I trust Newegg because all the super computer nerds I talk to rave about Newegg and the deals they offer. When I shop for myself I don't put too much work into finding the best deals but this time I really decided to research the purchase. Always a good idea, I guess, when you are spending your employer's money.
Once I decided on which digital picture frame to buy I did a little research on laptops. I was on the Newegg site so why not look around? Newegg has a nice help section that asked what you wanted to do with your laptop. I chose "gaming." The link I clicked on sent me to a list of refurbished Gateways that were priced around $500. I looked around, held my breath and purchased the computer I am typing on now. It was a little scary. So far, I've been thrilled with it. It seems pretty fast and this weekend I am going to install Civilization IV on it. If that game runs smoothly I will hug myself tightly. There are two other computers in our house and they can barely run the game. Melanie's laptop runs it better than Wendell's PC and, if I've done my math correctly, this baby should run it smoothly. Even if it doesn't it's been zooming around the internet just fine. I'll take that.
There is a fun group on Flickr called 365 Days. What you do is take a self portrait everyday for a whole year and post each picture to this group as you take it. So far I am up to 8 days and I am going to see how long it keeps my interest. Have a year's worth might be pretty cool. You can see my first 8 entries here.
Hanging out with one of my roommates under specific conditions has five easily discernible steps.
Step 1: A few of us are hanging out on our back porch. He gets of home from work, decides to skip dinner and starts drinking beer like he's got 12 hours to live.
Step 2: He begins to get loud, goes on and on in circular monologues.
Step 3: Everyone else begins to ignore him and have their own conversations.
Step 4: He gets mad because no one is paying any attention to him, goes inside grabs his telephone, calls one of his alcoholic friends and proceeds to talk loudly into the phone, effectively ending every other conversation and ruining everyone else's night.
Step 5: The rest of us go inside and shut the door while he prattles on and on about how tough life is and how he likes to be alone and yada yada yada.
It's been a long time since I've lived with an actual alcoholic. Even saying that, I'm not sure if my step Dad or adopted Father were alcoholics. I know they went through some times where they each drank too much but alcoholics are different than the guy that drinks too much in a period in his life. Chris, my roommate, is a straight up alcoholic and his problem has become our problem. It's impossible for him to have a few beers and chill out. He's got to get really drunk and when he gets to a certain stage he can completely ruin a night. He'll go on long rants full of self loathing and can get physically intimidating. He's never gotten violent, and I've never seen him get violent, but when he's all shitty he likes to intimidate. The most annoying aspect of him after beer-one-too-many is how self centered he gets. Oh, the world is against him, he's got it hard, he has a hard time finding the right gal and on and on and on. It's fucking getting old. He wasn't too bad when he moved in but, holy crapola, what a pain in the ass. Melanie is afraid to have a friend or two over because Chris might have that one beer that creates the monster. The loud, self centered, self loathing monster that doesn't know when to shut the fuck up.
He's already had one intervention and almost got it together for a while. It may be time for another.
So, I am doing something I have never done before, blogging in bed. Melanie has a laptop and she is zonked out here next to me and I am laying here with the laptop on my knees. This is pretty cool except I still haven't adapted to the laptop keyboard and my left foot has fallen asleep. Not the whole foot, just the heel.
Today was an awesome day. I slept in to about 10 and we had a great breakfast, she had grits and sausage and I had eggs and hashbrowns. After some digesting and tea on the back porch we road our bikes to Park Road Park. The park was full of activity. All six softball fields were being used for little league games (with temporary fences and portable pitching mounds, the playground was full, and pickup basketball was being played. It was a little cloudy and temperature was stuck right at 72 degrees. Heavenly.
When we got back we relaxed a bit more on the back porch and then piled into my souped up '89 Honda Civic and tooled down to Lowe's. About two weeks ago our roomie Chris secured us a used gas grill that had been sitting at one of his company's offices. Since then it had been gathering dust in our shed and I decided that today it shall live again. It needed a new burner and a grate that goes beneath the grill. The parts cost about 45 dollars and were surprisingly easy to assemble. The grill fired up right away after Melanie reminded me to open the valve on the gas tank. Most things don't work out quite this well when it comes to 'some assembly required.' Grills start at $99 at Lowe's so we came out ahead and this grill should last us a couple of summers.
The One Big Loud Guy had told me earlier in the day to call him if we got the grill running and he'd swing by for a cookout. He came by, Chris arrived after work and Wendell got back from a funeral. The five of us each had our own grub. I had a fat ole cheeseburger; Loud Guy, Chris and Wendell had steak and Melanie had a tuna streak. We all got fat and happy and listened to music on the porch and had a few drinks. The Loud Guy had a Zombies concert he wanted us to hear and I played that. After that ended I shuffled and hour's worth of Beatles and then an hour of Drive By Truckers. DBT is perfect music for hanging out. There is a lot of variety in their output. After a couple of hours the Loud Guy took Wendell to the Fariview Grill on his way home and the rest of us went to bed. Good times.
A few months ago I was overjoyed to buy the new album by the Mekons. It's called Natural and I've played it several times. Below is one of my favorite songs off the album. This performance sounds different than the version on the album. I can't tell if it's mixed differently or if it's live. Either way, it's great. On lead vocals, Jon Langford.
Several years ago someone put together a CD of truck driving songs. On the CD is the song below my Mojo Nixon. Mojo sings as a truck driver that meets a UFO. It turns out that UFO's are truck driving workin' guys and if you get far enough away from earth there are no speed limits.
You know what created Abu Ghraib? I tell you what, it was the rot that started at the top and trickled down. God bless George Bush.
In other news it turns out the Pope is ashamed about the priest sex scandal. That's a relief. Wouldn't it be embarrassing if a reporter asked the Pope how he felt about priests having sex with little boys and he said, "Well, it turns me on a little. What can I say?"
I've been really disappointed to see Hillary Clinton jump all over Obama's remarks about working class America. After what she has said, her disgusting willingness to twist a real issue just because Obama could have put it a little better makes me sick. I'll never vote for Hillary Clinton for president. I can't vote for McCain, though. I reckon if it's McCain vs. Hillary I'll go third party or write myself in.
If you would like to read an intelligent analysis of the situation I recommend this blog post.
Last night we did the most American thing you could do, we prepared my taxes while watching the Yankees and Redsox play at Fenway Park on ESPN. John Miller is still the best baseball broadcaster in the world but Joe Morgan still talks too much.
Today I scooted down to the post office with a pocketful of change. I was going to buy four stamps from the self-serve stamp machine and attach the stamps to our completed taxes and shove them in the box and head to work. No such luck. The post office has removed the coin operated machine and has installed a touch screen self service machine that created quite the bottle neck. I can see a self service machine being pretty handy, it has a scale so you can probably do a lot of stuff for yourself, but why in the hell would you take out the stamp machines?
John Scalzi tried embeddng from this site so I will also. One of my favorite songs is T.V. Eye by the Stooges. I recommend playing it at full volume on your headphones while walking through the mall. It's a surreal experience.
Is it just me or is only about thirty seconds of this available?
If that's not working properly give this song off of the most recent White Stripes album a shot. It's called Rag & Bone and it was the first song off this album that seemed like an instant White Stripes classic on the first listen through.
I just learned a few moments ago that there is a dig going on at Stonehenge. Pretty exciting stuff. You can follow the dig here. I believe every fictional account of this event has led to bad things happening, ghosts and stuff. Maybe even the devil.
Yesterday Melanie and I drove up to Asheville in a car we rented from Triangle. We got a Ford Fusion. It had been a long time since I had driven a nice sedan on a little road trip and it was fun. We got a pretty good deal and I saved some wear and tear on my little Honda Civic. My car doesn't have much of a sound system either and it was nice to be able to do some good jamming while driving.
The reason we went to Asheville was to go to the Orange Peel to see the amazing Dirtbombs. They are a band from Detroit that are directly in line with the classic Detroit rock and soul sound. Two basses, two drums and standing in front of that wall of sound, Mick Collins.
After we got settled into our hotel room we walked down to The Laughing Seed for dinner. I go there mainly for the honey sweetened berry tea that is to just die for. Not to mention the kick ass veggie burger I had. Melanie got a rice bowl with tofu and zucchini. She liked it but was jealous of my veggie burger which she couldn't eat because of her many, many allergies.
Afterward we went back to our hotel, the Four Points Sheraton. Not a bad place. It has free wireless and flat screen tv's in the rooms. I do have a few questions for those that run the place. 1) You have flat screen high definition tv's in the rooms yet subscribe to cheap basic cable that features snow on some channels. WTF? 2) I was unaware that bathrooms were built that didn't come with fans. WTF? 3) Those benches out in front of the hotel are plastic and uncomfortable. WTF? 4) You used to have a real nice complimentary continental breakfast. Now you don't. WTF? 5) I believe they do make sheets that fit king size beds. WTF? The desk for the laptop was nice, though.
We went to the Orange Peel around 9 pm and caught most of the set by the opener, Kelly Stoltz. Stoltz was excellent. He was one of those nice surprises you get every now and then at a show. Not often do I come across an opening band that interests me enough to consider exploring their output. Some of what I heard reminded me of the Kinks. I think the One Big Loud Guy should go to Kelly Stoltz' website. I am confident that he'll be pleased by what he hears.
The Dirtbombs came on about ten and proceeded to destroy the place. I've seen a lot of shows over the years and last night I saw one of the best live bands I have ever seen. The rhythm section is just awe inspiring and Mick Collins has incredible stage presence. Much like the Drive by Truckers, they were having a blast onstage. There really wasn't that big of a crowd there but they played like the place was packed. I think if it had just been me and Melanie they would have played the same show. They came to play loud and fast and crazy no matter how many people were in that room. It's a shame the place wasn't packed because a classic American balls to the wall rock band like this deserves a much bigger audience. It was an honor to stand front row and yell at a band of this quality. In a just world that place should have been sold out and I would have been near the back wishing I was closer.
The show was so good that I wish everyone I knew could have been there for it.
I took a few pictures last night that you can view here.
Also, the highlight of the show was their performance of Thin Lizzy's "Ode to a Black Man." It was furious and got the biggest crowd reaction of the night. After they finished that song Mick said, "you guys like that one, huh?" Yes, we did. Below is a snippet of a performance of "Ode to a Black Man" from 2005. They just kill this song.