Saturday, April 29, 2006

i don't know much, but other singers know less

I feel bad about the fact that once again, I've begun to neglect this place.

I'm alive. I'm well.

It's just that I've been massively busy. Not with work, but with hockey. The Stanley Cup playoffs have begun, and I've attended the Canes home games thus far, and have watched a LOT of the other series in the playoffs on tv.

Between going to games, watching on tv, and keeping the hockey blog updated, I haven't had much time. I've also been asked to participate in an "e-roundtable" by a major Canadian media outlet. That hasn't been as fun as I thought it would be, nor as interactive, but it's cool.

Actually, I wrote a post at the hockey place that may be of interest to many of the readers of this blog. It's about how OLN (which is the new cable home of the NHL) will be changing its name to Versus. Yeah. That's right. Versus. If you want to read it, here's that post.

No word on whether Richard and Ed Baluyut will be asked to write the network's new theme music.

now playing:

Versus The Stars are Insane

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

it looks like your left hand don't love me

I'm doing a little bit of housecleaning around here.

First, I eliminated the entire "Bands I (mostly) know" section of the sidebar. Most of the bands were either defunct or on their deathbed. In some cases, my friends have moved on to other bands, but for the time being, I'm not going to have that feature anymore.

For funsies, I've added another link to the "Random Goofy Stuff" section. You may already know about this, but 30 Second Bunny Theater is some good shit. Some well known motion pictures have been condensed to 30 seconds and animated with bunnies playing every part. The bunny Resevoir Dogs is really great.

I recently downloaded the audioscrobbler thing, which would automatically display my most recently played stuff in iTunes, but I'm having some difficulty getting it to function properly. I'll work on that some more.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

inside that pandora's box was a can of worms

These days, it seems like everyone I know is having babies. In the last few months especially. Almost every day I hear about someone else having one.

However, last Thursday I received some news of a very different variety. I was sad to find out that Millicent King, who founded the Winston-Salem Scrabble Club passed away on March 1. She had been doing battle with colon cancer, but remained active, positive and upbeat.

I started going to the Winston-Salem Scrabble club about two and a half years ago after I read Stefan Fatsis' Word Freak. I immediately felt at home there, largely because of Millicent's encouragement. Any time there was a new person there, she welcomed them and played with them and always found a way to offer words of encouragement. She also made a lot of effort to get to know people. She asked questions and listened when you answered.

She wasn't just a fan of the game. She was a fan of the beauty of words, and of the way the games would play out. Even when she would get soundly defeated, she would be complimentary and she would point out nice plays. Not necessarily high-scoring plays, but stylistically nice plays. In my head, I can still hear her complimenting the play QIVIUT which was made on a cluttered board, where the Is were already on the board. "Oh, that's pretty" she would say.

With players who were new not only to the competitive format, but to the game itself, she would never be impatient. This is probably thanks to the fact that she was for 31 years a special education teacher. Even after she retired, she substitute taught and tutored kids from her home. She also encouraged kids to play Scrabble.

Without her guidance of the Winston-Salem club and her personal encouragement, I would never have started playing "competitively" and I would not have ever had the courage to enter a tournament.

I hope I use this sad moment as impetus to get the ball rolling on starting an official club here in Greensboro. If I can have even half the impact on someone's game that she has had on me and the rest of the Winston-Salem crew, I will consider myself to be a success.

now playing:

Explosions in the Sky The Earth Is Not a Cold, Dead Place

Thursday, April 06, 2006

you're turning into a poor man's donald trump

Here's a story of conicedence.

Today I had to make a quick trip inside the post office. On my way in, I noticed a car with the personalized license plate "GEEK". I kind of chuckled, envisioning some egghead programmer guy. But immediately I wondered to myself "What if they're a "real" geak. You know, a geek in the carnival performer sense of the word?" Then I further wondered whether the person with the car even knew about the carnival performer sense of the word.

When I got into the post office, I immediately noticed an exceptionally cute woman of my approximate age buying some stamps. We made a little bit of eye contact, and exchanged a quick smile, and it kind of made my day. My business in the post office was very quick, so I was back outside in time to see her drive away in the "GEEK" car.

Somehow, I thought it was perfectly fitting.

now playing:

Flaming Lips At War with the Mystics

invisible man who can sing in a visible voice

One of the many cool things about working in the restaurant industry is that you find shit all the time. People leave stuff behind all the time. So at closing time, or sometimes, the next morning, we find lots of things left behind. Sometimes in the bar, sometimes at a table. Sometimes in the parking lot. Sometimes, but rarely, we find things of value. More often than not, it's crap.

People leave umbrellas and jackets more often than anything else. They come back for them about half the time. We'll hold onto the jackets for a couple of months, at which time we'll take what we want and donate the rest.

People have also been known to leave shoes, underwear (I'm not making that up), or other articles of clothing. With some rarity, people even leave various jewelry including wedding bands. They almost always come back for the jewelry. Not surprisingly, they never come back to claim their underwear. Yes, I've seen it more than once.

Another extremely popular thing that gets left behind is the love poem or the love letter or the "Dear Jack, I hate you. Love Diane" letter. It's always fun to read these and try to put together a story behind the poem/letter.

I found one such poem a couple of weeks ago, and I've decided to share it with you, dear scrupulous and brilliant readers. See the photo on the right, which you can click on to enlarge.

The text is as follows:
Baby can you fix that
You say I's fixin to
I said baby I need it now
I can't get past line two
You said turn the volume up
So you can hear better inside your head
I said baby can you get that?
You said I's going to
I said baby why couldn't you bring that when I first asked you to
& you said baby why don't you sit down and let me take care of you
I said baby I been trying to do just that for the past 5 years
& that's the first time you asked
And you said baby I'm sorry
I been meaning to get around to you again

This was written on the back of a receipt from a dinner delivery this person got the night before. If you're interested, they ordered a 12" Italian sub, bottled water and Camel Lights. I know the place they got it from, and that's a tasty sandwich.

Most of the time when we find "letters" or "poems" they're incomplete and have lots of strikethroughs and scribbling. They usually make very little sense and are really poorly written. Not that this thing is a work of genius, but it's probably the best "found" piece of "poetry" I've come across.

I haven't invented a backstory to go with it yet. Any suggestions? I'm not looking for the actual backstory. I'm looking for fiction.

now playing:

Bettie Serveert Attagirl

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

more about thomas dolby

Yeah. I'm a big dork. You all read my little piece about Thomas Dolby, and specifically "She Blinded Me With Science". I didn't recall everything from memory. I had to do some research to get the name of the album and the year, for instance.

I did a "little bit" of research on the matter in order to write that post, and I kept some of it to myself.

Indeed, as Bill pointed out, Thomas Dolby was the keyboard player for Foreigner on their colossally successful "4" LP. He also played keyboards for Def Leppard on the "Pyromania" album, using the pseudonym "Booker T. Boffin".

Everyone aside from Bill might think that Thomas Dolby was a one hit wonder. You might have to think again. His current gig is creating polyphonic ring tones. You've all heard the ubiquitous annoying Nokia theme song? That's his work. He adapted a 19th century guitar piece into what is most likely the most recognizable polyphonic tone.

Another thing I kept to myself was that the album "The Golden Age of Wireless" was released and resequenced five times. I don't mean re-released or re-issued. I mean that is was released five different times in its initial run. It has a bit of a legend surrounding that. Today we wrinkle our noses at a record that's released even twice, wondering where the bonus tracks are. There were none on "Golden Age". Just a different track listing and slightly different production.

Of course we didn't think about it back in 1982, or 83, or whenever, but what a title! It didn't mean anything then. Only now, some 24 years later are we "really" in the golden age of wireless. What did we have that was wireless back then? A remote control for the TV? Maybe. If you were really fancy, you had a wireless mic, and you might have had a wireless electric guitar. But that's about it.

Right now, you probably have no fewer than four wireless devices within an arm's reach as we speak.

How did he know?