How Long Until the Next One?

Dammit, why do the Harry Potter books have to be so good?!?!?! I finally had enough time last night to fnish off the latest, “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” which was another excellent installment in the series. I especially liked how the book really captured the feelings of young love – how your stomach churns and tightens at the sight of the person you’re infatuated with, the happiness and fear of first loves, seeking approval from friends… She really captured what it is like to be a teenager (or one in a wizarding school, at least), which added great depth to the characters.

Not all that surprised at who dies at the end, but it was still a heart-breaker. (SPOILER ALERT – sort of) And to finally get resolution on Snape’s character was nice as well. Rowling has a hell of a job in the next and final installment… will Hogwarts be closed? Will the book take place there at all? Will Ron and Hermione finally get together? How will Harry face Snape and and how the hell is she going to make the inevitable battle between Harry and Voldemort epic enough? (END OF SPOILER ALERT)

I started reading Harry as the fourth book came out, and all I know is that just like all the fourth and fifth books, I’m just upset that I need to wait another couple of YEARS before reading the next one. I want it NOW!

Keep Music Evil

So I was out doing a bunch of errands and going on a mini-shopping spree to get a bunch of stuff I’ve been waiting to buy.  One of these things took me to South Attleboro, MA, a lovely little surburban area of strip malls and the like.   The weather was gorgeous today, so while driving around, I had my windows down and the tunes cranked up.  Of course, I was listening to my usual selection of depravity…  when I got to the Bristol Place mall in South Attleboro, I happened to be listening to "Animal (Fuck Like a Beast)" by W.A.S.P.   So I parked my car, got my stuff together, and rolled up the windows, all while this song is playing, rather loudly…

When I stepped out of the car, I was greeted by not one, not two, but THREE minivans with families and their mothers just GLARING at me. 


Freaky Customers

So I went to the bank today to conduct a few transactions that required me to sit with one of the customer service reps and during that process, I overheard a conversation taking place through the drive-through window.  The teller there was telling the person in the car that the next time they have such a large transaction, they prefer that she brings the deposit inside, as it takes up a lot of time to count and verify everything and holds up the drive-through window.  She was very, very polite and nice about it.  The woman in the car said something back and the cashier – still being polite, said it was fine, but that for safety and security purposes, it is best to do such a large transaction inside.

About two minutes later, this elderly-ish woman comes STORMING into the bank and RUNS right up to the window and practically throws her cane through one of the cashier windows and starts bellowing at the top of her voice "HERE’S MY CANE! I’m on my way to the doctor’s!  I can’t walk and you want me to come in to make a deposit!!?!?!? "  I think that if she had a gun she would have started firing it.  She woman said – err, screamed – her piece and walked off.

Everyone in the bank realized how ridiculous the situation was and how much the woman was over-reacting, so we kind of had a quiet chuckle, and then the poor teller at the drive-through window makes a very valid point by saying "for someone who can’t walk in here to make a deposit, she sure ran in here pretty fast" which was very, very true. 

Another 5 or so minutes go by and the manager comes back from getting her lunch.  Everyone fills her in on what happened and sure enough, the woman comes back in again to talk to the manager.  Well… again, "talk" is probably not quite the right description.   She started screaming and yelling again, not letting the manager get a word in edgewise.  As soon as the manager  started to explain why they prefer a large transaction like that to be done inside, the woman  just said "FINE! I can see that you’re just going to be a pain!" (she should know…) and went storming back out of the bank yelling "I’m going higher up!"

The manager just grabbed her food and told everyone she was going to lunch.

But really – what is wrong with people.  Who the hell thinks that the world owes them that much of a living?  Just because you have trouble walking – supposedly, since this woman seemed to be doing OK – don’t take it out on the rest of the freakin’ world!!

Something Twisted To Think About

So who do you think would be better in bed, Betty or Veronica?  I think Veronica would be too much of a stuck-up princess to do anything really good.  Unless she goes the Paris Hilton route and is actually kind of wild.

On the other hand, if you’re Archie, Betty wants you really really bad, so she’ll probably do just about anything you want.  Probably even let you screw her someplace really uncomfortable… like the backseat of a Volkswagen.

(Apologies and thanks to Kevin Smith for this entire blog entry)

Yep, I’m a Metalhead

Sometimes there’s just no avoiding labels. When you go to see 13 heavy metal bands in a
28 hour period, it’s official: you’re a metal head. You’re also very tired and devoid of any
hearing ability.

On July 14th I went to see the W.A.S.P. show at
The Webster Theater in Hartford. What a GREAT venue! Terrific acoustics (you can actually hear
your own clap reverberate in between sets if you’re down towards the front of
the stage!) and a great set up with multiple bars, multiple viewing areas, room
for sitting and standing, and places to rest your ears between bands or go
catch some local acts in an attached bar in the same building. They have a great line up of classic hard
rock and metal bands coming through – makes me pine for the days of the Strand
and Lupo’s in Providence.  We need more music venues in Providence!

Opening for the W.A.S.P. show were Metal Church, LA Guns, and Steven Pearcy (former lead singer of RATT).  Metal Church was good – a solid
showing of 80’s style heavy metal and speed metal, very much in the style of
Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and early Metallica. LA Guns also put on a solid show, bringing out some classic late 80’s
and early 90’s hair metal classics. One
bit of constructive criticism for Chris VanDahl, the lead vocalist… I, among
others, have no right to criticize your physical fitness, but for the love of
god man, we don’t go around with low-riding jeans and an open leather vest on. If you have even the slightest bit of a beer
belly-style gut, you should NOT be wearing those things!!!

CORRECTION – on November 6, 2005 I received an email from Chris VanDahl correcting me on the above point of my constructuctive criticism, pointing outt hat it wasn’t HIM up on the stage, but rather Phil Lewis.  Sorry man!  I’m sure you would have better sense if you had been up there.

I thought that Stephen Pearcy was an odd choice for the last
opening act – I mean, he is just the former lead singer of a band, but he put
on a great show. Again, getting back to
the sartorial facet of the show… Steve
was wearing a black shirt that appeared to be tied up in the front…. like
Daisy Duke style almost. It made him
look… well… it made him look like a freakin’ go-go dancer in a gay club or
something. Dear god man… you’re
singing about chicks and rock n’ roll… lose the tied shirt front!

Onto the headliner act… W.A.S.P. is a band that I was familiar with more by name than anything
else. A recent post illustrated the
deepest interaction that I’ve had with their music. However, their stage shows are supposed to be
legendary, so I figured “what he hell – why not go?” John was kind enough to put together a
two-disc sampler of their best stuff (he’s a much bigger fan than I was) which
helped a lot with being able to recognize and sing along with the songs.

W.A.S.P. lived up to its crazy reputation, with Blackie
Lawless being front and center as a classic energetic frontman, terrorizing the
crowd with music and props. The most
famous of which is his microphone stand, a skeletal monstrosity which he climbs
up on and hangs off of. During the song “Kill
Your Pretty Face” he did exactly this – climbed up on the microphone stand
(which is spring-loaded so that it bounces and sways menacingly) and sang the
song from there, lit only by black lights to the front and some rays of lights
from the back. Very atmospheric and evil
looking. Then he turned it up a creepy
notch by putting some glow-in-the-dark body paint on him. But he didn’t just put it on – it looked like
he was cutting himself, and all of a sudden this day-glo green goop was all
over him. It didn’t seem like much of a
stretch for Blackie to have something other than blood coursing through his
veins. By the end of the song, as the
music climaxed, Blackie was swaying heavily on the mic stand, his arms and face
covered in the fluorescent body paint, singing “kill your pretty face.”

After that song, John turned to me and said "I think we may
have just been inducted into the church of Satan…"

So after the evening full of heavy metal mischief, it was
off to Ozzfest the next day. Erock had
to work until noon, so we didn’t get to The Tweeter Center (props to Shadows
Fall for making a comment about how it will always be “Great Woods” for those
who remember) until about 1:30/2:00. We
saw, in order:

  • As I Lay Dying
  • Killswitch Engage
  • Rob Zombie
  • In Flames
  • Black Label Society
  • Shadows Fall
  • Mudvayne
  • Iron Maiden
  • Black Sabbath

Which makes for a pretty good line-up for the day, eh? The highlights were definitely Rob Zombie and
Iron Maiden, followed by Killswitch Engage and Shadows Fall. Zombie played a stripped down set – just him,
a drummer, a guitarist, and a bassist, with minimal pre-recorded sound effects
for the intros and outros of the songs. Seeing
Rob Zombie without all the pyros, dancers, props and massive stage sets proved
that he can really rock (though the other stuff is pretty damn cool too).

Iron Maiden did a great set, doing only songs from their
first four albums. The only downside to
that was that they didn’t play “Fear of the Dark”, which would have been
perfect since their performance straddled the dusk hour. However, they did open up with “Wrathchild”
one of my personal favorite Maiden songs, especially the ’99 version found on
the Ed Hunter Greatest Hits collection, which features Bruce Dickinson on

I love it when a band opens up with one of my favorite songs
– it almost makes me relax for the rest of the show, knowing that I don’t have
to wonder if they are going to play it or not, and just enjoy what they do

Sabbath was good, and Ozzy looked really good – thin,
energetic, lively. His voice was pretty
decent too, though some of the set list might need to be rearranged (this was
the first show on the tour), since some of the high notes found in “Children of
the Grave” were too high for him to reach after being on stage for an
hour. Which reminds me – I wish that
Black Sabbath had played a shorter set and let Iron Maiden play longer. That would have been welcome. I love Sabbath as much as anyone, but while
this is only my second Ozzfest, it is the fourth time I’ve seen Ozzy and third
time seeing Sabbath (also saw them once with another lead singer, whoever the hell
he was), and while hearing “Iron Man” and “Paranoid” live in concert are among
my top concert experiences of all time, just how much Sabbath do we need? And when they pull out the deep track stuff,
most of the kids in the audience don’t know it – I think that John and Erock
were one of 10 people in the audience that knew the song “Dirty Women.”

Who the fuck chose Mudvayne to go before Iron Maiden? I’ve never seen a band who can turn a heavy
metal act into something so boring. They
opened up for Zombie/Ozzy a few years ago on the Merry Mayhem tour (which
spawned the infamous “Bubbles!??! I can’t have fucking bubbles!! I’m the prince of fucking darkness!!” quote
on the Osbornes) and we found them relentlessly repetitive and boring there –
and they haven’t improved any. The lead
singer looked like a fucking fan boy impersonating Darth Maul and every goddamn
song sounded alike. This isn’t a “I’m
getting older, so I don’t like new music” rant – I like some pretty fucking
heavy stuff, but there’s only so much Mudvayne I can take before I just find it
fucking boring. They are actually good
at what they do, but they appear to be able to do only one thing – play ludicrously
loud and fast while the lead singer screams over the music.  They’re called chords guys – there’s a good
number of them out there… try some different ones, will ‘ya? Taking the Ramones and making it louder,
faster, heavier, and more scream-filled doesn’t qualify as original!

As far as the general atmosphere and people at Ozzfest goes –
well, it’s Ozzfest…. What the fuck do you expect? The place is full of raging freaks! But that’s part of the charm, I guess. I hope that the kid we saw being carried out
of the pit at the second stage is alright, and I hope the other guy who walked
out of there covered in blood figured out where it was coming from and/or who’s
it was! What these people were thinking,
moshing and crowd surfing in that weather, I don’t know! It was so hot and disgusting in the audience,
I can’t imagine what it was like in the pit! Erock and I couldn’t wait to get out of there and get some cold water
and fresh air.
Speaking of interesting Tweeter Center
experiences… they can take their “Hamburger Deluxe” and shove it up their
ass. Dried out piece of meat served with
nothing on it. Didn’t help that it was
accompanied by warm ice-less soda and the condiment stand had been raped and
pillaged. It’s an all day festival – you’d
think they would be better prepared!!

The Universal Powers Speak

So I’ve made my decision to leave the Ocean Group and go back to my passion of working in the food & beverage industry, returning to Dean Foods as the Northeast region’s Marketing Manager.  I’m very excited about the opportunity and getting back into an industry that I find interesting and fun.

That was my biggest problem at Ocean Group and MEDport – I just never got "into" the category and really couldn’t get comfortable enough with it to use all my creative juices.  Now that the company is reorganizing and refocusing after Jeff’s untimely death, they will have an even stronger focus on consumer medical products, and that just isn’t something I want to get deeper into.  My reason for going to the Ocean Group in the first place was the Ocean Group and the business incubator model that they had.  Now they will be MEDport and more closely focus on a more narrow set of products.  Good for the company, bad for my ADHD-like career path…

However, just in case I was feeling any last minute regrets – which I’m not  – I had my decision reaffirmed by nothing less than a…. fortune cookie.  And an eight-month old one none the less!

in November/December when I had to make a decision about leaving Garelick and
what job I was going to take, I happened to have Chinese food for dinner.  It was literally the night before I was going
to make a final decision.  My fortune cookie that night said “Your destiny lies
before you, choose wisely.”  I thought it
was eerily appropriate,  so I kept it. 

Here’s the
REALLY weird part, and what I admit threw me for a little bit of a loop at the
time: the “learn Chinese” word on the backside of the fortune was… “milk”.

No, I’m not kidding.

the fortune cookies start speaking to you, you know it is time to do something!

Kill Fuck Die with a Hole In Your Head

This entry is not as graphic as the title would indicate. However, it will illustrate what an intensely type-A personality music freak I am.  Which means you should still be afraid…

A few weeks ago I heard a song from the band W.A.S.P on XM radio’s The Boneyard. 99.9% of the time, XM always has the name of both the artist and the song on the display, but every once in a while, they miss one of them.  This was one of them.  Part of the song’s chorus had the lyrics "No you can’t take it, no you can’t that away from me" which sounded familiar not only in because of its words, but because of the phrasing of it as well.  But for the life of me, I couldn’t place it.  I was actually thinking it might have been a cover song, so I spent some time online trying to track down the name of the song, typing in combinations of the lyrics and the band name.  I finally came up with it being the song "Kill Fuck Die" or "KFD" for short.  I downloaded it off of iTunes and listened to it a few times and still couldn’t place it. 

Now, I’m going to see W.A.S.P. on Thursday night with John, and the only song I have by them is this "KFD" song – so he made me a compilation disc of their best songs so I can be famliar with the material (I’ve been to too many concerts without knowing anything about the band), and while just listening to "KFD" again, I just got it!  And I can NOT
believe I couldn’t place this before. 

The chorus
of “no you can’t take it, no you can’t take that away from me” in "KFD" are the
same lyrics AND are sung in the same phrasing as in the first part of the
chorus of Nine Inch Nails’ “Head Like a Hole.”

Yes, I’m quite excited about figuring this out.  That  is probably kind of sad, I know, but hey, it makes me happy.   Most of you are probably worried about me in some way – either because I listen to this music, or because I get excited about such ridiculously trivial information, but that’s just the way I am.  the rest of you who aren’t worried, know exactly what I’m talking about!

Rock me in the arms of stranger’s angels until it brings me home

Sometimes people ask me why I like music so much – heck, sometimes I wonder myself.  Then I have a moment like tonight, and it is so clear….

I went out with my friend Kim for dessert and drinks, and we wound up talking down in Waterplace Park for about an hour, talking about life, love, careers, and other deep things.  I dropped her off at home and I took the long, winding way home, listening to the new Ryan Adams CD, Cold Roses.  The CD is a fantastic release from Adams, along with his new band, the Cardinals.   I’ve been a Ryan Adams fan for a while now, going back to his Whiskeytown days.  I’m not a country music fan, but I am a fan of the alt-country-rock genre and most of the bands in it.  Unlike many people who pick and choose over his albums, I’ve been a pretty consistent fan of his, perhaps because my musical tastes are all over the place – I’m as comfortable listening to "Love is Hell" as I am "Rock n’ Roll."  I like the fact that he does what he wants and has a range of sounds, critics and other fans be damned.

So anyway, I love this new CD, and have been listening to it all weekend.  One of the standout tracks is the song "Let it Ride" (no relation to the BTO song), which has been getting airplay on XM Radio quite a bit.  After hearing this song a few times, I had to buy the CD, and glad I did.

Getting back to loving music thing – after dropping off my friend Kim, I decided to take the long way home, while listening to Stone Roses, particularly the song "Let It Ride" and it was the perfect accompaniment to a nice, meandering ride home after a fun evening of good conversation, food and drink.  And when I say "perfect accompaniment" I mean it – it was a good tune to be listening to, it was kind of a transcendent moment.  See, I love driving around with good music, and I especially love driving around at night with really beautiful acoustic rock playing.  It makes me relax and clears my head.  It is something that makes me feel that all is right with the world for at least a moment.  I lack the ability to put into eloquent enough words how it makes me feel – peaceful, happy, introspective, thoughtful, at peace, calm, serene, contemplative, reflective, ruminative…. go look up the adjectives yourself, and they still won’t do it justice.

Admittedly, it does kind of remind me of a freakin’ car commercial – though it was a really good one, so I guess it is OK.  Remember the Volkswagen commercial a few years back that featured a few friends in a convertible Jetta driving along the coast to the sound of Nick Drake’s "Pink Moon"?  They end up at the party they were going to, and decide to continue driving around listening to the music rather than go to the party.  That sums it up pretty well, actually.

So that’s why I love music – because somewhere, a song writer and his band have perfectly captured a moment that I was having – and they had no idea I was going to have and may or may not have had themselves… but at that very moment, it was a perfect match and it made me feel as good as could be.  The same thing will happen, but in a totally different way later this week while going to see WASP and then Ozzfest on Thursday and Friday, respectively.  No, it’s not quiet, contemplative music… but it’ll let me get my aggressions out by yelling, screaming, headbanging, jumping around, and all that crazy shit… and for that moment, that will be perfect as well.

Randomness Defined

Got a few thoughts that I wanted to express but none of them were worth a full blog entry on their own, so here you go:

  • First of all, I have two new candidates for my list of favorite female celebrities (as stated in my earlier post) – I need to find a replacement until Lindsay Lohan stops being so goddamn skinny, gets some curves back and goes back to being a redhead.  The first is Miranda Lambert, yet another drop dead gorgeous country singer that I happened to notice while flipping past CMT this morning.  Every once in a while, it’s worth stopping on that station and hitting "mute."   The second is Natasha Bedingfield, a fairly indistinguishable pop singer that was on MTV or VH1 or whatever.  You know who else is looking hotter and hotter?  Joss Stone. She’s turning into a fine looking young woman.  However, my favorite hot female singer videos out right now are still the latest Mariah Carey (whatever the song is… I don’t really care.  She looks great, especially at the beginning when she’s lying on her back) and the new Kelly Clarkson video "Behind these Hazel Eyes" – I’m likin’ that corset thing that she’s wearing big time.  She’s so damn cute she’s hot.
  • Speaking of videos and songs…  am I the only one who thinks that the new R. Kelly song and video  "Trapped in the Closet Part 1 of 5" is absolutely atrocious!?!?  It has to be one of the most boring songs and videos ever created.  God help us if there are actually another 4 parts to come of that crap.
  • I had the hiccups this morning.  yeah, I know, how much more exciting can this blog post get, eh?  Hope no one reading this has a heart condition….  anyway, isn’t it amazing how many cures there are for hiccups?  I did a quick Google search for it, and man, there are a LOT of pages out there dedicated to it.  Came across some that I had never heard of before.  I just held my breath for a while and they eventually went away, thank god.  I hate getting the hiccups – I get them really hard and they sometimes hurt.  They are the epitome of annoying and proof that if there is a higher power, he/she/it/them has a sick sense of humor.  If anyone has their own person favorite hiccup remedies, let me know…
  • Back to sexy videos… I would like to be the first to congratulate an entire generation of boys on reaching puberty thanks to the new Jessica Simpson video for "The Boots Are Made for Walking" from the Dukes of Hazard movie.  If  they put that on the DVD, it may become the best selling movie of all time…
  • What the hell was Trot Nixon thinking/doing last night when he got picked off of second base?!?!?
  • Anyone out there get the new Ryan Adams & the Cardnials disc?  I’m looking forward to picking it up and was wondering if it as good as it seems from what I’ve heard so far.
  • I just bought my first Terry Pratchett novels and looking forward to starting them.  I gotta finish "The Eyre Affair" by Jasper Fforde first, which is very good so far.
  • Also tried fried cheese curds for the first time yesterday.  I spent some quality time with my mom, since we were both heading in the same direction and we hadn’t gone and done something just the two of us in a long time – brought back fond memories of running errands with her as a kid – and we went out to lunch.  We figured we’d go completely retro and we went to the A&W drive-in (yeah, they still do car service) in Smithfield.  I had been there before, but don’t remember it was so long ago.  We had some cheeseburgers and I had to try the cheese curds.  They were pretty good – taste like mozzarella sticks, but made with a mild cheddar.
  • Lastly, I’m totally crazy about the latest Weezer song "Beverly Hills" – I first heard it a few months ago during my trip to LA, and now it’s getting all sorts of play on XM radio
  • OK, I lied… one more… if you’re still debating whether to get XM radio, do it… you can now get a receiver for $49.00!

Here’s a Great Idea…

Seriously – isn’t this a nifty idea?  Let’s you buy someone a drink without being there.   Of course, you could look at it as "great.. just what we need- another way to avoid social interaction…"

  More debauchery: Corney & Barrow,
one of London’s Financial District’s largest bar operators, makes it
possible for people to buy their friends a drink online (from beer to
Jesus Juice to bubbles). Users of the Buy Me a Beer
service go to Corney & Barrow’s website, select a drink (by glass
or bottle), pay by credit card, after which a text message (SMS) with a
code is sent to their friend. The happy recipient then presents his or
her phone with their virtual voucher on it to any Corney & Barrow
bar to redeem their free drink. Not spotted outside the UK yet, and it
should work for all kinds of services, from gifts to dinners. As the
entire world has a cell phone these days, with even Americans taking to
texting… Cheers!