Saturday, December 31

Beatles Podcasts

Last night I found a great site that offers podcasts of various Beatles related things - interviews (with 'the lads'), news reports from the era, music selections, demos, odd bits of this and that.

It's called Beatlegs Podcast, and you can find it by clicking on the word link

If you're a fan of The Beatles, and you're looking for stuff you probably haven't heard before, then this is the podcast for you.

Wednesday, December 28

Pick'em Down To The Wire

Well, with only one week remaining in the regular season, and then the playoff games left, The Annekenstein Monster's small but mighty playoff pool is really coming down to the wire.

Here are the standings as of this week:

reverseflash:  130-110 (54.2%)  points:  150   Last Week: 11-5
annekenstein: 130-110 (54.2%)  points:  150  Last Week: 10-6
Jim Simmonds: 127-113 (52.9%)  points:  141  Last Week:  10-6
Graham the Conqerer: 92-102 (47.4%)  points: 82  Last Week: 10-6

Over the course of the season, it had been a two-way battle for first place, between Jim Simmonds and myself, but JS has slipped the past couple of weeks and has some catching up to do.  Reverseflash, early in the season, was down and out but has been coming on strong and is a strong threat to win it all.  I've been pretty steady throughout the whole season, and if I don't win, at least I'll have that to comfort me.  Graham the Conquerer was right up there at the top the first half of the season, but at one point he forgot (I assume) to enter picks for a week and that pretty much ended his chance.  Like a trooper, though, he's been playing out the season.
For a brief period, we had a fifth member, Nils, but I believe he only picked one week, or two, then wasn't heard from again.  After a number of weeks of not picking, I removed him from the game.  His stats were bringing the group's average down.  As a group, we are at 52.4% for the season.

Isn't it exciting, wondering who will win this totally meaningless pool?

Prompt Service

Last night, for whatever reasons, I didn't feel like going to bed at the usual time (and when I finally did go to bed, I was wide awake), so I was up until 2am, farting around on the computer.  Actually, farting around on the blog here, seeing what's what.  I spent some time trying to increase the number of archive pages that are listed.  Currently there are only ten month's worth of archives.  Since I've been doing this since 2003, there are many more months that are at least two-clicks away (Can You Imagine!).
Failing to find a solution, I sent off an email to the Typepad people, asking how to rectify that issue.
This morning when I wake up, the reply is waiting in my inbox.  Prompt service.
Unfortunately, one cannot list all the monthly archives on the 'front page'.  It's limited to ten.  But, Carla suggested, one could add a Typelist link to my full archives page (even though clicking on the word 'Archives' achieves the same thing).  So, that's what I've done.
I'm happy enough.

Tuesday, December 27

What's This Podcast Thing, Then?

So, I was looking around the settings on this here ole Typepad site and discovered a setting to display one's podcasts rss feed link.  Hmm-ing about that a bit, I decided I'd set it up, even though I don't have any podcasts, and only a slight interest in creating one.  Actually, I have a middling interest in creating podcasts but I don't have sufficient storage space online, nor do I have enough bandwidth (assuming anyone would download them anyway) to handle anything of any significance.  If anyone wants to donate (sponsor?) the space and bandwidth to me, I could probably come up with a fun sporadic podcast type thingy.
Still, I'm curious to see how the Typepad podcasting system works, so I'm uploading a song I wrote a long time ago and pretending it's a podcast.  So, here's the experiment!

Download without_you.mp3

By the way, speaking of podcasts, the only one I subscribe to is The Ricky Gervais Show.  You can get it through his website, or through iTunes.  Updates weekly, and it's pretty funny, I say.

I guess it turns out that the "subscribe to my podcasts" rss link is the same as the rss link to my site.  no big whoop there, then.
Sorry to bother you.

Protect Your Whatnots

Tonight on Canada Now, there was a report about high storm surges due to the recent inclement weather.  A part of the report showed (what I assume to be) a fisherman standing on a rocky shore.  He was holding the  microphone, which was odd in and of itself, and talking about the potential dangers of the tide pulling the earth back into the water.  The reporter (off camera) asks, barely heard (because the guy being interviewed held the mic): "are you worried about having to protect your yard, fields and whatnot?"
I found the *unprofessional* use of the word "whatnot" rather humourous.

That is all.

Prepare Yourself: Okay, He's Dead

I may have written about this neurosis of mine in a previous post, but it bears re-posting because it's still, inexplicably, present in my life.
I have a fear that if my son sleeps longer than his usual wake-up time, that he has died in his sleep.  When he was a baby, and he slept beyond his anticipated waking time, I would begin to think that he wasn't waking up because he had died.  Of course, as I was talking myself into this irrational fear, I was

also simultaneously telling myself how unlikely that was, and how silly

I was for still fretting over such a thing.  Yet, no matter how much I tried to convince myself that I was being irrational, the thought just wouldn't leave my mind until he woke up. Sometimes, as minutes passed, I would be almost totally convinced that

he had died.  I'd prepare myself to walk into his room and see his

lifeless body.  When he was very young, the fear had, perhaps, a greater potential to be true, what with SIDS and all...
He never did die.  Not yet, at least.  Now that he's 12, I still find myself (not as often, mind you) preparing myself to see him dead when I walk in to his room.
These days, he's usually up well before 9am each day, whether he has to be or not.  I got up at 10-ish and realised that he was still in his bedroom.  Notice I didn't just say "realised he was still asleep in his bedroom". Yes, again I began to think that, since he wasn't up, he was dead.  And so began another battle in my mind regarding the life-status of my son.  As much as I'd tell myself the notion is preposterous, and as much as I'd agree, completely, with that line of thought, the 'he is dead' concern wouldn't completely leave my mind.
He came skipping down the stairs at around 10:45.  I think it was the latest that he's ever slept in.
Now that he's entering those awkward teen years, I'm going to have to adjust my "he's dead" clock to accomodate his upcoming predisposition to sleeping in.

Sunday, December 25

Have a Pleasant Day

Whether you celebrate the winter solstice, the birth of Jesus, your African roots, the birth of Mithra, Hannukah, or just that it's a Sunday, I hope your day is pleasant.

Friday, December 23

Bam! Kindergartner Goes Down!

I saw this hypothetical question asked elsewhere and it immediately piqued my curiosity.

How many 5 year-olds could you take on at once?

Here are the factors to take into consideration:

You, nor the five-year olds, have any foreign objects.  It's hand-to-hand only, and no protective padding, other than a cup, and normal, everyday street clothes.
The arena is roughly the size of a basketball court, and it's enclosed.  Nobody can touch the walls.
You lose when you are knocked unconscious.  They lose when the final five-year old is knocked unconscious.  Once a kid is knocked unconscious, that kid is "out".
The kids all receive one day of hand-to-hand combat training,  designed specifically to teach them how to team up to take down one adult.   You receive one hour of "counter-tactics" training.
The kids are motivated enough to not get scared, regardless of what occurs.  Even the very last one will give it their all.
The kids are all "average" healthy kids, half of the number you choose will be female, the other half will be male.

So, how many could you take on without being defeated?

I think I'd try to take on 12. 

Sorry For Your Loss

The Indianapolis Colts have been having an incredible year.  Until this past weekend, they were unbeaten and looking like they had the stuff to go unbeaten the whole year.  The San Diego Chargers stopped them cold, though, last weekend, in a terrific game.
So, as the 1972 Miami Dolphins once again crack open the champagne to celebrate being the only unbeaten NFL team in history, the Colts probably were looking forward to just getting on with playing football.  Likely relieved in a small way that they don't have the albatross of going unbeaten around their necks for the remainder of the games they play.
Now, comes word of a second loss this week for the Colts.  The sports pages are full of the story of Colts' coach Dungy's son who apparently committed suicide yesterday.  We see NFL players and coaches week in, week out during the season, and even through the human-interest stories and interviews they (the pregame shows et al.) give us, the players and coaches somehow seem more iconic than human.  They are more Character than they are Real.  At least for me.
So when a story like this comes down, we all get reminded that these football icons are people too, and they have shit happen to them, just like the rest of us.
Coach Dungy always seems like a Good Guy.  Through the years, it's been reported that to him family and faith take precedence over football.  He seems like a guy who knows what's important.  The players on his team, and pretty much all of his opponents, seem to respect him greatly, not only as an NFL coach, and not as an icon, but as a person.  For his players and team, this loss of his will be hard on them too.

So, in this week where the Colts lose twice, I offer my condolences on the only loss that really matters.

King Kong's Final Flaw

The Fam and I went to see King Kong at a Wednesday afternoon matinee.  I like the holiday matinees because they usually aren't as busy as regular movie nights and matinees.  There weren't a lot of people in the theatre for this showing, and that is always good.

The movie was fantastic.  Yes, perhaps a bit too long (but still entertaining) to get to Skull Island, but man oh man what a rip-roaring old-fashioned adventure once we got there.  It was pure excitement and thrill.  Fun fun fun.
My only complaint with the movie were the actions of the heroine at the end of the movie.  Without spoiling it for those who haven't seen it, I'll just say that the efforts she makes at the end of the movie are wholly not believable.  I don't care what your motivations are, but when you're standing on a 15 foot wide dome plate, a thousand feet in the air, you're going to act like you're afraid of falling.  And, I may be wrong, but I believe the winds at the top of the Empire State Building are blowing a lot stronger than it appeared in the film.

So, a great adventure movie that is only slightly tarnished by the ludicrousness of the final scenes at the top of the building.

Absolutely worth seeing at the theatre.

Thursday, December 22

Weigh In On This

You know how a lot of people who are overweight complain that their problem is glanular?  It's not that they overeat or eat bad food, necessarily, it's just in their genes.

Well, what happens to starving Africans who have the same glanular problem?  Do they end up being Super Models?

Pulling Out The Old "Ten Random Songs" Post

Maybe this will kick start my desire to post to this blog again.
Here we go, the first ten songs to randomly show up on my iTunes playlist:

1)  Elvis Costello - Tokyo Storm Warning:  I quite like this song.  It "moves", you know?  Elvis's voice is fully there, vitriolically spitting out the words, as only he can.  I think Costello has one of the best voices in Rock.  I'd put him up there with John Lennon and Joe Strummer.  This is from his Blood & Chocolate LP.  I have the impression that this album was underappreciated.  Not by me, though.... Okay, it's been a while since I've heard this song, and after typing all this, it's still on.  I realise it's 6:25 long.  Probably a minute or two too long.  I like quick, in and out songs, and this one just wore out its welcome at the five minute mark.

2) The White Stripes - Let's Build A Home: From the De Stijl album.  The White Stripes were all that for a couple of months.  They are still churning out some pretty good material, but I've pretty much lost my woody for them.  This song is pretty much a bit of nothing.  But well done, rocking nothing-ness.

3) The Dry Branch Fire Squad - We Believe In Happy Endings:  I don't know anything about this group, but it comes from a compilation album of Rounder Records recording artists.  This is a right purty song, kind of a slow-tempoed bluegrass thingy.  Nice close harmonies, simple instrumentation.  I could listen to this kind of music all day long.

4) Baaba Maal/Monsour Seck - Lam Tooro:  Apparently this comes from an album called Djam Leeli.  This is one of those tracks that I read about, positively reviewed on some music blog, and download out of curiosity.  It then gets added to my large library and gets forgotten about until it pops up in some random shuffle, like this one.  This is World Music, I suppose.   It's not doing much for me.  I'm trying to decide whether to keep it in my library, or delete it.  I'm kind of like a pack-rat when it comes to songs.  I hate to delete anything, unless it is really unappetising to me.  Because you never know, the next time you hear it, you might be in the right mood and there it'll be.  But, you know, I don't think I'm going to bother to save this one.  It's just a bit too much of a repetitive loop of a guitar phrase, going nowhere really.  To the Dust Bin with you.  Nothing personal, 'kay?

5) Neil Young - Sugar Mountain: From the Decade album.  Classic live acoustic Neil Young.

6) Hank Williams - I'm A Long Gone Daddy:  Hank has at least three types of songs.  Heartbreaking songs of misery.  Lighthearted songs of misery.  And religious songs of misery.  This fun song falls into the middle category.  A great song.

7) Tears For Fears - Head Over Heels:  One of those 80's duos where you wondered exactly was the other guy's role.  This song has a great big 80's sound.  Just listen to those trumpet-blast keyboard stings.  Somewhere, right now, Molly Ringwald's ears are perking up.  In 2 more minutes, they'll perk down and she'll return to present-day anonymity.

8) They Might Be Giants - Chess Piece Face:  TMBG make kids music for grown-ups.  Totally off the wall nonense type stuff a lot of the time.  What the hell is this song about?  Whatever happened to Chess Piece Face?

9) Elvis Costello - All This Useless Beauty:  A second Elvis song in the ten.  Well, whattya know.  I've always loved the title of this song.  The song itself is a lovely piano ballad.  What shall we do with all this useless beauty?  I'd like to see the musical that this song could be from.  Which reminds me, I've had the idea to write a musical but use already exsiting songs from other artists as the score.  It would be great!  Yeah.  It would.

10) John Lennon - Real Love:  From the posthumous Wonsaponatime album.  This sounds like a demo version of the song.  Sometimes I get sad thinking that John Lennon is gone, lamenting all the great songs that he might've written if he were still alive.  This song usually takes me to that sad place.

Wednesday, December 14

Jolly Old Sketch Nick

Yeah, so here's another plug reminding everyone that Sketch22's Christmas show plays this Thursday, Friday and Sunday at The Guild in Charlottetown.  Showtime: 8pm  Admission 15$

We've performed four shows so far.  Three of them were pretty good shows, while one (Friday night) was sub-par.  I think we were all a bit run-down from putting so much energy into Thursday's opening.

Why not come out this weekend and catch Sketch?  It's for what ails ya, Christmas speaking.

Saturday, December 3

My Own Private Charlottetown

As I was leaving rehearsal today, and walking to my car, I passed the UpperRoom/Foodbank, which is just behind the Guild.
As I was passing, I saw three older men, probably late 50's, standing outside the door.  As it was around 5pm, I assumed them to be waiting to eat.  By their appearance, and their location, I assumed them to be some of Charlottetown's destitute.  They were in conversation.  As I got close enough, I got to hear a snippet of their conversation:

"...does blowjobs to get some.  I haven't done that yet..."

None of these men are what one would consider handsome.  I am still having a hard time trying not to conjure up mental images.

David Cross Responds To Larry

Apparently comedian David Cross and Comedian Larry the Cable Guy are having a bit of a public tussle.  David, in a RollingStone interview, said something about Larry, and then Larry, in response to the RS quote, wrote something about David in his book.

This link is the latest (I assume) volley from David Cross.  I always enjoy it when someone takes the time to actually make arguments, counter other's assertions and defend their opinions, point by point.  This is what David Cross does here, in this link.  That it is entertaining to boot, well, that's always a bonus.

If the link doesn't work, try going here, to the Bob and Dave website, and clicking on the David's Corner link...

For the record, I am a pretty big fan of both David Cross' comedy and his publicly-stated opinions and positions on most things relevant to todays socio-political climate.