Everyday Albums vs Special Occassions

August 23, 2005

Posts based on wxpn’s 885 greatest albums of all time:

http://xpn.org/885_GAAT.php

Those Special Albums vs Everyday Listening

Okay, I’m trying to come up with my top 10 list of albums. But, they are like my special albums. Albums I appreciate for their artistic talent and musical stylings. But they’re not necessarily the albums I listen to most often.

It’s like the top 10 albums are the really special meals I prepare once or twice a year, that really take a lot of time to prepare and cook and have ingredients that I can’t get in the local store. And then there’s the ten or so meals that I eat most frequently, the macaroni & cheese, grilled chicken, and beef stroganoffs of my musical taste.

No, it’s not the Brittany Spears or N-Sync or anything (thats akin to McDonalds or food you microwave at 7-11).

My top 10 frequently listened to albums (over the last 5 years) would probably be:

1. Southern Culture on the Skids – Liquored Up and Lacquered Down
2. Garbage – Version 2.0
3. Bruce Springsteen – The Rising
4. Buddy Guy – Feels Like Rain
5. Jimmy Buffett – License to Chill
6. Brian Stetzer Orchestra – The Dirty Boogie
7. The Commitments – Volume 1
8. The Commitments – Volume 2
9. Richard Thompson – Mock Tudor
10. Weird Al Yankovic – Running with Scissors

My top 10 listen frequently listened to albums (of all time) would probably be:

1. Billy Joel – Storm Front
2. Rush – Permanent Waves
3. Little Feat – Waiting for Columbus
4. Tower of Power – Monster on a Leash
5. Joe Satriani – Surfing with the Alien
6. Van Halen – OU812
7. Stray Cats – Built for Speed
8. Pink Floyd – The Wall
9. John Mellencamp – The Lonesome Jubilee
10. Styx – Paradise Theater

This is more of a discussion than a problem. I just like to know if others feel the same way.

Robert


Finished Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

August 9, 2005

I was going to post this in the normal journal, but… in case there’s anyone who might be reading it who might be reading the Harry Potter series, I’ll refrain from putting it in the main journal.

I’m not sure this is for anyone but myself anyway.

Anyway… I finished Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

Basic Plot: Dumbledore tries to teach Harry about the history of Lord Voldemort, while Harry attends school.

I mean, that’s the plot. Think about that for a moment. Yes, there’s a plot line with the Half-Blood Prince, but it really could have been left out of the story. Yes, there’s a romance love triangle thingy. Yes, there’s a Quiditch issue. But that’s the plot.

Dumbledore tries to teach Harry about what he knows about Lord Voldemort, before (and I do believe that Dumbledore knows it’s coming) his untimely demise.

Okay, for comparison’s sake, let’s boil down the plot of Goblet of Fire:

Following the events of the Quiditch World Cup, the Wizarding Tournament is being held at Hogwarts with the three major wizarding schools submitting their champions. Someone has found a way to put Harry Potter’s name into the competition, while danger lurks all about.

My basic feeling, and I think to a degree this is proven by the direction hinted at by the end of the 6th book is that J.K. Rowling is sick of writing about school. It interferes with the story she wants to write about which is Harry Potter versus Lord Voldemort. However, she put the books up to the British school system, which is a seven year program. So, she kindof had to go through with it.

Other thoughts.

I really think that Rowling is disappointed that these books are depicted as ‘children’s books’…. because there is definate real SEXUAL tension in these books. I mean sexually, these characters act like they are 12 and 13, rather than 16 and 17. The characters are so enfatuated with kissing and snogging. Like that’s the end. Like that’s the bees knees for 17 year olds?

However, she gets much kudos for leaving the word snogging in the book, knowing that much much MUCH more Americans (in sheer numbers, not in percentages) read the books than Brits. And snog really isn’t in our vocabulary. I’m decently read and I love British slang… But if I hadn’t read High Fidelity or watched Buffy The Vampire Slayer, I’m not sure I would know the word ‘snog’ means. And will have millions of people looking up in the dictionary or wherever to find out what snog means. Plus, the difference between kissing and snogging is similar to the difference between naked and nekkid.

Kissing is the act of pressing lips together between two people.

Snogging are at the least much deeper, open mouthed kisses. They are not the kisses of 12 year olds on a date for the first time. There is something sexual about snogging.

Next thought. I liked the new professor. First off, it is nice to see someone from Slytherin who isn’t evil, just is ambitious. There should be more of this in her books. And he was decently fun.

Let’s move on to Snape. If there is one thing I hate in works of fiction, it’s to have a character who seems to be the red herring villain, actually turn out to be the villain.

Snape hated Harry for what his father did to him, and he decided to take it out on Harry. That’s fine. He was supposed to hate Harry, but actually be loyal to Dumbledore. But this, he pretended to be redeemed just so he could kill Dumbledore for Voldemort is stupid. All of Snape’s actions prior to this book that had nothing to do with Harry, always were on the side of good and not evil. To suddenly turn him, reveal him to be the villain all along, means that the young boy Harry was more perceptive, more intelligent than Dumbledore.

I have no problem believing that Harry will be stronger than Dumbledore. But a better judge of character at 12 than a wizened old wizard. Yes, there still is a chance to redeem Snape. There could be another purpose. But, this made little sense. She was rewriting things to make Snape the villain. And I just cannot believe that it would be Snape who would kill Dumbledore. Doesn’t fit.

Snape being the Half-Blood Prince… That was fine. No problems there. I find it hard to believe that he would let one of his old books remain in the classroom, but still, that revelation was no big deal.

Obviously, Dumbledore was sacrificing himself for Harry. And there is a new ally for Harry, the one who put the false WhasisCrux in the cave. But to not have Dumbledore as an ally in the final book where the fight with Voldemort is supposed to take place, makes little sense.

Predicitons for the final book:

* Snape redeems himself in some small way.

* Draco turns away from Voldemort.

* Dumbledore provides help to Harry, if only in a Obi Wan Kenobi role.

* Ron and Hermione fall DEEPLY in love.

* Harry becomes a teacher at Hogwarts.

A satisfying book. I just like the idea of Hogwarts the School, and not just Harry’s quest to defeat Voldemort. The universe she created is loads of fun, and by concentrating only on the Harry plot, it diminishes it a bit.

Same issue with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the series dropped a bit when she stopped being normal, and only was a Vampire Slayer.

Anyway, that’s it from me.

Cheers,


Weddings and weekends and w-words….

August 1, 2005

It really would help if I was more clever than I actually am.

Anyway, so I was the best man at a wedding was this past weekend. It was interesting and a lot of fun.

Weddings are one of those topics that bring out opinions in everyone. Everyone has an idea of how things should go, who should attend, who shouldn’t attend, what the service should be, what the church should look like, how much you should be involved, how the reception hall should look, what the food is, whether to use a band or a DJ, whether to serve cake, whether to have an open bar, what songs should be played, etc.

And I’m no different.

In fact I am even more opinionated about this subject than I was a mere 2 years ago, before I had to help make the decisions that went into my wedding.

You see I’m just not one of those guys who can just say, “Sure, whatever you want, babe.” and go back to watching the football game. Sure, when she asked me about flowers, I said that she could do whatever flowers she wanted. (Other than her idea about an all babys breath arrangement). But for decisions that affect what I’m going to see and how my friends and family will remember me, I care.

The wedding wasn’t how I would have done it. But I don’t want to armchair quarterback the situation.

One thing bugged me the most. Friday night was the rehersal for the wedding. The Indian (from India you morons!) Catholic Priest, obviously felt that everyone knew what to do during the ceremony, so we did a 15 minute walkthrough. That’s fine. Whatever. We get to the vows part of the ceremony. The priest asks my friends, “Do you want to hear what the vows are?”

They said no. They had no interest in hearing the vows before the church service on Saturday. And during the ceremony, my buddy said the vows as you say anything in church, clear enough to be heard, but not so clear as to really make it enthusiastic. (For those of you familiar with Catholic mass, think of the “Praise be to Lord, Jesus Christ” response.) His wife said the words as if she was repeating a pizza order (Okay… One Pepperoni pizza with extra cheese…… okay, one order of mozzerella sticks).

The words meant nothing to them.

Now, I am do not stand on the throne of the sanctity of marriage. It is an interesting ceremony that combines a personal commitment to each other, a civil ceremony tying two peoples financial futures together, and a holy ceremony binding your eternal love for each other.

And here you are saying words to each other, important words. Not just “Yeah, I’ll take out the trash” while you’re watching football on TV. Words of importance. You are saying these words in front of others (and in this case, videotaped so they can be used later as evidence). I mean we all know those times that we were sure that we didn’t say something (even when we were fully sober), and someone else comes in and says, “Um, yeah Rob you did.”… You are making these statements as the words in an official civil ceremony. Similar to swearing to tell the truth in court. Similar to signing a contract to do work for someone. And finally, you are making these comments in a holy ceremony before the priest and (supposedly) in front of God.

Now, I don’t believe in God every day of the week. I have doubts. Sometimes I do think that church is a big joke. Fine. I also think that motivational exercises are a big joke. But if I’ve agreed to a church ceremony, then I’m going to treat the ceremony as being holy. That these words I am speaking are meant to have some weight to them.

They are vows. Doesn’t mean you have to keep them or you’ll go to prison, or suffer in helfire and brimstone for all of eternity. But it does mean they should mean something to you.

Boy, is this a long ramble.

Everything else was a mixture of good and bad.

Good: Shots of Crown Royal in the limo

Bad: A shared bottle of Asti Spumante.

You know, like that….

Crown Royal loves me, yes I know….
Cause the bottle told me so…..

Sorry, don’t know where that came from.

Cheers,

Robert


Back if only for one night

June 14, 2005

Back if only for a moment…..

I drove in front of that square building on the corner of Swanson and Rittner in Philadelphia. And the smile returned to my face, the chill ran up the back of my spine. I was back. Back at what is now called the The New Alhambra Sports & Entertainment Center . But we all know better, don’t we. The building may be torn down one day and a Baby Gap put in it’s place, but it will always be the ECW Arena.

I will not try to big league myself and tell you that I was a regular there. I was good for three or four trips per year to the place in my heyday. I could say what I saw, but plenty of people saw the same stuff.

ECW filled me with joy, week in and week out. When I heard that the WWE’s version of ECW would be at the Hammerstein, and that Hardcore Homecoming would be at the Arena in Philly. I knew which one I would be attending.

The mood was right. Me and my buddy Michael ate sandwiches at Tony Lukes. We waited in line with the other fans, sweated to death in the hot sun, bullshitted rumors and stories with the people in line. Stared at the hot chicks (dare I say ring rats) standing in line with us. And cheered as a few of our heroes showed up in the hot sun to say hello.

Kronus was there, much shorter than I had remembered him. Axl showed up, hardcore as always, but in a great mood. And finally New Jack showed up, to the utter delight of the crowd, as someone played Natural Born Killaz.

We got into the building pretty much on time, and without too much hassle, which is definately not ECW-like. The building was hot as hell. I had to stop chanting ECW once or twice, because I started to get a headache from the heat. (The five beers before the show might’ve helped with that).

The crowd was absolutely amped up. Ring announcer Bob Artese got a standing ovation, that’s how happy everyone was. Not to mention, Todd Gordon, Joey Styles, Cyrus, Joel Gertner, and all of the referees. I forgot how loud that place gets. The E-C-W chant is probably still echoing off the walls.

The card itself was enjoyable. A good wrestling show? Not as such, but I didn’t go for a good wrestling show. I went to remember. I went to be in that building one more time, with the wrestlers that I love watching.

Thoughts on the matches:

– Simon Diamond & CW Anderson vs Mikey Whipreck & Chris Chetti
Decent for what it was. Everyone hit their finishers. And it was good to see them.

– The Blue Meanie vs Tracy Smothers w/ JT Smith

Of all of the members of the FBI to get a match, Smothers gets the nod? I just wish they had let JT Smith sing.

– Tribute to the deceased ECW Wrestlers

Very moving in the audience. The Candido chant was absoutely off the chart.

– Entrance of Pit Bull 1, Johnny Grunge, and Tammy Lynn Sytch

I was surprised to see Tammy. She seemed very moved by the night. She has indeed gained a lot of weight. But also was very surprised to hear a “show your tits” chant. She was sweet

– Pit Bull & Johnny Grunge vs Roadkill and Danny Doring

It was okay. Johnny is VERY out of shape. 911 made the save to the delight of the crowd, even though they didn’t hit the music quite right.

– 2 Cold Scorpio vs Kid Kash

Great to see both of these guys back in the ring. Scorpio’s body is just all dis-proportionate anymore. But decent enough contest.

– Bad Breed (Ian & Axl Rotten) vs John Kronus & New Jack

I just love hearing the song, Natural Born Killaz. And to see the entire place with their arms raised in the air. New Jack moves like my grandfather, though. Don’t look for the WWE to hire him any time soon.

– Jerry Lynn vs Justin Credible w/ Jason Knight

Best match of the night. Justin is still young enough to move as he did back in ECW, and Jerry is just an amazing machine. The man is 42 years old, and still hoped around the ring like it was 6 years ago. Fun match too. Jazz showed up at the end for a good pop.

– Raven w/ The Musketeer & The Blue Meanie vs The Sandman

I love Raven, and maybe he was playing the gimmick, but he seemed bored to be there. However, I was having dreams in my sleep about seeing the Sandman’s entrance one more time in the ECW arena, and I was not disappointed.

– Terry Funk w/ Tammy Lynn vs Shane Douglas w/ Francine vs Sabu w/ Bill Alfonso – barbed wire match.

I liked that they went this way for a match, but I don’t want to see a man in his 40s, a man in his 60s, and a man who just had a tribute event to raise money for his medical bills play with barbed wire. That’s just me. Shane Douglas was puking in the ring, it was so hot. Mick Foley popped the crowd huge. I never expected it. And I have no idea how he got to the ring. When Funk went up on the ladder, the entire building told him to get off of it. We thought he was too old/concussed/much loss of blood, and didn’t know. Everyone came out of the backstage area to watch this one.

Standing ovations and hugs following the match, with a big “Thank You Shane” and “Please Come Back” chants.

It was great. Get the DVD when it comes out.

One last ECW weekend.

Time to Experience the Revolution

Cheers,

Robert


The Death of Chris Candido

April 29, 2005

I got in to work this morning and found out that Chris Candido had passed away last night from a blood clot. Many of you may not know, but Candido is a professional wrestler. He had worked a long time to come back from drug addiction and was making his way back.

I won’t sit here and say that I was a huge fan of Chris Candido. Or that I saw him back in the early days, and knew he was a big star.

I first saw him debut in the WWF as Body Donna Skip along with Sunny. Curious about this new star, and who he was on the independent circuit, I did some research (either internet or Apter-magazines), and found out that Skip was formerly Chris Candido. I had heard of Chris Candido, but had no idea of his wrestling abilities.

Skip never impressed me that much. (Sunny impressed me greatly, but that’s a different story).

So, in fall of 1996 I was watching ECW television. And I heard AC/DC’s “Back in Black”. I thought to myself, “Who is using this entrance music?” AC/DC was very different from the cutting age music I was hearing on ECW.

And out walked Chris Candido to a huge ovation from the ECW faithful. From that moment on, I started to see what the fuss was about. Candido had gone from the baby blue & red fitness outfit back to simple black tights. There was a cockiness, a swagger, and a confidence in Candido. And the delight on his face that night was apparent to everyone. The look on his face said, I am so happy to be me again.

I won’t say that I was ever a Chris Candido fan. I doubt there were many who were. But Chris brought a smile to my face. Chris made me laugh. I always warmed to the thought of a Chris Candido match, because I knew it would be a good one.

I was very happy to hear about Chris’s comeback this year. I thought that maybe this troubled guy had perhaps turned his life around.

And now today…

When I hear “Back in Black”, I will think of you and that look on your face.

Go in peace…..


Chess…

April 7, 2005

I have a love/hate relationship with chess. I understand the game well enough. I understand strategy and maneuvering. I understand the purpose of the game. Yet, I have never been able to put all of my knowledge together.

That’s me in a nutshell. I have knoweldge and some interesting skills of intelligence, but not really able to put it all together. I have half based political opinions, based on things that I’ve heard from others.

Back in college, we had a history assignment, where we had to write a paper based on primary sources rather than textbooks. I had no clue as to how to accomplish this. Now, the fact that I was taking a course on European History and finding an English original work from the Medieval period that was available to me and could help with my subject did leave the field a bit narrow. Add to that the fact that I enjoyed bullshitting with my friends more than the 3-5 hours of studying I was supposed to be doing.

Anyway, I’m rambling. My brain is rotted. Radiaton from my computer monitor has scrambled whatever connecting nurons once existed.

Rob


No love for it… but

February 18, 2005

I made my feelings known for the Constantine movie. To me, it’s a video rental, where I can be as critical or as objective as I want, and still not pay $25 (tickets and popcorn) for the experience.

I don’t care if Constantine is the #1 movie this week. I don’t care if Hitch is the #1 movie this week. I don’t care if the Wedding Date, Are We There Yet, Meet the Fockers, Million Dollar Baby or Because of Winn-Dixie are the #1 movie this week.

All of those movies, I can understand how someone would look at the premise, the trailer, the review, and say, yeah I want to see that.

However, if Son of the Mask is the #1 Movie, the world is just going to get suckier from here on out.

Cheers,

Robert