Sunday, December 16, 2007

'Tis the season...

Here's a live clip of the classic Pogues song, Fairytale of New York, from 1988.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The SS music venue saga continues

In the last several weeks, it seems that the new all-consuming pasttime in Silver Spring has been debating who the county should partner with in order to get the SS music venue built. The county agreed to have Live Nation build a Fillmore branded club. Then Seth Hurwitz came along and offered a new, arguably more attractive offer. Now seemingly everybody in SS is lending their voice to a more and more discordant crescendo about who should have the right to build and run the thing.

So, here's a series of links and summaries of the latest info...

First, check out Steven Pearlstein's column from Friday's Post. So far, I think this is the best summary and view of the situation.
Sample quote: "It wasn't too many years ago that even street musicians would refuse to perform in downtown Silver Spring. Now things are so hopping that you've got Live Nation, the country's biggest live music outfit, and Seth Hurwitz, owner of the District's 9:30 Club and operator of the Merriweather Post Pavilion, in a nasty political catfight over the right to operate a new music venue there."

Next, for context, check out the links to letters submitted both for and against Seth Hurwitz.

For Hurwitz: From Howard Co. executive
Sample quote: "While I do not know all of the details of this situation, I understand that Seth Hurwitz and I.M.P. Productions have expressed a desire to be involved. Certainly, you must do what is best for Silver Spring and Montgomery County, but having worked with Seth over the past four years, I believe he would be an invaluable asset to this project."

Against Hurwitz: From owner of Ram's Head
Sample quote: "Practically every show we have tried to book in Baltimore, Seth Hurwitz (the Nations top club owner) has “blocked’ due his fear that it may hurt his club in DC, nearly 40 miles away. Apparently, Seth has the answer as to why the people in Baltimore would prefer to drive to DC than to see the same show in their hometown?!? For goodness sake, there is enough population between the two cities to support more than his club and mine. I have never, and will never, block a show from playing in the DC market. Anyone living in the area knows there are plenty of people to fill two very small venues."

It's nutty! Read the comments on those "For" and "Against" pages too if you want to witness the real back and forth around this. I still say that Hurwitz missed his chance, and the county should stay with Live Nation. I love the 9:30 Club and have been going since it was on F St. I would love to have a similar club in SS. But a deal's a deal, bird in the hand, all that good stuff. Just get it done!

Seth Hurwitz in WashBizJournal

Here's a profile of Seth Hurwitz from a few years back in the Washington Business Journal. In the midst of all the discussion around the SS Music Venue Saga, this article is interesting reading.

Stage presence
As the region's dominant music promoter, 9:30 Club co-founder Seth Hurwitz relishes his place in the spotlight, and at home

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Silver Spring Thanksgiving Parade

On November 17, we went w/ my brother and his family to watch the Silver Spring Thanksgiving Parade. Here are some pictures.

Rev. Horton Heat

It's always a good time going to see the Rev. He doesn't disappoint, and the show on Nov. 15 was no exception. The line up was pretty packed: Nashville Pussy, Hank III, and the Rev. Maybe because of that line-up the crowd seemed to be more edgy than a usual Rev show.

We totally missed Nashville Pussy, mostly because it was a Thursday and we couldn't get down to the 930 club that early. We were bummed. I haven't seen them in years so I would've liked to have seen what they're up to now.

I've never seen Hank III and have always wanted to, so I was a bit excited when they came on. They started off by playing a bunch of hopped up, sh*tkicker hillbilly music which sounded pretty good. The bad was entertaining to watch, especially the bassist who had a maniaical grin on his face the whole show. He was also channeling a sort of Misfits-like look w/ a mohawk that hung down over his face a la the devilock. After the hillbilly set, Hank III launched into a full on hardcore/metal set. I wasn't so into the hardcore stuff as much. To be honest, it just sounded like a bunch of noise. I know -- showing signs of old age!

Next, the Rev came on and immediately launched into several songs from Liquor in the Front to start the set off. Of course, they smoked! We had a great spot right up front and could see all the action. One new thing they did for this show was go into a set of covers representing the 50s, 60s, and 70s. It was very cool. From the 50s, they did That's All Right (Elvis), then the 60s was King of the Road (Roger Miller), and then a great and surprising cover of Paranoid (Black Sabbath). Rocked the place. So, the Rev can count 6 more satisfied customers! One unfortunate thing happened where my brother was taking pictures during the show (frowned upon) and had his camera taken away. They put it in the 930 office and told him he could pick it up after the show. Per the staff: "The Reverend doesn't like to have his picture taken." Turns out they took the camera during the last song, so no big deal. We'll be back next year!

Next Stop: Silver Spring

This is sorta interesting... it's a trailer of a new PBS special about the restoration of the Silver Spring Railroad Station. Here's the youtube description:

"Next Stop: Silver Spring" (from director, Walter Gottlieb)is about the history and restoration of the B&O railroad station in Silver Spring, MD. Scheduled to debut on WETA TV in March 2008 and also to be released on DVD. It is a sequel to the documentary, "Silver Spring: Story of an American Suburb," released in 2002. The trailer features the theme song, "Next Stop: Silver Spring" written and performed by Sharon Freedman Gruber. Reserve an advance copy of the DVD by emailing Visit our blog

Soul City

So, I'm reading Sweat, by my good friend Joe, and I just got to the part early in the book (I'm a slow reader) that discusses the Soul City video. And here it is.

Monday, November 19, 2007

What's in a DC identity?

In the WashingtonPost, there have been some recent articles/postings regarding what it means to be living in DC. On one hand, there was a Marc Fisher post from his blog that disputes the fact that, as is usually said, "nobody's from here".

Then, there's an article here that sort of contradicts that by playing into the idea that most people that live in the DC area are not from here. This article asks "transplants" to name aspects or places about DC that remind them of their home. So that kind of made me think they were implying that DC can be viewed as a place that is representational of the country. Or that it should be viewed that way. As is appropriate for the capital of the country. That idea would make it okay that nobody was from here and give the city more of an identity, although one that fits in w/ the "DC-as-only-a-government-town" identity. (And it also provides DC with an identity that is not "look how many things we have that NYC has! We're cool too!")

But as Marc Fisher points out, the identity suggested in the second article is not really accurate. His post was refreshing, since it is a common thought that most people that live and work here were not born here. I, for one, was born in DC and have lived in the metro area my whole life. Sometimes I wish I had at least lived in another city somewhere else, but I'm not losing sleep over it.

Monkey Man

Via the HypeMachine, here's a link to Amy Winehouse covering Toots & the Maytals on Jools Holland show.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Crime in the old 'hood

We still pay (distant) attention to what's happening in our old Columbia Heights neighborhood, usually via listservs, blogs, etc. It seemed like Shaw was really the hot spot in terms of scary amounts of shootings and gunfire. But things have been bad down in CH lately, at least from what's coming into our browsers. The below links are to stories on the, but we also heard about these incidents from the various listservs we still subscribe to. Call us vicarious DC residents, for lack of a better term. Or maybe the interest is that we lived there for 2 years (not a huge amount of time in terms of residencies) and still are curious to see and hear what's happening there. What new development is opening? What ridiculous thing will Jim Graham say or do? Is the crime getting better or worse? It appears that crime is getting worse... Pretty bad when a drive-by occurs a block away from where a cop car is stationed and on watch.

Halloween violence

Then, 2 days later...

Thursday, November 01, 2007

First Halloween in the Spring

Our first Halloween in Silver Spring was a good one, and a learning experience. Both Liz and I haven't participated in a Halloween, ie, giving out candy, in many, many years. So we were not sure what to expect not only because we were in a new neighborhood but also because we haven't done this a while. It went well but we had a couple of lessons learned.

Lesson 1: When your side of the street has no sidewalk, kids will not come to your house. This may necessitate you chasing kids down in order to give out your candy (see Lesson 2).

Lesson 2: Buying too much candy is always better than not buying enough. But in our neighborhood, it appears that 10 bags of candy is way too much.

Lesson 3: When you leave a bowl of candy out on your front stoop in order to try to get rid of the excess, the kids will swarm around the bowl like sharks (I watched safely from inside). And in that situation, the oldest girls will always try to maintain order by insisting that the other kids only take 2 pieces of candy. Usually not that effective to try to regulate candy in a "free market" front stoop (I watched safely from inside).

Lesson 4: Dressing your infant daughter in a ridiculous costume is awesome (but that kind of goes without saying, don't it?).

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Fly

Recently, I re-watched The Fly on HBO. Not the original Vincent Price movie, but the David Cronenberg remake w/ Jeff Goldblum. I've always liked the movie but hadn't seen it in a long time. Funny thing is -- and this is admittedly slightly twisted -- after watching it now as a parent, I looked at it in a different way. So consider this my Halloween-themed post.

In the movie, Seth Brundle becomes merged at a DNA level with a fly, ultimately becoming a human-fly. It's pretty gruesome and frightening, but you feel empathy for Seth. Seth and the fly are sort of combined as a gene splice. So, in my slightly twisted way (see above), I thought of producing a kid as a same sort of gene splice w/ my wife. And obviously I don't think it's gruesome or frightening (well, maybe a *little* frightening), but loosely the same idea.

And I think the movie touches on this when Seth realizes that his unborn child is being carried by girlfriend Veronica. After finding out, he decides that the best way to correct his problem is to horrifically combine himself (plus the fly), Veronica, and his unborn child into one being, in that way mixing up all the DNA together. Which again made me think of what a child is -- a combination of many generations of DNA. But of course, normally a child is it's own entity. Seth even makes the comment that by doing this he would be creating the ultimate family unit (or something to that effect).

Dunno, after writing this out it all sounds more than slightly twisted, but somehow I related this to producing another human and combining DNA with my wife. Horror movies often deal with science-gone-bad, or paranoid technology fantasies that produce terrible results. Same thing w/ The Fly. So I looked at it as a comment on gene splicing and manipulating DNA and how doing something as unnatural as that will only lead to trouble. Let mother nature take care of things in the proper natural way.

In any case, I do like the movie a lot, even though after watching recently I found Jeff Goldblum to be more annoying than I remember him being. He got a lot of praise for that role as I remember. Anyway, that's sort of my disjointed take on The Fly and babies.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Up I-95 for the 95th

This past Saturday, we went up to Lancaster, PA to celebrate my grandmother's 95th birthday. It was a really nice family get-together. Most of my dad's side of the family were there, so everyone got to meet Jane. The event was also used as a way to have a family Thanksgiving too, with all the trad Tgiving food. My Aunt Rosa knocked herself out preparing all that food! Jane was great on the ride up, while we were there, and on the way back -- it would've been hard to imagine her being easier.

My grandmother has always been an active lady, mentally and physically. At 95, she has definitely slowed down but is still lucid. It's great to see her, and we had a couple of photos of her w/ her three great-grandchildren. Four generations -- wild!

It was a long day, but a fun one, and the kind of day we don't have often.

Today was spent chilling a bit and watching the Redskins squeak by.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Jane at 5 months

This week Jane hit the 5 month mark. She's continuing to smile all the time (as you can see in the pics), she's getting good at propping herself up while on her tummy (although for short periods of time), she gets *very* talkative now (well, not talking... how about vocalizing), and she loves to thump her legs down on her bed while we're trying to get her to sleep.

Click here for the slideshow

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Amazonian mp3s!

This week I tried out Amazon's beta mp3 store, and except for a "challenging" issue, everything turned out fine. I wanted to get the latest New Pornographers album, Challengers, and since does not have it for some reason (they have other Matador releases, so what's up?), I decided to try out the new Amazon mp3 store.

The cool thing about the Amazon store is that everything is DRM free and the bit rates are higher than usual 128 (they use VBR). I wanted to check it out because I don't want to be tied to iTunes -- sometimes I feel a bit cornered by the iTunes/iPod model of propriety. Probably my fear of commitment kicking in... Plus, as an user, I wanted a place where I could buy non-indie music. I guess I'm still old school as far as how I "use" music: I want to buy the music anywhere and have it work on anything.

The downside to the Amazon store is that the selection is not huge. But hopefully that'll change in the future.

The problem I ran into was that the Amazon downloader software crashed on me after three songs had been downloaded. So I had to contact customer service, and they made the album available for download again since once you initiate the download process you cannot go back and try to download it again. When I went back to download again, everything worked fine.

So, their customer service was pretty responsive, giving me a fix about 12 hours after I had initially emailed them. And except for the initial problem w/ the software, everything worked fine. It is beta, I guess, but I was pretty annoyed that the software crashed on me. I still like the fact that it's a pretty good alternative to iTunes (or other music stores).

Here's a Cnet review of the Amazon store.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Crafty weekend

This past weekend was fairly busy but fun. And the beautiful fall weather didn't hurt one bit. I don't usually do a blow-by-blow, but here goes...

Friday night we went over to A&E's for a pizza dinner. We got to see their baby girl who is very cute and also their 2.5 yr old girl as well. So it was good catching up w/ them -- sounds like everything is going well.

Saturday afternoon my mom came by for a visit w/ Jane and brought over a bracelet that used to be my sister's when she was a baby. So I guess you could say Jane gets her first family heirloom. It's great to have that stuff. Saturday night we went over to T&R's for a party which was cool. We don't get to see them very often, so it was good to see them for a bit, plus we got to see their little daughter who ain't so little anymore. Jane came w/ us cos she likes to party. Well, only if it's early. Well, okay, she likes to party somewhat, and then when she doesn't, she really doesn't. So we left at around 8pm -- it was a quick stop at the party.

Later that night I watched Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, which is a Korean movie and part of a thematic trilogy about revenge and vengeance. The second movie in the trilogy was Old Boy, which is very good but disturbing. It was also controversial because there was speculation that the VA Tech shooter may have been "inspired" by the movie in some way. In any case, SFLV was decent but disappointing to me even though it seemed to get high marks from others on netflix.

Sunday, to top off our weekend, we headed down to Adams Morgan for the Crafty Bastards Arts and Crafts Fair that was put on by the City Paper. We took the metro down -- Jane's first time! -- and walked over from our old 'hood, Columbia Heights. The development and building that's going on at 14th and Irving is pretty incredible to see. It looks completely different now that the structures are up for the DCUSA mall and the various condo/apt buildings. Wild. Liz and I couldn't help but speculate how bad the traffic will be once everything's up and running. But w/ the metro stop right there, hopefully that'll diminish traffic some...

Anyway, on our way to Adams Morgan we walked past Mt. Pleasant and were pleasantly (sorry) surprised to see that the DC Fiesta 2007 was going on in Mt. P. We didn't stop but I *did* manage to spot Ian MacKaye standing on Mt. P. Street. He's easy to spot, and I figured he'd be at something like that, but still I was pretty impressed w/ myself. After that I started singing Everybody Knows by the Evens in my head because there's a line that goes "Washington is our city". Don't know why really, but I did.

Got down to the Crafty fair, and it was crowded. Many, many booths. A big product being sold: t-shirts! I don't think there really is that much of a demand for t-shirts, but hey what do I know? I think every other booth sold t-shirts of some sort. But we did pick up a bib for Jane and some mounted photos of DC. Then we popped over to Lauriol Plaza for some Mexican for lunch and to feed Jane.

After lunch we hightailed it back to CH metro to get our girl home! She did really well while we were out. We were very happy with how she handled it, and she was in a good mood just about the entire time. We then got home and Milton came over w/ some Chinese for dinner, so we chilled out w/ him that evening.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Fillmore is coming to Silver Spring

This is sort of old-ish news by now, but Silver Spring has signed a deal w/ LiveNation to bring one of their Fillmore-branded clubs to the downtown area. It will go where the Birchmere was going to go -- in the old JC Penny building on west side of Colesville Rd, across from the AFI Theater. LiveNation has several of the Fillmore clubs around the country, like in NYC and San Fran, plus they own the House of Blues clubs.

Not too long ago, the House of Blues wanted to open up shop in the newly developing 'hood of NoMa. Not sure who comes up w/ these names, but NoMa is in the area where 395 meets NY Avenue. Guess NoMa stands for North of Mass Ave... Anyway, when the House of Blues wanted to do that, many people rose a stink about it, especially because the club would directly compete w/ our own nationally-renowned local institution, the 9:30 Club. Plus, people don't like LiveNation because it's Clear Channel and a huge corporation.

Intestingly, Seth Hurwitz who owns and runs IMP productions and the 9:30 Club sent a letter to Montgomery County saying he was very interested in being considered to develop a music hall at the JC Penny site. But he was too late because MoCo had already decided they were going w/ LiveNation. That's too bad because it would've been cool, I think, to have him develop something. And this new Fillmore club definitely will compete w/ the 9:30. Hopefully, the competition will be good for everyone.

Oh yeah, and the other interesting thing is that very shortly after the LiveNation deal was announced, College Park announced that the Birchmere was gonna open up a new location in their planned new Town Center development. So PG County gets the Birchmere and MoCo gets the Fillmore. To me, it sounds maybe there's more to the story, but what do I know.

Personally, I have mixed feelings about this, but I think generally it's a good thing. On the one hand, I do have an admittedly knee jerk fear of Clear Channel because -- many people would say -- that by buyig up many many radio stations they have an unfair monopoly on radio and have homogenized radio in general. And as a local supporter of the 9:30 Club since they used to be on F Street, I would hope that nothing bad happens to their business because of the competition. But it'll be a good thing for Silver Spring. Bottom line: I probably won't spend much time there, but I think it's a good thing.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Government Re-Issue

It's taken me a little while to find the time/energy to get in front my computer to post this, but here's how the show went...

Bill and I went down to the old Rock and Roll Hotel on Sunday night to check out the John Stabb Benefit and of course catch Government Issue. I can't say I remember the last hardcore show I've been to, but it certainly did dredge up some memories for me (some good, some bad). But that was part of the point of going down there. The other part was to contribute to John Stabb's medical bills.

This is the first show for me at the RnR Hotel. Not a bad place... smaller than I expected, but fine. Guess I expected something closer to the size of the Black Cat. As an aside, boy, that neighborhood is still plenty rough. And not even rough around the edges, just rough all over. So, that's one thing that reminded me of going to the old shows back in the 80s when they were mostly held in the rougher neighborhoods. There was a good sized crowd there when I walked up, with a lot of people hangin' in front of the Hotel. I was expecting to see a mostly older crowd and was surprised by the mostly younger crowd. Both Bill and I were hoping to run into some old aquaintances, but that didn't happen. We didn't really see any familiar faces. I guess I was slightly disappointed, but fine.

There were several opening bands, all of which were hardcore and none of which I had heard of. Not surprising. One of the openers, from DC I believe, liked to introduce their songs by way of something like "this one's about the growing divide between the rich and poor and the reduction of the middle class" or "this one's about the plight of immigrants all over the world". For me that just sucks the wind right out... talk about dry. As a matter of fact when they used that first introduction, someone in the audience yelled out "Then why are you wearing a Brown t-shirt?" because the guitarist had a Brown University t-shirt on. And the singer's response: "what?" Not to get too down on these guys but that was pretty comical. I'm sure they believe in what they do, but I'm just not down with that. The irony is that you can't understand any of the lyrics. But I did enjoy seeing what hardcore was up to these days and slightly reliving some older days. The last opener was pretty decent. We also found out that 76% Uncertain had cancelled at the last minute. As we joked, guess they really were at least 76% uncertain to play.

Anyway, GI came on next. Brian Baker on bass, Tom Lyle on guitar, John Stabb on vocals, and William Knapp on drums, who I think is from 76% Uncertain. Guess the rest of the band couldn't make it down from Connecticut. So GI was a lot of fun, although it was clear that they hadn't practiced much (in fact they didn't really -- see below). I guess I was hoping for a full blown, blow the roof off show. They were definitely good, but not like I imagined/hoped for. Instead it was a loose and relaxed set that sometimes felt like a practice since they stopped songs a couple times and then restarted. To the best of my memory, here's what they played (this is not in order):

I'm James Dean
Fashionite (an a capella version)
Religious Ripoff
Sheer Terror (introduced as the song that scared Glenn Danzig)
Boots are made for walking
Teenager in a box
Circles (the Faith song)
Stepping Stone
Mad at Myself
Where You Live
Jaded Eyes

So everyone seemed to be having a great time. The crowd was into it, and danced that funny dance of theirs. Actually, I got blindsided in the back by some dudes who rushed through the crowd from the back of the room to the pit and knocked me on my ass. Hate that. I hated it when I was younger and I hate now. So that was the bad memory of the evening.

After the set, and while the crowd was trying to get an encore, Stabb came out and talked for a while telling everyone how really, really grateful he was for all the support he's had since his assault. Henry Rollins sent him a bunch of money, he said. He also explained how the reunion came together and that everyone in the band basically didn't practice as a unit until the sound check that day. They practiced their respective parts independently, but not together at the same time until the sound check. And they had only learned 15 songs and that was it. Brian Baker also came out to tell the audience that, yes, they had played all the songs they learned and that was it. But hey, if everyone wants to hear the set again, we'll do it! And so, they launched into the set again. At this point, the thing deteriorated into a bit of a sloppy affair, but nobody seemed to care. They didn't get all the way through the set again before they decided to end things. And that was it. Fun but fleeting.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Uline Arena / Washington Coliseum

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The Uline Arena (or Washington Coliseum) down by Union Station is being renovated and redeveloped by Doug Jemal. When I heard about the development, I wanted to find out more about the building since I wasn't that familiar with it in the first place. Turns out it has some kind of interesting history behind it -- I had no idea. And it's a pretty unusual looking building for DC. I've ridden past it many times while riding on the eastern leg of the Red Line to Silver Spring and always wondered what it was.

For one thing, it was the location of the first Beatles concert in the US on Feb 11, 1964! Wild. Here's a picture from that show.

The cover photo of Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits was taken at a concert at the Washington Coliseum in 1966.

In the '80s, go-go bands like Chuck Brown, Trouble Funk, and Rare Essence played there.

Here's a pretty thorough history of the facility from the Washington Business Journal.

Most recently, it has been used as a parking lot and as a waste facility. It's in pretty rough shape now, so here's hoping they do a good job in redeveloping it. Check out some pics on flickr.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Jane at 4 months

Jane turned 4 months old last week. She started up daycare and Liz started back at work, so we've had lots of new adjustments to everyone's routine. Jane's been really smiley and generally happy. Next week is the big 4 month check up at the doctor. Jane gets to have some shots so no one will be happy about that.

View slideshow

Hoodoo Gurus: Teenage Head live

Here's a cool clip of the Gurus in San Fran playing Teenage Head w/ Cyril Jordan from the Flamin' Groovies on 3/31/2007. Man, I wish they had played this at the DC show! I didn't mention in the post about the show below how good Dave Faulkner's voice sounded...

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Hoodoo Gurus @ Black Cat

Last night was the Hoodoo Gurus show at Black Cat. Great show! They brought it. Back in college days, me and all my friends were big Gurus fans. Since they never come here, this was a definite event. A bunch of us went: me, Bill, Greg, Marty, Jeff, and Michael. We bought tix in advance, but boy was that unnecessary. The place was not even half full. Disappointing but not surprising. BTW, Kim Kane was there from the Slickees.

We got there around 10pm and grabbed some beers. Once we were fixed up some beverages, we saw the crew starting to set up for the next band. It was about 10:15pm so we didn't think it was possible the Gurus would come on that early. But the way other people were crowding in on the stage made me think it was them. Lo and behold, the lights dropped and out they came! Wow, I can't remember the last time a headliner came on that early, especially when there were two openers.

They opened up with I Want You Back, and right away I thought there were some issues with the sound. They played the song great, but it was super loud, and the mix wasn't so hot. Later on after the show we all agreed the sound could've been better. Anyway, we were all psyched, and the Gurus delivered throughout the show. Found a setlist from another blog:

I Want You Back
Chop (?)
Waking Up Tired
The Real Deal
Come Anytime
In the Wild
Form a Circle
Miss Freelove '69
1000 Miles Away
What's My Scene
Like, Wow - Wipeout

My Girl
The Right Time (maybe)

All great stuff! Dave Faulkner and the boys were all relaxed and enjoying themselves. Brad Sheppard was especially energetic. They were even reminiscing a bit about old places they've played in DC through the years. We found out that In the Wild was originally gonna be titled In the Dry because Faulkner wrote it while traveling to the north coast of Australia during the dry season. And, Dave likes to write songs in "D" more than any other key. Our only collective complaints were the sound (as mentioned above) and the shortness of the show. They could've definitely done another encore!

We had a few beers after the show since it ended early, and I ended up back home too late. I'm super tired today... barely energy to write this up. But it was worth it. Might never see 'em again! Sorry, Joe, that you weren't able to make it!!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Labor Day and Summer come and gone

As the work week creeps up on us once again, I'm left w/ the empty feeling of really, really not wanting to go to work tomorrow. More than usual. We had a good weekend, I think. Got some house stuff done -- there's always house stuff to do. And I hung a picture in our bedroom! (You have to be proud of all the things you do, big or little. That's what I say, anyway.) But even with that level of accomplishments, it still doesn't make me feel like going back to work. It's too enjoyable spending time w/ Liz and Jane.

Life with Jane is just going really well right now. She's super smiley and happy and funny now. She just makes Liz and I laugh. She just turned 4 months old last week, and she continues to eat well and sleep well... well, except for small hiccups like below. But it's really great. We took some afternoon walks this weekend w/ the dog and Jane in the baby Bjorn, and it was just really nice. I was thinking back on our trip to Rehoboth over the Fourth of July and how we were still waking up w/ Jane every 2-3 hours to feed her and how hectic that was. And now she sleeps from basically 9pm to 6am, and it's unbelievable! I'll have some new pictures up soon.

Back to the weekend...

We got some crabs on Sunday night w/ my brother and his wife. The crabs were really good. Had to pony up for the large ones. They're def not cheap -- and haven't been for some time -- but we do it so rarely that I don't mind spending the extra cash. Funny, but I don't think Bethesda Crab House uses many Bay crabs anymore. After we had just sat down, some guys wheeled in several large boxes of crabs with "BWI" stickers on them. Guess they were flown in from Louisiana or somewhere down there on the Gulf of Mexico. Wherever they came from, they were really good.

On Sat afternoon we spent some time w/ Aunt Cathy, Gammy, Milton, and Jane's cousins, Braeden and Abby. That was fun. I haven't seen Braeden and Abby in ages, probably since Easter. They're both getting so big. Jane was a little worn out from that visit. In fact I think Jane was worn out from the weekend in general. Today we went down to Tyson's to do a little shopping (it was a bit crowded and crazy), and Jane was just waaaay over stimulated. Liz and I both agree we'll have to wait until she gets bigger to do stuff like this with her in the future. She just likes to see all the stuff going on around her too much, and she wears herself out. Doesn't seem like she can shut things out and just fall asleep like some kids. Granted, shutting out a busy day at the mall is pretty tough to do for anybody, but some kids are able to crash out in their strollers. We saw 'em.

So, now it's the symbolic end of summer. I love autumn here, but I'm definitely a summer person. I'm always sad to see it go.

Another Stabb Benefit

This one looks really interesting since there will be a GI reunion! It's on Sept. 23, and it's at the Rock n Roll Hotel down on H St. I think I'll have to make it down there on a school night. Here are some details:

Sun Sep 23 John Stabb Benefit

76% Uncertain
Government Re-Issue (Tom Lyle, William Knapp, Brian Baker, John Stabb)
No Image
Alive At Last
Pup Tent

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Tom Waits - Lie to Me

I've been listening to a fair amount of Tom Waits these days, mostly because I'm a member of emusic and they have some of his more recent stuff on there. Here's a video of "Lie to Me" from his most recent album, Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers, and Bastards. It's Tom Waits doing rockabilly, and it's very cool.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Scorsese + Stones = new doc

Joe sent me this trailer for a new Stones documentary filmed by Martin Scorsese called Shine a Light. Sounds and looks like it'll be really cool!

Whole new world

Today, Jane turned 15 weeks old (I'll be happy when I can stop counting in weeks... maybe I can do that now?) and started her first day of daycare. We're doing a nanny share with a family who lives in our 'hood. It seemed like a pretty good situation when we first discovered/heard about it, and so far we like the nanny. Liz was very worried and stressed about Jane starting daycare, plus she went back to work today too. So, this is a new twist on being new parents that we're sorting through. But Liz, as always, has been very focused on this and has just about thought of everything in order to keep things from falling apart. And for that, I'm very thankful. Liz has been focused on Jane and being a (great) mom, and I've been tyring my best to be a helpful dad and husband.

But the baby thing continues to open our eyes to a whole new world. Now as parents we have to worry about China. Not China as in "those commie reds," but China as in "that country that supplies the US (world?) with baby products." Seriously, seemingly every baby product we own -- from toys to clothes and everything else except our bottles -- are produced in China. And now that China has demonstrated that their standards for quality control are not the greatest, we've got to worry like crazy people whether our baby is exposed to all sorts of bad stuff. I knew I was signing up for (partly) a lifetime of worry by having a baby, but this is some serious modern-day worrying. Sure doesn't seem like the garden-variety worrying my parents did (eg, out past curfew, did he dress himself properly today, etc.).

Now I pay attention to all sorts of parent/child-related content on the web... such as this, uh, interesting story about people reserving domain names for their kids. Who knew? Not me. But in this case, I don't think I'll be reserving a domain for Jane. That just seems a bit excessive.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Missing: Megan Elizabeth Welch

UPDATE, 8/19: Megan has been found. Thanks to everyone who helped out.

I wanted to help spread a message from my sister in law that her step-sister has been missing since Mon, Aug 13. Here are the details, including a picture. Please help if you are able.

DOB March 10, 1993
Height 5 ft. 6 in.
Weight 140 lb.
Hair Light brown, short
Eyes Hazel
Others Freckles and wears braces
Scars Chicken pox scar under right eye
Wearing when last seen:
Jean shorts and tank top (unknown color), Silver earrings, pierced and a Star of David necklace, White watch and flip flops

Picture attached was just taken last week.

Note: Megan takes several medications and has not had any since Monday morning.

Last seen Monday, August 13th about 3 PM in Laurel, Howard County, MD.

If seen, please call Howard County Juvenile Dispatch 410-313-2620

Sunday, August 12, 2007

What's new?

Things have been busy around here lately... The weekend was a full one as usual. Well, maybe not full exactly, but with the baby, time seems to evaporate. I spent some time working on the yard over the weekend. Yardwork is not my idea of a good time. Mowing the lawn is not something I look forward to in the least. Weeding the backyard so my property value don't drop like a stone does not make me smile. But I did it. At least it wasn't a thousand degrees like earlier this week.

On the topic of work, I was offered and accepted a new position within our newly re-orged department. It's a promotion, which is really nice. So I'm pretty happy about the way that turned out. But even at the last minute, I was contemplating taking the package. In the end though, I think this is the best move for me at this point in time. Should be a busy period from now until maybe the end of the year though. We've got a lot to work through while we transition work from people who are leaving, and most people who are staying will have new responsibilites to pick up. And it looks like we'll be shorthanded until all the positions are filled. Should be fun! I'm just glad things are settled for me, and now I can move on.

On a sad note, I sold my Miata today at Carmax. I've had that car for 11 yrs, and it was the best car I've ever owned, hands down. It was certainly impractical, but, man, it was a lot of fun to drive! Like driving a go kart. I kinda regret that I didn't do some fun drives leading up to this weekend, but time did not allow for it. I drove it to work a bit this past week, but only was able to drive it twice this weekend: once to pick up some Chinese for dinner on Sat and then the drive today to Carmax. Wished I could've driven it more over the weekend since it was so nice. When I drove it up to Carmax today, we video'd my final "approach" (ie, me getting in the car, putting the top down, and turning it on). I put on The Great Twenty-Eight by Chuck Berry and hit the road. I figured that was a fitting way to say goodbye. And then I got up there, they gave me a check (after a coupla hours of waiting -- it was busy there), and we were on our way. Still a little bummed, but I couldn't keep it forever! We've def had a lot of change going on this year: new baby, new house, new car, sold old car, new job... I need some dramamine! I don't think we have enough going on right now... let's see, what could I do to make some things happen around here?? Eh, nope, this is enough for me... Life is good.

The last bit of info is that our nephew Isaac is coming down tomorrow for the week -- he'll be leaving on Sat. So we're excited about that! I haven't seen him since Jan, and he hasn't been down here since last summer. He's excited to meet Jane, and visit w/ Grandma, Grandpa, Uncle Greg, Aunt Dena and his cousin Mason. Hopefully, I'll have some pictures of his visit to post when he heads back home to NYC. Getting his travel arrangements worked out has been a bit difficult, but I think everything will work out. We're excited to see him.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Benefit for John Stabb

Recently, John Stabb from Government Issue got severely beaten up near his home in MD. On, there's now information about a benefit concert for him tomorrow night at the Velvet Lounge. I think when we were kids we saw GI more than any other harDCore band around. Mostly because they played like crazy. But they're a big piece of my teenage years (and beyond).

Velvet Lounge to Host John Stabb Benefit Show

GI on

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Jane at 12 weeks

This past Wed (8/1), Jane hit the 12 week mark. So now at 3 months, her lifetime achievements include meeting her great grandmother, continuing to add OZ's (altho she's still small compared to other babies her age), smiling a *lot*, sleeping for 5-6 hr stretches at night, and shrieking happily while watching the mobile in her crib. So, life with Jane is good. She's starting to show some hints of personality now. It's still tough at times, but it's much easier and more enjoyable compared with 1 or 2 months ago. Here are the latest pics:

View Slideshow

Friday, August 03, 2007

Old video but still very funny

This is via, but it's pretty funny (and very real). It's a clip of WRC news anchor Jim Vance laughing uncontrollably during a news piece about fashion models. Hearing people laugh like that just makes me laugh. Reminds me of the old Carol Burnett shows where they would lose it while doing their skits. Loved that!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Apparently our DirecTV receiver has died on us. It happened over the weekend. Once we realized we weren't gonna get any TV reception, we rolled through our Netflix DVDs we had at home: Weeds (season 1), The Machinist, and Children of Men. We don't get Showtime so we don't watch Weeds usually, but I had heard it was good and it turned out "they" were right! It's a funny show. The Machinist was also good. It's kinda in the same vein as Memento, which I loved. Christian Bale is the protagonist, and he dropped a bunch of weight for this movie. Boy, does he look unbelievably freakish. I'd recommend that one.

Children of Men was not nearly as good as I had hoped it would be. I really wanted to like it, but in the end it left me cold. I usually go for the whole dystopian future kind of sci-fi movie, but this one was a little too serious. Pretentious maybe. It was well done, ie, it looked good, but I was just left thinking "eh".

But as for not having any TV, it's been kinda nice. We miss it when we're feeding Jane, for example, and would usually be watching something while she sucks down her bottle. But it's nice to not have to search and search for something -- anything -- to watch. Plus being able to listen to music or just read is nice. Liz might have a slightly different opinion since she's at home all day w/ Jane, but I think she mostly agrees. We have missed episodes of shows that we regularly watch, like Flight of the Conchords (awesome!), but they'll replay them, I'm sure. At least we didn't miss any Sopranos or the Wire!

DirecTV is shipping us a new receiver for free, which is nice. It's a DirecTV DVR, not a Tivo receiver, which is what we had before. So I'm a little wary of the non-Tivo, but I'm sure it'll be fine. Heck, it's free.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Rock n Romp

Last Sat afternoon, we took Jane to the Rock n Romp at McGinty's in SS. RnR is a semi-regular event where local DC indie rock bands play at kid-friendly volume for kids and parents alike. Lately, it seems that most of the RnRs take place at McGinty's. My buddy James's band, J. Forte and the Secret Pop Band played this time around -- which is why we went -- as well as Greenland.

We got there at 3pm and chatted with James at the bar for a bit. There was a pretty good sized crowd there of kids and parents -- mostly bigger kids around ages 2 through maybe 5 (I dunno, not the greatest judge of kids' ages). The Secret Pop Band played first chugging through their indie pop -- good stuff! Some friends and my brother and sister in law joined us with their kids, too. Seemed like some kids were into it while others were definitely not into it. Jane ended up getting hungry after the Secret Pop Band played, so we split. I think it's a great idea to do that for parents and kids, but maybe next time we go will be when Jane's a bit older. We're so eager to start doing kid stuff that we just couldn't wait...

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

No Birchmere here

Apparently, as is being reported by several of the Silver Spring blogs, the deal to bring a second Birchmere here to SS is dead. I find this to be disappointing on one hand since I think it would be a feather in SS's hat to have the Birchmere here. However, I can't say that I'd go to see many shows there. In my whole life of living in this area, I have only been to the original one in Alexandria once. But you know, maybe I would go more often if it was close by. Plus I'd guess I now fit more into their demographic since I'm an oldster. Maybe I'd enjoy some nice quiet acoustic folk or bluegrass or blues. It would be easy on my ears... Eh, I don't really see that happening.

As for the rumor that the county wants a comedy club, I say I'd rather have the Birchmere. As little as I would go to the Birchmere, I would go to a comedy club less. But I guess other people would go more often to a comedy club. The county wants a tennant that generates more revenue than the Birchmere is what it sounds like it comes down to. I hope they bring in something good, but odds are I won't be spending much time at anything they bring in. This town does need some more decent bars, tho, that's for sure. But I say that about most places I live in, visit, read about, see on TV. You get the idea.

Here are a coupla links to posts from SS blogs:
Silver Spring Singular
Silver Spring Penguin

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Should I stay or should I go?

The update on the job situation is I decided to reapply to several of the new positions at work. I figured this was the best thing to do for several reasons. First, I only applied for positions that if I got them would be promotions and would give me good experience and broaden my skills. Second, if I don't get offers for any of the positions I've applied for I can still take the package. So I reckon either way, I land pretty well. It was *very* tempting to just opt out and bail, but I decided that in terms of my future "career" (whatever that is), I'd put myself in a better position by trying to boost my experience. We'll see what happens...

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Reality Check

A little update on life in general: got a lot going on at the moment. It is beyond great to have Jane here now, and she's getting so big. We're all adjusting to each other I think, and the past 9 weeks have not been without their challenges and stressed out periods. But I guess that's probably just life w/ a newborn. Once Jane started gaining weight in earnest, we thought "well, we should be good to go -- hurdle hurdled." Jane sez, "not so fast." She's been showing some signs of acid reflux altho the doc says that it's not full blown. Whether it is reflux (I'm not completely convinced) or whether it's just garden variety gas, the bottom line is she has periods of extreme fussiness/discomfort where she will not sleep or let us lay her down. But on the plus side, Jane's way more alert now and her expressions are very funny sometimes. I say "we" have to deal w/ her fussiness, but it's actually Liz who is bearing the brunt of the cranky baby. I feel badly about it, but I gots to go to work.

Speaking of work, there's a bunch of stuff going on. Causing a bit of stress. Big decisions to make. My department's management just announced a big re-org/realignment/whatever on Tuesday. What it comes down to is whether I want to stay or whether I want to take a severance package. The packages are pretty generous, but I've got this life situation now -- baby! -- that doesn't allow me to be too cavalier about what I do. So I'm not sure whether to roll the dice and take the package or stay at the company. Oh yea, I gotta decide before midnight this coming Tuesday. Ugh.

And I'm putting some pressure on myself to get a car very soon. I currently have an old two seater (Miata), and that just ain't gonna work out w/ aforementioned life situation -- baby! We're looking at small SUVs, but I think I'm going w/ a Honda CRV, most likely a used one. There seem to be a lot of features and it gets pretty decent mileage. We're looking at the CRV type cars because we also need room for Lucy in the back. The drop dead deadline for the car purchase is mid August when Liz goes back to work. At that point I've got to have the ability to put Jane in my car. I'll be a little sad to get rid of my car, but all things must pass. I've had it for 11 years, and it has been great to me.

So, that's the update at the moment. I'm sure there are other things that need getting done (our yard is turning into a weed species showcase), but for now I'm only doing the important stuff. In fact I barely made time to write this.


Apparently, there are many stories of people getting struck by lightning while using their iPods... that's a little scary. According to the article, if there's lightning even close by, there's a chance the devices could become receptors because they're made of metal.

Experts warn of lightning-strike injuries with iPods

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Jane at 8 weeks

Here are some pix of Jane in the weeks between 4 and 8 weeks old. She turned 8 weeks on July 4 and rang it in at Rehoboth listening to fireworks (she was inside). While I was looking at some of the pictures at the beginning of the slideshow, it's clear how old they are because she's already gotten much bigger than that. Seems like she literally changes every few days... maybe I've said that before. I'll probably say it again. Anyway, she has really put on weight compared w/ 4 weeks ago, and we're really happy about that. So far the consensus seems to be that she looks most like me. I can see that, but I think Jane is showing more of Liz as she gets older. You be the judge!

Also, as you'll be able to tell, I have discovered the super close up feature on my camera. There are a lot of close up shots. A lot. So, please enjoy...

View slideshow

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Rock History + Maps!!

What could be better?? I can't think of any better combination than rock history and the new street view Google maps. It caught my eye, anyway... I've already sent the link to pretty much everybody (all 3 people) who reads this blog, but I thought I'd post it anyway.

Sixty-Second Rock and Roll Tour at

Friday, June 29, 2007

Government Issue

GI is waaay under-represented on youtube. This is from an '88 show at Maxwell's in Hoboken, NJ. 2 songs.

Minor Threat

Live from 930 (?), circa '82 (?).

Marginal Man

Live from GWU, '85. Posted to youtube by Mr. Kenny Inouye.

Rites of Spring

Live from 9:30, '85.

Dag Nasty

Live at 9:30 circa '84 (?) w/ original singer, Sean Brown.


Live at Wilson Center, '83.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Slickee Boys

vintage studio video

The Faith

live from wilson center '82. check out the lack of thrashing.

Marginal Man

live from the wilson center '84. this was included on the cd version of double image.


More old DC stuff... this is a Kingface video probably shot at 9:30. Yea, I've been trolling youtube.

Teen Idles

Here's an oldie... from 1980 at the Chancery in DC.

R&D got talent!

Here's the latest video from R&D, aka Marty's kids Rosie and Declan. Watch and learn.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Just wanted to make it official

Apparently, my widget is not behaving like it should... and apparently a capital X choked it at the first line. In other words, my top artist for this week is X. I watched X: The Unheard Music recently on DVD, and really enjoyed it, so I had to listen to some old X. So there. Not really sure why there's a blank line on the first entry of the widget...


An old buddy of mine, Joe, has recently finished writing a book about an old band, and a current band, The Fleshtones. The book is titled, Sweat: The Story of The Fleshtones, America's Garage Band. After spending many years doing research in NYC during summers, he was finally able to get a publisher to put out the book. Big congratulations to Joe! I know it was a ton of work and seemed at times like it wouldn't get published. But now, it will be out on Sept. 1st, and is getting great reviews. It's also generating a lot of interest from the likes of Peter Buck, Jesse Malin, and other like-minded musicians (check out the MySpace page to see!).

I've read the beginning chapters of it, and it is truly a great read. I'd recommend it not only if you're a fan of the band, but also if you have an interest in the underground scenes that were happening in NYC in the late 70s/early 80s and beyond. Very cool.

Joe: I know you're stoked!

Here are some links to check out:
Continuum Books
Pre-order the book on

Sunday, June 17, 2007

First Father's Day

It's the end of my first Father's Day, and we all had a nice, if a bit lazy, day. It was pretty much business as usual around here: takin' care of Jane, goin' to get groceries, laundry, etc. My big Father's Day gift was a nice smile from Jane, and it was the first real one she's given me. Well, at least that's what I'm choosing to believe. Other smiles have probably been due to gas, but not today! Today's smile was the real deal, and it was the best thing that happened all day.

Sometimes Liz and I both look at Jane and still find it a bit unreal that we have this baby. But there she is, staring back at us... well, most of the time she's just asleep, but sometimes she stares back.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Silver Spring in the NYTimes

Here is a recent article about Silver Spring's revitalization from the NYTimes. Thanks for sending, Rosana!

A Dose of Art and Entertainment Revives a Suburb

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Petition to bring NPR to Silver Spring

Apparently, NPR is considering moving their headquarters to Silver Spring. This sounds like a great idea to me and would complement Discovery and AFI nicely, IMO. The Silver Spring Scene is running a petition on their site to show support for NPR in the Spring. So, if you're inclined, go sign it.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Change to the bloggery

Last night I updated the blog to a new customizable Blogger template. The new template allows you to do a few more things w/ the blog than the old one, but when I changed over I lost my previous CSS changes on the old blog. (Not a surprise -- they tell you that will happen when you upgrade.) So now I'm playing around with the styles, colors, etc. As far as that goes, the biggest challenge for me is trying to keep the blog in synch w/ the old site. And when I say "old," I mean OLD. I built that site in, like, 2000. I don't really feel like updating the site, so it may just be a jarring transition for a while when you move back and forth between the two, eg, when viewing photo slideshows.

But the new template has allowed me to add the widget you see on the top of the left sidebar. I'm testing out this works/displays, but for now it shows my most often played artists from my iPod and from iTunes. We'll see how well it works. Right now it's not showing very fresh data, but hopefully it'll update itself.

The other new thing is I've added a feed for my bookmarks on the sidebar. The feed itself seems to work well, but I'm not all that stoked about how it's displaying. It seems a bit hard to read -- you can't really tell what things are. I guess I'll continue to play with it. If you have any suggestions, lemme know.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Jane at 4 weeks

Here are more pictures of baby Jane leading up to her 4 week birthday, including some pix of her getting dried off after her first bath. But don't worry, we didn't wait 4 weeks to clean her!

So, as well as being a clean little girl, she's also now more alert and awake more often (as the pictures show). But the biggest news in our house is that she has gained back the weight she lost in the first week since she was born (and then some). And that makes everybody happy.

View slideshow

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Loudness War

Nope, this is not a new band -- this is apparently the term used to describe how modern CDs are being mastered louder and louder. I found this to be very interesting, if only on a superificial level since I'm not a sound engineer. Of course, there are two side to how people feel about this, but in my anecdotal experience, after reading the Wikipedia entry, I feel like I can definitely tell this is happening.

One way is just by listening to CDs. For example, Spend a Night in the Box, by the Reverend Horton Heat is very harsh to me. I feel fatigued by listening to it. Also, as mentioned in the wikipedia article, Californication by the Chili Peppers has the same effect on me, as does the most recent issue of Raw Power by Iggy and the Stooges. After reading the article, I feel like I have a better understanding, and appreciation, of when people say that vinyl has a "warmer" sound.

This all came about after Joe, Greg, and I were discussing various settings we could use in iTunes or on the iPod to "normalize" volumes. When I've created CD-R comps for friends or Liz, I usually use Goldwave to "normalize" or level the volumes on the various songs so the CD sounds consistent. You can really tell how things have gotten louder and more compressed by looking at the Waveforms in audio editors. And as far as I know you can only bring loud songs down in volume and not bring quieter songs up in volume. In the same way that you can't make a JPG bigger w/o losing quality, I think the same thing applies. Or that's my layman's observation.

Maybe all this explains the ringing in my ears! ;-)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Purple Line

Apparently, there's new interest in putting the purple line underground. If it's gonna happen, I say put it underground! I'm very skeptical about how any above-ground transit line will work. Won't it create more traffic by taking up lanes in existing roads? Wouldn't it make more sense in the long run to dig tunnels?

WTOP: Will Purple Line be Above or Below Ground?
Purple Line on wikipedia

Monday, May 28, 2007

Jane pix

Here are some pictures of Jane from her first 2 weeks of life. Hard to believe she'll be 3 weeks old this Wed.

Photo slideshow

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Elvis Costello: Lipstick Vogue live

This is a clip from the San Fran show of the current tour.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Elvis Costello & the Imposters, May 18, 9:30 Club

Haven't been able to post anything about this show until now, but let me start off by saying that this was a great, great show.

When I saw the show announced, I thought this would really be a great opportunity to see EC in a small venue. Plus I knew he was touring w/ the Imposters -- essentially the Attractions minus bass player Bruce Thomas -- who played on The Delivery Man which is a very solid, if not great, album. So I talked w/ Joe and Marty to see if they were interested in getting tix. They were, and Joe even decided he would travel all the way from DeKalb, IL, to DC if we were able to score some tix. At that point, it seemed like we *had* to go, no matter the cost or effort.

I went online to order tix right when they went on sale, thinking that the show would sell out pretty quickly. I had no idea how much tix would be, but I was guessing they'd be somewhere in the 'hood of $50-60. That's the most I've ever paid for tix at a 930 show (for the Pogues), and I thought they wouldn't charge more than that for a show at 930! Wrong! All said and done, including the ever popular convenience charge and handling fees, the tix were $84 with a face value of $75. But eff it, at this point I was committed, and I bought 'em. Yea, sure, that is *a lot* of money to pay for a show. And it's always really hacked me off when I see old 60s and 70s bands going on tours and charging exorbitant ticket prices, and then seeing people actually pay those prices. Y'know, secretly ridiculing the oldsters for their nostalgia trip at any price. But I swallowed my pride and clicked the Buy button.

Just a thought to try to reconcile my conflicting feelings about this... well, first I don't really feel like I need to rationalize all that much. But there's no comparison between EC and the Eagles or the Stones (for example), in terms of nostalgia trips IMO. EC is still pumping out new and ambitious music, which is not to say that I really like all the new stuff, but you can't argue that he's resting on his past. That said, this tour is especially loaded w/ older stuff, and I have to admit that was a big appeal for me. Marty and I had gone to see EC at Wolf Trap maybe like 7 or 8 yrs ago (?), and boy, I gotta say I didn't like that show much. There were many reasons: the wine and cheese crowd on the lawn, the Burt Bacharach-styled set EC played, and the boring songs and arrangements that didn't fit the venue, IMO. If I'm seeing a show that's outside, and I'm on the lawn about 100-150 yards from the stage, my attention is not gonna last too long when the artist is playing Tin Pan Alley ballads and lounge versions of his old hits (What's So Funny...). I tried to make an effort, but that didn't last long. Marty and I were not too satisfied w/ that show (which is kind of an understatement).

Oh one more thing: of course, Jane was born early so I almost wasn't able to go. It was really up in air whether I'd be able to make it, and if it wasn't for Liz's generosity and Jane's good nature, I certainly would not have gone. But the fact that all these things were working out when they could've easily not worked out -- us getting tix, Joe coming to town, Liz and Jane's accommodations, Marty supressing a debilitating headache -- just heightened the sense that this was a once-in-a-lifetime event.

Anyway, enough backstory/introductory text... We got to 930 early before doors opened because we had read online that other shows on this tour were starting early, like around 8:15pm. When we got inside, we got right up in front of the stage, prolly about 10-15 ft away from where EC would be standing. So, with our ground staked, we got some beers and waited for the lights to drop. EC came on around 9pm and jumped into Welcome to the Working Week, and then proceeded to rip through a 33 song set with 3 encores. Plus Allen Toussaint joined EC and the band for 3 songs! Wild. Allen Toussaint did one his own songs too (Yes We Can Can), which was fantastic. There were many, many highlights: Strict Time, Country Darkness, Clubland, Beyond Belief, Lipstick Vogue, Riot Act, Monkey to Man, Hey Bulldog... just too many to mention, really. EC wasn't too chatty at all throughout the show, just going from one song to the next. The band sounded fantastic and ultra tight, and I thought the "new" bass player really filled in well. Steve Nieve was especially fun to watch. He looked some kind of mad scientist at his racks of keyboards and effects (including a theremin!). Toward the end of the show, maybe around the 2nd encore, the beers were starting to take their toll, so I had to fight the crowd and miss a few mins of the show to make it to the bathroom. I tried to last, but there was no way. This was after about 2.5 hrs of standing there! So, I apologize to everyone I may have pissed off getting to and from the bathroom, but it couldn't be helped.

Funny moment: after the show, people were milling about, and a girl walked by with a setlist -- two sheets of paper taped together. She walked by me, and stopped, and I thought she was offering me one of the sheets of paper. So I took the setlist and started to try to rip the tape apart so I could take one of the pages. The girls says "What are you doing??", and I realized that she wasn't actually offering a page of the set list to a complete stranger. I felt pretty stupid, and immediately apologized and let go of the pages. Too funny. :-)

Afterwards, we headed over to DC9 for some post-show beers. I saw Joe Englert there, and we said hey to each other and chatted for a minute. He was at the show and had bought some t-shirts, one for his daughter. I then wished that Jane was old enough to fit into an EC t-shirt. Not even close! She'll have to wait until she's older for her dad to annoy her w/ all talk and stories of "his" music. I told her so when I got home that night. I don't think it sunk in... I'll keep trying.

Back to work

Tomorrow it's back to work for me after taking paternity time off for Jane's birth. Even though having a newborn baby at home has been a big adjustment and tough at times, I don't feel ready to go back to work. My company has a great paternity leave benefit so I took off 2 weeks, and it's been great. I've been able to do stuff around the house and take care of chores, etc. I'm hoping that Liz can do okay on her own w/ Jane after I go back. It's been particularly hard on her since she's the one that has to feed Jane -- no bottles yet. But I guess we'll adjust and do fine just like most everyone else. And at least I was able to spend all that time at home w/ Jane and Liz. Now back to real life...

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

OMG: reinstalling windows xp

I've been dealing w/ major annoyances on my computer for last, oh, 1.5 months. I've had this Dell for around 4.5 years or so, and it's treated me well. But for whatever reason, it started acting up: anything I tried to open that used Windows Explorer wouldn't work -- folders on the desktop, My Computer, Control Panel, etc. Big time annoyance. I could open all my files using the respective programs they were associated with, but I couldn't easily move, copy, access my files. Did I mention how much this annoyed me?

After doing multiple virus, adware, spyware scans, nothing came up. I searched online for fixes and posted on forums to try to get a fix, but no luck. So finally I was left w/ the option of reinstalling XP, something I've never done before. So with some big help from Marty, I decided to take the plunge. Talk about nervous -- I was sure something was gonna go wrong, that I'd lose something. And man, did I.

I backed up everything I could think of, but I missed one crucial thing: my music database. I didn't realize that I had forgotten about the database until *after* I had reinstalled XP. I was staring at the CATraxx CD that I had put out for reinstallation of that program and then it hit me: I didn't back up the databse! Holy crap, I thought I was gonna cry! I spent over a year entering all that data for all my CDs, vinyl, and mp3s! And now it's totally gone. I searched on my backup drive -- I was sure I had it there, but nope. Gone.

So, that's it. No way I'm attempting to enter all that stuff again. I had entered over 1500 albums -- many entries were totally manual -- including things like musician credits, producer credits, songwriting credits, album art, etc. I can't believe it.

The upside tho is that, aside from that huge freakin' loss, the reinstall of XP went pretty well. My computer is running *much* better now and much faster too. I don't think I missed backing up anything else (at least until I realize I missed something else). The whole process took me a really long time. I'd estimate it took me about 2.5 days of working on it (while letting the XP install run and then the time to reinstall all my programs). Plus I reinstalled XP twice because I don't think I did it right the first time. But now I think I have everything back to normal, pretty much. And I didn't have to buy a new computer, so that's always good.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Jane Audrey Fisher

One week ago today on May 9, 2007, our baby daughter was born. It was a bit of a surprise since she came almost 2.5 weeks early, and we were expecting her to be late considering that the commonly accepted expectation is that most first babies go past their due date. And we still thought that even though Liz's doctor told us that there was no real evidence that first babies are usually late. So, we had to cancel a bunch of plans including a birthday party that Liz had planned for me. But that's okay, because Jane was a great birthday present!

Liz's water broke last Tuesday night at about 8:45pm without any noticeable contractions beforehand. So we called the hospital (Sibley) and they told us to come right in. Apparently, if a woman's water breaks, there is a risk of infection to the baby. But since this was completely unexpected, and we had no contractions to warn us that things were happening, we were scrambling around trying to get things together to go to the hospital. We packed bags, called Liz's mom to take the dog, Liz was sending off emails to work to let them know that the things were going down, etc. Quite hectic!

Once we got to Sibley, things were progressing but slower than what the doctors liked considering the whole infection risk thing. So Liz got some pitocin to speed things up, then got the epidural at about 5am. After she had the epidural, she went from 4cm to 9.5cm dilation in about 1.5 hrs. So she was ready to go. Apparently the epidural allowed her to relax. Then at about 7am, the doctor checked her out and told us that she thought the baby was in position to be born. Liz pushed for about 10 mins -- yea, 10 mins! -- and out came Jane! Amazing! We were both expecting things to last much longer given what usually happens with first babies (I think in this case there *is* evidence to support that first babies take longer to deliver). So, from the time of Liz's water breaking to Jane's birth, it took 10.25 hours. I watched the whole thing and cut the umbilical cord, which squirted blood a bit, but I was so dumbfounded and blown away by everything going on that I didn't care. Because of the lack of sleep and the quick progression of the labor, it still seemed very surreal. It was the most incredible thing I have ever seen. Liz was so great and calm throughout the whole thing.

Now I said "out came Jane," but we didn't have a name picked out when she was born. For whatever reasons, we thought we were going to have a boy. We had a short list of names for both genders, but we hadn't made any final decisions -- we thought we had some more time to decide! So, it wasn't until Jane was about a half hour old that we decide on her name. Up until then, she was officially known as "Babygirl".

Jane's first week has been really good, although not without some (to be expected) bumps along the way. When we brought her home on Friday, she was very fussy throughout the weekend, crying for inconsolably for half hours at time. It was intense -- she was screaming like some sort of heavy metal singer. Rob Halford comes to mind, although Jane was only wearing blankets, no leather. And she was flailing her little arms and legs around and turned bright red. It really, really made us feel horrible. We called the pediatrician three times over the weekend, and tried some remedies he recommended, with a bit of success. It seems the problem was the nefarious "gas issue". So by the time Monday came along, we were practicing the tips that we had learned and things seemed to subside quite a bit. This week has been much, much better, but one lesson we've tried to take to heart is that every day is a new day.

We're adjusting to Jane and her schedule, and she's adjusting to us and our lack of knowledge. Hopefully, our rookie status will not p*ss her off anymore, but it probably will. :-) It's hard to believe it's already been one week! She makes me smile everytime I look at her. Well, except when she's doing her Judas Priest karaoke...

Monday, April 30, 2007

Baby Countdown

This past Friday, Liz and I hit the four week mark: four weeks until Baby Arrival. Well, probably not exactly four weeks, but that's all we have to go on.

All is going as planned, and that's easy when you have no plan! Just kidding. This weekend, Liz sorted through her baby shower gifts. That was good because I got to see all the little, tiny baby clothes and other paraphernalia. (Almost lost one sock while transferring it from the washer to the dryer. Those things are small!) We have many clothes in green, yellow, and white, due to the fact that we are not finding out the gender of the baby. But, really, we will know what gender the baby is, so I don't feel I need color cues to help me remember. Although, they say we will be severely sleep-deprived so maybe I'll need another method to help me remember. I could write it down -- on the baby's forehead. Or maybe I could put signs up all over the house. I'll come up with something.

We also put the crib together. Sort of. It appears we're missing some hardware (some friends gave us their crib), but most of it is standing up. We'll get the missing parts from the manufacturer. I feel confident.

So, things are coming along, and we're feeling good (ignorance is bliss I suppose). Now if we could just come up with some names!

Friday, April 20, 2007

The Birch-here?

They keep threatening to build this thing... it'll be nice when (if) it happens. The company designing the Silver Spring Birchmere has published some illustrations of what it may look like. Dunno, but to me that "Birchmere" neon sign is kinda big. But the sound-level-bars on the side are pretty cool.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Liz at 33 weeks

Here are some new pics of Liz at 33 weeks.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

That's peanut butter.

This is so cool... A video of Iggy and Stooges in Cincinatti from 1970.

Iggy & the Stooges

This was a surprise, last minute event for me. Steve had an extra ticket, and a couple of days before the show asked me if I wanted to go. I, of course, said yea! I've seen Iggy by himself a couple of times: once at the old Hammerjack's in Baltimore (for the Instinct tour) and once at 930 (for the Skull Ring tour). The guy's just amazing to see live, plus to see the (semi) original Stooges together again was something I couldn't pass up. (BTW, I'm three for three on 930 shows webcast on -- the Stooges show was also streamed on NPR.)

I met Steve et al at the new Duffy's pub right across the street from 930. Pretty good place. We had a coupla beers there, and then hit the scene. We caught the last bit of the first opening band, whose name I don't remember, and they were a NY Dolls/Stones type of rock and roll band, complete w/ scantily clad female backup singers. The second opener, Sistas in the Pit, were pretty energetic, slightly funky rock band. The bassist said she was from DC. They were pretty good.

But, the main event... The Stooges came on around midnight (whew, that's late) -- 930 club does late shows once in a while where they'll have two shows in one night. The earlier show on this night was Albert Hammond, Jr. and Mooney Suzuki. I knew going into it that this was gonna be a late night. When The Stooges came on, they frontloaded the set w/ the classics: Loose, 1970, I Wanna Be Your Dog, TV Eye, No Fun, etc. It was great, and Iggy was super manic. The crowd was very mixed age-wise, but there were plenty of oldsters there. A pit emerged pretty quickly once things kicked off, and I was surprised to see some of those oldsters in there. But most of the oldsters (and when I say oldsters, I *always* mean they're older than me!) hung back. There one grey guy who was intent on protecting his woman, almost to a fault. I can't blame a guy too much for being chivalrous, especially in that kind of atmosphere, but this guy was a little too diligent.

Another good crowd anecdote: there was a security guy planted right at the center edge of the pit keeping an eye on things. We saw this older looking dude jumping around in front of the security guy, and then he started to push the security dude in a friendly "hey let's slam" kind of way (not that aggressively). It didn't take long for the security dude to get pissed -- after a few shoves, he quickly escorted the guy out. I felt bad for the guy, but you gotta know who you're shoving around.

The band played one encore comprised mostly of new stuff (at least, I didn't recognize it), but then closed out the show with *another* version of "I Wanna Be Your Dog"! Which was weird, and kinda unnecessary. Oh yea, and they didn't play *anything* off of Raw Power. Not sure why, but maybe it was because that was a different line up of the band (?). Disappointing, whatever the reason may be.

There were a couple of local celebrity sightings too: Ian MacKaye and Kenny Inouye were in attendance. It's good to see The Stooges pull such a high quality crowd!

By the end of things, I got home at 2am, which hella sucked. But now that I'm home one night later, I can say that it was worth it. If you had asked me whether it was worth it when I woke up this morning to go to work, I'm not sure I would've been so convinced of that.

Cool bonus Iggy Pop link!
- Great interview w/ Iggy done by Weasel on WHFS in 1980

Friday, March 30, 2007

Ted Leo & the Pharmacists

subhead: "The Little Girls Understand"

Last night Scott and I went to go see Ted Leo at 9:30. (Again, just like The Good the Bad and the Queen, the Ted Leo show was webcast on NPR.) It was a sold out show, so we were both expecting to be annoyed at the crowd. In fact, I didn't think the crowd was all that annoying, but there were many, many girls in the audience. I don't think I've ever seen that many girls in 9:30. 'Course, the types of shows that I usually go to are hard rock or punk or whatever -- the type of music that doesn't usually attract many girls. This was not my usual 9:30 experience, but I was kinda happy about that just so I could get out of my usual (similar to the Good Bad Queen show I went to recently).

I've seen Ted Leo a few times -- at Fort Reno w/ the Evens and at the Black Cat. I dig the music, and I think he puts on a good show. His lyrics can be a bit too earnest for me at times, but I think it's good songwriting overall. I'm a fan. I was surprised, I guess, by the success he's had as demonstrated by the sold out show. I think he played 9:30 last year, and it sold out too. (We didn't go because I didn't think it would sell out, and we waited too long and didn't get tix.) Not sure if he gets the same kind of reaction in other towns he plays, but DC likes him, that's for sure. Especially the girls. And not just young girls, but the post-college set too.

Anyway, enough about the girls. The show was really good. The band sounded tight, the sound was good. They had a second guitarist with them -- I've never seen them as a quartet. They played a lot of stuff off the new record, Living with the Living. And for the most part it all sounded good. One of the highlights, I thought, from the new stuff was Unwanted Things, which is a sort of rock steady reggae song. His voice fits it really well. As Scott pointed out, he sounded like Junior Murvin. And he played all his "hits": Timorous Me (a personal fave), Where Have All the Rude Boys Gone, Me and Mia, etc. Both Scott and I left happy. Oh yea, and I swear 9:30 is using different ink for their handstamps -- mine came off so easily after I got home, I couldn't believe it!

Pistols making-of DVD

Just finished watching Sex Pistols: Never Mind the Bullocks. It's a making-of video for Never Mind the Bullocks with recent interviews with the living bandmembers and a lot of contextual history. I gotta say I wasn't expecting it to be as interesting and entertaining as it was. Some of my highlights: the interviews with Chris Thomas and Bill Price, the producer and engineer, respectively; many of the DVD extras, including Steve Jones giving instruction on how to play songs off the record; and some of the live footage. I thought the studio scenes were really interesting, when Bill Price was breaking down the songs as he faded the different instrumental parts in and out. If you do Netflix, add to it your queue.