11.30.2004

IDLEWILD REVEAL NEW ALBUM DETAILS



According to their official website, elder Scotsman Roddy Woomble and his troupe of pubdwelling merrymakers, better known as Idlewild, have settled on a title and release date for their follow to 2002's A Remote Part. The new one will still come with that super annoying strip of tape stuck over the top, but this one will have "Warnings/Promises" printed on it. And you can get your grubby little hands on the thing sometime around March 7th, 2005. That's the good news.

More details might still come out that would soothe my troubled mind, but here is the bad news for now. When I look at my trusty calendar, I see that March 7th is a Monday. Over in the UK, CDs come out on Mondays. Not here in the States. So for now, I'm assuming the worst: this disc is not getting a North American release the same week and we may be in for a long wait. Why am I so skeptical? Perhaps it's because on their previous outing my country tis' of thee was given the cold shoulder and had to wait nearly a year before The Remote Part made its way onto our shores' record store shelves. If this is indeed the case, we will either have to wait a long time for it to be released here or pay out the butt for the import, only to watch our clueless friends - a year later - buy the U.S. release for a fraction of what we paid and get 4 extra bonus tracks in the process. That's how it always ends up. The patient ones are rewarded instead of the ones who empty their wallet. It's a sad state of affairs, but a long and storied tradition.

Keep your chin up, Sparky. There's always good ol' filesharing.

11.23.2004

BADLY DRAWN BOY @ ST. A'S



Dana and I are planning on going to see Badly Drawn Boy this Saturday at St. Andrew's Hall in Detroit. Should be a very good show. We saw him once there before, when he was touring in support of Have You Fed the Fish? about two years ago, and it was really good. I've already heard from two friends who have seen him on this current tour, and both of them raved about it. I'm not sure what I should be looking forward to more, the musical aspect of his live performance or his stage banter. He absolutely killed me last time.

So...who wants to come with us? (Leave a comment if you do)
We'll drive, and I promise you won't get any beers or chairs thrown at you. Can't guarantee we won't get shot at outside the venue's doors, though.
Also, I'd recommend taking care of getting tickets beforehand. Sometimes you can get tickets at Neptune Records in Royal Oak or Record Time in Ferndale. Cash only, but you avoid having to pay those exorbitant Ticketmaster surcharges.

It's also worth noting that Adem will be opening. He's the owner of one of my favorite albums released this year, Homesongs. Seeing him live will be extra special bonus points.

11.20.2004

LUKE WILSON & U2 TO GUEST ON SNL



Don't miss Saturday Night Live TONIGHT with the Godfather himself, Luke Wilson, hosting and U2 as the musical guests. All signs point to this episode being a good one. Last week's SNL was hilarious with Fred Armisen's parrot sketch. Oh my gosh, I was dying.
And Modest Mouse wasn't bad either.

ULTIMATE FIGHTING: PACERS VS. PISTONS FANS


(Mac/Safari users can click on picture for ESPN Motion video clip)

Oh my goodness, I cannot believe what I just saw on TV a few minutes ago. You thought there was bad blood between the Pistons and Pacers before? Wait til next time, my friend.

I was watching the Pistons game last night and turned it off to go to bed with about 4 minutes left in the game. The Pistons were down by 6 at that point. "I'll just find out who won the game tomorrow," I thought. I woke up at 4:30 this morning for no reason and made my way out to the couch to watch some TV. I turned it on and the first thing I heard was George Blaha, the long-time Pistons broadcaster, speaking very somberly about something during his post-game analysis. Sounded like I missed a Pistons/Pacers brawl at the end of the game. I scanned through the rest of the channels to see if maybe the game was being replayed on another channel and sure enough I found it on ESPN2 right at the point I had left off last night...

Oh my goodness, this was ugly, fellas. Mayhem.

Frankly, I don't know what to make of the whole thing. There's a lot to take in and absorb.

Here's what happened:
Artest fouled Wallace hard and from behind with the Pacers up by 15, less than a minute left in the game. Wallace got mad and arguably overreacted by retaliating, going at Artest and shoving him hard. Officials started to break it up. It took awhile. In the meantime, Artest made his way to the scorers table and laid down on it, trying to keep his cool and stay out of the action, albeit acting totally arrogant while doing so. All of a sudden, he gets a full cup of beer thrown into his chest from 10 rows back by a COMPLETE imbecile of a fan. It took about a half a second for Artest to explode into the seats and close in on his target, bulldozing several people on his way to the guy. Because of that fact, I don't know if it's fair to raise questions about security. He didn't even give security a chance to get in there and deal with the situation. He blew up right away. Artest had fire in his eyes. He looked like a madman. Let's face it. He clearly has some mental problems.

In my eyes, though, Stephen Jackson looks even worse than Artest in this situation. He wasted no time in joining Artest in the stands and throwing a few massive punches on some fans close to the melee and was totally looking for more people to swing at. You could tell from his demeanor and the way he was acting on the court before the beer incident even took place that Jackson was looking for a throw-down. What he should have been doing in the stands was trying to get Artest out of there. He didn't even care. He was in there to brawl. No question. He was absolutely loving it.

Then more action started to take place courtside, down by the Pacers bench. One fan made his way onto the floor and found himself face-to-face with Artest and consequently got LAID OUT. Good for him. What the heck was he doing going down on the floor when all this was going on? Obviously looking for trouble, or maybe he wanted to get hit so he could file a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Artest. Regardless, he got creamed and then his buddy got clocked by Jermaine O'Neal while he was trying to get up off the floor. A police officer had the pepper spray out threatening to use it on Artest. Players were finally restrained and led off the court. As they were leaving, Pistons "fans" were standing along the stands over the tunnel, sending Pacers players off with a shower of beer, soda, popcorn - you name it. One maniac even threw A CHAIR into the fray!

In the end, one person was hospitalized and about a half-dozen injuries were reported. An NBA official got whacked in the face by a bottle, an old person was on the ground, kids were crying. That place was full of kids, man! That's sad. They came to watch a game with their dads or whatever and to see these guys that a lot of them look up to play some basketball! Instead, they witnessed a riot. Probably traumatized. What a disgrace. I'm embarrassed for the NBA. It's gonna be tough for the league to recover from this whole thing. And how will they prevent instances like this from happening in the future? Tougher security? Separating the fans seats from the team's benches somehow? I don't know if either of those things are the answer. Nor do I think they'll happen. I do not envy David Stern or any of the other people who have to make decisions about how to deal with this whole thing. It's a mess. It's going to be real interesting to see what happens after the NBA and law enforcement get a chance to review the tapes of the whole incident.

One thing I can say with 100% certainty in response to all this is that I'm really ashamed of how Pistons "fans" - and I use that term very loosely - were behaving in this whole ordeal. I wouldn't call them Pistons fans and neither would 99% of the people around here after seeing that. I feel I should speak up for the rest of us. Those few morons should never be allowed to set foot in another sporting event in Detroit. Unfortunately, I doubt there's a way that could possibly even be enforced the way tickets swap hands and all that. Anyway, it was just embarrassing for the rest of us to see a handful of [probably intoxicated] thug fans act up like a bunch of idiots. And I'm not just talking about the fool who threw the first beer or the one who came down to the floor and stepped up to Artest. I'm also talking about the ones who were running towards the tunnel so they could throw stuff at the Indiana players while they left the court. They were completely unruly and it was totally embarrassing for the rest of us Pistons fans. I am so disgusted by the way a small number of Pistons fans behaved so poorly. In doing so, they have ruined something good for so many others in that arena and in Detroit, tarnishing our reputation across the league as good, decent, respectful fans. It's a complete shame. Those idiots, man. I'm shocked. I'm shocked at what I saw. It's a weird feeling seeing that all happen. Like one of things where you're seeing it but you don't believe your eyes. That did not happen for real.

However, and this is where things get a little bit muddier, I think a lot of this could have been avoided if the situation hadn't escalated because of Ron Artest and Stephen Jackson going into the crowd and throwing punches and all - that's just plain questionable. I mean, these are highly paid professionals and we should expect them to act like professionals, BUT I don't know how much you should hold them to that when they are provoked the way they were. As much as I would like to totally use this case to support my argument that I don't like Indiana's players and I think they're some of the dirtiest in the game, I can maybe understand why some of them might have felt like they had to defend themselves. It's hard to say how other players around the league would have reacted when provoked the way Ron Artest had been. Shaq has already been quoted as saying that he would have done the same thing. But then I could hardly see a classy guy like Tim Duncan reacting that way, let alone getting himself into that situation in the first place.

Anyway, I think Artest had the last clear chance to avoid all that ensued. Instead he chose to make it ugly and it ultimately turned out to be a huge, HUGE mistake. He should've just let security take care of the matter, thrown the fan out, arrested him, whatever they do in instances like that. Instead he went into the crowd immediately with harmful intent. Anytime a player does that, it just opens up a can of worms. There's gonna be people in the crowd who will try to hold him back and keep the peace, but there's also gonna be one or two morons who wanna try and pop a cheap shot on the player. It was a bad move to do what he did. Period. He totally lost his cool. And for someone like Artest, with his not-so-sterling reputation, to be in the center of this whole thing just makes it that much more complicated and difficult to sort out. Whoever threw that brewski was just stupid, though. Just plain stupid. Throwing a beer at a player! And you choose Ron Artest! What in sam-hell was that fool thinking?

It should be very interesting to see this whole brawl get re-played again and again and broken down to every last detail. Ugly, ugly, ugly. And there is much that will be discussed and debated. Who is at fault here? Were the Pacers players acting in self-defense? Was it OK for the Pacers players to react they way they did? Should they have shown more restraint? How should the suspensions be handed out? How should the law deal with this? What should be done about the fans who were responsible for much of this ordeal? How badly will the Indiana players' and the Detroit fans' reputations be hurt? What kind of major ramifications will there be for the NBA as a result of this incident?

Bottom line, in my opinion is that every single person that was involved in it needs to be slapped with some major disciplinary action and let that be a lesson to the rest of the league's players and the rest of the league's fans across the country. Everyone that was a part of that is to blame for this, and the NBA and the police need to show that this sort of behavior will not be tolerated from the players or fans at all.

I'm interesting in hearing what other people out there think about this whole mess, so please comment away after you've seen it. I'm going back to watching all the reactions on SportsCenter and everything. I could still use some more information, watch it a couple more times and listen to the arguments being made before I can make my own fully informed opinion.

It's a sad day in the NBA. That much is certain.
Oh yeah, and the next time these two teams meet? December 25th. Christmas Day.

-NBA Commissioner David Stern's Official Statement
-David Stern's Announcement of Suspensions

What others are saying at ESPN.com:
"Artest, Jackson charge Palace stands"
"Plenty of Blame to Go Around"
"Fans Are to Blame"
"This isn't doomsday for the NBA"
"Who Is At Fault?" poll
Reaction to Motown Mayhem

11.18.2004

SUFJAN STEVENS IN DETROIT



Made it down to Detroit last night for Sufjan Stevens at the Magic Stick. Great show.
Awry was the first opener. Never heard of them before, and as it turns out it wasn't a them. It was just a she. And to tell you the truth, I wasn't digging her very much at all. But she likes to sing songs about animals, like horses and brave elephants.
Nicolai Dunger was next and he was pretty cool. Sounds like Van Morrison, 'Astral Weeks'-style. Really good voice. Very soulful.

Sufjan was joined by five other bandmates, members of his 'Michigan Militia' - all decked out in boy scout uniforms, the Michigan state logo on the pocket, bandanas around the necks and hats with American flag patches sewed on the front. Turns out that girl Awry is one of the Militia members.

Anyway, Sufjan and the Michigan Militia rolled through a solid set of stuff culled from Seven Swans, Greetings from Michigan: The Great Lake State, and even the golden oldie 'SuperSexyWoman' off of A Sun Came. He took us on a musical tour across the 50 states and it was simply magnificient. He seemed to really be enjoying himself up there, for his debut performance in the city he was born in. And it was extremely enjoyable to witness that.
One extra special point of interest is that he played one song I haven't heard before, so I'm assuming it's a new one. He mentioned Chicago in it. From interviews and stuff, I know he's been working on Illinois for his next state-themed album so I'm hoping this cut makes the album because it was wicked pissah. For those of you who don't know much about Sufjan, he has vowed to make an album for each of the 50 states over the next 50 years. Quite an endeavor, if you ask me. But I'll be along for the tour with my $15 each time, no questions asked. Stevens is quite simply the most intriguing songwriter around right now. And his live show is one not to be missed.

Remaining tour dates
for Sufjan Stevens:

Nov 18th Chicago, IL - Schubas (Two sets) #
Nov 19th Madison, WI - The Chapel #
Nov 20th Menomonie, WI - University of Wisconsin-Stout w/ Nicolai Dunger
Nov 21st Minneapolis, MN - 400 Bar #
Nov 23rd Oberlin, OH - Cat in the Cream Coffeehouse #
Nov 24th Washington, DC - Black Cat #

# (Shows with Awry and Nicolai Dunger)

11.15.2004

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DANA!!!

Today is my lovely wife's birthday. I would have loved to post a picture of her trying to blow out her candles yesterday which was completely hilarious cos she's just horrible at it. But, alas, I don't have one to use. You will all just have to imagine it and laugh.

So, I'm really excited to celebrate her birthday this afternoon & evening. We did the family thing yesterday, which was a lot of fun, too. After church, we headed over to their house and met up with them. Dana wanted to have Buca DiBeppo for her birthday meal, so we hit that place up for some delicious family-style Italian (thanks again, Duane). Then we headed back to the house for the opening of the presents and - after our stomachs had maybe five minutes to relax - some cake. Dana and Mich played a little Dance Dance Revolution in the basement for an hour or so before we went to see The Incredibles.
Spaghetti, opening presents, cake and ice cream, video games, a Disney movie...now that I think of it, this birthday of hers is starting to sound a little bit like a kid's party!
Anyway, Dana, I hope you have had and will have a great birthday yesterday and today (no fair, two birthdays).
I love you for real. And I love that you're a year older now. With each year you only become sweeter and more beautiful.
Happy Birthday!

(Feel free to leave birthday wishes for the wicked cool Dana by adding a comment to this post. She'll definitely see it at some point.)

BROKEN iMAC, PART 2 - IT'S ALIVE!



well, here's an update on what's going on with my iMac (for those of you who care or are at least interested)...

i let diskwarrior run again on saturday while we were out and about all day. at the end of the day before I went to bed, I checked on it and the diskwarrior report was on the screen. it took hours and hours but it actually completed the rebuilding process! i previewed what the new hard disk would look like and all the files that would be on it in comparison to the original disk and found all of the files I was really worried about losing were still there. great news! so i went ahead and clicked "replace" to overwrite the original disk drive with the newly optimized disk.
that finished and the next step was just to restart the computer from the new startup disk and everything should be good as new. so i restarted and everything looked good....
except it seemed to be taking a really long time to boot up. a REALLY long time. after about 15 minutes of waiting for it to finish booting last night, i just decided to go to bed and hope that when i woke up this morning, i'd find my computer with the finder onscreen and ready to use. but, lo and behold, there was that gray apple and spinning gear still going. and it's still going now while i'm here at work for the day.
after feeling some great hope about my computer and all the photos saved on it that i hadn't backed up, i'm now feeling a little skeptical again.
one really cool thing, though. another reason to adore my iPod. before replacing my original hard disk, i was able to copy files from the diskwarrior preview onto my iPod. oh, how i love you, sweet iPod. however, i brought it to work and hooked it up to computer here and opened it up to check it out. sure enough, the files i copied were there. the only thing was that the photo albums which i copied to the iPod that i thought were all our photos...uh, well, as it turns out they were just the aliases that pointed to the photos. the original photo files were in another folder somewhere else on my hard drive.
so hopefully, if that thing is still going when i get home i can startup from diskwarrior again, rebuild it and get to the preview screen again, and copy the right files to my iPod. if i can do that, then i'll be able to move them to my computer here at work, make a backup copy on CD of them, and re-format my hard drive at home without worrying about all the information that will be wiped off the disk.
fingers are crossed...

11.12.2004

BROKEN iMAC



#@#$%^&&* !!!

It has now been a week and a half since I installed the latest software updates from Apple onto my iMac at home and, after restarting, getting nothing but blue screen on my computer screen. Since then I have not been able to figure out why my wonderful iMac is sick. I've been spending a lot of time troubleshooting and attempting to repair my computer's hard disk without losing any of my documents that are saved on there. But it's getting grim. At the end of my rope, I decided I'd call AppleCare and blow the $50 to have them help me. But before they even charged me for the help, they told me they wouldn't be able to help me. I'm looking at probably having to scrap my entire hard drive (reformat it) and re-install all my software. That doesn't mean I'd necessarily lose everything on my hard drive (all my photos, all my artwork, all my music, etc.) because there are utilities out there that do this while recovering all your documents. The best of these I've heard is DiskWarrior, supposedly the Miracle Worker when it comes to fixing Mac hard drives. But even that has failed to help me. The rebuilding process was interrupted b/c of a "disk malfunction."
I'm so tired of the same old error messages: 'invalid key order' , 'invalid key length' , 'incorrect block count'. I wish I would just wake up from this nightmare.
I have this horrible feeling that everything is lost. Or at best, I'll have to take my computer to some special data recovery place and promise them my firstborn child in return for their services.
Anybody else have any better ideas?



11.05.2004

OUR LOVE IS MAGNETIC



Received this letter from a friend in the mail today so I thought I'd post it here in case any of you out there can help...

hey:: :

please follow this link and let us know (or let someone know) if you
have any bands / artists / animals who may want to contribute::

thanks in advance ::
+ kaleb
:: : slightly confusing to a stranger : ::


so if anybody out there either wants to contribute or knows someone who they think would be a good fit for a project like this, point them thattaway. i personally think it's a great idea b/c the magnetic fields are totally silly geese. and i love them.

11.04.2004

AH, YES. IT'S THAT TIME AGAIN.



After much too long of a wait (hey, we got to see the Red Sox win the World Series, though), "The O.C." is FINALLY back on the telly. The first episode of the second season is tonight at 8/7c. I don't think there's anything that could come up that would keep me from being in my living room at Five Til'. Well, a loved one suffering a harsh injury or being maimed would probably do it. Death In The Family is a no-brainer. Okay, let's just get off of this topic. Hopefully, none of that happens. Cos I'm really geared up for the O.C. Season 2 Premiere. Oi!

Big ups to my boy Tim Sparks, who - like a true friend - sent me a reminder email this morning, in which he briefly addressed some of the events taking place tonight:

Episode 2.01 - "The Distance" November 4, 2004
"Construction workers are busy remodeling the Cohens'
house. Sandy and Kirsten still live there, but their
relationship is not good at the moment. A new
character named Diego will appear. Also Nicholas
Gonzalez ("American Family," "Resurrection Blvd.")
will do a 4 episode appearance on the show. Julie and
Caleb settle into their Newport Beach mansion. Ryan's
in Chino and Seth is sailing."


For all other matters regarding the O.C., I will now direct you to Fox's official O.C. website or former O.C. Extra Buzz Rodell's blog, The Pool House, both of which I will be spending an extended amount of time perusing over the next seven months.

Enjoy the Premiere, everybody!

11.02.2004

ELECTION DAY



Today is the day we have all been waiting for. I hope you will remember to go and vote for who you think is most capable of leading our nation for the next four years. I think you know whose name I'll be checking off on my ballot. If you want all your wildest dreams to come true, I suggest you do the same. Sanchez ! Sanchez! Sanchez!