Sunday, December 23, 2007

Sports Guy Does Boxing Right

Even if you are not a boxing fan, the Sports Guy's column (from the latest issue of ESPN-The Mag) is well worth the read.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Why Huckabee is a Bad Choice

George Will's column from Friday clearly explains why I personally have a problem with Huckabee as the Republican nominee (and he doesn't even touch foreign policy, which Huckabee is horrible on as well):

George Will: "Huckabee's campaign actually is what Rudy Giuliani's candidacy is misdescribed as being - a comprehensive apostasy against core Republican beliefs. Giuliani departs from recent Republican stances regarding two issues: abortion and the recognition by the law of same-sex couples. Huckabee's radical candidacy broadly repudiates core Republican policies such as free trade, low taxes, the essential legitimacy of America's corporate entities and the market system allocating wealth and opportunity. And consider New Hampshire's chapter of the National Education Association, the teachers union that is a crucial component of the Democratic Party's base.

In 2004, New Hampshire's chapter endorsed Howard Dean in the Democratic primary and no one in the Republican primary. Last week it endorsed Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary - and Huckabee in the Republican primary. It likes, as public employees generally do, his record of tax increases, and it applauds his opposition to school choice."

"Now I Have A Machine Gun, Too. Ho Ho Ho."

Watched my favorite "Christmas" movie last night...

I have an original "teaser" poster from this movie (I worked at a movie theater at the time) that features the star prominently, but the studio subsequently reissued a new teaser poster that made the building the prominent feature. Marketing apparently thought the star wasn't big enough to carry a feature film yet.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Jott

Just signed up for Jott.
Really cool. Check it out.


My Job

I spent today auditioning dancers for a hip-hop video.

What did you do?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Van Halen 2007

Went to the Van Halen show in Portland on Saturday night. My friend and primary fishing buddy Jason came down and went with me, his wife got him a ticket for his birthday.

I think I blogged a few months ago about my mixed feelings about the reunion and tour. In the end, I got a couple tickets. When Jason's wife called about the birthday idea I took it as a sign that I should go. Here are my observations, the HIGH and LOW points of the evening (I Twittered the set list during the show, see the sidebar for the list:

HIGH

1. It was certainly cool to hear the old VH songs played live and sung by David Lee Roth. When they played songs like Mean Streets, Little Guitars etc. it was pretty sweet;

2. Eddie Van Halen, despite being certifiably crazy (most band issues, I am convinced, come from his meglomania/narcissism) is still one bad ass guitarist. Solid play mixed with some fun tangents, he nailed everything all night long (which can't be said for all band members, see below);

3. Alex Van Halen can still pound the skins with the best. Dude is simply a stud;

4. The joy of Eddie playing with his son, Wolfgang, was quite obvious. Not that I am happy about Wolfgang playing, but my negative attitude about it was tempered slightly by Eddie's excitement playing with his kid;

5. People watching. Some fans have aged better than others and unfortunately it is usually the ones that have NOT that choose to dress as though it is still 1982.

LOW

1. Where's Michael Anthony!? I am still miffed that Eddie didn't invite Michael Anthony on the tour so we didn't see the full original line up. And Wolfgang, yeah he's still a teenager, but he's gotta learn to take it up a notch. Another reviewer described Wolgang at an earlier show by saying he looked like some dude that won a radio station contest and got to play with Van Halen. That nails it. Kid is completely competent musically and his backing vocals were even solid, but a cardboard cut out would have been more exciting in terms of stage presence. His big opportunity came on "Everybody Wants Some" when he had the chance to say the line "Aw, come on Dave, gimme a break..." to DLR and he did it with the excitement and style of a wet sack;

2. David Lee Roth: Hate to say it, but he's not that great. About 1/4 to 1/3 of the time he actually sang the correct tune, on key, with the correct lyrics and with the right tempo. The first half of the show was better than the last half. Seriously, dude, just sing the song, don't try some vocal gymnastics. And as the night wore on the more it was obvious that he was a beat behind the music. He couldn't even nail the signature "spoken" parts of the best songs. So, while it was cool hearing him and seeing him with the original band, his performance wasn't that great.

In this regard, I'll now commit what is, to many fans, Van Halen blasphemy: Sammy Hagar is a better performer, both musically and in stage presence. At least TODAY this is true, I can't speak for pre-1984 DLR because I never saw them play.

Which takes me to another point: I think your opinion of the Dave v. Sammy debate depends in large part on your age and when you joined Van Halen nation. Jason and I determined at the show that we are really at the lower end of the VH nation age scale. I think those that grew up with DLR as the lead singer were more tied to him. I became a fan with 1984, so spent much of my VH time with Sammy as the lead man (plus, I was a big Hagar fan before he joined VH). Yes, the recorded DLR-fronted VH albums are as good as anything made during that time and as good (and in some cases better) than some of the Hagar fronted stuff. It's just different, reflecting a different point in the band's (and rock's) history.

Secondly, I think many fans (and not just with VH but with ALL rock bands) refuse to let their bands mature. They want 1978 Van Halen for the LIFETIME of the band, so when you add some synths on 1984 they complain, or you do a power ballad with Sammy on 5150 they say the band sold out. Well, here's an idea, maybe the band grew up and isn't 22 years old anymore!

The Replacements are a great example of this. A few weeks ago I bought and devoured in a couple days the new oral history of the band All Over But The Shouting by Jim Walsh. One of the big lessons I took away from that book is that the FANS often wouldn't let the band grow, change etc. musically. They wanted "Sorry Ma..."-style thrash for the life of the band.

I think the same is true for VH and it's fans. The band, after 1984, was at a musical turning point as was DLR, and the two didn't match. So they parted ways and the band found someone who was willing to change with them. Then Eddie went crazy and the rest is history.

What should the future, then, hold for VH? I hope they record a new album with DLR because I am curious what a studio album would sound like. Long term, since Sammy left the band the first time, I've always thought that they should do a record with several famous lead singers. Have a couple DLR tracks, a couple Hagar tracks, and then approach some other hard rock singers and have them record with you. That approach isn't conducive to touring, of course, but musically it would be pretty fun and interesting.

In the end, I am glad I went. But of the five total times I've seen VH now (three Hagar, one DLR, and even one Cherone) I'd rank the show around #3 on the list. VH on OU812 and For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge tours was better than last Saturday night.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

The 4 Hour Work Week

In response to a couple comments posted below on the entry about "doing what you love", I want to recommend The 4 Hour Work Week, by Timothy Ferris. (That's a link to the companion website for the book, Ferris has a good blog, too.)

I bought this three weeks ago and blew through it in two days. Really good book, with a ton of good ideas. Not everything will necessarily work for everyone, because I think you have to be more willing to accept risk in the first place to implement all of Ferris's suggestions. But even if you are not, there are great ideas in the book about career (whatever that means), time management etc. I've already begun implementing several of the ideas into my work day and planning ways to implement others.

The book is pretty inspiring and definitely gets the mental juices flowing. Whether you work for yourself, work for "the man" or even currently don't work fulltime but want to implement the ideas in your personal life or find a new perspective on how to "make money", get this book and read it.