What I'm listening to ...

Since I'm bored and not all that interesting in writing here about anything that's going in in my life ... here's what's new in my heavy music rotation:

Semi Precious Weapons - We Love You.

Yeah, I know that kick-ass banner says it's not out until October 30th. (Cause I made that kick-ass banner.) But I have the CD. I listen to it. A lot.

It fucking rocks.

It's my favorite album of 2007.

Straight up serious. So how did I get it? Well, I know people. (And I paid for it.)

And believe me when I tell you this ... if you're not a fan, you should be.

Bullet Jones - The Bullet Jones EP.

Great American rock and roll. Period. And "The Ballad of Bullet Jones" is in my top 5
fall tunes in heavy rotation.

David Ford - Songs For The Road.

His debut album blew me away (and was my Album of the Year for 2006. The follow-up does NOT suffer from the typical sophomore slump. In fact, "Train," "Songs For The Road," "Requiem," "St. Peter" and "Go To Hell" have been live tracks I've been digging on bootlegs for about a year. "St. Peter" and "Songs For The Road" were instant favs of mine when I saw him open for Gomez in May 2006.

Aaron Tasjan - Hard Love and Free Luck.

Again, not yet released, and not coming out until 2008, but hey, I know people.

Two Cow Garage - III

All I need to say about that was said here.

What are you listening to?


Dollar Bill assumes Room Temp

Eva Peron once begged an entire country not to cry for her. Or maybe it was Madonna as Evita. Makes no difference.

Right now, there's not a hockey fan in the city of Chicago shedding a tear that Blackhawks owner Bill Wirtz is, or is rapidly approaching, room temperature.

(That means he's dead, Jim)

It's a well-known fact I love hockey, but hate the NHL. Except for the Blackhawks. Or, as they've been known as of late, the Bleak-hopes.


Well, I could tell you in my words ... but allow someone with a bit more clout: ESPN.com's Jonah Keri, who listed Wirtz at number 5 in the "Owners We Love To Hate" posting on Page 2 of ESPN.com ... published two days before Wirtz became worm food.

Why? Well, I'll use Keri's words:

5. Bill Wirtz, Chicago Blackhawks: Estimated to be worth nearly $4 billion, "Dollar Bill" is the embodiment of the greedy, frugal owner who refuses to invest in his franchise and instead watches it fall into ruin. His refusal to pay Bobby Hull and Jeremy Roenick led to both players' leaving Chicago. He's also presided over the departures of Chris Chelios, Dominik Hasek, Phil Esposito, the Sears Tower, Wrigley Field and Lake Michigan. As a final slap in the face, Wirtz has blacked out Blackhawks home games for years.

So yeah ... no tears here. Or Chicago.

Hopefully, VP Bob Pulford was close enough to catch the cancer from Wirtz (What? Cancer's not contageous? Fuck.)

So ... despite the fact the season hasn't even started, I'm already waiting until next season.


Cause I'm a Blackhawks fan. I'm used to disappointment.


Happiness = socks

Happiness is a good pair of socks.

This is one of several deep philosophical thoughts I had while spending seven hours in the Emergency Room last night. It was either spend the time inside my brain or listen to the ambiance that is St. Elizabeth's ER Room 6: the drone of a diesel engines of ambulances bringing people in was in one ear; in the other ear was the TV on the other side of the curtain. The guy I shared the room with - and never saw - was watching, at one point, one of those annoying infomercials about buying a car -- any car you want -- regardless of credit history. The catchline: You can buy any car with ZERO down EVEN if you have a ZERO credit rating. Which is funny, because the lowest possible credit score is 300, so my cynical take is "Well, the zero down is only for people with a ZERO credit rating. You, however, have a credit rating of 302 so you don't qualify for that offer. Sorry."


Happiness is a good pair of socks.

Those socks you like to wear on cold, wet days that make your feet feel warm and dry and safe.

And sometimes, one of those socks disappears. Dryer gremlins are probably to blame. They're like gravelings, but rather than causing your death, they steal your happiness by taking one sock.

I've not been happy for a while. I've been struggling to find out why.

Recently, a dear friend said to me, "Life can be so fun when we just let ourselves be happy. I always have to remind myself of that."

And people wonder why Eric likes the smart girls.

(Oh, I was at the ER for wild abdominal pain that had been going on for three days. Verdict: gastritis. So I have the following dietary restrictions: No coffee, no carbonated beverages, no alcohol, no spicy foods. And I get Nexium. Little. Purple. Pill. For 10 days. And Mylanta. Orange Creme is yummy.)


So you tell me ...

Wow, I think I have dated "Heather"

(BTW - 1 - the link is to a very offensive comic strip called Leave It To Jesus. Odds are it will offend you. You have been warned.)

(BTW - 2 - I love that comic strip. 'nuff said.)

(BTW - 3 - If you see me wearing a shirt that says "It takes a nation of Muppets to hold us back" ... it's from that site.)


New Computer Specs

Since I've had a few people ask me about the beast I'm building ... here are the specs:
  • Asus M2NPV-VM main board
  • AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual-Core Processor 6000+ - two 3.01GHz cores with 1MB L2 Cache per core
  • 4GB PC800 DDR2 RAM (yeah 4 GB)
  • 2.1 TB Storage (one 400GB, six 320GB and one 300GB SATA-II Western Digital Drives, the 400 is the video scratch disk); the 300 is the system drive, the six 320's are a RAID5 storage array)
  • NVidia 6150 video with 256mb VRAM
  • Coolermaster Centurion 534 Plus Tower (yeah, cause it has a Cylon name and is silver and black. I'm gonna replace the blue LED's with RED ones. Cause I'm *that* nerdy)
  • Coolermaster 700 watt power supply
  • Sony 16x DVD-RW Dual-layer, dual-format
  • 7 USB 2.0 ports (three in the front, four in the back)
  • 2 Firewire ports (one in the front, one in the back)
  • HDTV Output with DVI or Composite; S-Video or RCA output
  • Windows Vista Ultimate
  • NOD32 for Vista, cause it RULES and is the only AV product worth the $40 to purchase and $27 to update every year.
So is it fast?

Um, yeah. It is.

My old computer (Intel 2.8GHz single-core with HT; 2GB RAM) took about 3 hours to render a 1.4gb AVI file to DVD. New machine - 53 minutes.

So I'm gonna rebuild the old computer with a single 80gb EIDE drive, an additional 250EIDE drive for storage, a DVD burner and sell it, and the 21" Sony CRT monitor ... anyone want a kick-ass system, cheap? It's a Dell, comes with a licensed version of XP Pro ... it's loaded and in good shape. Just too slow for me. I'll throw in a new keyboard, too. All for $200.

(Yes, old friends, you see my days of Gigabyte/Intel CPU requirements have ended, eh?)


Showing off my Kitchen Skills

So it's a well-known fact I'm not all that skilled in the culinary arts.

As any single person will tell you, cooking for one sucks.

In addition to that, I had the weight-loss surgery almost four years ago and really don't eat a whole lot. Food is fuel to me these days, not the hobby it used to be.

Because of the surgery, there are some things I can only eat in very limited moderation. Like ice cream. I average about three or four spoonfuls once or twice a month.

Same with Oreo cookies.

A pint of ice cream, in the freezer, as long as it stays frozen, will last me three months before it gets freezer-burned. Oreos, however, are flawed in their packaging.

I, however, have worked some kitchen magic, to solve this issue, at least for me.

Here's the problem.


Once you open them, Oreo cookies tend go stale in like three days cause the package is not air-tight once the seal is broken, and you can't reseal it, either. It's a marketing gimmick to make you eat them in a couple of days, or they taste like crap, and you go buy more.

However, I eat two Oreos a week, maybe three. Yeah, a week. (see paragraph 3 above).

My kitchen-magic:


And the end result:


Yeah, I got mad kitchen skills.

(Oh, and for the record, no I don't dunk them in milk. I'm lactose intolerant)


Red Wanting Blue photos posted

Went up to the House of Blues last night to see a couple of friends play with their band. I will totally admit it was weird not driving, but the knee's still not up for that.

I spent most of the night on a stool, sitting beside the stage snapping photos. Worked out well. Collected on the beer Mark McCullough owed me ... and finally went to a show with another crazy rock photographer, despite the fact we've known each other for more than ten years.

In fact, I might have to steal the stool from the singer more often ... I like the way these shots turned out.

Scott Terry of Red Wanting Blue

John Kengla of Red Wanting Blue

Eddie Davis of Red Wanting Blue

Mark McCullough of Red Wanting Blue

Greg Rahm of Red Wanting Blue

See all the photos here.


Grammar Alert: Articles are 'pretentious'

According to ESPN's 57 Rules for College Football Fans ...

9. You are allowed to root freely against the following schools for no specific reasons: Notre Dame; Notre Dame in their puke-green jerseys; Notre Dame when playing on "Triumph of the Will"-shaming propaganda house organ NBC; USC; any school that plays its fight song approximately 4,387 times per game like USC; Michigan; Miami; Ohio State; any school like Ohio State with a pretentious "the" in front of its name, because otherwise how would we know which Ohio State university they were talking about?; any school coached by Steve Spurrier; any school coached by Nick Saban.

Can I get a ruling from the Grammar Police on that? Is that indeed pretentious? Or is the "Entertainment and Sports Programming Network" as they once billed themselves forgetting they once used an article before just becoming ESPN?

Then again, it is ESPN. And they did lose a bunch of highly marketable big games to The Big Ten Network. Which nobody has. Or watches outside of bars.

And ESPN did cave into threats from the NFL to stop production on the 'pro football' show "Playmakers" after it apparently hit too close to home on issues that happen outside of the football field.

And ESPN did turn their back on the NHL and forget it even exists (welcome back to Some-SportsCenter. Here's today's action on the cricket scene).

So basically ... I guess if they want to call it pretentious, who's to stop them? Anyone have Paul Tagliabue's number?


Daytime TV sucks

My old boss had a great saying ... there's NOTHING that will make one feel better, faster, than watching daytime television.

Today ... while flipping channels, I saw the third or fourth redux of Family Feud. Starring the guy who was Tim Taylor's assistant on "Tool Time" ... Richard Karn.

But it was a special "For Charity" Feud that featured ... a 70's flashback ... of Disco Divas versus the Village People.

For real.

It was filmed in 2003 and featured such Disco Divas as Thelma Houston, Evelyn "Champagne" King and Martha Wash of the Weather Girls.

I'm kind of embarrassed to say that I watched it.

I wish I was able to walk / drive / or sleep.


My 25 Favorite Photos

Since I am the list maker ... and the quantifier ... here's my current 25 favorite photographs I've taken.

Knee = not good.

Well, one week after surgery ... time for the first follow-up.

I'm now 40cc's lighter. The doc drained 40cc's of some of the most disgusting looking stuff I've seen come out of my body. Three different draws from three different spots in my knee.

The good news is the pressure I was feeling is reduced.

The bad news is the pain is increased.

And I get to spend the next 72 hours with lots of ice, rest and off the knee as much as possible.

Oh, and I'm not allowed to drive or return to work until at least 9/17 now.

Good thing I have Heroes on DVD to watch, eh?

Oh, and Season 2 of Dead Like Me.

And the current season of The 4400.

I love TV on DVD.