June 23, 2009

Rockin' Into the Night

For a birthday treat to myself this year, I bought a ticket for Merriweather Post Pavillion to see some great classic rock bands of the 80's. I try to see at least one "oldies" concert each year, and this one had a super lineup of artists.

First off was .38 Special, with three guitarists, one bass, one drummer, and one keyboardist. Their biggest known hit is probably "Hold On Loosely", which they used as their closing number. However, I was surprised at the number of other songs they performed that I also recognized. I guess I didn't realize how many hits they actually had. Here was their setlist for the night (with songs I knew in italics):
  • Rockin' Into the Night
  • Twentieth Century Fox
  • Back Where You Belong
  • Wild-Eyed Southern Boys
  • Fantasy Girl
  • an 80's medley of various hits, including:
    • Teacher, Teacher
    • Stone Cold Believer
    • Like No Other Night
    • Second Chance (great song, by the way)
    • Caught Up In You
  • Hold On Loosely
All in all, a great way to start off the night. They played for about 45 minutes and then big the crowd good night. The stagehands quickly tore down their setup, and put together the Styx set pieces. This was the band I had really come to see, as I was a big fan during the 80's. It was a five-piece, with two guitars, one bass, one keys, and one drummer. Keyboardist Lawrence Gowan had a cool keyboard that rotated 360 degrees on a platform, so that he could play it while walking around in a circle. He was quite the showman, playing the keys behind his back on certain songs. Singer/guitarists Tommy Shaw and James Young were also obviously having a good time, trading song vocals and guitar solos back and forth. All the singing and tight harmonies were top notch, and I knew every single song they performed. Their setlist for the night included the following:
  • Miss America
  • Too Much Time On My Hands
  • The Grand Illusion
  • Lorelei
  • I Am the Walrus
  • Crystal Ball
  • Suite Madame
  • Fooling Yourself
  • Come Sail Away
  • Blue Collar Man (encore)
  • Renegade (encore)
After their encore, they threw Styx frisbees, beach balls, t-shirts, guitar picks, and other stuff into the audience. Lawrence introduced all the band, took their pictures with a Polaroid camera, and tossed the pics into the audience as well. Fun times indeed.

Closing the night was REO Speedwagon. Of the three bands, this was my least favorite. I knew maybe three of their songs, including "Time For Me To Fly" (because this was chosen to be my high school Class of '82 graduation song). Ack. Anyway, their set comprised the following tunes:
  • Don't Let Him Go
  • Take It On the Run
  • Keep Pushin'
  • Golden Country
  • Can't Fight This Feelin'
  • (didn't catch this song as I needed a bathroom break)
  • Time For Me to Fly
By then, it was close to 10:30, and I decided to bail early. They only had one other song I knew -- "Keep On Loving You" -- but I didn't feel like waiting around 'til the end for them to sing it. I'm sure they would use that as their closer. Anyway, quite an enjoyable night of classic rock goodness.

May 23, 2009

Number 1900

As movie #1900 was approaching, I (as always) try to make it one that is "worthy". It was almost the new Star Trek movie, but I instead tried to time it so it would coincide with the latest Terminator flick. So Friday evening, I joined my buddies Joe and Josh for a late showing of the fourth in this series. I've been very disappointed with most of my May movies (Wolverine, Star Trek, etc.) so this time I purposely tried to not over-analyze the movie, but rather tried to enjoy it for pure entertainment reasons. To that end, I was successful. It doesn't hold a candle to Cameron's first two films in the franchise, but it held my interest, and the action scenes were a treat.

April 22, 2009

Late Night in the Middle of the Day

The Daughter and I recently visited our friend Jeff in California for five days of Spring Break goodness. We hit the beach, did some shopping, revisited Disneyland, saw some movies... However, the "big" event was attending the live taping of the Chelsea Lately show. The Daughter is a big fan of said show, and I was able to score free tix for the Monday taping. It seemed strange attending a late night talk show at 3:30 in the afternoon. For some reason, I always assumed that shows like "The Tonight Show" and "Late Night with David Letterman" actually took place in the evening. But no, there we were, standing in line with a bunch of other people, hoping to get in. You see, having tickets was not a guarantee of entrance. The Daughter was three weeks away from being 18, but the ticket clearly stated that you must be 18 or older to get in. Also, the ticket informed us that we had to dress "stylishly hip". Hopefully, they would find my "I'm With Stupid" t-shirt, scruffy jeans, and flip-flops "hip". Nah, I didn't want to risk not getting in, so I pulled out my "ultra-hip" outfit reserved for such purposes. The good news was they didn't check The Daughter's ID, and they must have thought all three of us were dressed appropriately, because they let us in. Big joke there, since you never even see the audience on the actual show. Geesh.

The most amusing part of the show was the fellow whom I dubbed "The Clap Nazi". This fellow had the job of making the audience clap, hoot, holler, and make other appropriate sounds of laughter based on his directions. After a couple of trial runs, where I literally clapped so hard my hands began to bleed, we were informed that we were only giving him 70%. How disappointing. He also told us we were to laugh regardless of whether we thought a joke was funny or not. So much for democratic laughter. Why not use a laugh-track and be done with it? Actually, I have a sneaking feeling they probably do add a laugh track if needed.

What I found most surprising was that the show we taped was actually going to air that same night. That's a pretty fast turn-around. I figured it would take at least a week or two to air, but I guess that show wants to be "in the now". When we watched the show on television that evening, we think we saw a glimpse of the tops of our heads during a quick boom camera dolly over the audience. Hollywood, here we come!

December 31, 2008

Farewell to Sydney

I found out today that our faithful Shihtzu Sydney passed away in her sleep last night. For reasons too long to explain here, she was given to a friend back in '97.

Rest in peace, Sydney. You were a great dog.

Sydney and her younger "sister", Daisy.

Kelli playing with Sydney.

December 02, 2008

EQN III Comes To An End

Alas. After many nights of playing Neverwinter Nights 2 (a private game hosted on my buddy Andy's home computer), our Epic Quest of Nerdness III has come to a close. We defeated the big bad last night after an epic and lengthy battle. A grand time was had by all, especially my character Krag the Barbarian. Here's a sweet pic of Krag posing with one of the local dungeon denizens (who actually turned out to be rather helpful, despite his rather ominous appearance).

August 29, 2008

"Who's the Master!?"

For a rare few of us, we know that the answer to that question is... "Sho' Nuff!!" Usually yelled in a very loud voice. I heard today that actor Julius Carry died this past Tuesday due to pancreatic cancer. I only know of him through two film roles, but oh! what roles they were. The first and foremost is the aforementioned "The Last Dragon", where he played the uber-baddie Sho' Nuff whose goal was to defeat the young upstart Bruce Leroy.

Greatest. Martial-arts villain. Ever.

My second favorite Carry role was that of Lord Bowler, friend and fellow bounty hunter of Brisco County Jr., of the canceled-too-soon television series "The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr." Seeing Carry and Bruce Campbell play off of each other was a rare treat indeed.

I'll be rewatching "The Last Dragon" this weekend in his memory, if only to remind me why one should never yell "Why don't you sit down and shut up!" in a crowded movie theatre when The Shogun of Harlem is present.

August 07, 2008

A True Seldon Crisis

bittersweet - adj. - pleasant but tinged with sadness

The Daughter headed off to college today.

I won't see her again until Thanksgiving.

I'm sure the full gravitas of this won't hit me for a few days.