Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Stubborn Allstars

I haven't had much of a chance at getting onto the computer lately so when the opportunity arises I have to seize it. The Stubborn Allstars popped into my mind today and I started to look them up on Youtube and this is what I found. You can find more info for them here and King Django in particular here. Basically they are one of several groups founded by King Django and the individual players play in various incarnations with Version City. I used to play them on my radio show (Ska Beat) all the time. You can't beat the musicianship of these guys so enjoy................

World Cup Quarterfinals results and picks

It seems that I have picked 7 out of 8 of the teams that made it to the World Cup quarterfinals with the only miss being that I picked the U.S. over Ghana. While I thought that they could make it past Ghana I didn't think they would have the firepower to best Uruguay in the next round. Well I was correct about them not having enough firepower but it occured one game sooner than I anticipated. My next picks are Argentina over Germany, Uruguay over Ghana, Brazil over the Netherlands and Spain over Paraguay. Paraguay suffers from the same affliction as the U.S. which is an inability to score. Brazil has too much skill for the Netherlands and I don't think Ghana can stay with Uruguay for an entire match. The biggest question is Germany vs Argentina. They're both very good teams and it could go either way. We'll see if I continue to pick well but at this stage anything is possible.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Brief Thoughts On The World Cup 2010

Now that the first round of the World Cup is out of the way I can now feel safe about making some comments. South Americans teams did extremely well as all five teams have moved into the second round. Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay all won their groups and Chile nearly won theirs.

I’ve been reading online how many Americans are crowing about the team winning their group and are now predicting a deep run into the latter rounds but I’m not so sure. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to see that happen but so far they have had trouble finishing which doesn’t bode well for winning lots of games. They get plenty of shots on goal but for some reason can’t seem to put the ball in the net as much as they should. Part of it could have to do with youth and inexperience on the part of players like Altidore but that can only be remedied with time and games played. To me it seems that the team does not have an elite striker, one can can create and score consistently with a booming shot. If they beat Ghana then (possibly) facing Uruguay and winning could be a challenge they may not be up to.

I am sick of seeing players fail to the ground flailing around or grabbing their face while they writhe in agony as they pretend that they have been mortally wounded just in hopes of getting a penalty shot or seeing their opponent given a yellow or red card. Stop taking dives and play like a man! If you fight through contact it’s much more evident of a foul being committed than it is when you receive the smallest of bumps and go somersaulting to the ground. The other thing is referees calling fouls that they didn’t see. Kaka from Brazil got his second yellow card of the game (which then becomes a red card and forces him to miss the next game) just because a player ran into him and then did as I wrote above. He dropped to the ground grabbing his face writhing in false agony and even though the referee didn’t see it he still gave the yellow cardto Kaka. Don’t even get me started on goals being taken away because of horrible calls. It’s unbelievable and unforgivable. FIFA needs to clean this mess up before the next World Cup if they want to have some credibility.

Finally, My final four picks are Argentina vs Spain and Brazil vs Uruguay and I have Argentina vs Brazil in an all South American finale. If anyone is to be a dark horse upset victor I predict it will be either Uruguay or perhaps Japan. But then again, what do I know? I’m no expert.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

12 Inch Singles BoDeans - She's A Runaway

This is song number six in my ongoing saga of that day back in 1986 after I returned from Basic and Advance Individual Training for the Army National Guard and I ventured to a flea market in Tulsa and found a number of 12 inch singles. On some of these I was familiar with the artists but not most of them. The BoDeans are a roots rock band formed in 1983 in Waukesha, Wisconsin and this song is off of their debut album Love & Hope & Sex & Dreams which was released in 1986 on Slash Records. If you listen to the words you can understand it's about a woman who's been pushed too far and takes her revenge. What's immediately clear is how well Sammy Llanas and Kurt Neumann's voices harmonize and that's what has stayed with me over the years although I will admit that their lyrics and musicianship has a lot to do with it too.

For now I can't find the video anywhere that lets me embed it so until I find it you can go to the above link to hear the song. This sucks.

Using Peruvian Coins As A Way To Happiness

Today as on most days I visited the website for Living In Peru and they had an article called "Top 10 Signs You're A Foreigner Living In Peru." Number 6 on the list was about making sure you carry sencillo on you before you leave the house. Now, don't confuse that with any illicit drugs, it's simply Peruvian coins that are more commonly used than bills are. Peruvian currency is called the Nuevo Sol and the coins come in denominations of 1, 2 and 5 soles with smaller ones called centimos that are 1, 5, 10 and 50. There are banknotes of course but for the day to day purchases in Peru it's more practical to carry and use your sencillo.

When I read the article it made me remember how quickly I got used to using the coins 2 years ago on our vacation and once we returned to Tulsa how much I missed not being able to use them. Here in America a handful of change might get you a snack or a bottle of pop. Notice I said might. In Peru a handful of coins can buy you any number of things from a taxi ride to a movie ticket to various souvenirs to a nice meal. I personally used them for these and many more purchases although at first I will admit that I treated them like American coins and didn't give them much thought. I would leave them on the dresser as if they were of no use to me, that is of course until I realized just how valuable they could be.

Life goes much more smoothly when you use the sencillo. First, with large bills there is always the issue of verifying that they are not counterfeit and then making change for them. If you use large bills then you are sure to get a lot of dirty looks. Second, you can carry the coins in your pocket and not have to worry about carrying a wallet and having to open it for all to see how much money you do or don't have. Third, it's just really cool to buy something substantial with a few coins. I can't stress that enough. Fourth, well I think it lessons the chance of someone trying to steal your money from you but that is just my opinion, I have no proof of this.

I know it's strange to get nostalgic for using coins to make purchases but then again I have been described as not being very normal before in my life. Since coins in America have so little value (soon it will be no value at all it seems) it just felt nice to be able to dig into my pocket for a few coins to pay for things. It's just not the same in America. Perhaps it reminded me of a simpler time from my youth when things didn't cost as much money and all it took for you to feel rich was to have a few coins in your hand. All I know is now I have a desire to return to Peru so that I can once again carry sencillos in my pocket and be happy. That's not too much to ask is it?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Lights Go Out....And Then Back On.

My mother-in-law's husband has this odd habit of unplugging their telephone every night at 9PM if she is on it no matter who she is talking to because it is time to go to bed. This upsets her to no end especially when she is talking to family members in Peru, whom she does not get to talk to very often. He wants to run things his way and there is nothing else to consider. Tonight my wife gave me a haircut and then one to our son and afterwards she gave him a bath and then I cleaned everything up. As I started to make my way back into the kitchen to throw away the bag of hair (sadly more his than mine) I saw that she had turned off all of the lights in the house and turned off the tv which is her not so subtle way of saying that everyone should go to sleep now. Because she wants us to and not because we want to.

She fails to see that she and her father-in-law are doing two versions of the same dance. I think that in her mind we need to go to sleep at the same time and thereby we will be happier and closer as a family by doing so. The problem is that we work two different schedules and I am used to going to sleep later than she is and have been doing so for a very long time. For most people that isn't a problem at all but for us it keeps rearing it's ugly head every so often. Maybe I need to make more of an effort to realize why she feels the way she does but since I'm a man and therefore by birth a brutish beast I just keep on getting mad whenever she does this and I make sure to let her know about it. Which of course guarantees a similar reaction returned in kind from her. She is a woman after all.

Unless either of us someone manage to grow and/or adapt then we'll continue to have these little flare ups from time to time and then wait for them to blow over (usually in a few minutes). That's life I guess but sometimes I wish we could get over the bullheadedness (is that a word?) and not let the little things get us down. I try not to sweat the small stuff because honestly it's not worth it to get upset over and let it ruin your day but sometimes I think she does it on purpose just to see what my response will be. Until I go deaf or blind I probably won't progress at all as a thoughtful human. After all, I am a man.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Biters - I need to hear more from these guys!

Here's a great band I heard about on the Rock N Roll Geek podcast called The Biters. They have an EP out now so I have to find it. Their sound is like a late 70s glam rock, riff laden guitar attack!!! That's a good thing by the way. You can go to their myspace page here.

Devo - Something For Everybody out now

Devo released their new album titled Something For Everybody on June 15th and I just acquired it so expect to hear my thoughts soon. It's their first new album in 20 years.

Bob Casale – rhythm guitar, programming, backing vocals, mixing on "Sumthin'", engineer, production on "Sumthin'"
Gerald V. Casale – vocals, bass guitar, bass synth, production on "Sumthin'"
Josh Freese – drums, additional percussion, production on "Sumthin'"
Bob Mothersbaugh – lead and rhythm guitar, backing vocals, production on "Sumthin'"
Mark Mothersbaugh – vocals, synthesizers, programming, production on "Sumthin'"

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Dulces Diablitos - More Ska From Argentina

I didn't realize how little I've posted this month between watching the World Cup, my 3 year old son dominating the computer and going on my road trip
so I thought I'd put up some videos from this ska group from Argentina called Dulces Diablitos (it translates to Sweet Little Devil), especially since Argentina is one of my picks to win the World Cup.

I couldn't go to their homepage because google says it is a harmful sight and I'm not taking any chances with that. You can instead go to their myspace page here.

Here is their bio information lifted straight from myspace:

SWEET Diablitos - Diego (voice), Miguel (keyboards, vocals), Paul (guitars), Max (percussion), Lucky Luke (drums), Luigy (bass), Adriano (trumpet) and Leonardo (sax) - formed in late 2000 with the idea of keeping the ska music as an axis, moving also by the rock steady, reggae, dub and other Latin rhythms. A year after its formation the band was playing by different local Federal Capital, bringing little a bit of a public stable and met the expectations of all its members. Enseguida llegaron los shows más grandes, donde compartieron escenario con bandas como Los Calzones, Intoxicados, Leon Gieco, Las Pelotas, Satélite Kingston, Flavio Mandinga Project, Un Kuartito, Karamelo Santo, Sin Semilla, Fidel Nadal, Los Grillos, Cielo Raso, Intocables, Papas ni Pidamos entre otras. Then came the biggest shows, sharing the stage with bands like The Panthers, Intoxicados, Leon Gieco, Las Pelotas, Satellite Kingston, Flavio Mandinga Project, A Kuartito, Karamelo Santo, seeded, Fidel Nadal, The Crickets, Ceiling, Untouchables , potatoes or Pray and others.

This does seem incomplete since the videos clearly show a female singer in the group and none is listed so I can't even say if this group is still together or not. I believe they are but since I can't go to their website I can only guess. At any rate We can all enjoy the music if we are so inclined.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Thinking About Road Trips Past and Present

Going on last weeks road trip has had me thinking about how different things are now from my youth. For instance, for my overnight trip I packed enough clothes, even some for an emergency and had my shampoo and other toiletries. My friend Tom made sure his truck was gassed up and even had his tires rotated and balanced. We brought enough money for food, a hotel room and concert t-shirts if we wanted to buy one (which I did not end up doing). All in all it was well planned out and we had an enjoyable time.

When we were in high school and college it was much different. Our first concern was that the concert tickets were paid for and then that we had money for a t-shirt. Not purchasing a shirt was not an option, it was a requirement. Everything else was secondary. There were times where we didn't even check to see if we had a spare tire much less if it had enough air in it. If we didn't drive back after the show we would just pull over somewhere and sleep in the car or find someplace to rest. There were no changes of clothes, no toothbrushes or shampoo weighing us down. We would eat IF we had the time, chance or money left over. Then we would arrive home tired and grimy but would have a grin on our faces whenever someone would see out concert t-shirt or when we would brag to other friends about having gone to see the show.

Back then we didn't have many concerns or serious worries. If there was something we wanted to do and we could make it happen on a whim then we generally did it. Hell, Tom was sneaking off to see shows that were several hours away all of the time even after his father told him he couldn't go. No, these were simpler times when we didn't have serious jobs or families to worry about and our entire lives were ahead of us. My only regret is that I didn't take more advantage of the situation than I did.

Now we have those families and those serious jobs where we have to plan ahead and ask for days off and make arrangements for someone to watch our kids. We have to consider if it puts too much stress on our spouses and hope that we can put aside the thoughts about work piling up while we are away reliving our youth. This trip took a lot of effort on my part just to see if it was possible that I could go. The day before we left I had to cut the grass, put away clean dishes and wash dirty ones and do several loads of laundry all while taking care of my son. Then I had to go to work and put up with the usual stuff there. But I remember a time back then when Tom showed up at my summer job at noon to ask me if I could get off right then so that we could go see Journey in Oklahoma City. My dad wasn't very pleased that I left work just to go see a concert but as I pointed out to him, it was just a summer job and I wasn't going to be doing it forever. Now was the time, the chance to go see a show with friends. To goof off and have a laugh. To just enjoy life. There was time to be serious later, when we were older and presumably wiser.

Of course now that I am older and (maybe) wiser I realise that I no longer want to sleep in a car or stay up until 4am driving back from a show. I don't want to go without a shower or a meal. I like having a good nights sleep. I'm thankful for technology which allows us to see at a moments notice if there are any of our groups out there coming anywhere close so that we can even think about going to see them. Then we can plan our trip down to as minute a detail as we want. Back in the day the only way to find out about concerts was by listening to the radio and then asking around for directions to the venue. It was always an adventure just to get to the show on time and then find our way home. It was a lucky time if we didn't have any classes the next day and could sleep in.

As I slide closer to middle age (did I just shudder?) I'm actually glad that I want my creature comforts and I don't have to do things like camp out for tickets. I'm glad I have my wife and child and all of the responsibilities and worries that come with the territory. I'm happy to have a job with benefits that allows me the time to feed my inner child. Because when it comes down to it all of the past has made me who I am today. All of the good and not so good times, the trips, the time hanging out doing next to nothing, just enjoying the moment helped mould me into the semi-sane person that I am today. And I wouldn't trade a moment of it for anything in the world. Unless of course it was to get backstage and then all bets are off.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Road Trip To Dallas For Iron Maiden Concert

Six days ago I took a road trip to Dallas with my best friend Tom and his son Chris to see Iron Maiden on the very first date of their new tour, The Final Frontier. Iron Maiden was one of the groups I have never seen and were at the top of my concert wish list and now I can mark them off of the list. Sadly, it's taken me this long to post about the concert because of work, the World Cup and my three year olds domination of the computer. The first video is on the way to Dallas and unfortunately we suffered from a gas situation.

After arriving in Dallas we got our hotel room and then went out for some barbecue. Since discretion is the better part of valor I won't say anything else about the barbecue place. After eating we went back to the hotel for a little bit and then went to the concert. Video 2 is before the concert so that we can see what the feeling was like in the auditorium.

Video 3 is after opening act Dream Theater played and our reaction to them. I didn't know that they were opening and while they are not a favorite of mine it was interesting to see them.

Video 4 is of the audience a few minutes before Iron Maiden took the stage and even though it's dark you can see how full the place is. According to the band there were 12,000 people in attendance.

Videos 5 & 6 show our thoughts after the concert is over and we went to get something to eat. After playing for quite some time Iron Maiden came out for their encore and finished that despite not having played Aces High, The Trooper, Run To The Hills, 2 Minutes To Midnight and a few other choice fan favorite songs. The lights stayed off for several minutes which made everyone think that we were going to be treated to a rare second encore but suddenly the lights came up and the roadies came out to start breaking down the equipment. It was a disappointing end to a great concert.

The next day we woke up slowly and finally checked out of the hotel and then made our way to a restaurant called Chuys (pronounced Cheweys) to have some good Tex-Mex lunch before driving back to Tulsa. They had a really cool gray t-shirt for the restaurant that featured a skull that I liked and would have bought if it hadn't been for Tom bogarting his way in front of me to take the last XL that they had in that design. But that's okay because he knows someone who is going to Dallas this week and they're going to pick up a shirt for me so it ends well.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Friday Flashback, On Saturday?????

Okay, So what's the deal? How can I do a Friday Flashback when it isn't even Friday?
Basically, On this past Wednesday I went to Dallas to see Iron Maiden for the first time in my life and the first date on their new tour and came back on Thursday. After returning to work on Friday it took me some time to get caught up and I didn't make it home until after 1am so that stopped me from putting up this post in a timely manner. Next will come my sort of review (after I get some sleep) and then whatever else I can come up with. One thing that these songs share in common is................none of these classics were played at the concert which was a major disappointment.

Iron Maiden - Two Minutes To Midnight

SLAYERMAN | MySpace Video

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Star Wars & Adidas Commercial Mashed Up

Okay I came across this and had to repost it since I'm a big Star Wars fan. New people have been mixed in with original movie footage to produce something different. Snoop Dogg, David Beckham, Daft Punk, Ian Brown, Noel Gallagher and Jay Baruchel are all featured. Maybe it's just because I'm a such a fan that I find stuff like this interesting but since I do and since it's my blog here it is.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Rush: Beyond The Lighted Stage!!!!!!

Man this just snuck up on me but I found out that the Rush documentary Beyond The Lighted Stage is showing in Tulsa at the Circle Cinema next week but there are only 2 or 3 shows. It is directed by Scot McFadyen and Sam Dunn who have done Metal: A Headbanger's Journey, Global Metal and Iron Maiden: Flight 666 so I have high hopes for this documentary. There is old footage that shows how the band evolved to where they are today as well as musicians and others who talk about their feelings for the band. Now if I can only get a chance to see it before it's gone. After that it's their Time Machine tour in September that will feature them playing the entire Moving Pictures album which they have never done before.

Friday, June 4, 2010

New Rush singles Caravan and BU2B!!!!!!

Okay, I only thought I was done. Then I remembered to look on Youtube for the new Rush songs that came out two days ago and there they were, at least for now. So until they get yanked down I'll put them up and give my opinion later. September 21st can't come fast enough.

There are already a bunch of false videos for the songs so I won't be surprised if these get taken down pretty fast. Plus I've already seen some guy playing along to the new songs. Sigh.

It's been busy the last few days so...........

Well, I haven't been posting much, okay not at all for the last few days because my three year old son has been sick and my job has been stressing me out. He's had a fever due to an infection that today required a return trip to the doctor and a new antibiotic to be prescribed. Still that's not enough for the wife and I'll be calling the doctor again tomorrow to ask a question about his eyes and how they seem to be a bit bloodshot. Funny how she seems to "forget" to mention to him little details like that and then sidestep the issue to compare it to me not asking certain questions that she wants to know about. Whether she tells me the questions beforehand is another issue entirely. So I haven't had much time to do anything and I really haven't even been reading which is unusual for me so today I'm just making it up as I go along.

This is the 2nd video that I found for Satelite Kingston that they did on the Reggae En PelaGatos radio (?) show. It's kind of hard for me to say because it's all in Spanish. Anyway it features their lovely female singer Araceli Julio's intense vocals. Speaking of Satelite Kingston, my son absolutely loves their song Perdimos and makes me play it repeatedly whenever I'm driving anywhere. If only I could have caught it on film the other day, he was trying to sing some of the words or as close as he can come at his age and when the horns came in he put one hand to his mouth and the other he started moving as if he was playing the trombone. I have no idea where he came up with that but it was hilarious, at least to me.

Well, it's late and I have to get up early to do all sorts of things for the wife so that she doesn't have to do them so I'll close out with another ska song from a Peruvian band called La Maldita Costumbre entitled El Loco. Hey, at least I did make an effort so give me a little credit.