From the monthly archives:

January 2006

My Video Debut: BossBack Mountain.

by Dave on January 31, 2006

in

You’ll be pleased to know that I am far from finished doing embarassing things with my new camera. Last night Boss and I brainstormed for about 3 hours and came up with the heart-wrenching tale which you’re about see. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you – BossBack Mountain.

His line at the very end – “Maraaaaanch” – transcends both racial and special boundaries, and I only wish we’d gotten this in the can prior to Sundance. Keep an eye out for this hot new star. He’s 70 in cat years, but I predict a late blooming Olympia Dukakis/Hume Cronin sort of success for him. Cocoon 3: Ass-Dragging on the Carpet”. You’d see it.

UPDATE: I put this retarded thing up on YouTube an hour ago, and it’s already been viewed 72 times.

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New Cubicle, New Camera = Overtly Pimptastic.

by Dave on January 30, 2006

in

I just got my slammin’ new Canon S500 Powershot in the mail, and wanted to kick the teezees on it, bilznatch. Lemme holla at you for a minute. Peep dis:

And while I’m at it, why not big up my awesome new desk location while I’m spittin’? Yeah, that’s a view of Boston Common barely visible behind me. Yeah, those are some University pictures on my desk and Some Rat Pack parephanelia on the wall. Ill-fitting Maple Leaf cap? Check, bitches. Don’t funk with the sick office stylings, B!

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Monday’s Quotelet: Can You Bird It?

by Dave on January 30, 2006

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Nanook’s fear of Asian bird flu began to take over every aspect of his life.

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Minty Minty – Try The New Google Toolbar.

by Dave on January 29, 2006

in

I love the Google toolbar – and yes I’d marry it if I could. Credit Card Autofill is the greatest creation since penicillin, and makes it incredibly easy for me to rack up hundreds of dollars worth of useless crap on eBay. Like the old joke goes, maybe I didn’t really need the entire first season of Mama’s Family on VHS. Regardless, as you may guess, I’m like a kid on Christmas morning when an update is announced. The current new additions include:

  • On-the-fly query suggestions.
  • Online bookmarks.
  • Web page sharing via email, SMS or Blogger.

The coolest new feature by far, however, is the gallery of custom buttons that has been added. They currently include Slashdot, the New York Times, CNET and others – but I imagine the community will start to suggest, or even create, a slew of new ones. My first installs were Dictionary.com and a Weather checker. Site owners will have the ability to create their own buttons and add them to the gallery should they be approved. More good things from Google, and you can install the beta right now by clicking here.

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Appetizer: Choose one – Popcorn, Pizza, Pretzels, Peanuts, or Pasta.
Right. Feta cheese, garlic and Kalamata olive Greek pizza from New London Style in Concord. Salivating and rubbing myself at the mere thought. Don’t ever go there with Jim, though. Most of the children in C-town learned to swear when they were unfortunate enough to be in that shop when Jim was there. Just don’t drop his sub on the floor and you’be fine.

Soup: Describe your personality in terms of a particular vehicle.
I try to be very reliable. So what is that, a Chevy truck? An Everglade hovercraft? I’m not sure. It’s Today’s Chevrodave.

Salad: If you won a shopping spree, from which store would you want it to be?
Best Buy or Circuit City. I’d grab a shopping cart and head straight for the DVD section. Weekend at Bernie’s 2, One Tough Cop, Gone Fishin’. Leaving just enough time to make sure I could swing over and get a huge flatscreen TV, too. Lives are in aisle 5.

Main Course: Which television show re-runs do you enjoy watching?
I watch Sanford and Son like it’s what I was born to do. It’s the funniest sitcom in history, hands down. “Esther, Why don’t you go open up the freezer and make some ugly-sicles”. And Grady has got to be my favorite TV character of all time. Regardless of how his career continues to become uninteresting, I will always respect Eddie Murphy for paying for Redd Foxx’s funeral.

Dessert: If you could look into the future, how far down the road would you see?
I’d just like to be assured that I will neither die alone, nor be the end of my family line. Everything else is pretty unimportant. I’ve said it before though – a trunk of DVD porn will also probably suffice.

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I Be Treading The Boards.

by Dave on January 26, 2006

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I’ve been eluding to my acting debut somewhat recently, and have been receiving many questions from friends and talent agents alike. Perhaps it is time I just came clean about my impending thespianism. And all the necrophelia. But I’ll just stick to the silly play for the time being. It’s called Don’t be Afraid of the Dark and was written in the early 90s by a guy named Tim Kelly. Here is the official synopsis from my copy of the script:

“Weird playwright Sebastian Sly, author of such all-time bombs as Dial M for Morose, The Cat and the Canard, and Ten Little Ninjas, lives in a creepy old mansion called The Shadows. His arch enemy is the clever, but snide, drama critic Sylvia Frye. She hates stage thrillers and with her ruthless reviews, has forced Sebastian into retirement. In revenge, Sebastian invites her to his home where all manner of chills and thrills are trotted out to convince her she’s wrong about his work. We meet an hilarious “cast:” The murderous Creeper; an old actress noted for her shattering screams; a butler named Skull and a housekeeper named Bones and that’s just the beginning. Two likeable innocents, Zip and Lilac, show up and are terrorized by the insane goings-on. Ultimately, Sylvia exposes the plot. But Sylvia gets hers in the end!”

So which one of these ridiculous sounding characters do I play? What persona will be my first foray into the acting world? None of them. I play a stupid cop who shows up 2 or three times, scratches himself and looks for the escaped mental patient. The scratching admittedly was my idea, and the very flexible director has excitedly encouraged me to stop it immediately. But I got some laughs last night during the first real rehearsal, and I think I can make it funny and memorable. Right now I’m working on this whole Puddy meets Ace Ventura thing which I think will work.

My audition went something like this: My co-worker Sean – “You look kinda like Vincent D’Onofrio and I think you could play a big stupid cop in this play my friend is directing.” Dave – “Thank you?” After the tragedy of yesterday, there’s a new opening, afterall. I just didn’t want anyone to think the spectre of Lee Strasberg had visitied me in a dream or anything and told me to stop wasting my life at my current job. Because my father tells me that enough for the entire cast of Thir13en Ghosts.

The schtick will run March 19-21 (5 performances) at the Improv Asylum in the North End, and all proceeds will go to the North End Music and Performing Arts Center of which I am now apparently a supporter. I’m also now officially a member of the ACT 1 Players. Tickets are $10 and I’ll provide more details to anyone who’d like to come closer to the date. It’s a great group of fun people, and I’m having a scary but educational time. We’re looking to make this as funny as possible, and we’re working with an experienced director with whom I’ve become fast friends. You may just enjoy yourselves if you decide to stop by. May.

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None Too Happy About Chris Penn Dying.

by Dave on January 25, 2006

in Heartwarming

I was a huge Chris Penn fan. He could play tough, straight or funny with the greatest of ease, and his talent and charisma were indisputable. This is absolutely awful, and I will likely Penn a more fitting tribute throughout the course of the day. That couldn’t have been less funny, but I ain’t exactly laughing right now. No Wadio, moment of silence. Obit. Nifty graphic in his memory:

From IMDB:

Way back in the days of Footloose and At Close Range I was sold, and his recent downward spiral made me very sad. Someone told me recently that they had seen Penn passed out in a hotel hallway while they were visiting Chicago, and the dread outweighed the jealousy – even though I’m sure I would have posed for a picture with the sprawling mess and then put it on this stupid website. You’ll be missed, Chris. I’ll call you a hearse, and this is for Cody.

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A Man Without A Country.

by Dave on January 23, 2006

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Today Canada is in the process of electing (by all poll indications) the first Conservative government in over 12 years. I elect not to talk about politics too much on this blog (see what I did there?) but it’s no secret whom I’d be voting for were I still living within the borders of the Great White North. There’s a special place in my imagined hell for Carolyn Parrish, Paul Martin and the rest of the thoughtless backhanded critics who’ve been tarnishing relations left and right. And by thoughtless, I of course simply mean I want to see them all die in a hotel fire.

That having been said, I’m probably whistling Dixie here (or maybe whistling Dundas) because none of my American readers know the first friggin’ thing about Canadian politics anyway – and this is one of the reasons I like Stephen Harper so much. He loves him some Yanks, and all the embarrasing anti-American commentary coming out of Parliament for the last decade is hopefully at an end. I am an Ameridan and I cannot vote in either country at the present time. I want the kids to play nice, as I’m torn between them like a gay cowboy with kids. The only thing most Americans can tell you about Canada as of late are the ridiculous statements they’ve heard from her pinkish politicians. And that they never lock their doors and have all been taught to stalk and kill polar bears with whalebone hunting knives.

Most Yanks, bless them, will also be able to tell you that Canada is up North somewhere and there are apparently lots of fish, trees and French people. Listen, my fellow (sorta) Americans – stop wondering whether or not you’re going to see a sasquatch the next time you visit downtown Toronto, and read up on what’s happening there today. It’s about to get very interesting for the first time in painfully polite ages.

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Monday’s Quotelet: Run You Liberal Dogs, Run.

by Dave on January 23, 2006

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After 12 years in power, Monday’s election saw Paul Martin’s Liberal Party scrambling for last minute vote-getters. We will have to wait until tomorrow to see if new mascot ‘Lucky the Healthcare Greyhound’ made much of a difference.

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Appetizer: About how many times per day do you check your email?
I have Outlook set to send/receive every 3 minutes or so. Technically, this amounts to about 480 email checks per day. If you throw Hotmail, GMail and Yahoo into the equation, I usually have time to fire down a bag of Doritos while sleeping for 3 hours, too.

Soup: If you could collect something really valuable, what would it be?
I think there’s a big future in custom made cockroach jewelry. But ideally, if we were referring to like an artifact or something, it would be one that both had great value but also held people in its presence in awe. The Shroud of Turin, Jack Ruby‘s pistol, etc. Alternately, if Sotheby’s felt comfortable with me having the ability to conquer the world, I think the Lost Ark of the Covenant would make an excellent ottoman.

Salad: Write a sentence using the letters of your favorite beverage.
Really, Ethel – talk softly in Nana’s apartment!

Main Course: If you could be on a game show, which one would it be?
I have always been able to hold my own at Jepoardy. Once time, back at Uni, I was in a hotel room full of friends getting ready to go to Oktoberfest in Kitchener Waterloo. The show was on TV, and I answered every single question correct for an entire round. It’s good I got proving my intelligence out of the way early, because by 9pm I’d forgotten my room number/how not to pee on myself.

Dessert: Name 3 computer programs you would hate to be without.
Outlook, Excel, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego.

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Hollywood North… End.

by Dave on January 19, 2006

in Movies

“No longer does the movie industry have to film footage in Toronto, Philadelphia or other locations to suggest that they are some how in the North End of Boston.”

Apparently not. As I stepped out of my apartment building this morning, I ran smack – and I mean literally – into a film crew that was backed up from one end of Cleveland Place to the other. Lights, cameras, screens – there must have been 50 people packed into the narrow lane with all the equipment. Unfortunately, I was at the back of the bunch, with a sound board and video monitor right outside my bedroom window, but it was still fun to watch and I hung around for a few minutes and watched while they held up production as a plane flew overhead. My kingdom for a new digital camera review I feel like I can trust.

I know from talking to people around the neighborhood that Danny Aiello is the star, and that the move – Stiffs – is about “A hearse driver (Aiello) bonds with a pack of Bostonians in an effort to keep a local funeral home in business.” I went to my first play rehearsal last night (a story for a separate post,) and one of my esteemed co-stars was an extra in a restaurant for a day of shooting on Tuesday. She told me Aiello was the nicest man she’s ever met.

We need some movies about the North End. There was an independant flick made about 5 years ago, but it is impossible to find and I’ve never been able to watch it. You can see many shots taken down around the bottom of Prince in 1978’s The Brinks Job, and Peter Boyle and the late Robert Mitchum take a stroll through Government Center Plaza during the end credits of 1973’s The Friends of Eddie Coyle. Other than those, the North End, which is an amazing looking neighborhood with an incredibly rich and seedy history, has been largely ignored. I hope this turns around, or I may just have to start writing something my damn self.

UPDATE: I just got a call from my neighbor. Someone on the set asked her if anyone in the vicinity had a wireless router. So I just spoke to one of the Stiffs crew and gave them my IP and password. So basically, I’m now powering the entire shoot’s internet. I had better get a screen credit! “Special thanks to the huge nerd who let us use his Wireless“. Or a signed 8×10 of Danny.

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One of the reasons I try and keep this site afloat every week is that you never know who is watching, and who is going to pop up. My site in this format has been around 1.5 years now, and has a Google PR of 5/10 which is above average. So I get a lot of search engine traffic for a lot of the strange topics I’ve covered. Once in a while, I get a cool comment or email from someone who stumbled into this shit show by accident. Yesterday, however, I got the best email yet.

Drew Arnott fronted a Canadian synth band called Strange Advance in the eighties, and I featured their song “We Run” as one of my top 10 favorites from that decade – in an article that still pulls a lot of natural search engine traffic, and is one of my favorites. Here is what I wrote about the song that I chose as #4 back in October 2004:

Bryan Adams wasn’t the only Canuck rocking out hardcore in the eighties. Darryl Kromm sounds almost as if he’s fighting back vomit during the entire song, but I like the 2nd synthesizer that comes in mid way, and the eerie high-pitched “hayaaa hayaaa” vocals that get layered in at the end. I don’t know much about this band, and I don’t think anyone does, but I love this song. And Bryan Adams.

Drew actually emailed me yesterday to correct one of my ‘facts’:

On the one hand, I’m glad you liked ‘We Run’. On the other hand, I’m not sure I feel good about setting the record straight. In fact it was I who sounded like being on the verge of vomiting. Darryl is a much better singer and knows the value of Gravol. I was down at Bryan Adams studio the other day. He’s rarely in town, but if I see him I’ll pass on your kind words.

Will Bryan Adams become a Pye In The Face fan? Absolutely not. But this is still a very cool development, and I am glad that Drew reached out. He wrote me again this morning after I inquired about what he’d been up to, and how happy I was that new Canadian bands are making a dent in the American market (Sloan is opening for the Stones, for example):

Well, we’re not up to much. Had a couple of offers to tour but Darryl isn’t into it. I have a studio and I write and produce local artists. This year I’ve gotta get off my ass and actually put something out! Someone offered me a deal and I guess I’d better do something about it. Thanks again for the kind words re: We Run. One of my favourite things about it is the strings. Michael Kamen (Pink Floyd etc) played them. He actually brought in a string section but when we got back to Canada, I preferred the rough tracks he laid down on the Fairlight. Nice to see so many great Canadian bands happening out there. A while ago, I saw Stars, Arcade Fire and Broken Social Scene all in one month. Pretty hot.

So it looks like Drew may be on the verge of a comeback. Strange Advance won’t be touring any time soon, but it’s still nice to know they’re out there. Somewhere. Still strange and still advancing. I have added the song to Radio Pye and you can hear this classic for yourself by clicking the ZAP button on the left.

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Chernobyl’s once-thriving pet industry faced many challenges in the early nineties.

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I Can Almost See The Finish Line From Here.

by Dave on January 12, 2006

in

This has been one of the busiest work weeks of my existence. Midnight oil, multiple client meetings – and it’s not over yet. Friday is chock full of phone calls too. But the end is in sight. I can almost see the trophy, and it’s made of Mousakka. I have a lovely little list of weekend plans, including but not limited to – getting all Greek, a deep conversation about squirrel fishing, hot chocolate and perhaps even a new desk if the GoonSquad will allow.

My phone has been ringing off the hook with aggrivated clients like it’s my job. Actually, it is my job – but the way things have been going I’m starting to feel like P-Diddy had his digits been published on the PETA website. I’m not sure if I like that reference, but it’s late and I’m going to stick with it.

It’s been a busy 7 days, but one of the more eventful of my knucklehead life. I don’t usually call my shots, but things are getting interesting again. Although, it’s probably just the medication.

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“Behind the Roses and Mondays, Inspiral Carpets were always imagined as the third of a triumvirate…”

So maybe I’m feeling a little Manchester tonight, again. Back in the early 90’s I didn’t really like this Carpets‘ song. I much preferred ‘Joe’ and ‘Commercial Rain‘ or anything off of ‘Revenge of the Goldfish’. But this is the only one of their songs that has really endured for me. Classic Manc from that period, with heavy multiple organs fluttering over a 3-part harmony (which I think is all the one singer, Tom Hingley). Drop an ‘E’, get in line at the Hacienda and click on Radio Pye.

‘This is How it Feels’ is “distinctive and specifically northern in flavor”. The Carpets early songs, all pretty much backed with organs, influenced The Charlatans and many other bands from the era – “it’s worth noting how ubiquitous Hammond-style keyboards became in British music over the next few years — most notably with Portishead and PJ Harvey.” I remember I had this song on a little tape I would listen to right after I’d gotten my driver’s license. As I clutched the wheel white-kuckled, I’d bop along and carefully try not to hit any Concordians.

“Hardly bandwagon jumpers, they were playing their psychedelic punk pop in the mid-eighties way before anyone was putting the ‘Mad’ into Manchester.”

Their popularity was helped along early on by a crappy T-Shirt that became all the rage in the English city. It was simply a cow’s head with “Moo! Cool As Fuck” emblazoned underneath. Incidentally, this was also the name of their greatest hits album that was released in 2003. The band flared up and died out very quickly, enjoying a lifespan of about 6 years and 4 albums, but they remain a fun timecapsule of the era. And thank goodness I wasn’t old enough to be able to afford bell-bottoms at the time.

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