From the monthly archives:

August 2007

Monday’s Quotelet: Vicks Alpo Rub

by Dave on August 27, 2007

in

As part of his court-ordered dog fighting restitution, Michael Vick was ordered to babysit “Sweetums” for the rest of the year.

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There’s a Facebook group for my high school town, and someone added a “You Know You’re From Concord When…” thread a while ago. Obviously, the group is predominantly much-younger people, but I was curious and added my own point to the thread. You know you’re from Concord When: “Being told to meet your friends at ‘Eden’, ‘Boonyards’ or ‘Mayflower’ makes perfect sense to you.

Someone from the class of 2004 emailed me today and asked me to elaborate, so I did. This email is extended a couple paragraphs for the sake of the blog and reprinted with express written permission from… myself.

All three were nicknames we had for secluded outdoor places around Concord where we used to “par-tay”. Eden was along the river and accessible from behind the strip mall just off Lowell road near the center where Stop n Shop used to be. I worked there for a summer until they found out I was Canadian and didn’t have my greencard yet. It’s still a grocery store but has a different name now. There was a narrow path that wound through the underbrush for a bit and came out on a nice public lawn on the riverside with a decent amount of tree cover overhead. You could also walk down to it from the bridge down Lowell road a bit.

Anyway, Eden was a huge cop magnet and we only used it as a last resort when nobody’s parents were out of town. My friend got arrested one night, fully cuffed and stuffed, for peeing on the fire after the po-po told us to put it out. “I don’t care how you do it, but put that fucking fire out!” Well, my pal got a night in the docks and an embarassing Concord Journal Police Log entry for his efforts. The worst part is, the Journal listed the charge as “indecent exposure”, with his real name and age. That could have meant a million different things, and I’m sure his grandparents enjoyed reading it over Sunday breakfast while envisioning him running through a local preschool with his pants around his ankles.

Boonyards was a field that accessible by an overgrown dirt road just over the Bedford town line on Bedford Street that extended out from the Concord center rotary. Technically it’s located on Hanscom airforce base which we learned the hard way one night when soldiers with M16s on jeeps showed up to break up our bonfire. I was off in the dark fiddling with a British exchange student and made an easy escape.

Mayflower was in West Concord technically, and you had to go through the back of Thoreau hills to get to it. I don’t think the police ever found it during my CCHS career, but we accidentally rolled a full keg down into someone’s backyard one enchanted evening. That attracted a lot of attention and I don’t think I ever returned.

Glad I could impart some history on my wee descendants. Concord was a strange place in the early 90’s era. When I got to college in 1992, it bored me to tears. I’ve had this conversation with dozens of my friends who had the same freshman year blues. We’d wonder why people in our dorm got so excited over a lame frat keg party, and the rest of the kids on our floor wouldn’t believe our high school stories. The classes of 89 and 91 especially – we’d already fucking done it all. We kept Mr. Kryple and Ms. DiCicco on antacids – that’s for sure. The outdoor spots were backups, and the tip of the iceberg. Good times.

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Facebook is an incredible website. The fact that it blew the frig up the same year I moved back to Canada was extremely serendipitous as I’ve mentioned before. I have gotten back in touch with kids I haven’t seen since 1986, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Two months ago, Facebook opened their doors to 3rd party applications – most of which are enormously stupid wastes of time. Many of which try to accomplish the same thing, leaving you confused as to which version is the better one. I’ve kicked the tires on quite a few of them, and here are my favorites to date. Click the links to learn more or install them yourself.

Red Bull Roshambo: A well done take on the classic “Rock, Paper, Scissors” game. You can challenge your friends and even make imaginary wagers. The categories, strategy and stat features are in-depth and enjoyable. This was the first app I really dug and it gave me hope for the future – after I’d been bitten by fecking zombies and werewolves 800 times.

Scrabulous: I never played Scrabble as a kid, and there’s been a learning curve (I have yet to beat anyone in 10 games) but this is a winner. You can play as many games as you like at once, which is a good thing as your opponent’s turn around time from move to move may be a couple of days. Hugely strategic and never, ever the same game twice. Great stat keeping and super ajax-based controls.

MyTunes: I wasn’t crazy about installing an application on my own computer in order to get this to work, but the results were worth it. If MyTunes is running in your taskbar, and you’ve installed the accompanying FaceBook app, anyone who looks at your profile can see what you’re listening to via iTunes in real time. Look at my profile for an example – it’s near the top of the right column under the news feed. As useful as tits on a bull, but for some reason I love it!

Flixster: A movie-based app that let’s you write reviews, talk about upcoming films and display a list of your personal favorites, Flixster is well-organized and handles a lot of info without making your profile look too busy. Most of the user-submitted reviews are similar to the point of being unintentionally funny (Ya, so, I liked this movie. It had a great cast, great writing and was really funny) but a few of them stand out, and the social aspects make the app stand out a mile over some of the other movie plugins.

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Dave Goes To The Dogs.

by Dave on August 19, 2007

in Animalistic,Canadiana

I love the Boss. If you know me, you know that. I have been stone cold cat crazy for the last 33 years. But that was by default – my father despises dogs and we were never allowed to have one. After a lot of careful consideration, I have decided to get my own dog. For the first time. It’s a big step. I am a little nervous, but I have made the call and it’s happening. Here are some of my reasons for this canine 180.

– All my friends who own dogs have told me that in order to train, raise and mold a dog with a good personality, you must be able to spend a lot of time with it. I work from home. Perfect.

– Many friends have been concerned because Boston Terriers are known for having health issues – particularly flatulence, heart ailments and breathing. I have discovered that purebred Terriers are usually devoid of the congenital defects, and the flatulence depends completely on diet and can be easily remedied.

– My mother won’t stop reminding me that I have to walk the dog at least 3 times a day, like I’m retarded or something. I will welcome the new structure in my life – especially, again, because I work from home.

Those are the big points I have been mulling. I am very excited at the prospect of having a pet that doesn’t sleep all day. I will be able to take it everywhere with me in the car. It will do tricks. It will protect my house. It will go for runs with me. I am thrilled.

I’d like to mention once more that I have given this a tremendous amount of thought and am definitely not entering into dog ownership lightly. To further hammer this point home, I’m happy to point out that I have found a professional breeder whom I trust and have forwarded all the emails we have exchanged (I ask a lot of questions) to two friends of mine who are very well versed on the subject of dogs (thank you Amy and Rachelle).

I’ve also seen photos of the parents – click here to meet the lovely Pixie Rose and Oscar – and am going to the breeder’s next week to meet the humans involved and the mom and dad to be. My puppy will be born in late December and I’ll be picking up little Shepherd Pye in February. Although he’ll be no feline, I will continue the Pye pet naming convention.

And in case you’re wondering, Boss is very alive, very well and I love him very much. He’s got a good 5 years left in him and I plan to treat him like a little prince until he draws his last breath. It’s just that… circumstances have led me to live in the woods – and it’s doggie time.

Wow. Boss is gonna be so pissed come February.

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If you didn’t already know, a new Indiana Jones movie is currently being filmed and is set to be released on Memorial Day 2008. This franchise is my favorite of all time, and the news was like an old friend coming back into my life. Which is probably why I have so few. Yes, yes – my nerdery is on full display today – but I’m not ashamed and I don’t apologize. By all accounts this film is being taken very seriously by the original directors and cast, and I will be very surprised if Spielberg drops the idol. As I have maniacally scanned the interwebnets looking for Indy 4 Rumors and news, I collected them all in one place. If you’re curious, have a read, and here are a few highpoints:

– Shia Lebouef plays Indy’s son.
– There will be very little computer animation to keep the film visually congruent with the first three Indy films.
– I’m 99% certain the official title will be “Indiana Jones and the City of Gods”.
– Marion (Karen Allen) returns and has a big role.
– Indy’s sidekick is played by one of my favorite actors, Ray Winstone.
– Area 51 and alien artifacts play a big role in the plot, and the villainous Nazis are all but replaced by the more appropriate (the film is set in 1957) Russians.
– Cate Blanchett plays a Russian adversary.
– Sallah and Henry Jones are not returning.
– Filming has so far taken place in Hawaii (doubling for South America), Connecticut (Yale) and Nevada (Area 51).
– The story is rumored to come full circle with Raiders, even eventually involving the Lost Ark of the Covenant.
– I may never sleep with a woman again.

Several videos have been released from the set, one of which was a live feed for attendees of ComicCon this past month. Most of the principal actors join Spielberg in costume for a chat about the new film. This was also the first time it was officially announced that Marion Ravenwood would be making her return…

18 years after the Last Crusade the principals have finally managed to get their schedules in order, and a script they’re all happy with. There were half a dozen rewrites and many arguments between Ford, Lucas and Spielberg along the way. I always paid attention to the movie geek rumor sites, and never thought they’d get it underway. That tells me that the pieces are in place for something special, and I’m going to stay excited and optimistic until I’m proven otherwise. If you’d have told me a couple of years ago that the Pixies were going to reunite, and there’d be a 4th Indy film, I think my head would have pulled a Belloq.

If Indiana Jones 4 proves as popular and as well made as Raiders, Temple of Doom and Last Crusade – we’ll be witness to a very cool piece of movie history. I am sick to death of CGI and haven’t wanted to go to the theater (with the possible exception of Die Hard 4) for many moons. Ford will be 66 years old by the time this is released, and very probably the star of the most profitable summer action movie of all time. Think about that for a second – It’s simply fantastic.

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Canadian Assimilation.

by Dave on August 9, 2007

in Canadiana

My friend Sean called me over the weekend and left a message to the tune of “Have you been eaten by feckin’ bears?” I realized at that point that it was probably time to update anyone who cares. If not, jog on – no one has a potato gun to your head. This blog will return to it’s regularly scheduled dead hooker jokes by the end of the summer.

Operation Bunkhouse is just a few days away from completion, and my place is wide open for visitors anytime in August/September. If you’re a friend of mine, or a well-medicated stalker, you are officially invited to pick a weekend if that’s at all enticing. Come sleep in the silence, relax in the gazebo, soak up some sun, boat your brains out and eat a lot of corn. There is also a vicious rumor that the Pye family likes a drink or two after 5pm.

Life is good, with obvious exceptions. Here are some bullets as it’s been a while since I spoke to any of you at length and there’s a lot to mention…

– We sold Grandma’s house in July and walked out of it for the final time last Monday. There were no tears shed. I now live full time in Portland, Ontario.
– My reasons behind moving here were spun different ways for different people, but the end goal was to live here with my ailing Father and take some of the pressure off of my Mom. For example, she is on a much-needed vacation in Vancouver this week, as I watch the fort/Gordo. He’s a handful, and my social circle consists of loons and squirrels – but he’s my Dad. And that’s that.
– Gord is manageable if you distract him with things he likes to do/eat/watch/drink. “Give me my f**king car keys now!” “Oh look Dad, Fawlty Towers is on!” “It is?”
– As a result, I am picking up golf very quickly. I now understand people’s addiction to it. Gord is still an excellent player, and we’ll be doing a lot of it. My first lesson is in 9 hours.
– 2 sets of clubs fit very nicely in the back of the Charger. Golf is quite a workout and I currently feel like I’ve been dragged behind a truckful of Nazis for several miles.
– On a related note, I am completely unashamed at how happy I am that Karen Allen is going to be in Indy 4.
– While hardly Grifflet substitutes, my little cousins Jakob, Seth, Thomas, Christopher, Alexandra, Darius, Ben and Carter are enjoying having me around more than once a year. Thomas (19) went to a party with me in Toronto and had a great time with my friends. Darius (6) enjoys when I show up with bootleg Spiderman 3 DVDs.
– Janet was up last weekend and we got a TON done on the Bunkhouse and a ton drankended on the Pontoon boat (see galleries).
– I have connected from so many childhood friends via Facebook it is unreal. I recently had dinner at the home of a girl who was my best friend Freshman year of high school and when I walked in the door it was like no time had passed. Quite an amazing summer in terms of friendship rekindling. Best website ever.
– I have a great group of friends back in Toronto (2.5 hours away), mostly from University, who have made me feel very welcome back in the Great White North. When I start to get jumpy for human contact, I have plenty of places to stay back in civilization.
– I now have a boat license.
– According to Janet, who is a hard sell on this topic, my driving skills have returned. She may have been swayed when I deked a hugenormous deer going 80MPH in her new 5-speed Audi.
TechTarget went public a month ago and I am very glad I bought all the shares I was entitled to when I left to become an international search marketing guru in 2003. Why am I telling all of you? Cause it’s a jetski, baby, and you may get to ride it one day.
– Speaking of watercraft, we have a 50HP pontoon boat with pimpin’ leather couches on it and an iPod-compatible stereo. I remarked to Janet, whilst cruising slowly through Lost Lake with a Rockstar in my lap and the Pixies blaring through the speakers – “This IS heaven on Earth”. Gord kinda likes it when I play Bolero. Bonnie likes it when I forget to bring the iPod.
– I made my first Portland friend Friday night at a bar called the Galley. I can sail there in about 15 minutes and tie up right in front. He’s a local drunk named Dana, and Janet says “keep looking”.
– I run every morning, and combined with the golf I feel amazing and am dropping weight like a Tijuana crack whore. I only drink when we have company and my Peter Pan on cheesecake days are officially over.
– I have decided to live here for the winter in order to save money, continue the health kick and by doing so lower the insurance charges on the house while my folks are in Florida.
– My friend Gooch (see bunkhouse gallery) is going to leave both his snowmobiles here and we’re taking a trip all the way to Montreal on them come winter.
– Gooch and I are building an ice fishing hut.
– I am talking to Boxer and Boston Terrier breeders. I love the Boss, but he sleeps all day and can’t go outside. I need another addition to the Lakehouse herd for my own winter sanity. Otherwise, I’ll be growing a beard, writing a manifesto and sending C4 through the mail to Al Sharpton before the first day of Spring.
– I am turning into an Ottawa-Valley-accented-hilljack-peameal-bacon-eating hick, and I love it.

I will be in Boston the weekend of September 22nd for a wedding. The wedding is in New Hampshire, but I’ll be extending my trip so I have time to visit my Boston peeps. I hope to see some of you then, and Griffin may have to give up her PS2 room for a night or two – which somehow I think she’ll be fine with . The thought of a genuine Harpoon IPA and some North End Pushcart pizza makes me beyond happy.

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