Two dear friends of mine got married this past Saturday, and I’ve just completed a wedding gallery of the extremely fun day. I flew down from Ottawa last Wednesday and extended the trip beyond the weekend in order to visit friends and get in some office time – but it was really all about the weddin’. The way the ceremony and reception were organized really stood out in my mind, as the whole day seemed planned in the interests of making it ‘low-impact’ for the guests. Semi-formal, private home, shuttle back to the hotel, great room rate – and the ceremony itself lasted barely 15 minutes. The elegant simplicity of things in no way diminished any traditions – it was easily the most emotionally charged wedding I’ve ever been to.
We love ya, kids. Here’s to a great life together, and I hope you’re currently ruining bedsprings all over Martha’s Vineyard. Enjoy yourself, Chrissy. We have a lot of work to do when you get back.
I spent quite a bit of time over the summer building and maintaining a Squidoo lens devoted to Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. I checked it for the first time in a week or so and it’s been as high as #2 in their Movies section, and broke the top 50 network wide. Considering there are now over 100,000 Squidoo lenses – that’s not too damn shabby. If you haven’t looked at it yet, please take a gander.
I also paid a designer to re-imagine my silly dog sweater site. I have updated it once or month or so since then redesign and traffic has gone through the roof. One day last week, the Google ads at the top of the main page got over 100 clicks! My point is, you never know when something you’ve created might hit a tipping point. The best example was two years ago when live cockroach brooches were featured on America’s Top Model and my uber-silly celebrity blog spoof ended up getting 5 thousand hits the next day. The same thing happened more recently when the little buggers were used as a plot device on CSI: New York and again the search engine traffic blew up temporarily.
You can slave away mercilessly on an idea for years and never hit the sort of perfect traffic storm that comes from something – an article, a top 10 list, a photo – going viral. Chris Crocker I’m not. But that’s obviousvly a very good problem to have.
I flew in to Boston without incident yesterday and am currently at my company’s new office in Wellesely, Massachusetts. Loved the hour long subway ride – maybe we can build a satellite office on Mount Kilimanjaro, too. I did my old North End coffee tour this morning, and arrived at my favorite old haunt to discover that the owner passed away yesterday. He was a great guy who has a lot of friends and used to give me pastries to try. He’ll be sorely missed and there’s a definite air of sadness on Hanover Street today. My condolences to his family.
Chris’ wedding is Saturday in New Hampshire, and until then I’ll be working and then drinking good beer back in the North End. It’s good to be here, and it doesn’t feel like it’s been as long as it has. I ran into lots of people I know yesterday and this morning and everyone wanted to know how I’d been managing, how my father was, etc. Lots of warm fuzzy feelings to be had. We rekindled the old pizza night tradition last night and I saw all the children I’m buddies with from the hood. I came strapped with presents (stuffed kitties, a Canada pocket watch, maple fudge, etc.) so I was very popular very quickly. The wee ‘uns were also happy to be able to play Bass Assassin on my BlackBerry once again. I took some funny footage which I’ll edit together and post after I get home. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen the recently penned “Kitty Song” in all its glory.
Alright – back to work. It’s nice to be back in a proper office where you can actually see the people you work with everyday and I am going to take full advantage of the trip by making some serious operational changes while I am in town. We’re growing fast and we need more methodology and infrastructure. And Harpoon.
I got the results of my boat license test back today, and your boy Dave scored a whopping 94%. That’s 34 out of 36 questions correct. The questions I got wrong were “How do you properly dry a life jacket?” There were 4 photos to choose from a) a life jacket beside a radiator. b) a life jacket on a clothesline. c) a life jacket on a coat hanger and d) a life jacket in a dryer. I chose the clothesline, as that’s the way we do it here in Portland, but the correct answer was apparently the coat hanger. Yes, I am still scratching my head as well. But I think the O.P.P. will look the other way on that slip up.
The second incorrectly answered question was “Which one of these buoys means to watch out for swimmers?” The cartoons included the “Diver Down” flag made famous by the similarly titled Van Halen record, a white stick, a green buoy and a red buoy. Now, everyone knows the red and green ones are channel markers and the pure white one looked really unimpressive and not at all conducive to keeping kids from being turned into chum, so I went with Diver Lee Roth. After all… a diver underwater is a swimmer, right? Wrong. It turns out that the plain white is the one meant to protect human life on a bright sunny summer afternoon. Now I know, and knowing is ha… (bump) … what was that? It’d be easier to see if you painted it blue and chained it a foot under the surface.
Writing may be sporadic over the next week. If you’re a Boston-based friend, call my old number to get the new one from the voicemail message. Godspeed to myself, on land, sea and air.
I’ll be heading into Boston tomorrow at 3pm for the first time in quite a while, and obviously I’m beyond excited to see my friends, attend my buddy’s wedding and finally have a Harpoon IPA. Words cannot begin to describe how much I have missed this particular beverage, and I’ll likely be marinated in it like an over sized steak tip by the time I return to Canada. To say I miss Boston would be true, but not all that much to be totally honest. I’ll be back again in October for business and by the time the snow flies I’ll have likely had enough to last me through the winter. What I will miss is Thanksgiving at the infamous Red House in Concord – but what are you gonna do? It’s been sold and that last bastion of high-school hijinks is now ancient history. I’m sure the boys will come up with another bastion.
Today I am taking my father to the International Plowing Match in Crosby, Ontario. I went once when I was a tadpole and remember it being a big fair laid out like a town with streets of vendors hawking tractor toys and fried dough. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get my work done to ensure that I don’t have to miss the Queen of the Furrow Crowning Banquet later this evening. You can’t win if you don’t attend.
Allow me to continue to stump for Doris Kearns Goodwin as the next Red Sox Nation President. She has made it through the first round, hopefully with some help from a few of my readers, and the second stage of the contest relies entirely on traffic to her MLB Blog. So please, even if you don’t know Doris, myself, her husband or her children – take comfort in my remarkably enlightened wisdom and click here. Have a read of this Pulitzer Prize winning author’s very first blog posting and then send it around to your friends. Grass roots support, people. Grass roots.
Why are these degenerate animals gracing my site this afternoon? They're both old friends of mine, and I sincerely hope their latest venture gets them the attention they deserve. Particularly from the Special Victims Unit of the LAPD. They've been polluting the atmosphere together for so long now that their dialogue and riffing is a natural instinct. It flows and it's really, really funny. If you missed their brilliant turn two years ago hosting Me Myself and Irene – please enjoy their new area of expertise which is Fantasy Football, apparently. The image below is a screenshot which will take you to the video on Comedy.com – their embedding URL isn't working for me.
Fantasy Football has completely revolutionized the way husbands ignore their wives and Doug & Doug are here to completely revolutionize fantasy football with their unconventional wisdom. Join the dynamic duo for their inaugural 2007 Draft and get the picks that George Tenet called a "slam dunk."
Appetizer: When was the last time you visited a hospital?
I have been to my Grandmother’s nursing home many times over the summer which is quite like a hospital. In the last 12 months I’ve also broken and split my nose (December) and sliced my eyeball (June) so I’m no stranger to the real deal, either. Check back with me in a month when I’m due to have absentmindedly removed my right testicle with a dull soup spoon.
Soup: On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being highest, how ambitious are you?
I’m a 10 – in the sense that I want a jetski, I want an apartment in Toronto, I want a castle in Scotland – it’s doing anything about it that’s the problem. Like working in the middle of a weekday instead of writing in your blog, for a practical example.
Salad: Make a sentence using the letters of a body part.
Every afternoon Ronald drives ’round Underhill Moor, mullered.
Main Course: If you were to start a club, what would the subject matter and name be?
I have been invited by my dog breeder to join the Ottawa Boston Terrier club. I’m seriously considering it, and I reckon that will take up all of my free club time for the foreseeable future. But, if I must answer – You are welcome to visit my Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull group on FaceBook. And then to never speak to me again. I’ll understand.
Dessert: What color is the carpet/flooring in your home?
Way to cut right to the heart of my soul, quizzlet. It’s mostly light hardwood with a few throw rugs… thrown around for good measure. Our house is only 3 years old so it’s still rocking the lovely new planks we laid down when it was built.
“…this excellent little 7″ is just about the best thing Frank Black has released in the last decade.” www.boomkat.com
All the Threshold Apprehension reviews I read this morning, while mulling what I myself would throw down, said that the song is a “return to form” and very reminiscent of Frank’s work with the Pixies. Yes, he recorded his latest album under the moniker Black Francis as opposed to Frank Black. And yes, he utilizes his amazing screaming capabilities at a level not seen since Bailey’s Walk. Is this Charles Thompson’s version of a mid-life crisis, perhaps? He is 41 this year. Is dusting off the old nom de plume and wailing like a banshee akin to pulling into the driveway in a 2007 Mustang when the wife thinks you’ve been saving for a mini-van?
Threshold Apprehension, although released as a single, doesn’t have a traditional video to accompany it. I’ve posted a crazy live version below, and you should also check out this fan-made accompaniment if you want to hear what the studio version sounds like. I’d recommend that so you can share my sheer joy 57 seconds into the song when the single strum becomes a double and the tune all of a sudden makes me want to punch my accelerator. The part where he describes drinking Grand Marnier, snortin’ speed and then “doing 185 on the new Ring Road” doesn’t help either.
If you combine 80’s-era Pixies, 2004-era Pixies and Frank’s solo touring between 1993 and the present I have seen the man in concert 14 times – and I’ve never seen him put down his guitar except to pick up another one. I’m not sure what got into him at the performance above earlier this year in Toulouse, but I likey. Recently I decided to make a Frank Black “best of” playlist for my iTunes and as it sprawled to over 30 songs (he has released no less than 13 solo albums since the Pixies’ demise in 1992 – two of them doubles) I realized how much joy this unique and prolific songwriter has brought to my stereos over the course of my life so far. Actually, take a prolific songwriter and feed them bathtub meth through an IV for half a day, hook them up to a solar power generator and then maybe you’ve got something better resembling Frank.
Bluefinger, not to be confused with a Daniel Craig-era James Bond villain (hat tip to FrankBlack.net) was inspired as a whole by an obscure Dutch artist with whom Charles apparently feels quite an affinity. It’s his latest thematic focus in a long line of space aliens, cowboys, science fiction writers and fellow musicians and I just have to say – whatever works. Well done yet again, Mr. Thompson. Now get back on the treadmill so you can continue trying to impress the babysitter next time you drive her home in the ‘Stang.
A few weeks back I prattled on at length about why I’d decided to get a dog. The chewed up, slobber-covered ball is in play, as I visited the breeder at her home in Seeley’s Bay tonight and met the proud parents to be, Oscar and Pixie, in person.
Gord, Bonnie and Cousin Norma came along for the ride and we had a lovely time playing with the 6 Boston Terriers on site and meeting Megan and her family. After a quick sock puppet show from the kids we discussed why I wanted one of the next litter. I must have made a good impression because she emailed me later to tell me I was A-OK in their books and was officially on the coveted list. Pixie spent most of the visit sitting on my lap but made the rounds to make sure everyone got a celebratory lick. OK, 272 celebratory licks. She’s a licker.
Oscar is only 7 months old and already poised as Megan’s next big stud. She drove all the way to Michigan to get him and he apparently comes from famous stock as his grandfather was a well known show dog. So basically Shepherd is practically the Frank Sinatra Junior of the dog world and hasn’t even been conceived yet. You can check out more pictures and even a video if you’re so inclined. Damn, it’s going to be a long 4 months.
“In hard times, Americans have often turned to the Western to reset their compasses. In very hard times, it takes a very good Western.” – Roger Ebert on 3:10 to Yuma
When discussing quality contemporary westerns, it helps to start with one understanding on which everyone is usually in total agreement: There’s Unforgiven and then there’s everything else. That usually levels the playing field to allow for a more objective look at the Silverados, the Young Guns, the Quick and the Deads and the Tombstones. The new, new westerns however – basically anything after the year 2000, have been few and far between and many have lamented the demise of the genre.
The hope that “Open Range” seeded in me a few years ago was hammered home last night when I saw 3:10 to Yuma – The Western is not dead. Crowe’s warrior poet and Bale’s hard-luck veteran trade bullets, insults and eventually even smiles over miles of beautiful sets and scenery. The characters of the young son, the railway man, the Pinkerton and Crowe’s bloodthirsty second-in-command take the movie from good to great. It’s a tasty, complicated, human relationship study. Father/son, criminal/family man, husband/wife – there’s even a little one-sided Brokebackesque homoeroticism thrown in for good measure. Fans of the genre, the actors or both (or neither) can love this film. Couple all of that with the best movie poster I think I’ve ever seen (I just ordered it for the Winchester‘s wall) and you’ve got one happy chappy.
Ben Foster, made famous by his creepy turns in Six Feet Under and Hostage really impressed me as Ben Wade’s evil cohort, Charlie Prince. He always struck me as sort of a poor man’s Giovanni Ribisi – but he is outstanding in this film. He’ll definitely be pigeonholed as the go-to weirdo for the majority of his career, but he’ll be leading the pack of go-to weirdos. All psychopaths aside, judging from the increasing numbers of Westerns creeping into the Hollywood schedule I think our compasses will be well configured for a while. Even if they’ve become moral GPS systems.
As I’ve taken to making and editing videos since the purchase of my sick new camera, I thought a new category might be in order. Veekend Video will appear once a week on Saturday or Sunday and feature something original every time. In addition to the newer material I’ve been having fun with, I have also been ripping and digitizing all of my own home movies circa 1994 – 2000. After that, my analog camera broke and I lost interest. So basically – be very afraid if you hazily remember me wandering around a keg party with a cam 13 years ago. And, as it’s me we’re talking about here, you probably do.
This first installment, entitled “Some Guys Have It”, is a road trip my friend Nick and I took from Guelph to see my sister in Kingston in 1996. I edited it down mercilessly, as I promise never to submit you to long, boring private jokes. I have also added a WordPress plugin that lets you see the videos length (above the player window) before you start watching it – as it’s been my experience people are more likely to commit if they know it isn’t going to take 10 minutes to watch and another 30 to load. Another facet of the VVs will be that they’re at least sorta-potentially funny for everyone. In this case, Nick and I were so amped up to hit on my sister’s roomates and so certain that we’d “pull” the end results were… you’ll see. Nick’s line at the end makes me laugh to this day (even though I blatantly fed it to him):
I especially like this video because it’s a great little time capsule. You can hear STP and Underworld on Nick’s car stereo. I have to use a pay phone to call my sister and find her house. And wait until you see her frigging hair. Also, watch for the quick pan across Janet’s roomates sitting on the couch after we reach our destination. I don’t remember her name, but one of them is the spitting image of Marilu Henner, and I always enjoyed drooling over her during our short visits. In retrospect, probably why the visits were so short. “Yeah, so you guys should probably get driving.” Ah, hindsight.