From the monthly archives:

March 2008

This video from October 1999 has been gathering dust for a long time. Since everyone desperately needs to have their own obligatory one-time skydiving film, I figured it was high time to digitize it and share it with an appreciative world. I edited out all of the promotional material the skydive company weaved in (it was originally over 10 minutes) and dubbed over the original techno track with a little De La Soul. Enjoy my hard to hear but still brilliant one-liners like “See you on the ground”, “Mom and Dad all is forgiven” and my personal favorite, “See you in the next world”.

In closing, you haven’t lived until you’ve jumped out of a rickety prop aircraft at 12,000 feet with a 7-foot German tied to your back. This was a BrainGEM company trip, and Colin, Brian, Gus, Tanya and many others were with us. The wind was so bad on the Saturday that we all had to sleep over in tents on the airstrip and wait until the next day to jump. True to what I say in the video, we had been at the location in Lebanon Maine for over 24 hours before we finally got to pitch ourselves into the wild blue yonder.

One of the girls who jumped out of my plane (after me) was doing her first solo jump. After I landed we all watched in horror as she drifted off course and hit the side of a nearby house. Having partied with her the night before around a campfire with all of the professional divers, we were more than a little concerned. We were told she was OK and left shortly after without a second thought. The next day we learned (incorrectly) that she had been killed in the accident. While calling various places to get more details and figure out where to send flowers we finally figured out that the article we’d seen on a Maine website had been falsely reported. A very strange conclusion to a very strange weekend. I got the skydiving out of my system, but the bruises on my inner thighs from the parachute straps took over 2 months to fully fade my smile at the end of the video was forced and my descent to Earth was spent biting my lip, determined not to let the fact that my legs felt like they were being sawn off ruin the incredible view and experience. Guys as big as me were not meant to skydive.

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Fussen Thelens!

by Dave on March 28, 2008

in Travels

My good friends Jason and Cary have started their own travel blog with which they will be documenting a two-month trek through Europe. The writing and pictures are superb so far, and if you’ve been through the continent, or are thinking about it, I’d recommend having a read.

“So that leads us to Fussen……we got behind the wheel and made our way south this afternoon. We plan to spend the next few days visiting the castles and medieval villages in the area before heading to Ischgl, Austria for a week of skiing. I think we’re looking forward to the drive as much as we are to skiing – the Bavarian Alps and Tyrols should be stunning! We’ll be sure to update the blog and post more pictures in the next few days…..oh, and more on Fussen later…..what a great little town!”

Jealous much, Dave? Yes, I am. I think I should re-read the 24 Hour Work Week and start planning a few jaunts of my own. Godspeed in Germany, kids. And whatever you do, don’t mention the war.

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Appetizer: What does the color dark green make you think of?
It’s one of my favorites so let’s see. Pine trees. Felt Octoberfest hats. One of my pullovers. Will Ferrel’s costume in Elf. Planet Earth. ‘Green‘ as an ecology concept. Being outside. If you’d asked me about pink we’d have been here all morning.

Soup: How many cousins do you have?
First cousins include Kathy, Rick, Reiner, Erynn, Thomas, Alexandra and Christopher. My second cousins are Darius, Seth, Jakob and Callie. Cousins I am close to who fall under other classifications are Jodi, Judy, Brent, Ben, Carter, Ian, Tina and Melanie. So that’s 19 that we know about.

Salad: Do you play any instruments? If so, what?
I have two guitars, acoustic and electric, and I’ve been playing on and off since I was 15. A few months ago I took them to a music store in Kingston to have them both fixed up and restrung. They sound better than ever and I even bought a new Marshall amp to keep the house rocking with breathtaking song. Alas, everyone returned to said house early this year, bringing a sudden end to the magic. I’ll move my little rock fantasy out to the Winchester when it warms up and I’m even trying to buy Gooch’s drum kit because Janet wants to learn to play. Pyetridge Family, anyone?

Main Course: Name something that is truly free.
Salads at the Olive Garden. A brake inspection with every oil change. Buffalo wings on tuesday nights. What have I missed? Help me out in the comments.

Dessert: Using the letters in the word SPRING, write a sentence.
Soiled Puppies Run Inside, Grimy.

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Springtime for Puppies

by Dave on March 27, 2008

in Animalistic

It’s remotely possible that you have yet to grow tired of my puppy chatter. If that is the case then I think you’re really going to enjoy this video I recorded and spliced together last night from various clips of me walking Shepherd and Rhuby up to the top of Space mountain. That’s what I call our most treacherous driveway which has been the scene of many Dodge Chargers sliding off the road this winter. OK – the same Charger, many times. An aside: I love my car but I would have gone with a 4WD vehicle had I known what I was in for out here in the wilds.

The aforementioned road is losing its ‘bite’ as the snow melts, and now the only real headache it delivers is two muddy little puppies who enjoy long walks from start to finish. I decided to take them for a good run yesterday, as they were bouncing off the walls of my room as I worked and I thought a new video was also in order. They’ve grown quite a lot since the last one and I’m sure there’s at least a couple of curious parties out there still reading. Enjoy the muddy madness…


I absolutely hate to impose boring videos on my friends, family or readers so I always take the time to try to structure it a little bit and most importantly keep it short and funny. In the next 3.5 minutes you’ll hear music from Black Francis, Jerry Lee Lewis and Travis. You’ll see a funny dog burp, a frightened herd of deer and my two muddy buddies. There are even a couple of Steve Austin sound effects thrown in for good measure. Hope ya liked it and happy Thursday.

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“Svn Fngrs, seven songs, seven moments of brilliance. The true return of PixieFrank that the last album promised to be.”Brian Johnston.svn-fngrs

No, thank you – I didn’t mean to type “Frank Black”. Black Francis, Charles Thompson’s pre-Frank persona from the Pixies is back. Back, black and most certainly bitchin’. His new EP is called SVN FNGRS and I literally cannot stop playing it. I’m going to start forwarding Mr. Thompson all of the speeding tickets I’m liable to amass during my fixation with his latest master work – as they’re sure to be most numerable.

“He seems to have effortlessly spat out a really hip, really funky collection of tracks that, while only loosely adhering to the notion of a coherent album, forge an instant connection and then hang around to develop a lasting friendship. It’s hard to stay mad at you, Black Francis.”Tom Slater

The session which spawned this surprise gem of a mini-LP was supposed to see Charles recording a couple of B-Sides for another record already in the can. Ever the prolific songwriter, 7 songs ended up on the tapes and Cooking Vinyl thankfully decided the 6-day effort was worthy of it’s own release.

“He’s a quirky genius with a distinctive style, and Svn Fngrs is a glimpse into the sideshow circus of his mind – simultaneously fun and disturbing, and as compelling as a couple arguing about their sex-lives in a crowded restaurant.”Paul Raven

I was pleased to discover an official video for the lead single, I Sent Away, readily available on YouTube and here it is for your enjoyment. I am far more excited about Garbage Heap and The Seus but this song is still solid and comprehensively the EP makes me very happy. I’m sure my favorite song will change back and forth SVN times before my infatuation phase is over.


I absolutely love the speedy three chord progression that kicks off right away on I Sent Away and the harmonica at the end is just as grimy and wonderful. Edited and fimed by his wife the video is lively and manic – a far cry from Frank Black’s countryish albums of the last 4 years and more akin to the recent BlueFinger. But what really makes this release that of Black Francis as opposed to his alter-ego Mr. Black? It’s a little grittier, a little screamier, a little more Boston 1986 than Memphis 2002. A little bit of SlimFast and a dab of eyeliner. It’s a startling mid-career reinvention for the kidlings but a welcome return to form for the thirty-somethings. Thanks, Blackie F – and I hope you’ve sent a copy of this to Joey, Kim and David. It might get them thinking.

Earth-Shattering Update:

Live version of Garbage Heap.

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As my Cadbury Cream Egg hangover slowly wore off this morning I remembered a little news item I’ve been saving for the right moment. Perhaps I’ve just been hesitant as I thought talking about it might jinx this historic and amazing event in some cosmically unfortunate manner. Because it’s literally amazing in a ‘pull your balls out on the subway and sing Happy Days are Here Again’ sort of way. Here’s the rub: My wonderful sister got wind of an SCTV Reunion a couple of weeks ago, and before even telling me about it she’d procured two tickets to the event May 5th at their 51 Mercer Street location in Toronto.

sctv-reunion

“I am thrilled to have this wonderful collection of Second City alums come home and support their colleagues and friends who may be experiencing some difficulties in their life.”Andrew Alexander – Proprietor/Executive Producer

My inside (literally) source, whom I shall refer to as “magic 8 ball”, tells me that the charity event is to help Tony Rosato with his treatment and/or legal bills – it’s no secret that he is currently incarcerated at a mental hospital in Ontario. Although I’m sure he isn’t the only alumnus to fall on hard times, he’s certainly the most well known having been an original member of the SCTV troupe, and he also spent 2 seasons (1980 & 81) on Saturday Night Live as a writer and performer. Here he is performing a skit with Robin Duke in 1979 – who can forget Crazy Crafts with Molly Earl ?

Tony is and was a very funny man and for a while Lorne Michaels had very high, Belushi-esque, hopes for him. He apparently suffers from Capgras Syndrome which is a delusional belief that a friend or loved one’s body has been taken over by an imposter, Invasion of the Bodysnatchers style. It’s no joke, I wish him all the best and although I’m quite certain there are many who’d be happy to take my place now that the event is sold out – I’m very happy to be able to contribute to his cause. Here’s Tony with Eugene Levy doing Abbott and Costello, also from the early series #3.


As if simply being at an SCTV Reunion wasn’t enough, I was further gob smacked to learn that my dear old Sis sprung for the top tier tickets which get us into a private cocktail reception with the cast. So we’ll be having drinks and hobnobbing with the likes of Martin Short, Eugene Levy, Joe Flahrety, Dave Thomas, Catherine O’Hara and Andrea Martin. Colin Mochrie will also be performing and I imagine lots of other Canadian Comedians will be on hand to support the cause. Will I finally get to meet Aykroyd? Will Marty do Jackie Rogers Jr. for me? Will I be escorted out while howling loudly like Count Floyd? All signs point to “yes“.

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Monday’s Quotelet: Beelzebunny

by Dave on March 24, 2008

in

easter-bunny-from-hell
An external consultant finally figured out why attendance at the Mall’s Easter display was down for the third year in a row. You guessed it – stale Peeps.

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Do You Kids Remember the GoonBlog?

by Dave on March 21, 2008

in Sporty

It’s Friday, Janet and I actually have plans that involve other human beings our age who aren’t also related to us, and life is generally good. To top things off, I finished an article last night that left me feeling as though I’d just enjoyed the benefits of 17 consecutive Metamucil milkshakes. To put it a different way, I finished an article for a client that nearly killed me. But it’s done, it’s good, and I want to share.

GoonLogo175

The article version is up on GoonBlog.com – you remember the GB, right? It’s the hockey blog I maintain with my old friends from Concord – Killer and Detroit Velvet Smooth. If you’d like to see a top 10 list of the best NCAA Buzzer Beaters from the last sixty some odd years, have a look. Tis the season to go to a sports bar, eat two pounds of wings, order a bucket of Budweisers and get yourself thrown out for yelling obsceneties at people in the establishment who are rooting for Duke, after all.

If you use Digg, Stumble Upon, Mixx, Propeller or any of the other myriad of social media and voting sites – please give the article some love. You can even quickly send it out as a MySpace bulletin or Facebook post as I have added links to both options as a drop down at the end of the article. Bless your hearts and may the Easter Bunny bring you several Cadbury Cream Eggs – of which I know I’m not the only fan. I may, however, be the only fan who likes to crack them open with his mouth and then let the sugary schmeg drip down his chin and onto his chest. Inside voice, Dave.

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Appetizer: Given the choice, would you prefer to live in the country or in the city?
The country, as long as there is a city within reasonable driving distance. Here in the sleepy town of Portland I have Ottawa an hour and fifteen minutes to the West and Kingston forty-five minutes to the East. South I have the Big Rideau. North I have Yeti and Sasquatch. As I eluded – I like a mix.

Soup: Who is the cutest kid you know?
I can’t possibly answer this question in public. I know many of cute kids and many of their parents read this blog. Some of them are even related to me. I’ve been looking for an excuse to make a very important announcement, so I guess this is the best chance I’m gonna get. Pay attention: Christopher Walken is hosting Saturday Night Live this weekend.


Only Alec Baldwin is as consistently excellent a guest host. Oh wait, I just checked NBC.com and they’re re-running the Tina Fey episode from last month. Damn – must have been a last minute pull out like when Janet Jackson was replaced by Mariah last week. I’ve been watching all of the current season, as I always do, and let me tell you something. Remember you heard it here first, kids – SNL is funny again. Samberg, Hader and especially Kristen Wiig are pulling the show from the jaws of death. Amy Poehler and Fred Armisen have done their parts too. Last week’s episode which starred Jonah Hill was basically the Kristen Wiig show. She carried no less than 3 solid skits all by herself. In only 2.5 years she has established more recurring characters than most cast members ever manage. My favorite being the Target Lady which you can see above. If I hear one more person say “Well, I hear SNL isn’t funny anymore” who can not go on to name even one of the newer cast members… I will summarily beat them to death with a land shark.

Salad: Fill in the blank: I couldn’t believe it when I heard ___________.
DMX didn’t know who Barack Obama is.

Main Course: If you could star in a commercial for one of your favorite products, which one would you want to advertise?
I gave it some air time in my Greek recipe segment from earlier this week, but I’ve got to give some more props to my T-Fal indoor grill. That’s what I call it anyway. Officially it is known as the Excelio Comfort, and I’m a big fan. I decided to buy it because everytime we want to grill something on the BBQ my father gets involved and it turns into a mess. It’s one of his dementia-related fixations. As you can imagine, we don’t want him playing with fire. This way, we can grill things quietly in the kitchen and he never has to take his eyes off The Quiet Man.

Dessert: What type of vitamins or supplements do you take on a regular basis?
I take Emergen-C every morning. I currently have a box of orange and a box of tangerine which Lauren was nice enough to send me up from Boston for my birthday. It’s the Mom in her, no doubt. It’s tasty, delightfully sparkly and contains all kinds of things I’m not getting from poutine. The first person to ever give me E-C to try was my friend Bridget way back in 1999. You probably remember her as the alarmed and beautiful nutritionist in Super Size Me. What better a person to make the introduction. Although back then I think she was far more concerned about my McBeer intake then anything else.

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About 5 years ago, WFNX polled the city of Boston and asked them what their favorite home cooked Beantown rock song was. Now that is a tough question (italics used for dramatic effect), but the people rose to the occasion and voted “All Going Out Together” by Big Dipper as their undisputed #1. Think about that for a second, because Boston’s bred indy bands like the Pixies, Throwing Muses, Mission of Burma, etc. and being chosen as the top song EVAH is testament to the band’s legacy within the town of beans. My friends and I have been listening to the Dipper since high school, we know some of them personally and one of us is even acting as a roadie at their reunion show at the Middle East on April 26th. I’m playing with the idea of flying down for this as I’d most certainly be backstage and most certainly be the happiest kid on the planet and possibly even the Milky Way.

big-dipper-boston

I’ve seen a lot of bands play at the Middle East over the years – Breeders, The The, Jonathan Richman, Grooveasaurus, Gord Downie, Luna – and it’s a wonderful location to see a show. It was an even better location when my friend Adam worked the bar there and used to slide me Harpoons and get me gooned just for showing up. My point is, what a great choice for the Big Dipper Reunion. I like the Paradise and everything, where it was first rumored to be happening, but my preference is that slice of Heaven in Central Square. And not (there’s that emphasis again) spending an hour on the Green Line to the wilderness of BU and Comm Ave.

There’s a band of questionable repute called Built to Spill who released a popular song called “Big Dipper” a few years back, and boy do I ever wish they’d chosen a different name for the tune. It’s all you ever see online when running searches for my beloved Boston band. I did manage to find one proper video, for “Faith Healer“, and two live clips from a show at the Ritz in New York City circa 1987 – “Younger Bums” and “Lunar Module” which are both off the same album as “All Going Out…” so we’ll go with those.


If you remotely enjoyed the video then check out the MP3 for the vastly superior ditty She’s Fetching (hosted by Merge Records and fully downloadable by right-clicking) which is definitely in my Dipper top 3. She’s also got the skankiest little guitar riff you’ve ever heard. “Fetching” is still part of my vocabulary today as a direct result of listening to this song on the Sony Sport boombox I had plugged into the cigarette lighter in my ’78 Chevy Malibu station wagon driving around Concord at 16 years of age. Blaupunkt eat your heart out.

Their catalog has been unreleased and heavily sought after for years, but Heavens, Boo Boo, Craps and are finally being re-released. They are also heavily promoting the 48 track greatest hits/anthology, Supercluster, via a MySpace profile and other online viral means. I was happy to see my very favorite Dipper song, Ron Klaus Wrecked his House, available to add to your profile and I have just done so. Click here to grab Supercluster: The Big Dipper Anthology from Amazon.

I have also uploaded the MP3 to my server as a special gift for you today – and I implore you to download it and see what you think. It’s a great song with gritty indy guitars, crashing drums, a complex baseline and a vocal harmony which is probably still hurts Gary Waleik’s throat 20 years on. If the style and theme of this song doesn’t remind you of college while also impressing you with its catchiness, then you probably never went to college. Or graduated high school, for that matter. For the love of God and all that is holy, listen to your old pal Dave, get your GED and do yourself a favor: Ron Klaus Wrecked his House. Glad to have you back, boys.

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As we divvy up duties around the house, I’ve offered to retain my summer Tuesday slot for cooking dinner. One night a week isn’t going to get me past St. Peter, but Janet enjoys cooking immensely and my mother can pick up the slack one or two nights a week. Plus, if I’m only assigned the one night I’m far less likely to simply throw frozen Pogos in the oven. I might actually try do do something special for my brood.

Why not make it a regular feature here on PITF, methinks? I’m not afraid to cook, which I believe is the first big step. Once you get over a general fear of fire or belief that you’re just incapable – it’s really very fun. It doesn’t always turn out as you’d hoped, but several summers of my youth spent working in kitchens has left me fearless and in possession of a reasonable skill base – so I’m going to have a good time with it, make the family happy and expand my limited repertoire at the same time. That’s how it reads on paper, anyway.

I’ll get an idea, I’ll search for the easiest best recipe I can find online and then I’ll just feckin’ give ‘er. Kind of like Jamie Oliver without all of the positive outlook on life.

As I venture into this new hobby-realm-pursuit, I’ll bring you right along with me via recipes I use, photos and maybe even the odd video. We’re debuting with a Greek Extravaganza because I just peeked inside the fridge and there’s a whack of lambchops thawed and ready to roll. I also noticed a tub of Costco feta and even a big tub of Tzatziki hanging around in there. I will be attempting the following:

The recipes I’m using are linked above if applicable, and I’ll be back to update you on the carnage later this evening. I have to marinate the chops for two hours so I’d best get a move on as it’s 4:30 and I don’t want any TV remotes thrown at my head this evening.

IMG 1624

It’s now 9:30 in the pm and I’m happy to report that the meal went very well. Comments included “Wow, I’m impressed,” and even “This lamb is cooked perfectly“. For the loin chops I diced garlic and threw it in a big bowl with red wine, balsamic, olive oil, salt, pepper and oregano, tossed the chops and then put them and the rest of the tasty sludge into a Ziploc and they then marinated in the fridge for 3 hours. My handy T-Fal indoor grill was red hot when I threw them on, 5 minutes a side, and then flashed them in the oven for 2 minutes so that the feta cheese and diced Kalamaata I added after the second grill flip would melt and bind to the top.

The roast potatoes were sliced lengthwise into quarters, tossed in a mixture of lemon juice, salt, pepper olive oil, oregano and water before being baked for an hour on a deep broiler pan. 480 until the water boiled and then down to 350 for the rest of the time. They were tender and tasted almost exactly like the roast spuds you get at Greek restaurants. Tasty, buddy.

The salad was… a Greek salad. It was quite green. Nothing startling to report there. To round out the culinary delight about to befall my family I grilled a piece of flatbread in garlic butter, sliced it into narrow triangles and placed three on each plate with a nice dollop of store bought Tzatziki on top. The final ensemble looked something like this…

IMG 1628

Highlights

  • When the smoke cleared, it was a very tasty dish, reasonably authentic with fresh ingredients and it pleased the crowd.
  • The indoor grill continues to amaze me. It also has a griddle plate you can swap out which makes great grilled cheese and pancakes. Albeit rarely together.
  • Greek food isn’t as hard to prepare as I thought it was. Lamb is a drop in the bucket, but that fear wall has been broken down and I’ll now be able to tackle something really tricky, like Mousakka.
  • Because I needed red wine for the marinade it gave me an excuse to open some on a Tuesday night.

Lowlights

  • From prep to cooking to cleanup this project took me over 3 hours. That’s three hours for a meal that was finished in about 20 minutes. Yes, I enjoyed it but I certainly wouldn’t want to do this more than once a week.
  • The potatoes weren’t overcooked but stuck to the bottom of the pan and had to be carefully removed to keep them intact. I should have turned them more often.
  • The little lamb loinlet thingys were very small and I’d like to try this with a proper chop next time around.

The mouthwatering lambchop photos are up for all to see, and again the recipes are linked further up the page. If you’ve ever tried to prepare this, or a similar, tasty treat please leave any additions or advice in the comments. And if you’ll excuse me I’m sure there are still 15 plates left to clean somewhere in this house.

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Monday’s Quotelet: Kiss Me, I’m Irish

by Dave on March 17, 2008

in

Shane McGowan
Shane was prone to hiding whenever the rest of the boys on the tour bus would misplace their bottle opener.

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A Longing Nod to the Auld Sod

by Dave on March 17, 2008

in

To be in Boston on St. Patrick’s Day would have been very nice indeed. As it stands, I’m in Portland Ontario with narry a beer in the house. Times change, quite often for the better. The novelty of working the door at Tiernan’s would have worn off after an hour, and I certainly won’t miss the hangover stemming from staff drinks until 7am tomorrow. So what’s a part-Mick apart from civilization to do on this holiest of days? Here’s how I rolled.

  • Put shamrock dog collar covers on Shep and Rhuby. I know that sounds sad, but you have to believe me when I tell you we had them handy.
  • Listen to the oldest Pogues record I have, Red Roses for Me, several times during the course of the day.
  • Re-read my St. Paddy’s Day post from back in 2005 which still makes me giggle.
  • Planning to watch State of Grace tonight.
  • Hitting Kingston on Friday, which has quite the Irish population, for a “better late than never” two-fisted liquorfest. Do they ever play McGowan at The Merchant?
  • Will base today’s quotelet solely on McGowan’s teeth.
  • Watched the videos I took at the Pogues show in Boston in 2006. Dig my singing:

There, that feels a little better already. Get yourselves liquored up and tight, start a fight over a perceived slight and listen to Dirty Old Town late into the night. Sláinte.

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The official and just-released poster for this summer’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull follows the old-school painting style of movie marketing that was so prevalent in the 80s but has since dwindled out in favor of brash graphics, digital photography and Kiera Knightly’s side-boob. This poster could easily be hanging over the drive-in snack bar beside that of The Empire Strikes Back. Well done to Paramount and the filmmakers for staying true to the style of the first three films, yet again.

crystal-skull-official-poster
And don’t forget to visit my Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull Squidoo lens where I’ve aggregated all of the best RSS feeds related to Indy 4 news in one easy to read location. May 22nd draws ever closer, and perhaps I’ll once again be permitted to kiss a girl on the 23rd!

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Appetizer: On a scale of 1-10 how much do you like your own handwriting?
The only time I write in script / cursive is when I’m signing my name. The rest of the time I write in this all caps printing style and I really don’t know where it came from or when it started. It’s almost graffiti-esque and I can’t say I’m too proud of it. I’ve always held pens in a funny way which cramps up and eventually begins to hurt my hand after too long. As a result, in grade school they gave me a triangular rubber pad to pull over my pencil. Why did that just turn me on a little bit?

Soup: Do you prefer baths or showers?
I don’t think I’ve had a bath in about 20 years. Unless we’re talking about a more naughty sort of bath for naughty bath purposes. For daily maintenance I’m a shower person all the way. This came up just last night, actually. The lake house has 3 bathrooms, 2 showers and no bathtubs. Janet is beside herself and I think one of the summer projects for 2008 will be putting one in if she has anything to say about it. Or wants to pay for it. I still have a lot of work left to do on the Winchester, and the only bath-type-thingy I’m interested in installing is a hot tub on the back deck. Oh yes… Jim and I are already talking about the schematics. That came out wrong.

Salad: What was the last bad movie you watched?
You know me – “bad movie” is a very relative term. Do you mean a guilty pleasure that is admittedly bad yet I still enjoy it immensely? Or a flick I simply can’t get behind no matter how hard I might try? Jason, Amy and Marj are coming up this weekend, so I’ve been waiting till then to watch my newly acquired copy of Semi-Pro. It’s no Citizen Kane but I’m sure I’ll lap it up. For the other side of the coin I’ll mention Altered States. I love William Hurt and I picked this DVD up in the bargain bin at a local supermarket recently for $4.99. It wasn’t half as good as I remember it but I think that’s more accurately categorized as a bad movie that I actually concede is a bad movie.

Main Course: Name something you are addicted to. How does it affect your life?
I think this is probably a fairly popular answer, especially among people like me who are obviously in deep denial, but the only thing I think I’m truly addicted to is music. And it affects my life in a very positive way. It will change a mood, evoke a memory, make a long drive more bearable… I had a long haul to Ottawa and back earlier this week, for example. When I hit Roger Stevens and realized I still had at least another hour before I made it home I sighed like a sissy, having already spent close to 3 hours in the car. Then the best driving song in human history shuffled onto my iPod and there was no where I’d have rather been than behind the wheel of the HMS Pye.

Dessert: Which instrument is your favorite to listen to?
Bagpipes, and there’s nee a wee debate needed there, laddie. My maternal Grandfather, Jimmy Smith, was from Wishaw and I first heard the lovely sound growing up when I’d go to visit him. The pipes are very, very difficult to learn to play and are almost primative in form and function – but there are fewer more beautiful sonic events on planet Earth. I will miss being in Boston this Monday, where I would have undoubtedly been standing in The Field when the Police Pipers come in as I have been on St. Paddy’s past. By the end of their set there’s narry a dry eye in the house.

I think that’s why I’ve always loved Big Country so much. Long before he hung himself in a Hawaii hotel room, Stuart Adamson could make his guitar sound like a set of bagpipes wailing away on a moor somewhere. Like a banshee predicting his sad end, perhaps. The clip I’ve included above is a great example of his extremely unique Scottish style. Listen to just the first 33 seconds to see what I mean, if you so desire. Actually, forget the banshee. The red bandana tied around his neck is probably better foreshadowing.

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