Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Spicing up the old Blog ... though not yet

I've been using freestats for the last month or so and during these past two weeks, no one has been visiting the Blog. Twice I've received upwards of 70 hits in one day and kept a consistent hit count of 40 for a few weeks. But, now it's down to the low 20s.

I can't figure out why, so I'm going to have to retool and I'm moving this web site to Brookline, Massachusetts AKA "Fun Town USA!"

Tonight is going to be my last night in Somerville. The last night I get to sleep in my misshapen room, with it's nooks, crannies and mice. I'm a little sad that this is the end of my time here. When I moved in two years ago, things were a lot different, I dispised my job as an editor, I had recently been dumped and life was just one depressing day after an other.

Now things are looking up, I don't completely hate my job (though it has been getting really busy lately) and I'm about six months away from getting married. The last two years have seen a lot of changes in my life, but one thing was consistent: 162 Central St., Apt. 2 in Somerville.

The time is right to move though. I'm really getting sick of driving everywhere and living out of a bag and it's time to move in with Aly. It just feels right. That being said, I'm going to miss Andrew and Eddie, who were great roommates. But I won't miss Josh. He was an ok guy, but I never really connected with him. I don't think it was a lack of trying on my part, he's just very content being himself and doing his thing and not really giving a shit about the world that revolves around him.

I was bored last night so I tried to go through my old roommates:

Freshman year: Scott Mooney
Sophomore year: Chris Aprile, Bob Shaw, Jim Lawlor
Junior year: Shaw, Lawlor, Mooney
Senior year: Mike "Archie" Kane, Dan Reid, Matt Fitzpatrick, Skaus
Winthrop: Reid, Jamie Chamberland
Danvers: Scott Maglio, Melissa (I can't remember her last name)
Wakefield: Neil, Drew (no idea their last names)
Somerville: Andrew, Eddie, Josh, Mark Bowles

Including Jay and Aly, who will probably be my last roommate ever, I've had 19 roommates. Coincidence? I think not. Lots of different people that I'm glad I've met. Rooming with people can be the best thing that happened to a friendship or the absolute worst. There a few people on that list whom are great people but I'd never live with them even for a weekend trip.

Basically, I'm putting off packing for a little bit ... I hate doing it, though I obviously have to at some point.

Hunter S. Thompson committed suicide on Sunday night. I'm not a die-hard HST guy, but I was sad when I read the news. I'm a big fan of the two books of his that I read, "The Rum Diaries" and "Hell's Angels", not to mention his Page 2 stuff. He was a unique and gifted writer, one that will be missed. He didn't bullshit and didn't like bullshiters, calling everything like he saw it.

When people were falling over themselves talking about what a great guy Richard Nixon was when he died, Thompson said that he was a pig (more or less). Just lambasted him. I admire him for his stand. BTW here is a link to all of HST's Page 2 columns (not sure how long this will last)"

Hunter S. Thompson stuff

The person that turned me on to HST was my friend Tom Abrams. He was one of the most learned and well-read guy I've ever met, Tom was. I worked with him when I was at the Revere Journal, he worked for the East Boston Tribune. He went to American University (like Aly, though he didn't know her) and this dude just read and read and read, and he had a mind like a steal trap.

When he and his girlfriend (now wife) went off to discover America, they loaded up a van and just drove around for a summer, I didn't see him for about three months. Then we reconnected when I moved to Danvers and he moved to Peabody. We'd hit the gym, play hoops, smoke dope, study for the teacher's test and just talk about literature and shit. I haven't seen him in over a year.

He and Ingrid got married last year, I was invited, but didn't go. I wish I went because I miss the guy. It's weird how the death of one person you've never met can remind you of a friend that you do know, but aren't in contact with. Maybe I'll email him once I get settled.


Monday, February 21, 2005

The rest of the long weekend

So the last time I left you, I was about ready to drop the keyboard and pick up the pencil and start drawing. I was detoured by an opportunity. I went to SOSH and found that there was a thread on a secret number to call for Sox/Yanks tickets ... which includes Opening Day.

I've been wanting to go to this game since Keith Foluke flipped the ball to Eye Chart (I can't spell Mienkevitch) for the last out of Game Four. Especially since it's the Yanks. So, I spent about 15 minutes trying to get seats and on my last try (which is a stupid thing to say, because why would I try again) I got tickets. There probably the worst seats in the house, but I don't care. I got four duckets for April 11. I can not wait to go.

However, giving away those seats is hard. Well, the first two weren't, they went to Ryan and Skaus. The last one was a bit more tricky. I was thinking about giving it to Aly, but she's a Yankee fan and it's going to be in April and she would not like to be there. So, I called up my mother to tell her that I got some seats. All of a sudden she said, "Sure, I'll go!" I was like, "Uh, what?" So I guess she's going.

Originally, I was thinking of Nick or Brownie or Jay, but my mom is going. In one way I'm glad, because she was the person who introduced me to baseball and she was one of the happiest people I spoke to last October. On the other hand, I'm going to be in the bleachers with two of my buddies and my mom. I told her what was going to happen that day, probably drink beers at my place, then go out to a few bars, watch the game and then go out after. I asked her if she really wanted to do this, she told me she'd think about it.

Her friend Joanne may get better seats, so hopefully that'll pan out.

Saturday night Aly and I went out with Reddish and the Connollys (that would be a pretty cool name for a band, BTW). We went to the Village Smoke House. The food was awesome, I got the Texas-sized baby back ribs, but the service was terrible. Beyond poor. The waitress was arrogant, forgot to bring us food and when we told her about it, she ignored us. So we left her 10% for a tip. A complete slap in the face, but she was awful.

After that we made our way over to Matt Murphy's Pub. I love that place, such an authentic Irish bar. Anyway, it was packed. We had a couple of beers than left. Jim and Sara left before that, so Reddish, Aly and I went back to Aly's place and drank some more. Jim offered to borrow his brother's truck on Saturday to help us move, which is going to be a huge help.

We got back to Al's around 11:00 or so and we drank just about everything in the apartment. It was great because Reddish is one of the easiest people to talk to mainly because he has his opinion, but doesn't knock you over the head with it also he doesn't make you feel like crap for spouting off your opinion. And another thing that's pretty cool about him (besides being a loyal 19Thoughts reader)is that he gets a lot of the stuff that I'm into, especially television and pop culture, so it's not a chore to talk to him about stuff.

The one problem that has happened over the past few years is that I've been losing contact with some of my college friends. Because of work obligations and other things, I haven't been talking with Reddish as much as I used to and it sucks ... I'm pretty bummed about it. He said he was thinking about getting a place in Brookline, which would be awesome. We could hang out a bit more.

Sunday we woke up and I was busted. I felt like complete shit, cotton mouthed, logey, slow, unresponsive ... yup, I was hungover. Aly and I hung out in Brookline for a bit, but we had to go to Franklin to watch Murphy. By the time I got to her folk's house, I was feeling even worse, so I puked and felt much better. We just kicked around for the rest of the day and went out to dinner around 5:00.

For one of the first times in my life, I couldn't eat. I ordered dinner, but I had them pack it up as a leftover, though I'm not sure that's what you could call it, since I had one bite. Then we went to the movies where we saw, "Sideways". Great flick.

Paul Giamati and Thomas Hayden Church (the guy who played Lowell on "Wings") were a couple of buddies who go on a white tour of central California. There they realize a bunch of stuff and a lesson or two is learned. It's really much better than this, but I hate giving away too much in the movie.

The way I looked at it was this: it's a great buddy/road trip picture that isn't too slapstick. There are a ton of funny stuff and a bunch of well written, well acted and well shot scenes. Do yourself a favor and see this movie, it's truly one of the better flicks of the last year or so.

Monday we spent most of the day packing stuff for our imminent move to Brookline on Saturday. We have a lot of crap to bring to our new place ... it's going to suck moving. I absolutely hate moving. I am trying to think myself past it, but it's going to be a lot of work.

Monday evening we went to Lauren and Bob's place for dinner. We had a pork roast, some potatoes and DelMonte peas (my favorite). It was great. I like hanging out with Bob and Lauren, we always have a good time. Lauren had to listen to us crab about the grocery store (another thing I hate) and suggested that we start using Pea Pod, which is a grocery delivery service. I think we may have to do just that.

BTW, if you've been reading the tabloids, you're undoubtedly aware that Paris Hilton got her Blackberry hacked into and there were a lot of celebrities' phone numbers available. From SoSH, here is that link:

Be a star fucker!

Also, in other SoSH news, a poster over there by the name of Eric Van has been hired by the Red Sox as a stat guy. Though I've had a couple of arguments with him in the past year or so and I find his way of boiling everything into numbers a way of dragging the fun out of baseball, I have to hand it to the guy. He's living the dream. Congratulations to him.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Too many books

Today, I started to pack for the big move next weekend. I have already filled up five large produce boxes with books. Why do I have all of these books?

Obviously I enjoy reading. However, I think that the bigger issue is that I have an insane fear of forgetting stuff. I'm not sure whether I'm going to be walking down the street one day and just start forgetting trivial shit. Supposedly having these books around will allow me to look up anything that I potentially forget.

If I ever got Alzheimer's Disease, I swear that I would probably kill myself. I used to have an Uncle Pat who slowly went through a dementia that would keep him up at nights crying because he couldn't remember who his third grade music teacher was (mine, BTW, was Mrs. Azeile (Ay-zeal-ay) ... I don't know how to spell her name). Apparently, he would start calling people at like 2 am asking, begging, them for the answer.

Nine times out of ten, they couldn't help him and they would either tell him to go to bed or they'd lie. But Pat was lucid enough that he would know that they were lying to him and that would make him cry even more. The strange thing was this guy wasn't crazy or anything. His memory started going and it literally drove him insane, and as the days melted into years, he completely lost it.

My mom told me about this when I was younger (he was actually my great uncle) and it became sort of a joke around our house when we couldn't remember stuff, "Who are you Uncle Pat?" But it seems that it made a huge subliminal impact on me, mainly because I can actually picture him in his bed thrashing around, trying desperately to search his brain for a name that will never come. I couldn't handle that. No way in hell.

Aside from packing up some stuff, not much is really going on. I plan to start my fourth cartoon after I get done with this entry, then Aly and I are going out to dinner with the Connollys and Reddish. I'm looking forward to this because I haven't seen those three guys in a long time ... more than six weeks for Reddish and it's been at least two months since we were at Jim and Sara's house.

They're all coming down to Aly's place and we're going to have a few drinks there before we go to the Village Smokehouse. After that we'll end up at Matt Murphy's for a few beers. We ended up there on Tuesday night for dinner with two of Aly's friends, Brian and Karen. I ended up having the Sheppard's pie, which wasn't as good a the Burren's, but it wasn't too bad.

Last night, we did nothing except go to Franklin to dog sit. By the time we got down there we grabbed some grub at the Rome (which is a kick-ass restaurant) and watched most of "Goodfellas". I love that movie, though I haven't seen it in a while.

I forgot to tell you about this, Aly got me a kick-ass Valentine's Gift, the book: "Jim Morrison: Life, Death, Legend" by Stephen Davis, who also wrote the Led Zeppelin tome: "Hammer of the Gods". That's one of my favorite rock biographies. I started reading it yesterday and so far, so good.

Thursday I finished another Manasso gift. This one was from Aly's brother John and it was "Fall River Dreams" by Bill Reynolds. This was a tremendous book, probably one of the better sports books that I've ever read. Basically, Reynolds spends an entire year with the Durfee High School (which is in Fall River) basketball team during the 1993-94 season.

The star of the team is a young (he was a junior) Chris Herren who ended up playing for Boston College before moving over to Fresno State. From there he went to the NBA, but because of bad choices (drugs, mostly) he was washed out within three years. However, this books paints a picture of Herren before all of his troubles began.

Reynolds does a great job of tying the fortunes of the basketball team to the pride that this depressed city has. When the team is doing well, despite the abject poverty most of its citizens face, the city is alive. Even though the book is set 10 years ago, the way that the city comes to the games and supports the boys remind me of "Hoosiers" or the high school stories that older people talk about from when they were kids.

It's almost as if the town stops for two hours while the game happens. Reynolds could've taken the easy way out and simply have written about the team and the players, but there is a lot of Fall River (and Lizzie Borden) history interwoven through out the tome. Another interesting thing is that one of the main characters, Jeff Caron, went to Merrimack and played on the hoop team during my Senior year. When I read his name I thought to myself that the name sounded familiar. In the epilogue it revealed what happened to the stars and that's when my suspicions were confirmed.

The one negative part of the book was that the editing wasn't very good. Misspellings, grammar syntax errors pop up through the book. It's not Reynolds' fault, but it was a tad annoying. I would give it four Mayor McCheeses.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Steroids? Is 19Thoughts on STEROIDS???

No. Unfortunately it is not. Thought it has been pumped up a bit.

See these two guys:

When I was a kid I worshiped these two guys, aside from Bo Jackson, Cam Neely and Michael Jordan, they were my favorite athletes. Over the last few weeks it has come to my attention that these two dudes (Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire) were hopped up on steroids for most of their careers.

Naturally, a lot of people are pissed about the alegations that Canseco raises in his new memoir, which is cleverly titled "Juiced". He said that baseball is full of roid heads and he should know because he has pretty much introduced everyone to the growth drug.

Controversy isn't the word for it, people are screaming about taking away past MVP awards, adding asterisks to every record broken in the last 15 years and drawing and quartering everyone that has put on even a pound of muscle since 1989. Normally, I would think that this was a huge over reaction, but in this case, I agree.

People love baseball. They put their faith and trust in the sport. Even when the idiots who run the game fuck it up, people always take baseball back. Why? Because it's a game that is hard to cheat at. Sure you can scuff up a ball, cork your bat, but other than that it's a pretty fair and square sport. Canseco and his band of freaks found a way to pull the wool over everyone's eyes.

And as much as people love baseball, they love homers more. When Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine said, "Chicks dig the longball" in that Nike comercial a few years ago, they weren't kidding. But it's not just chicks, it's dudes too. We are all in love with the home run.

I'm sure this story has happened to everyone once in their life, we've all been dicked over by someone that wasn't what we thought. For example, in college I fell head over heals for a chick who I thought was the most perfect girl ever. In my mind's eye I had built her up as the hottest, smartest, funniest and most pure girl ever. I respected the shit out of her.

We went out once, hung out a few other times and nothing happened (more my fault because I really liked her and didn't want to screw it up by being too forward). She got bored, which is the natural reaction, and she never talked to me again. As the weeks went by I found out more and more about this girl. She wasn't the pure, virginal chick that I thought she was. She was a fucking slut. She nailed half the school.

I was pissed because I thought she was lying to me. But the thing about my thinking was, and it's not something I realized until many years later, the signs about the way she really was were there however I was just too dumb to notice. That's how the baseball public feels right now, they feel like I did.

For over a decade these guys have been growing bigger and bigger and bigger and have been absolutely crushing balls into orbit. Yet, we just make excuses like, "These athletes train year round" or "They eat better" or "They use andro." Bullshit, they've been doing some real shitty stuff right under our noses, but we didn't want to notice.

Now we get pissed when they tell us that they've been cheating. If there's anybody we should be mad it, it' ourselves. We allowed ourselves to fall in love with an idea of a purity that had zero evidence of being pure. We were wrong and who likes to be wrong?

I had a bunch of other stuff to write, but I can't remember what I was going to say ... hopefully I'll remember the next time.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

WOW! What a Wicked Weird Wednesday!

Seriously? No. Nothing much has really happened since I last wrote, which was on Monday, I believe. I just like illiteration and there aren't too many times that you can pull that off with W's.

Tonight I decided to spend some time over my parents' house. I had a few loads of laundry to do, so I've been doing that all night. I know what you're thinking, that is fucking fascinating, please tell me more. Ok, I will. When I was folding my clothes, I discovered that I probably have one of the most strange habits ever. It has to do with my underwear, I will not stack the same pattern of undergarmet or the same pairs of boxers that I know that I've bought at the same time, back to back.

In other words, if there are two pairs of polka-dot undies, I need another pair to act as a buffer ... like a pair of stripes. And say I bought three pairs of boxers at the Gap one day, aside from the first three days of wearing those pieces of clothing, I will not consciously place them next to each other ever again.

As I was doing this, I tried to think of the genesis of this insane fixation that I have. I've come to the conclusion that while no one, with the possible exception of Aly, sees me in my boxers, I still think that someone may see me wear the same type of undies and chastise me for (what they perceive) as me wearing the same pair two days in a row.

Strange, I know, but there is no other way of explaining it ... though there is that theory that I've been kicking around that I'm screwier than a shit house rat, but that hasn't been proven yet. Or has it?

In other non-underwear news, Aly and I are signed, sealed and delivered to our new place. We move next weekend, so if anyone wants to help, you know my email address. We originally wanted to move in this weekend, but Pauline (who is the liason between us the landlord) said that they wanted to redo the floors.

That's awesome news, because they really looked like shit. We asked them to redo them last week and they said they would, for an extra $100 a month in rent. We told them to pound sand. BTW, that's a really funny expression, and we didn't really tell them that, we actually said, "No thank you." But, they're doing it for free anyway.

The strange thing about tonight, is that it's probably my last night ever staying at my house in Amesbury after work. Not like I do it every week or something, but I do it maybe once a month. It's sort of nice to get the old inflatable bed and sleep in the room that you spent almost 20 years of your life in and has since been turned into an office.

The funniest thing was on the day that I moved to Somerville about two years ago, I had everything on Central Street, but I forgot something. I flew back home (I wasn't even gone for five hours) and my dad had moved all his shit in MY room and erased every last vistage of who I was. That dude wastes no time, I guess.

It was sort of shocking because I always felt that my room would always be the way I had it ... sort of a museum to me. That's not the way it was though. And now that I think about it, I can't blame them. It's not like my father is Aaron Spelling and we live in a 100-room mansion. My parents' house has eight rooms (including a bathroom), why would you keep a bunch of crap on a wall that was considered tacky 15 years ago?

My boss has been going like crazy this past week. She's running around at a million miles an hour at all times of the day, and she's a stress case. I have no idea why, but I'm trying to stay the fuck out of her way. Even though I got an awesome review last week, in the back of my mind I'm waiting for her to call my in her office and bitch me out.

I don't know why, I've settled in quite well at my job, I know what's going on ... more importantly, I'm on top of shit, but there's that nagging suspicion that I have the Sword of Damocles hanging over my head just waiting to drop. I remember when Ryan and I worked together at the Journal, I told him that I work better when I'm paranoid.

At the time, I thought I was joking, but it's true. When I think I'm in trouble, I work better. It sucks though, because when I'm paranoid, I'm obviously nervous and that makes my stomach feel like shit. Apparently, have to feel like shit in order to succeed. Like Rye said when I told him that, "Paranoia will destroy ya."

I almost punched him in the face for that, but then I thought that my boss might be watching and got right back to work.

So my brother got his wisdom teeth out yesterday. He said it wasn't too bad though the right side of his face is swollen like a balloon. He was in the dentist's chair for no more than 20 minutes. And he didn't seem to be in a lot of pain when I saw him today.

When I got my wisdom teeth pulled, I was about 19-years-old and they were really impacted I guess. I went to the hospital and they knocked me the fuck out. The first thing I remembered was waking up in a hospital bed with my mom to the right of me. I said, "I have to piss" and just whipped it out and started peeing. My mom grabbed a bed pan and caught whatever was coming out of me.

So not only was I in terrible pain but my mother saw my junk. That's just fucking wonderful. The next three days were a complete blur except at night when I awoke with a gigantic pain in my mouth that took a handful of perscriptions to kill.

Not Jay though, he's full of piss and vinegar and is "bored out of his mind" because he's been stuck in the house for two days. That's what happens when your favorite thing to do is watch TV. I told him to read, he told me he hates reading. I told him to draw or paint a picture, he told me to drop dead. So I told him to go cry, that'll take some time.

Two other things, Jay doesn't have any insurance, so he paid for this entire operation out of his pocket. That has to be a kick in the balls. And according to the dentist he has 16 pin-prick cavities. SIXTEEN! Unless he's been eating sugar packets for dinner and washing them down with Jolt for the last five years I have no idea how he got 16 cavities.

After I reread this, I guess I did have more to say than I originally thought I did. Good for me!

Monday, February 14, 2005

The Curious Case of Arrested Development

Before I go on my little rant, I'd like to print a correction. Yesterday I said that Danu was an Irish folk band. They're not. According to our musical notes man, they are an Irish traditional band or trad. So there you go.

The best show on television may come close to being cancelled. The reason? It's too good. Yes, this is a charge that most people who love a show throw around, but this time it's true. The show, an awesome ensemble called "Arrested Development."

Here's the thing: most people don't want to watch a program like "Arrested Development." They want to watch the same show over and over and over again. Tell me the difference between "Everyone Loves Raymond" and "The King of Queens". Both are ugly or overweight guys who act like retarded five-year-olds. Each has an incredibly beautiful wife who is a shrew of a ballbusting woman. And each has mettlesome parents/in laws.

This is just an example of two shows, the Jim Belushi Show, the one with Damon Wayans, just about 90% of all sitcoms follow this formula. Nobody wants to watch anything new or different. They just want to watch their cliches get figuratively and literally kicked in the balls every week.

How does this work with AD? Well, it's a different show. For one thing, AD is not a show that you can just jump into one day and start watching. Like a good book or a worthwhile movie, you have to start at the beginning to understand the nuances of the show. There are eight characters, each with a separate way of looking at the world and a unique comic voice. While some of the characters are archetypes (the know-it-all brother, the controlling mother, the vapid socialite sister) they also have other layers. Each layer is loaded with laughs.

Judging from the ratings, not many people are watching. This concerns the Fox network. Crappy ratings means cancellation. On Thursday, it was announced that AD will be cutting their episode order from 22 to 18, meaning that instead of ending during the sweeps month of May, their run will end in April. Check out this article from Wednesday:

AD Wednesday story

One of the stars, David Cross went on the Jimmy Kimmel Show and completely lost his shit, saying that Fox is replacing AD with a show called, "America's Cutest Retards." Which is pretty fucking funny. He has given up ship, which completely flipped out a majority of their fans.

I don't think Fox was aware of how this was going to freak people out, and this came out on Thursday, telling fans that they're behind the show 100% and that it's not being cancelled. Sort of bullshit, but here you go:

Fox's rebuttal

Which lead to this story about how the shelving of AD for the May sweeps could be considered a good thing. If you read this, it actually makes sense and may buoy your spirit:

Do you feel better?

So after a few days of positive press, which included star Jason Bateman hosting Saturday Night Live, Fox showed an episode of AD on Sunday night. It was a pretty good one (not one of the best, but certainly better than anything on TV), what does Fox announce following the show? AD is going on hiatus for three weeks.

What's my prediction? I think Fox is going to let this show twist in the wind for the next three months. If it gets picked up, it's going to be on a very short leash ... for some reason Fox doesn't believe in letting a show find its audience or not preempting it or moving it's time slot around. But the chances are good that AD is going to join the long list of Fox shows shot down before it reached their prime. Shows like "Action!", "Undeclared", "Andy Richter Controls the Universe", "Family Guy (which is coming back)" and "The Tick".

The one weird thing is that Fox does take the chance on these shows, but they have to stick by them. That's the bottom line.

BTW, here is an awesome interview with the creator of "Arrested Development""

Mitchell Hurwitz

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Busy, busy weekend

I haven't done this in a bit, but here's another Jim story:

For some reason, Jim loved to chase squirrels. And it was funny, excpet you had no idea when he was going to do it. You could be walking to class, talking about a test you were about to take or a girl and he'd be listening and talking back. All of a sudden he would just start running after the squirrel that he'd spy. It was unsettling because he would bolt, no warning, no "Oh my God, a squirrel!" He'd just go. He never caught one of them though.

This was a busy weekend, but we had a blast. Friday night I had planned to go to the gym right after work, I was half way there when I got a call from a show that the pharmaceutical people were supposed to go to on Sunday. Apparently, the conference throwers hadn't been paid yet and they wouldn't let my people in until they got $6,000.

I had to turn around and give them a credit card, that I hope had $6,000 left on it. So far, I haven't gotten a phone call about the show, so I am praying that everything is cool. We shall see tomorrow.

The plan for that evening was to meet Aly, Ryan, Keri, Byrnie, Bill, Ellie and Byrnie's parents at the Burren in Somerville. We had a concert to go to that night at the Somerville Theatre. We saw these guys, Danu:

Before I get to the band and how awesome they were, first things first, besides the Guinesses we polished off, we also ate at the Burren. I've never had food there before, so I order the shepperd's pie. It was so damn good. I want to go back there tomorrow night. Besides my mother's recipe, this was probably the best sherpperd's pie I've ever eaten in my life. Aly got the Guiness stew which wasn't as good.

So then we went to the Somerville Theatre which is in Davis Square. I've never seen a show there before, but I have seen movies. For one thing, the place is in an old vaudeville theater with balconys and old chairs and the whole nine yards. It's such a cool place to watch a movie and watching a music act was even better.

Check this out for more info on the theater: Somerville Theater stuff

While the venue is condusive to a great show, Danu provided the rest. I wasn't sure if I was going to like them a lot. They are a traditional Irish folk band, and while I like Irish music, I don't love it as much as Keri, Rye, Byrnie and the rest. But, Danu was awesome. They were great, their musicianship is top notch, their singing was harmonious and they just put on a great show.

Listening to that music reminded me of all the great times I had when I was in Ireland in 2001 and 2003 and made me want to go back again some time to sit in a pub, sip a pint and just listen to some quality music. Aly liked them a lot too. As she said, "I wouldn't run out and buy their CD, but the live music really moved me. It was just awesome."

After that we went to Sauce, which is about a block away. It's sort of a trendy bar in Davis Square, but we had a good time, drinking brews, shooting the shit and having a bunch of laughs. It's definitely what I needed after such an exausting week.

This little bastard was with us:

His name is McNugget Buddy and he is sort of the official mascot of the Foley family. Ever since Ryan and Keri were kids, they would sneak him into each other's suitcases so that the other would find him after they open their case. Over on SoSH, Ryan did a whole story about him. Funny shit. Really good stuff.

Aly and I left around midnight, but we should've stayed. Drew ended up meeting the rest of the gang afterwards and they went to the Burren where they ran into Danu. Rye said they spent the rest of the night drinking and swapping stories.

Saturday was just as busy as Friday. We woke up early to take Aly home, she had a hair appointment and I was planning on using the time to either read or write in my Blog. I walked into Aly's place and had to do an about-face. It fucking reeked. Her roommate and her boyfriend decided to spend the previous night drinking their faces off and smoking like chimneys. Add that to the cat puke and the never-cleaned litter box and the stench was enough to chase me out of there.

I ended up going to Dunkin Donuts and spent most of the time just reading. After that, I walked over and got Aly and we took a walk up Harvard Ave. to the Upper Crust. They have phenomenal pizza there, and since we were starving we got a large prosciutto pie. After we ate, we walked around for a bit, looking around for stuff that we may need for our apartment (which we got, BTW--we just have to return the lease tomorrow.)

After that we got some wine and a block of cheese, tonight was going to be our Valentine's Day dinner, even though Valentine's Day isn't until tomorrow. We had reservations at this restaurant for 9:00:

The Federalist Restaurant

You may notice that this is actually a web site for XV Beacon Hotel. You are very perceptive. This is because there is no Federalist web site. Don't ask me why, they just don't have one. In any event, this is one of the fanciest places in town.

Before we ate, we had some cheese and crackers and a bottle of wine, Il Bastardido. Very good (not that I know any better). The mood was very relaxed, we had some Sinatra in the background (we found our wedding song, "The Way You Look Tonight") and then it was off to the Federalist.

We sat down and the decor was a combintion of funky with a lot of old Boston thrown in, mostly through busts of the founding fathers all around. I had the Caesar salad and Aly had the lobster bisque. Then the chef sent out a mussel and potatoe dish, free of charge, which was pretty cool. For an entree I had the sirloin steak, with fries, after I pussied out of the venison. Aly had the rack of lamb. For dessert we had a chocolate/peanut butter tort. We also had a nice bottle of wine.

The food was great, some of the best I've had in a while. The one thing was that the portions were a little small, especially for the money ... but thanks to the Pats, it wasn't too expensive. The air of the restaurant was very old school and stiff. Aly looked around and noticed that we were the only people relaxed, laughing and having a good time.

I enjoyed going there, I like trying new restaurants whenever I can, but it's not really an "us" sort of place. It was a very good night however, and I'm glad that we went.

Today we went to Amesbury, where my mom took Aly and I out to get supplies for our new place. We went to a discount store and we loaded up, anything we wanted, mom got for us. It was a very generous thing for her to do. We're in a really good position right now.

After that, mom had Nina up and we all (including Jay and Dad) had lasagna, chicken parm, salad and brownies. A great meal to end a great weekend of eating.

BTW, Jason broke up with his girlfriend. Can't say I didn't see that coming, but it still sucks for him.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

2004 Book Review

I finally got down to it. Here are all the books I've read in the past year, and just like the movie review, I've used a bit of pop culture past to rate the books. The reviews aren't going to be too long, and I promise that I won't use the line that I ended my sixth grade book report, "And if you want to know the rest, you have to read it yourself."

Quick story, when I was a kid I left a book report until the last minute (it was a Hardy Boys book). The thing was, I read a million Hardy Boy books and this time I just couldn't read that crap any more, despite the fact that I had an oral book report the next day. I decided to read the back cover and make up the rest. I ended up saying that famous line, fooling no one and received my first F.

So with out further adieu, the 2004 books:

The Secret Societies Handbook This was basically an encyclopedia of secret societies. They can't be much of a secret if I bought the book at Barnes and Noble and it didn't really tell me anything I didn't know.

Junky by William S. Burroughs. Very solid book, like "On the Road" I probably would've been more shocked if I read this in the 1950s, but it's almost 60 years later and I've seen all of this stuff on the evening news. Strong writing, strong characters, good book.

Fever Pitch by Nicholas Hornby. I liked this book a lot. I think I would've liked it more had I been an English soccer fan. Lots of stuff went over my head, but the overall message is the same on both sides of the pond. Hornby is a hell of a writer.

The Naked Olympics by Tony Perrottet. Even though I detest the Olympics, I liked this book. Pretty good account of what went on thousands of years ago in ancient Greece. I bought this book during the summer Olympics and it was a cool read.

Empire Falls by Richard Russo. Ok book. Too many characters, every time the action would pick up, he'd go into flashback mode (very annoying), but he does a tremendous job explaining the intracies of small town New England. Very vivid.

Straight Man Richard Russo. I'll give Russo credit, he's good at writing about depressing people that you sort of want to see how they turn out. Not easy to do. The thing is, I didn't give a shit about any of them. Quick read, not too bad. Sort of a carbon copy of "Empire Falls", though that was much better. Russo could've done better.

Dark Star Safari by Paul Theroux. Excellent book. This guy went from Egypt to South Africa by train, bus or car. He gets a bit preachy now and again, but Theroux's travel books are great. I'd read this guy any where.

Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them by Al Franken. Since I'm not a big Republican fan, I liked this book. He sort of goes off track and is not shy about smashing you over the head with his message, but for the most part I agree with him. It's sort of like a bizarro Fox News, which evens out the scales, I suppose.

Bringing Down the House by Ben Mezrich. Tremendous book. Just awesome. It's about a bunch of MIT students who figure out a way to beat the odds while playing poker. From start to finish a thrill-packed book. I think this would make an awesome movie. One of the best books I've read all year.

The Complete Peanuts 1950-52 by Charles Schulz. The BEST book I've read all year. Laugh all you want, but Schulz had a vision for his comic and damn if he didn't keep it going (until he had to kowtow to Madison Ave.) Do yourself a favor and pick this thing up. It inspired me to pick up the pencil and start drawing again.

The Boston Braves 1871-1953 by Harlod Keaese. It was cool to read about old Boston and the way it was when there were two teams vieing for the baseball attention of the Boston fan. Reads like a text book, so if you have no interest in the Braves, you may want to skip it.

Mr. Show, What Happened by Naomi Odenkirk. A little self-serving at times, Odenkirk is the wife of Mr. Show co-star Bob Odenkirk, so I doubt that it's too objective. The good thing is that this show kicks ass and there was a lot of trivia and other behind the scenes stuff.

A Civil War by John Feinstein. I'm glad I read it, because I've always been fascinated by military school life, but there was way too many characters. If Feinstein just focused on one or two guys from each team it would've been much better. He decided to go for the whole scope, which takes away from the book in the end.

The Beatles: Tell Me Why Album by Album, Song by Song by Tim Riley. Terrible book. Easily the worst I read all year. I was really looking forward to this and Riley just disappoints with tedious descriptions about each song. And this was stuff that most Beatle fans know. No behind the scene stuff, no reasons as to why the songs were written. Just a craptastic book. Read it if you want to hate the Beatles.

Black Mass by Dick Lehr and Gerald O'Neil. The FBI and the Irish Mob were in bed together through most of the 60s, 70s and 80s ... this is the story. The reporting in this book is top shelf and the way it is presented is awesome too. Leher and O'Neil were Globe writers who broke this story and they are the experts. Terrific tome.

Moneyball by Michael Lewis. Probably the most important sports book since "Ball Four" by Jim Bouton. Lewis goes inside the inner sanctum of Oakland Athletics GM Billy Beane and sees how a "modern" franchise is run. Before he wrote this book, Lewis knew nothing about baseball (or very little), which might have been a detriment. Here it is a positive as he does not have any preconceived notions or old school prejudices.

Zodiac Unmasked by Robert Graysmith. For the better part of two years I was obsessed with this serial killer. I saw a show on the Discovery Channel about him and it completely blew my mind, it was almost like a movie. The book isn't too bad, though Graysmith does fall into the trap of having a hypothesis and making sure every single piece of evidence works with that hypothesis (even if it doesn't fit sometimes).

Storied Stadiums by Curt Smith. This book out and out sucked. Worse than the Beatles book. Smith attempts to chronicle baseball history by using stadiums as a conduit. Sounds like a great idea and if this guy knew how to write without going off on mindless tangents or dropping nonsensical and unexplained non sequitors in the middle of paragraphs, it may have worked.


The Family by Ed Sanders. I guess I was on a serial murders kick at the beginning of this year, eh? Sanders' book is the best one that I've ever read about the Manson Family, even better than "Helter Skelter". He doesn't just go over the court case against this merry band of pranksters, he delves into the history and even hung around with these guys to research the book. This dude has balls. You have to respect that.

A Right to Be Hostile by Aaron MacGruder. I love Boondocks. Whenever I get the paper, it's one of the first things I read. I like the art, I like the writing, I like the shout out to black pop culture and I like the fact that MacGruder is about my age. The one problem with this book is that like eating ice cream for every meal, it can be a bit too much. I found myself not getting outraged like I do every day, but becoming glazed over. Still, I'm glad I own this ... another inspiration.

Journals by Kurt Cobain. On the front cover of this book, which was made to look like a notebook, it says "If you read, you will judge." I felt very strange and dirty reading Cobain's personal diary. Courtney Love is a fucking bitch for publishing this. It should've been burnt or stored away. It was not meant for public consumption.

Big Book of Baseball Lineups by Rob Neyer. Neyer is one of my favorite writers, it sucks that charges you to read his daily stuff. This book is probably the best baseball book I got all year. He meticulously goes through each team and creates a bunch of different line-ups. Great idea. When I finished this book, I knew a lot more about the sport I love.

Faithful by Stewart O'Nan and Stephen King. Never have I looked forward to reading a book as I did with this one. I was seriously disappointed. King and O'Nan know their stuff, I guess, but there was no extra insight. They told me everything that I already knew. Why should I waste a few hours of my life reading a bunch of stuff I already know.

And O'Nan is one of the all time biggest geeks ever. He is 35-years-old and still brings a glove to games. Not only that but his insane quest for foul balls made him bring a net to a game. A fucking net! He also begged people for balls and autographs. He sucks. Seriously.

The King stuff was pretty good, but the O'Nan stuff was terrible.