Thursday, December 30, 2010

Kickin' it

This is, quite possibly, the most awesome photograph ever taken.

Thank you, oh thank you Sorry I Missed Your Party. Thank you for sharing.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

What I've been listening to lately

Santa Claus was good to me. Knew exactly that this was one of my favorite AC/DC albums, and that I haven't owned it since I got rid of my turntable way back when CDs first came out.

Ah, the memories have come flooding back.

My older brother owned this album when I was just a young buck, and I think it was my first taste of AC/DC (I listened to it on the sly so my brother wouldn't get mad at me for messing up his LPs.) These were my formative years, and Powerage (along with High Voltage and Let There Be Rock, also my brother's albums) gave me a good, solid appreciation for hard crunching rock and roll that was also fun and bawdy. As time went on, I -- and my circle of rocker friends -- continued to jam to AC/DC and all of their subsequent albums until we started to grow up and become responsible members of society. But Powerage has always had a special place in my heart, and it always will.

Thanks, Santa!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Concert -- Aerosmith

February 16, 1988
Convention Center Arena
Opening act: Dokken

Remember 1988? That's the year Aerosmith came to town in support of Permanent Vacation ("Dude Looks Like a Lady", "Rag Doll", "Angel", etc.) and Dokken was opening for them after releasing Back for the Attack.

Do you remember? I do, and I'm still grinning.

OK, OK, I wasn't a huge Dokken fan, but the guys in Aerosmith are just fantastic showmen, and Dokken actually did a pretty good job warming up the crowd for their boisterousness. Another great time for all!

Monday, December 27, 2010


How can you tell the difference between the good guys and the bad guys? Well, here is one way.

(Guns, Holsters, and Gear, via Instapundit)

Sunday, December 26, 2010


That's really the only word for this:

If it wasn't the fact that thing costs $15, I'd totally buy it for my dog!

Check out the rest of the list at Oddee's 10 Most Weird Dog Toys. (Link somewhat NSFW)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Concert -- Rush

January 21, 1988
Convention Center Arena
Opening act: Tommy Shaw

I never got the album associated with this tour, Hold Your Fire, but I'm still a big enough fan of Rush's previous stuff that this was a very enjoyable concert. Rush isn't quite the flash and dazzle of acts like David Lee Roth, but they put on a good show anyway.

I can't really say the same about Tommy Shaw. With Styx, Shaw is great. Most of my favorite songs from Styx are those where Shaw is the lead singer and writer, like "Love in the Midnight", "Too Much Time on My Hands", "Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)", "Blue Collar Man", etc. But as a solo performer, I never quite warmed up to his musical offerings, and I'm afraid I was a bit bored with his performance.

Friday, December 17, 2010

What smell reminds you of your grandmother?

Althouse and her commenters get in on the discussion in this post, answering this question: What smells remind you of your grandmother?

Althouse said this about hers:
Mine smelled like: 1. lemonade, watermelon, and chicken & dumplings, and 2. knitting wool and African violets.

And I popped into the comments to say this about my own grandmother, the one that lived long enough for me to remember clearly:
Pencils. The newly-sharpened pencils she would give me to draw with when I came to visit.

I love the smell of pencils.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Concert -- Mötley Crüe

Mötley Crüe
June 26, 1987
Convention Center Arena
Opening act: Whitesnake

Another fun, fun show.

This tour was for Mötley Crüe's Girls, Girls, Girls album and Whitesnake's self-titled album, both incredibly popular in their time. And if you've never seen Crüe and Whitesnake together (and if it didn't happen to be the mid 1980s when hard rock and metal were peaking in a rush of fiery fury!), then you've missed out.

I'm sorry.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Pomplamoose -- Another Day

Have you seen the Hyundai Christmas television ads? That's a real band in those commercials, and they are called Pomplamoose. And here is one of their real songs.

I kind of like that.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Concert -- Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden
January 31, 1987
Convention Center Arena
Opening act: Vinnie Vincent Invasion

Two words: Great show.

This tour was for the band's Somewhere in Time album (my review of this album is here), and it was a rollicking good show. Iron Maiden has a reputation for putting on great performances, and this one definitely did not disappoint.

Well, except for the opening act.

We got to the concert late, so Vinnie Vincent Invasion was halfway through their set when we arrived. Vinnie Vincent himself was full into his guitar solo when we found our seats, and all I can say is I was very unimpressed. His solo sucked, the songs were lame, and, even though we had shown up late, his set went on for entirely too long. It's too bad, really. I think Maiden could have done better without an opening act that night, because they were great, and having the Invasion come on stage before them just put me in a sour mood right from the start. Thankfully I shed that mood when Maiden took the stage, but I shouldn't have to shake off bad feelings before the headliner starts.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

"First Landing Photos: Secret X-37B Robot Space Plane Lands in Calif."

With a headline like that, how secret can it really be?
Air Force officials hailed the unmanned X-37B space plane's successful landing, though its mission remains shrouded in secrecy because of its classified nature. But Vandenberg's 30th Space Wing did not shy from snapping photos of the X-37B vehicle, known as the Orbital Test Vehicle 1.

The pictures are nice, though.

Secrets, secrets, secrets ---- hidden in the open. It does make you think, doesn't it?

Friday, December 03, 2010

Concert -- David Lee Roth

David Lee Roth
Novembver 26, 1986
Frank Erwin Center
Opening act: Cinderella

What a great concert! No matter what you might think about David Lee Roth and Van Halen and their famous divorce or even Roth's music on his own, this guy puts on a damn good show! Or at least he did. Last I heard he was a paramedic.

This was for Roth's Eat 'Em and Smile album, and on stage with him was the smokin' duo of bassist Billy Sheehan and guitarist Steve Vai. Incredible musicians, all having a ball on stage for our entertainment, and it sounded a lot like this (except with better sound).

And Cinderella was decent as well. I never really got into them too much, but they were a worthy opening act for Roth, and I wasn't disappointed.

And now, here's a neat little story about this concert.

When my friends and I went to Austin, we parked someplace downtown that led to us approaching the Frank Erwin Center from the side. (Yes, I know the building is round, but it has a main entrance, and the stage entrance is opposite, and so I consider any gate halfway in between to be a "side" entrance.) The gates weren't open yet, and people were lining up at the doors on that cool evening at least a couple of hours before the show. I remember the weather being comfortable, so it was not a real burden to be waiting outside.

The lines at the main entrance doors were long, but at the side entrance where we were at the line was pretty short. In fact, there coudn't have been more than twenty or thirty people lined up there, so we all began to chat in a very amiable manner. Soon all of us in our little groups were talking like we were friends, even though we had never seen each other before that night. And it was also pretty cool that the side entrance was close to the loading dock, and we could clearly see the roadies unloading last-minute equipment from Roth's tour trucks.

Before long, we got to comparing tickets, asking each other which sections we got and congratulating the ones who had the best seats. I was in Section 42, which was not very close to the stage but gave a great view of the set-up anyway.

As we were showing each other our tickets, there was one girl towards the back who started furrowing her brow, and she looked very interested in what we were doing. She seemed to be waiting alone. She was tall with long, straight blond hair, and she was done up in what were typical mid-1980s rock-hottie duds, including short leather skirt, high heels, stockings, and some kind of flashy blouse.

It wasn't long before this girl leaned forward and said, kind of to everybody, "Hey, your tickets look different from mine."

We looked, and sure enough, the tickets that were sold in Austin looked different from those sold in San Antonio (which, as you can see, had a nice Alamo outline on them). We explained to her that everything was fine, the tickets looked different because they were bought in different cities, but they were all good. And then someone asked her where her seats were, and she replied, "I don't know. I just have this."

And she showed us all a very large, very plastic, very looped-around-her-neck-with-a-lanyard kind of card that said, in prominent letters, STAGE PASS.

We looked at her, and we kind of chuckled. And then one of the other girls there, without trying to sound too condescending, patted her on the arm and said, "Oh, honey, you get special seats. Much better than ours. And you are in the wrong line." When she asked which line she should be in, we all pointed toward the trucks at the loading dock and told her that's where her entrance was. She thanked us, and then she click-clacked off in her heels while we politely waited until she was out of earshot before we started laughing.

I hope she got to see the show. It was pretty good.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

What I'm reading right now

I love this book! It's so well written that it's a breeze to read, even though it deals with imperial politics on a galactic scale. This is probably the fourth time I've read it, and, though I'm only seventy-nine pages in, I'm enjoying it as much as ever.

If you are unfamiliar with the Foundation books, they are a series of novels and short stories written by Isaac Asimov that tell the story the Galactic Empire on a broad timescale. Though there are several independent stories in the series, I am particularly fond of the original Foundation trilogy, which includes Foundation, Foundation and Empire, and Second Foundation.

To give you a little background on what Foundation is about, I will quote liberally from the back cover blurb for this edition:
For twelve thousand years the Galactic Empire had ruled supreme. Now it was dying. But only Hari Seldon, creator of the revolutionary science of psychohistory, could see into the future--a dark age of ignorance, barbarism, and warfare that would last thirty thousand years. To preserve knowledge and mankind, Seldon gathered the best minds in the Empire--both scientists and scholars--and brought them to a bleak planet at the edge of the Galaxy to serve as a beacon of hope for future generations. He called his sanctuary the Foundation.
Weighty stuff, but, as I said above, it's an easy read. Asimov is a great writer of dialogue, and he even works in wonderful portrayals of facial expressions as part of the dialogue. And, to flesh out that dialogue, he draws physical descriptions of his characters that you can actually see in your head.

One of the things I like to do when I read a work of fiction is to cast the book. As I read the dialogue, I try to picture actual actors in the roles, and it's easier to do this when the author has created compelling characters, as Asimov has done. Already I've cast Adrien Brody as Dr. Lewis Pirenne, the lead scientist and Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Foundation, and I've picked Ron Perlman to fill the role of Salvor Hardin, the Mayor of Terminus City. Years ago when I last read this book I had others in mind for these characters, but the beauty of re-reading it is also recasting the parts to see how the story develops with the new actors in place. As already mentioned, Asimov's writing makes this easy.

If you've never read Foundation, I highly recommend it, even if you are not a big fan of science fiction. It's not long, it's not difficult, and it doesn't bog you down in the science aspect of the fiction. It's fun. And then read the sequel, Foundation and Empire, which has one of the most interesting characters in all the worlds of sci-fi: the Mule.

I can't wait.

Review of Foundation and Empire here.
Review of Second Foundation here.