Saturday, September 18, 2010

Move Over Theo; I Have My Own Hot Stove Rock and Roll

I did post a video from the Grace Potter and the Nocturnals concert (Well, from a concert...) but let me describe the experience in more detail. Best concert I've been to in years. Maybe since college when I went to see Bob Dylan with Natalie Merchant... (To be fair, the first time I saw Jewel she had just broken her collar bone and the second time she was forced to open for Rob Thomas...Jakob Dylan didn't like performing in a casino...Neil Young's set was too obscure...) Natalie had energy back then bouncing off this foot stool but this time the whole band crackled.

Amazon describes The Nocturnals as "a modern-day version of Tina Turner stroking the microphone in a spangled mini-dress while fronting the Rolling Stones circa Sticky Fingers." A pretty apt description I think. To me, they have a jam band quality to them, like the Grateful Dead or Phish as well. (My boss pointed out they are from Vermont citing "Cherry Garcia" ice cream. Not to mention "Phish Food"...) One thing you don't get from just listening to their albums is Grace Potter's stage presence. To me, when she came out with her frilly dress and tambourine, I immediately thought Stevie Nicks. (My father, after we heard them cover "White Rabbit," thought Grace Slick. All three women, along with Tina, are interchangeable, to a point, in this respect; I guess...)

They played a lot of tunes I recognized but the stuff I didn't, the stuff from their new album, was totally awesome. I can't wait to add that to my CD collection!

The opening act went by the name Hot Day at the Zoo and was a blue grass band out of Waterville, I think. (There's a MySpace page for a bluegrass band out of Lowell but the pics don't look right and the future tour date they mentioned during their set wasn't listed...) Anyway, they played a bluegrass cover of Jimmi Hendrix's "Foxy Lady." (My parents thought it was a new song titled "Bossy Lady.")

In other musings, I read a USA Today article this morning that inspired some Hot Stove type thoughts. Sure the season isn't over but well... it's over...

1. Who's Jason Ellsbury? Sure both Jacoby Ellsbury and Jason Varitek were/are on the DL for a significant period this season but Varitek's absence behind the dish wasn't really a big deal as his importance is both psychological and inspirational which he can provide recuperating in the dugout...

2. I have no idea what's up with Jonathan Papelbon this season. Have batters, particularly in the AL East, just figured him out in which case you simply can blame the ludicrous unbalanced schedule or is he injured or is it just personal issues? In the history of Red Sox closers, name one that wasn't emotionally unbalanced... Please!

3. Theo Epstein has a history of not spending money on the bullpen. Sometimes we get gems, within and without the system, like Mike Timlin or Daniel Bard. Most of the time, however, we get flashes in the pan or pitchers who are just crap from the get go. (Or we trade away young talent that kicks our ass as opposing starters like Justin Masterson or Dave Pauley...) Is this a moneyball thing?

4. So Manny hasn't helped the White Sox, huh?

5. Cardinals Pitchers 4 and 5- Theory goes if you actually have a "Big Three" in your rotation, the back-end doesn't really need to be all that good. It is gratifying to know Brad Penny and Jeff Suppan aren't getting it done for another team though...

6. So the Angels couldn't find replacements for Guerrero or Figgins. The Red Sox really never found a replacement for Manny's bat so I feel their pain. I'm also not really surprised they have a catcher who can't call a game but can hit and another who can but can't hit. Jason Varitek, in his prime, is the only one I can think of in the last 20 years who was kick ass at both. (OK, Jorge Posada, in his prime, I suppose, but his "prime" was a shorter period of time so I'm not counting him. Not to mention that he never caught a record 4 no-hitters... That and he's a Yankee and they "are lacking" as a English teacher would prefer me say...)

Finally, speaking of the Yankees, a different news item recently caught my attention as well. I don't care about the incident itself but it caught my attention because the ultimate cheat code for our baseball video game, meaning it unlocked everything, was "Derek Jeter"...

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Rather Random

1. Watched American Gangster over Thursday and yesterday. That was a great movie and so well acted. I'm not old enough to know about the true events that inspired it but I'm surprised no one made a movie about it before. Russell Crow, who was also in the recently watched State of Play (Like that period of time where I watched like three Jennifer Aniston movies, this is my "summer of Russell" I guess...), was great as a cop turned DEA, turned prosecutor turned defense attorney but "my man" Denzel Washington rocked as Harlem drug lord Frank Lucas. (Looking at the pictures of the real guy, he reminds me of OJ Simpson...)

2. I'm scheduled to go back up to Ellsworth on Monday as my father got tickets to see Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. I'm excited as they are one of my top favorite bands of the last 10 or 15 years. It'll be a quick trip but worth it, I'm sure...

3. So publisher is pissing me off. I haven't actually written much of Summer Heat but I am so not going back to them. First their distributor dumps them, then they jack up the price of my books, then I get a royalty report stating my Spring Thawcontract contains a clause that they don't have to pay me until I've raised $49 worth of sales. (I'm at about 8 bucks right now. I scanned over the royalty section of my contract, upon not seeing such a clause, cried bulllshit in a email. They get back to me and point out it's in the conclusion section. (Yeah, it is...) I'm equally pissed at myself for not noticing this...

4. Oh, I keep meaning to discuss this but I finally saw a couple episodes of Rizzoli and Isles. If I hadn't read the books, the show is great. Harmon and Alexander have awesome chemistry. Most of the changes they made are fine in hindsight (Though some are inexplicable: Charles Hoyt?) but I have one huge complaint: Sasha Alexander's characterization of Maura Isles is horrible. Here she's played like a cute and cuddly Temperance Brennan. Oddly, in one episode, she's interrogating Hoyt and is almost exactly how I picture Maura. Why isn't she like that all the time?

Monday, September 06, 2010

Eat. Pray. Love. Eat Some More.

Before and during my vacation up to see the 'rents, I saw three movies but I decided to focus here on the one still in theaters. Eat. Pray. Love. begins Julia Roberts leaving her boring marriage. Really, why did she think it would work? She was a CIA Agent and he was mole planted at the IMF by an arms dealer. Then she falls for The Green Goblin; who, frankly, was too young for her.

She decides to travel the world and eat. A lot. In India, this Texan who supposedly looked like James Taylor but reminded me more of the pedophile/killer from the Lovely Bones, (No, it was actually the father/stepfather from Step-Brothers interestingly enough which I apparently didn't review...) nicknamed her "Groceries" because of this. One of my favorite parts...

After Italy and India, and the eating and the praying, she returns to Indonesia where she meets Real Life Mr. Penelope Cruz. (I apologize I've never seen any of his acting before therefore no better links.)

I've seen much worse movies but this is one "chick flick" that was too "chick flicky" for me...
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