Saturday, January 20, 2007

Hil.... and Bill?

I was a big fan of Hillary Clinton's a few years ago and would have gladly supported her for president. But her constant pandering to the right the last few years has really turned me against her. I'm not talking about her vote on the Iraq War - lots of people that should have known better were duped and if we disqualified everybody that voted 'yes' we wouldn't have many people to pick from. But her ridiculous crap like the flag-burning amendment, proposals for anti-video game violence legislation and the like have really turned me off. I can get excited about John Edwards and I can probably get excited about Barack Obama when I find out a little more about him (isn't it great to have guys that can actually speak, unlike the current presnit) but I've lost a lot of respect for Hil.

On the other hand, while people may have questions about how Hilary is viewed by the independent voters (you know that most of the Republican base would vote for Satan before voting for her or they'd claim that they were one and the same), I wonder what affect bringing Bill along has on this whole thing. Is there any question that if Bill could run again, he'd be elected in a landslide? There's nobody that the Republicans could put up that he wouldn't shred. Has anybody done any polling on the Bill factor in Hil's run?


Jim "Dresden Files" Butcher writes about writing

While you're waiting for The Dresden Files premiere on SciFi Sunday night, check out author Jim Butcher's Livejournal notes on writing. Pretty good stuff. He does a great job writing in genre without letting it limit him - I'm partway into the third novel and I'm impressed enough that I'll be checking out his Alera Codex novels next.


Half-Life Radio Episode 6 (the Covers) is Here

The all-covers 'cast of Half-Life Radio is now available at - I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I enjoyed putting it together. I spent some time this afternoon prowling around CD Alley and Nice Price Books looking for more stuff to bring you and found some stuff I'm really looking forward to, including a live Bad Checks CD and the Katherine (Squirrel Nut Zippers) Whalen solo CD from last year. Also ran into Brad Newell from 8 Eyes and Treva Spontaine and the Graphics at Nice Price - I've got the Graphic queued up for the next 'cast in a couple of weeks.

If you're looking for used (and sometimes new) vinyl, both places I hit today have a large selection. You have to do some digging - CD Alley particularly packs a superstore worth of stuff in a space the size of a phone booth - but it's worth it. I saw quite a few goodies that I'll probably go back for.


Comboland video

I'll have a new Half-Life Radio 'cast up later today, but in the meantime, check out the Welcome to Comboland excerpt from a 1985 episode of The Old Grey Whistle Test, featuring the Connells, the Accelerators, Fetchin' Bones (with Hope Nicholls being her ever-adorable self) and the Othermothers! Via Mann's World (great find, Karen!).


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Christmas Goodies

We usually leave our Christmas haul out for a couple of weeks before we start using it but I've already put the DVD Recorder that we got from Dad to good use. It's replaced the VCR and while it doesn't have the time-phasing ability of Tivo, it does produce a DVD that I can then watch on my laptop while on the road or on my computers in my home office (great for Carolina basketball games that I can't see real time). I record stuff like "My Name is Earl" in -RW so I can watch it later and reuse the disk and I'll put "24" and other things I want to keep on -R discs (cheap!). I know people love their Tivos but I'm pretty happy with this baby.

With the gift certificate from Mom, I picked up the last (I promise!!) 80's music comp I'll ever buy - the 4-disc Left of the Dial: Dispatches from the '80's Underground from Rhino Records. Sure I've already got a lot of the stuff that is on there, but it would have been almost worth it for just Mission of Burma's That's When I Reach for My Revolver (man, I love that song!). Sort of like listening to 4 hours of WXYC back when they played stuff that was recognizable as rock and roll.

J got me a nifty stereo for my office which I brought in yesterday but the creme de la creme was a couple of books that are no longer in print that I got from J/Santa - From Bauhaus to Our House by Tom Wolfe, which I expect to thoroughly enjoy and mostly disagree with, and How to Care for Your Monster which was one of the last books I ordered from Scholastic when I was a kid. I saw a young women reading it to her kid while waiting for a plane in Ottawa last winter and I've been missing my copy since then. Sweet haul!


Birthday Shout-out to me Mum

Today's Mom's 65th, but don't talk to her about retiring (although she is in Southern Pines today, ostensibly for work, but you never know). What little responsbility I ever learned came from her example, but more importantly the lesson that you can be responsible and still have fun and be fun to be around! It was not lost on me at the time (and I've never forgotten) that she was always there when I was growing up, to read to us every day, to climb trees with us, to play games, to be a PTA officer and a field trip chaperone and a room mother. She was the one that had to provide the discipline but she was never anything other than fair (although I can't claim that I always realized that at the time!) and I think my stinky sister and I turned out to be pretty good kids and passing fair adults because of her guidance and her example.

Happy Birthday, Mom, and wishes for many, many more to come!


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Color Me Excited!

Just a few months ago I discovered Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden series of Chicago-set horror/noir novels - really good reads, comparable to Glen Cook's Garrett Files stories, except set in the here-and-now. I quickly devoured the first two and have the third one queued up behind Julian May's Ironcrown Moon. Then I found out a couple of weeks ago that starting this Sunday, the SciFi Channel is running their new Dresden Files series - woohoo! While they're being filmed in Toronto (which is where everything that isn't filmed in Vancouver or New Zealand is filmed), I'm hoping they'll do some exterior shots in Chicago to set the scene. Given SciFi's good recent track record with original series, I have high hopes for this one (although the casting for the Connie Murphy character is all wrong).

Oh, if you like audiobooks, James "Angel" Marsters reads all of the Dresden Files novels...

Update: Okay, that's what I get for trying to quickly finish this post at the coffee shop before shutting down to pick JennySlash up at the gym. Yes, James Marsters played Spike, not Angel. Amy Acker played Angel, right Spuffy?


Monday, January 15, 2007

Hege V and BML

Headed up to DC last week before having a chance to rave about the show at the Cradle. We figured the Hege V reunion was the headliner, so it was a good thing we got there early as they turned out to be the first ones on. Tim Harper was on bass and David Thrower was back for lead guitar - there was a ringer in for Robert Ragsdale on drums. And George remains the best stage presence I've ever seen. Yeah, you can say that he grew up on the Grand Ole Opry stage and that's true, but I've also see Hank Williams III live and he's got nothing on George Hamilton V. They ripped through all the songs on House of Tears (I think so anyway) and sounded like they'd last practiced a few days earlier, not 19 years or so. Got a chance to say hi afterwards and now we've got a handful of "Viva NashVegas - Eat More Rhinestones" bumperstickers to give out, so let me know if you want one.

J hadn't gotten much sleep the night before so I'm afraid we didn't make it all the way through the Brown Mountain Lights set (sorry, Greg!) but we were there for most of it and they were great, although there were some sound problems that should have been overcome (their harmonies are the focal point and the drums were mixed so high that it was hard to hear the voices). We'll have to catch them again next time they're at the Cave.

The dB's are next on 2/2 and I still need to get tickets for the Neil Diamond All-Stars and for the Pietasters. The Squirrel Nut Zippers are definitely on the schedule for early Feb but we've got another commitment that night. There are some other good shows that we'll have to think about - Yo La Tengo coming up between the dBs and SNZ and (HEY PC!!!) Robyn Hitchcock and the Venus 3 (including Peter Buck) is on the schedule for March 23. Tony Plutonium says - check it out!


Good Eats

Had dinner out at our two favorite Triangle restaurants this weekend - can't afford the calories involved in such a venture too often, but man it was good! Friday late night at Margaret's Cantina after a good run at the gym and then dinner Saturday at City Beverage with one of the best pieces of tuna I've ever had. If you like the fishies, I highly recommend CB - whoever their buyer is really knows what they're doing.

This was all after being in DC last week during Restaurant Week which includes a $30 prixe fixe menu at almost 200 restaurants (it's obviously a slow week for business travel). The only night I really took advantage of it was when a bunch (and I mean like 15 or so) of us went out to The Oceanaire Seafood Room, which was pretty good (but not as good as City Beverage) and where the low price of the dinner was more than made up for by one of my unsuspecting dinner companions who found out when the check arrived that his two glasses of house Merlot came to $44! I'm not saying I wouldn't go back (although I'm betting HE won't!) but I'll make sure I ask the price of everthing before ordering.


Flat Feet

Still trying to figure out how the Heels went so flat against the Hokies. Couldn't even hit free throws (they don't call 'em "free" for nothing, guys!). Lavin and co. can talk about us not having long-range shooters, but we've got 'em - they just ain't hitting. Wes Miller, Reyshaun Terry and Wayne Ellington have all shown that they can hit the three in the past - even big Tyler has hit a couple. Hopefully the loss to VT (and the day-late-and-dollar-short comeback against them) will wake them up - five out of our next seven games are on the road, culminating in trips to NCState and Dook the first week of February. This could get ugly if there weren't lessons learned in Roanoke.


Sunday, January 14, 2007

Colts win, 15-6

Guess that off-season trade for placekicker Adam Vinitieri is looking pretty damn good right now after five field goals against the Ravens.

I haven't watched enough football over the last decade to have any real favorites beyond the Panthers (of course there are always teams that I will hate now and forever more, like the Cowboys and the Dolphins). But I've always like Peyton Manning - hell, I liked his dad too - so I'd love to see the Colts actually win this thing.