Saturday, September 17, 2011

My Concert Series - KISS in Little Rock, August 24, 1990

Although my very first rock concert was seeing The Romantics in the parking lot of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in the summer of 1990*, my very first real concert was KISS at Barton Coliseum in Little Rock later that August.  I went with my friends Ira and Sean and I have to admit, I was a little intimidated at 17 years old being surrounded by metalheads and old 70's rockers**.

I don't have really any solid memories of the show except that, up until that point, I had no idea how freaking LOUD rock n' roll could get.  Plus, the Sphinx-head backdrop.  Oh, and chicks with big hair wearing either 1) not much, or 2) less than that.  Still, not a bad way to break into the rock concert scene.

Remarkably, I found this clip:

And this:

Sure, I wish one of these were "Detroit Rock City" or "Love Gun" instead of the kinda late 80's lame KISS songs, but how freaking awesome that, after twenty-one years, I can find even a couple of bits of this show on YouTube.  Remarkable. 

*  I assume as part of a student activity series because it was free? 
**  Remember, this was before the big KISS revival of the late 1990's when they decided to go back to full Kabuki makeup and pyrotechnics and all that.  This show didn't have the nostalgic fans you saw at those shows.  These were the fans that had been with KISS through the long haul. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday video - Radiohead

Friday afternoons/early evenings don't engender the desire to post blog entries much, do they, fellow bloggers?  As such, I'm not going to feel a bit guilty about posting just this video for you today.  I mean, its Radiohead.  "Let Down" from OK Computer.  Please tell me what's wrong with that? ;)

Have a good weekend, everybody.  If I can find time to post tomorrow or Sunday, I will.

I had to repost this video

From Gawker:
"A Phoenix man became trapped inside his SUV on Thursday after he lost control of the vehicle, causing it to roll over and strike a utility pole. In the process, the driver rear-ended another vehicle driven by a man named George Lindell, who later described the events to local Fox affiliate KSAZ-TV in this amazing interview that you must watch immediately." (Interview starts at 1:25 mark)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Two articles worth a read

Two very interesting posts I read today.  One is pretty short and is an encapsulation of one of my favorite topics du jour -- the eventual death of suburban America (as we know it).  I'll post something regarding my own thoughts on this topic in the near future.  The other is pretty long and it involves the NCAA and the myth of the "student-athlete."  It is a great piece of journalism.  I've long thought our colleges should pay athletes that play for their sports teams.  This article only bolsters that opinion.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

My Concert Series - Phish in Kansas City, October of 1995

OK, so this is a cop-out post.  I don't care.  If there is one thing that YouTube is 100% on the awesome side of the ball with it is going back and seeing if any video exists of shows I attended when I was younger, poorer, dumber, and with enough free time to be able to travel to see concerts :)

Today's inaugural My Concert Series post is the Phish show in Kansas City in October of 1995.  On a whim, I blew off some of my 1L law school classes and traveled up the road from Fayetteville to the Kansas City Municipal Auditorium with a mixed bag of some law school friends (Dana, Russell, Stewart) and other friends to catch the live act of one of the most dynamic bands around.  And I was not disappointed.

I'm not going to excerpt the entire concert below, but you can click here to go to a YouTube channel that has the entire show in 12 different clips..  It was so, so, so good.

Wednesday video - Pearl Jam

It is hard, and sometimes difficult, to believe that Pearl Jam's debut album Ten is twenty years old.  That also means that Nevermind is twenty years old, that I moved into my freshman dorm* at the University of Arkansas twenty years ago this fall, and that I've essentially been "grown-up"** for twenty years.  Being thirty-eight years old, married for five years, and being a father already once over (and soon to be for the second time), it is becoming increasingly more unsettling to realize that I'm approaching the fulcrum where I have more life behind me than I have in front of me.  This is not meant to be morbid in any sense -- I mean "unsettling" in the sense that there's that weird sensation, a realization, that you've lived in this world for a long while now and seen, heard, and experienced so much.  And that memories you have, such as listening to Ten (or Nevermind or Siamese Dream) for the first time happened a long time ago.  That there are "grown-up" kids that moved into their freshman dorm at the University of Arkansas this fall that were not yet born when I was air-guitaring to "Black," "Alive," or "Even Flow" -- which in 1991 and 1992 were fantastic new songs by this new band Pearl Jam!

Well, enough of all that.  As a live band, PJ have few peers.  Here's a 1992 performance of "Alive" from SNL.

And here's a bonus live clip of my favorite track from 1993's album Vs.

*  My dorm was Gladson-Ripley, which at the time was one of the co-ed Honor's Dorms.  I lived in Room 113 my freshman year with my friend Mark and in 114 my sophomore year by myself.  Glad to see that they finally got air-conditioning, which was not an option way back in 1991.
**  If the definition of "grown-up" is limited to someone else cooking or preparing your everyday meals for you that is not your mom.

Two very exciting things (dork edition)

Well, that may be overstating things a bit, but I cannot seem to contain my joy regarding the following:

1.  The weather forecast for Central Arkansas shows highs in the mid-70's for the next handful of days.  And rain.  Oh, the rain.  Perhaps we can now put the Summer of Hot fully behind us; and

2.  Our minor/major kitchen renovation is complete.  Minor, because it was only the installation of a new countertop, new sink/faucet/disposal, and a new diswasher.  Major, because my wife and I have been without a fully-functioning kitchen since August 8th*.  Literally, our stove resided on a piece of cardboard in our dining room during this time, waiting to be reinstalled.  It basically crapped up the entire house, which we are not used to, even with a 21-month old running things.  But now it is completed and it looks terrific.

Oh, and I almost forgot -- new TeeVee shows begin this week.  No more reading pesky books for..."entertainment" ;)

*  Due first to unreliable countertop contractors who either would not get back to us regarding an appointment or would delay in getting us the estimates themselves.  We ultimately went with a DIYish granite-tile installation by our general contractor.  But then the tile took 10 days to ship from Home Depot.  Ugh.  It was a frustrating mess. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tuesday video - The Replacements

Actually am a little busy today so this video post will be very short.  Ladies and Gentlemen, The Replacements!

Run, don't walk, to your local record store* and pick up the album Tim, from whence this song came.  It is fantastic!

*  By that, I mean, order it off of Amazon or iTunes.

The wi-fi racket

This is not a novel idea and not one that I think is available to everyone.  But if, like me, you find yourself in the position to be able to do this, I think it is definitely worth the effort.

I'm talking about cutting down your wireless internet bill -- significantly -- by sharing a wireless signal with a neighbor.  I got the idea several years ago when my wife and I lived in a Hillcrest condominium and, through sheer luck*, my wife became condo president.  Well, at the time we were paying Comcast well over $100 per month in packaged internet and cable fees.  It was a ridiculous amount.  I am of the opinion that Comcast is a crap company that rapes consumers because there is not that much else out there for consumers to choose from**.  Anyway, it occurred to me that, due to the nature of wireless internet, there was no reason why eight different condo units each had to pay for their own internet.  So I went to Comcast, got the condo association set up on a business account, set up a main wireless internet modem and router and, viola!, all of a sudden each tenant's share of the internet costs was a small fraction of what they had been paying. 

When we later moved out of the condo into our house, I had to go back to setting up an individual account since there was no shared signal into which I could tap.  I opted for AT&T since there is no way I am ever going to do business with Comcast again short of a law mandating that I do so.  And, at $40 per month, it was manageable.  That is, until two weeks ago when my router went belly-up.  A replacement of course was going to run me $75 or so.  Of course.

It was then that I decided to approach my neighbor, with whom I was friends and who has been living next door for about a year now, with the proposition to share her existing internet signal.  The arrangement is easy -- I pay half her internet bill each month and she lets us tap into her wireless router.  She agreed and now my monthly internet bill is $12.50, or around one-third of what I had been paying***.

So, the moral of the story is Comcast sucks.

*  No one else wanted to do it.
**  You tell me why I have to pay for all the crap channels that I never watch just so I can get the handful that I do?  And I have to pay how much?  Be sure that this is a future blog post all its own.
***  For a savings of about $330 per year.  Not bad. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Monday evening musings

Aside from domesticity, not much going on up HillcrestBlog's way.  A very fun and productive weekend, highlighted by my wife and I taking our daughter on a stroll through the throng of Razorback revelers at War Memorial Stadium.  My little girl loved the scene, with the music and sights and BBQ and red.  She especially liked the white and red pom-pom she scored and shook with abandon.

Other highlights of the weekend include the inevitable Hog victory, the one-step-closer-ness of our kitchen countertop being finished, my winning three of my fantasy football games yesterday, and the 100 pieces of tagged-and-ironed clothing I'll be delivering to the DDG consignment sale in an hour or so.  Lowlights of the weekend include the coma-like state my iPhone is currently in and the loss of my soccer match yesterday.  But the highlights definitely outweigh the lowlights.

Monday video - The Rolling Stones

And here's the other side of the argument.  The Rolling Stones rehearsing "Tumbling Dice" from Exile on Main Street in 1972.

I love this version because it embodies so much of what it was to be the Rolling Stones back when they were producing the best rock albums of the Golden Era.  It is clear in this video that they're really not on sure-footing with this song, as Mick keeps having to reference the lyrics and the rambling instruments miss more than a few licks.  In fact, Charlie Watts seems to be the only person in the room with any real sense of musicianship.  Yet, the song is so fantastic in shambles and you know -- you KNOW with an absolute certainty -- that if you just gave the Stones another couple of takes (and maybe some time for the booze and drugs to wear off), they would tear this song apart.  Because, well, they are the fucking Stones. 

And, like I did with The Clash, here's an extra bonus live track from 1968.  You might recognize it.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sunday video - The Clash

Its a tossup, really.  The Rolling Stones' Exile on Main Street or The Clash's London Calling.  That is, what rock album do I think is the best of ALL-TIME.  Its a question I'll likely take to the grave, forever tormenting me.  Ah, but what a torment.  At least I get to bathe in all of those wonderful tracks as my brain ties itself in knots ;)

Today, I'm giving you a double dose from London Calling, as well as an added bonus.

I, of course, was seven years old when London Calling was released, so I never got a chance to see them play live (and, sadly, with Joe Strummer now rocking the afterlife, I never will).  Nevertheless, despite learning to adore this album well after its original release, I do not hesitate to call it a masterpiece of the highest magnitude.*

Hooray!  You made it to the end of this post!  And now for your bonus!  My favorite Clash song, from their debut album:

*  What, you say?  Too over-the-top??  Oh, pardon me!  Have you ever heard London Calling?  If you think I'm overstating things, then obviously you have not.