Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Hottest Chicks In Metal Tour ...

The Hottest Chicks In Metal Tour ...

Lacuna Coil - The Gathering - Within Temptation - Stolen Babies
El Corazon - Seattle, WA - May 29, 2007

Monday, May 28, 2007

"I am Inter." (Oxymoron project ongoing) ...

"I am Inter."

Criz was clearly not amused by my request that he pose with an AC Milan flag.

It was Ozzfest 2006, White River Amphitheatre, autograph line.

The other members of Lacuna Coil enthusiastically had greeted me and my flag, posing for photos with it and the crazy American that had brought, of all things, a Milan flag to Ozzfest many, many time zones away from the San Siro ....

It was one of the most genuinely and enthusiastically geeky things I have ever done. (I have never been to a Star Trek convention, which would rule this comment out.) Well, we all have a little of the fanboy in us.

But first, let us flash back to June of 1990 in Bologna, Italy. I am shopping with my friend Massimo for a soccer jersey. I am thinking of getting a Juventus jersey. Massimo did not approve. Milan was an acceptable alternative to me, and coincidentally his team, so I purchased the red and black striped jersey. Given that it was my friend's team, I tended to support Milan more in European soccer after that. He also sent home an AC Milan flag.

I decided to bring my AC Milan flag to Ozzfest last summer in the hopes of going through the autograph line for Lacuna Coil. As they approached the tent I held the flag high. They saw it. Their reaction was clearly one of astonishment and laughter. They posed for the photos and those photos ended up on in the fans section.

There was one exception. The drummer of Lacuna Coil is not an AC Milan supporter. He is an Inter supporter. Inter and AC are two teams that share the San Siro in Milan and are supported by rival fans much the same way Giants and Jets fans feel in New York. Criz would not even look at the flag, merely waving his hand at it in disgust and advising me that I should burn it. "I am Inter," he stated.

Cristina posed enthusiastically.

Tomorrow night ... I get to see Lacuna Coil as a headliner at El Corazon ....

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Really Bad Halftime Kick (Oxymoron project ongoing) ...

The Really Bad Halftime Kick (Oxymoron project ongoing) ...

Seattle Sounders (circa 1999-2002) Memorial Stadium

The halftime kick, half court shot, or other contest is a staple of American sports entertainment at various levels. i have actually been in attendance when someone made the shot that won the car more than once. It is actually pretty cool when it happens. I have also been in attendance many, many, many, many more times when someone failed miserably, not just missing or coming close or doing a respectable effort, but when the person fails so utterly and spectacularly that it would have actually have been easier to make the shot than to duplicate what they actually did. In the latter instances, the toughness of a crowd really comes through when they boo the poor participant that had hoped to win something huge (It is a tough crowd that boos the halftime shot guy, let me tell you.). In the age of digital cameras and You Tube Dot Com a failure like that can be shared with family, friends, and strangers to forever immortalize a catastrophe even before a participant gets home from the game in question. So much for Big Brother, we are going to monitor ourselves so much the government will never need to.

I have been a part of a couple promotions. I got to try and throw a pitch through a little hole at a Cougar Baseball game in 1995 (I refer to the tee I won as a consolation as my $5,000 shirt), I won a beach ball soccer juggling contest at a Spokane Shadow game in the late 90s, and I got to take a halftime kick at a Sounders game a few years later. The first two were respectable efforts, the third was not so good.

Robin even got a sitter and went to the game - which given the time period in question - was quite remarkable.

I, with my decades of soccer experience dragged my toe on the turf and took a shot that looked more suitable to having been staged. I even wore my turf shoes so that I wasn't one of those guys trying to kick in my leather sandals.

Even the Sounders promotions guy looked at me with pity, since he had to figure I would have done something better than what I did.

Fortunately, few people watched my kick and it seems to have predated everyone carrying digital cameras with them everywhere. It was not just because the crowd was small, but we ran out, I screwed up, and we got back off the field a number of people asked me when I was going on. I replied, "Nope, I missed." An understatement to be sure.

Cerebus and Captain America #25 ....

Cerebus and Captain America #25 ....

I was recently faced with a - for me anyways - moral conundrum. See, I hate comic book speculation. It drives me nuts. Comic speculation drove a spike into the comic book industry in the 90s that financially hurt a lot of people. But, there I was. What do I do with my first printing of Captain America #25?

Fair reader, you might have recently heard about Captain America #25. Steve Rogers was shot and killed. News reports of this issue had people who NEVER buy comics looking for this one issue. Retailers had been warned something was up, but orders did not nearly match demand. Online sales of this comic quickly jacked up up to triple digits in some instances. Marvel was ready with second a printing, but we all know that first printings are the only ones that have collectable value. Personally, I am content with a reading copy as a second printing, so I seriously considered selling my first printing at a huge markup and buying a second printing when it came out.

As of posting this blog entry, I have not sold my Captain America #25 first printing.

See, I still read comics. Love them. I always have. I don't get many these days for a variety of reasons, but I still keep a box at Corner Comics. I am not entirely certain if the handful of titles I grab warrants a box, but as a longtime patron with a store owner who understands the industry I still am treated like a valued customer.

I even worked at a comic shop in high school for a while.

I read Cerebus from 16 to 300. (Dave Sim sent me the pencil drawing scanned and posted here.)

There was a little comic called The Crow that was on the stands one day so I picked it up.

My brother's fifth grade teacher told my parents that we were reading and if they squelched this stuff then we would turn off from reading completely. He was right.

I have been to numerous comic conventions (although never to a Star Trek one) and comic signings.

I really hope the industry survives Captain America #25 ...

Golf is like a hot (but psycho) girlfriend ....

Golf is like a hot (but psycho) girlfriend ....

... you know ... things go great, you learn the lay of the land, your putting improves steadily, and you are able to know the courses turns and hazards ... and then "BAM!" nothing works right and you cannot explain why .... and just as suddenly it all works again ....

In recent years I cannot say I am a golfer. Due to a couple of injuries to my wrist and abs and shoulder I just have not been able to get out there much. I used to go fairly often. In high school I would get off of work at 330 or 4am and hit the course before it even opened, dropping off my green fee as I walked off the course. I even gofed the morning of my wedding with two of my groomsmen. I can remember the time I chipped in for par on the first hole and seriously considered heading home, since karma was simply not going to allow me to have another shot like that in the same day. In the late 90s I finally got to play 18 at the Nile.

Last year, after some time, I finally got in a round and a bucket of balls at a driving range.

I have old clubs, really old clubs. I have had to replace a few things over the years, but they look old as well as being old. Well ... I grabbed me a bucket of balls at my old favorite driving range and decided to see how it felt. A couple of shots in and I grabbed one of my trusty irons and take a swing off of a tee.

There is an odd jerking motion and a "ting!" sound ...

I look up.

The other three fellows there also look up.

I see the club head flying off in the distance, apparently travelling farther than the ball.

I am holding a stick. It is no longer truly a golf club. See, the club head snapped off. It didn't slide off. Judging by the jagged edge of metal it is clear that I will need to weld it back on. But, first, that assumes I have the club head in the first place. One of the other chaps is nice enough to waive to the other two to stop so that we can walk out and find my club head. Sure enough, about 60 or 70 yards out, there it is ...

It is odd to find one's self looking at a driving range from the angle I was looking. And, since the other blokes had been so kind, I did not dally. Oddly, no one from the driving range seemed to notice or care that two of us were out on the range itself.

A few weeks later I played nine holes and shot a decent round. It was good to get out there. I need to go again soon, if my shoulder is up to it ...

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

16 Couch Potato Wednesdays End Tonight ...

16 Couch Potato Wednesdays End Tonight ...

16 Couch Potato Wednesdays of watching "Lost" end tonight with the 3rd season finale ...

Since ABC has recently announced that they will do three more seasons and then end the show.

So, my Wednesdays are free until next Winter ... January or February .... when ABC once again does the 16 weeks without a break season ...

and then again in oh nine and once more in oh ten ....

The Jury Is Still Out ...

The Jury Is Still Out ...

I sat in my van this morning listening to the guys on ESPN Radio talking about how they were certain that this proves once and for all that the NBA is not rigged because it puts both Oden and Durant in small markets instead of New York, Boston, or Philadelphia ...

... they completely neglected that both Pacific Northwest franchises are in serious trouble and that this result could save both franchises and the NBA's very presence in a region of the country ...

Rigged? The jury is still out ....

I Don't Watch American Idol ...

Bucky Covington - May 12, 2007 - Auburn Performing Arts Center (5PM Show)

I don't watch American Idol.

I don't listen to country radio.

But, my kids do ... meaning that I have an "awareness" of these things more than I would otherwise have.

See, Ringo is a big fan of Bucky (Bucky Covington) of American Idol fame. Bucky didn't win the show, but it turns out in some ways it is simply better to place high than to win it outright. And now, Bucky has a new CD out and is touring and so my son loaned me the CD to listen to since he had tickets and we were going.

Actually, the cd is good. I actually genuinely like it.

But, how good would Bucky be live?

As an opening act I have seen four acts in my life that I felt would clearly rise above being opening acts very quickly. These four performers were so obviously and clearly not opening acts that I knew I would not see them in that role again. I was correct all four times. Each of these performers were strong enough on record, but were actually better live.

(For the record .... 1987 Poison - 1988 Guns 'n Roses - 1989 Skid Row - 1990 Alice in Chains)

Bucky Covington was better live. He has charisma, stage presence, a strong voice, and seems to genuinely enjoy performing. I think I have found act number five that will clearly jump to headliner in a hurry.

Bucky was the opening act for Neal McCoy at the Auburn Performing Arts Center. First of all, it was a great little venue. We had 8th row seats. It was the first real concert my son and I were attending together. Bucky played seven of the eleven songs on his record, along with a rocking cover of the Georgia Satellites' hit "Keep your Hands To Yourself".

(For the record he played .... American Friday Night - A Different World - Back When We Were Gods - I'm Good - It's Good To Be Us - Hometown - Empty Handed)

Neal MCoy puts on a good show. He is funny, with a great rapport with the crowd. There were a couple songs of his I actually knew like "The Shake" and "Billy's Got His Beer Goggles On". Although, I think I enjoyed Neal much more than Ringo did.

Sometimes you have to choose sides ...

Sometimes you have to choose sides ...

AC Milan vs. Liverpool - May 23, 2007 - Athens, Greece - UEFA Champions League Final

In college hoops I root for two teams; Wazzu and the Zags ... it means that in general I have a lot of fun since they play in different conferences, but once a year they face each other and I have to make a decision who to root for ... but, I am a Coug more than I am a Zag and so that will always play itself out. In 1996 I stood in the student section on campus at Wazzu and watched the Cougs beat the Zags in the first round of the NIT and it became cemented in my psyche that in the end I can only root for the one team.

For a time I faced a similar Sonics and Celtics dilemma, but that is another story for another time ....

In European soccer I face a similar dilemma. I support both AC Milan and Liverpool. Two years ago they played in the UEFA Champions League Final in what is widely considered to be a classic. My reaction to the Liverpool win was enough to tell me who I primarily support ... Liverpool. So, in the 2007 rematch, I find that I must also admit that I support Liverpool first ....

But, watching Paulo Maldini hoist the trophy in what could be his last game ... that was sweet ....

Monday, May 21, 2007

Bill The Beerman ... RIP

Bill The Beerman ... RIP

Bill Scott 1949-2007

We loved you Beerman ...

Saturday, May 19, 2007

I don't know if I can stand there any more ...

Last night just before kickoff of the Seattle vs. Rochester game one of the guys who has brought a drum for years, to the best of my knowledge behaved reasonably well, etc ... was run off of the section because he doesn't drum in sync with them very well ... he has been going for years ... I thought it was cold and ugly, but with my little girl in tow I didn't really feel like I could get involved, and since I don't stand there every game I held my tongue ... but I felt like an absolute jerk for not doing anything ... a few minutes later, I took her and sat up higher ... I don't know if I can sit in 113 any more after that .... no one stood up for the guy, but the three guys that ran him off were very vocal about it so maybe no one felt like they could ... one guy pulled out ten bucks to offer him so he would leave ... it was something I am embarrassed about having witnessed and done nothing about, my daughter being there or not ... the guy was not as angry as he was genuinely hurt, I couldn't look him in the eye while he packed up ...

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Forwarded emails ....

I received this email the other day that was forwarded to me by a friend.


Dear God:
Why didn't you save the school children at ?. ..
Moses Lake , Washington 2/2/96
Bethel , Alaska 2/19/97
Pearl , Mississippi 10/1/97
West Paducah, Kentucky 12/1/97
Stamp, Arkansas 12/15/97
Jonesboro, Arkansas 3/24/98
Edinboro, Pennsylvania 4/24/98
Fayetteville , Tennessee 5/19/98
Springfield , Oregon 5/21/98
Richmond , Virginia 6/15/98
Littleton, Colorado 4/20/99
Taber , Alberta , Canada 5/28/99
Conyers , Georgia 5/20/99
Deming, New Mexico 11/19/99
Fort Gibson , Oklahoma 12/6/99
Santee , California 3/ 5/01 and
El Cajon, California 3/22/01?
Virginia Tech 4/16/07
Concerned Student

> > > > > > -----------------------------------------------------
Dear Concerned Student:
I am not allowed in schools!


I get these emails all the time and most of the time I just sort of let
them go ... but for whatever reason I just was rubbed the wrong way here ...

I wrote to my friend that although I understand why people might like this email it comes across as snotty and very much not something I would attribute to faith.

See, it smacks of Conditional Love and it definitely politicizes religion. I do not like either idea. Anything that does not measure up to the basic principles of Faith, Hope, Love, Forgiveness, and Redemption with Unconditional Love as its centerpiece is simply not worth acknowledging.

Fortunately, I am good enough friends with who sent this to me that she understood that I do not consider my objections to be a personal reflection on her ...

Friday, May 04, 2007

Black and White (Jan 2000)

South Lake Union

Mountlake Terrace Elementary

Edmonds Street Sign

Picnic Point Park ... at dusk (5.2.07)

Picnic Point Park ... at dusk (5.2.07)