Saturday, October 15, 2005

Collier passes away, other ACC basketball news

I was pretty bummed to see that Jason Collier, formerly of Georgia Tech, passed away. I saw him play a couple of times while I was at Duke back in the day. The really sad part is leaving a 1-year-old daughter behind - at least she's hopefully too young to remember it when she's older.

In happier news, according to USA Today,
Mike Krzyzewski will be the next Olympic basketball coach. This is a good thing for the U.S. Team given their recent struggles. Whatever you think of Coach K, he has a keen eye for talent. No matter what, he'll select a team that will listen to him and work well together, so you can expect some unconventional players (both NBA and maybe college) who are better suited for the international game.

In bad news for my Blue Devils,
the North Carolina Tar Heels picked up Brandon Wright, a stud recruit. A lot of recruits can be overhyped, and evaluating high school talent is tricky, but this was one kid I was really hoping Duke would pick up. He sounds like an Elton Brand-type, probably less talented but more ferocious (which says a great deal).

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Weezer/Foo Fighters 10/10 @ Patriot Center in Fairfax, VA

Thanks to Daniel Zabransky for all the pictures here, he was a cool cat at the show taking pictures with his digital camera, and he agreed to let me use a few.

The following is an account of the October 10th Weezer/Foo Fighters show at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, VA.

The night started off on a bad note, as I couldn't find my lucky O's hat (the one from the 80's with the cartoon bird) before heading off to the show. I wound up having to wear a less proven Orioles hat (the one with the classic bird, the original which the team currently uses for home games). After a pleasant and non-eventful drive to the Patriot Center, my buddies went into the arena, as they waited for me to find a ticket (I go to alot of shows without tickets since it's not too hard to buy one off a fan with an extra). I ended up buying one from a scalper for just $30, which I was happy with since the ticket's face value was $45. I glanced at it briefly, noticed that it was for a seat in section 117, then headed to one of the entrances.

photo courtesy Dan Zabransky

I got to the West entrance, where I was greeted by Some Dude and Some Chick. After realizing they were there for respective gender-specific friskings, I lifted my arms and waited for the mandatory pat-down to begin. As most people can attest to, friskings at airports can be especially awkward and metaphysically uncomfortable. Concert friskings are almost as bad. Thankfully, Some Dude was as uncomfortable with doing it as I was with being the friskee, so the process was brief. After making it past this first wave of concert personnel, I got to Ticket Girl. Ticket Girl was nice, and she scanned my ticket with some sort of bar-code scanning instrument. I asked her where my seat was, and as she responded, I zoned out. I saw her drop my ticket into a some kind of bin. I came to just in time to catch the end of what Ticket Girl was saying. I immediately began to wish I had been paying attention to what she had been talking about, but I was in a line, and I had to march on.

I finally got to the door, where two chicks were standing with shiny green wristbands. Seeing as I love shiny green, and recovering from the nervous vibes of the frisking, I stuck out my arm. One of the girls smiled after a second, and, in what became a theme to the first part of the night, clumsily put the contraption on my left wrist.

After meeting up with my pal Matty Bro, we proceeded to try and find our section. His ticket was for section 103, but we figured we could sit near each other anyway amongst what we expected to be a laissez-faire attitude towards seating enforcement. It is at this point that I became even more confused than I normally am: I had a wristband, and Matty Bro had a ticket. Something was amiss.

Realizing this ticket discrepancy, Bro came to conclusion (much sooner than I did) that I just happened to luck out like a bastard and get a general admission ticket to the floor, which is where we were hoping to wind up for the show (the Patriot Center had a seatless main floor in front of the stage for the show, with seats surrounding the floor as you would expect at a basketball venue). What we figured out was that I, in my typical cluelessness, had confused the girl into putting a bracelet on my wrist when in fact I should have continued on without one. That, or Ticket Girl thought I was cute and hooked me up with a floor wristband. Or she saw me for the idiot that I am and assumed I would rather have a floor seat because I had the look of a lame rock concert-goer. Either way, serendipity and a positive attitude combined forces to my benefit, and I was able to get on the floor.

The Kaiser Chiefs came on first. They were OK, average and typical as an opening act (although their last song, "I Predict a Riot," was particularly money). The highlight of their set was when their lead singer bombastically announced "We are Kaiser Chiefs!!! We're from the UK!!!," after which their guitarist slyly added "You must be the USA!!!" No blatant Spinal Tap reference must be ignored, so I gave them respect for that alone (I try to live my life in the spirit of Gunther: Champagne, glamour, sex, and RESPECT - I fail miserably on all accounts, but I will freely continue to give out tons of the last principle).

photo courtesy Dan Zabransky

Weezer followed, and their show was damn good. They played a nifty mix of their old and newer stuff, and, given the nature of the dual billing, avoided playing too much off their most recent album in favor of early-era tunes. Rivers Cuomo, according to those who had seen the band previously, was apparently much less nervous than usual, and one could tell that the band was having fun. The set starting off well, but noticeably picked up steam as the night progressed. It was really a treat to hear "El Scorcho," "Why Bother?," and "Surf Wax America," essentially traveling back in time to high school.

The setlist:

My Name is Jonas
Don't Let Go
Dope Nose
This is Such a Pity
Big Me (Foo Fighters cover)
Perfect Situation
Why Bother?
El Scorcho
Say It Ain't So
We Are All on Drugs
Surf Wax America
Beverly Hills
Hash Pipe
Photograph----> Song 2 (Blur Cover)*

Island in the Sun
Undone (The Sweater Song)
Buddy Holly
* Rivers Cuomo on drums, Patrick Wilson on guitar

The best part of the night, for me, came at the end of Weezer's main set. After finishing up "Hash Pipe," Rivers Cuomo and Patrick Wilson switched instruments; Rivers played the drums and Pat played lead guitar and sang "Photograph," which then turned into a sweet cover of Blur's "Song 2." After banging the drums for a bit, Rivers threw his drumsticks into the crowd. I saw that one of them was headed in my general direction, and it landed half a foot in front of me. A quick melee ensued for a millisecond, and I somehow wound up with the stick. Apparently years of going to baseball games and trying to pounce on ricocheting foul balls paid off. Immediately after grabbing it, people gave me a couple high fives, and there was also some gnashing of teeth and consternation from the kids who had a chance to grab the souvenir. One dude tapped me on the shoulder and called me "the luckiest motherfucker ever." Needless to say, he was greatly exaggerating, but it was a cool memento.

Rivers Cuomo on drums/photo courtesy Dan Zabransky

But then something odd happened.

In the straight-up freakiest moment of the night, two young teenage girls (get-10-years-in-prison young) asked me if they could "hold it." So many jokes and puns started running around inside my head, but then I was struck with the bizarre oddity of the situation. The thing was that both the girls actually meant it. I let them hold the stick, with the second girl holding on to it for a good 10 second count. I held onto it while she did, because I honestly didn't know if she was going to go psycho and just snatch it, but ultimately she let go with a satisfied and glazed look in her eye. I can't imagine what she'd look like after she first starts having sex. It was fucking weird. I feel creepy just writing about it, and I was happy to get the hell away from those girls.

After getting over being thoroughly creeped out, I made my way back to the seats, where Matty Bro again called me a lucky bastard as soon as he saw that I had one of the drumsticks in my hand. Everyone agreed that Weezer had put on a great show, and we looked forward to the Foo Fighters set.

more to come...

New Adventures in Crime

Courtesy of the Towson Times crime log section, these entries are verbatim as they appeared in the October 12, 2005 edition. The sad thing is that all of these crimes happened within 5 miles of my house, which is near many neighborhoods which are considered to be among the nicest in Baltimore County.

Many of these are funny in a sinister way, and others are just downright scary. My comments are in italics. Enjoy!

Cranbrook Road, 500 block, Provident Bank, 2:55 p.m. Oct. 7. A man entered the bank and announced his intention of robbing it. He punched and (sic) employee in the face, demanded keys to the safe, then forced the employee to open the safe. The robber then fled with cash.
- This man apparently meant business. I can jog from my house to this branch in 10 minutes, and I made a deposit there recently.

Aylesbury Road,
first block, 10:30 a.m. Oct. 5. Two women got into an argument as they were leaving a methadone clinic and one stabbed the other in the arm with a steak knife.
- Methodone clinics are for heroine addicts attempting to detox. Jesus... stay classy, psychotic bitches!

York Road,
200 block, KFC, 8:55 p.m. Oct. 9. Two men entered the fast food restaurant just before closing. One of the robbers forced employees into the office at gunpoint while the other tried to force the manager to open the safe. When the robbers realized the safe could not be opened, they took cash from the register drawer and the manager's pockets and fled in a black sedan.
- Many a sociology class would be halted by the fury of debate over the ethnicity of the perpetrators in question. At least these imbeciles, in an attempt to salvage their trip, made the last-second executive decision to go the old-fashioned way and rob the register.

And the "Dumbasses of the Week" Award goes to...

Stevenson Lane, 1100 block, 8:55 p.m. Oct. 5. Two juveniles were arrested after police investigated a single-car crash and determined the car was stolen. The two suspects were apprehended as they were walking away from the accident.
- Fucking moron juvenile delinquents.

York Road, 400 block, Towson Commons, 12:20 a.m. Oct. 3. A verbal dispute that started during a movie spilled out into the street afterwards. Two men attacked two other men and slashed them in the legs and arms with knives then fled on foot.
- How fitting that I saw A History of Violence at this very theater just last week.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Weezer/Foo Fighters turn it up to 11 at the Patriot Center, Rivers Cuomo throws stick at me

I just got back from the show, which was rockin.

I'll have a write-up (the highlight was winding up with a drumstick that Rivers - who played drums on Photograph---> Song 2 [Blur Cover] - threw into the crowd at the end of Weezer's main set) and pictures soon.

Major Weezer Releases

Weezer (Blue)


Weezer (Green)


Make Believe

Sunday, October 09, 2005



Tomorrow I'm planning on heading down to Fairfax, VA to catch the Foo Fighters/Weezer show. Foo Fighters are always a solid act, and they should be rocking hard in support of their latest record, the money In Your Honor. Weezer is on my short list of bands I really want to see but haven't, even though I've had chances (the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan are #1 and #2 on this list - obviously God put me here a little too late to have a chance to see the Who, Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, the Clash, the Velvet Underground, Hendrix, etc. in their purest forms).

Weezer have always had harsh critics. Such detractors, however, are missing out on a good thing at best and are morons at worst. The band is responsible for two of the classic albums of the 90's: the self-titled Weezer () - aka The Blue Album - and Pinkerton (). Despite the fact their subsequent 3 LP's haven't come close to the first two, they are still very good records, and Weezer has always had a reputation as a fine live act. It's also funny to see them consistently release some of their most mediocre songs as singles and have those tracks become big hits ("Beverly Hills" and "Hash Pipe" being two examples). Much to the chagrin of their "hardcore" fans, the retarded mass-consuming public eats up those songs while the band quietly releases consistently good music.

Weezer wins.