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July 2004 Archives

July 1, 2004

Voldemort Can't Stop The Rock

It’s common knowledge that if your school needs saving from evil sorcerers or savage beasties, Harry Potter is the dude to call. But who knew that the kid could ROCK?

Yesterday Mr. Zubby and I took a late lunch break and headed over to the library to catch the CD release party for Harry and the Potters. The two teenage brothers from Norwood (Harry Potter Year 4 and Harry Potter Year 7) played a full set of Hogwarts themed tunes with an indy rock flavor reminiscent of Noise Addict and Jonathan Richman. With their friend Ernie on drums, they tore up the Raab Auditorium with soon-to-be classics like “Valdemort Can’t Stop the Rock” and “Save Ginny Weasley”. The audience (mostly 14 to 16 year old girls) couldn’t get enough of the raw power kicked out by these teen rock wizards. If you missed their show, you can catch them again in August at the Middle East in Cambridge. Not in Boston? Maybe you’ll be able to check them out during their summer tour. They’ll be fighting the dark arts at libraries and community centers around the country during July and August. You can also check out either of their two CDs, available on their website.

So are they actually any good? Well… they ain’t bad. They have a sense of humor about what they’re doing without cruelly mocking J.K. Rowling’s books. What I find most interesting is the way Harry and the Potters have found a niche market in the libraries of America, and turned it into an actual nationwide tour during their summer vacation. They travel, they bring the rock, and they promote summer reading programs. And from what I could see, they were cleaning up at the merch table… T-shirts, buttons, and CDs. Heck, I spent my lunch money on their latest disc. I'm a sucker for that old black magic.

July 8, 2004

Ear Ache My Eye

This is normally the time that I’d try to recap in detail the events of the holiday weekend and the days that followed. Lately, my laziness at online posting has created a vast backlog of “points of interest” that I then feel compelled to try and capture in writing a bit too long after the fact. Because I use this blog as a personal journal, I’ll take a second to make a list for posterity, then I’m just going to move on. In no particular order:

  • BBQ’d lots and lots of meat on the grill. The highlight was the fresh cheesy brats simmered in beer and grilled to tasty perfection reminiscent of my Milwaukee childhood.
  • Spent a lot of time hanging out on the roof deck with various good friends, enjoying the weather, the company, and the joys of minty lemonade spiked with vodka.
  • Our friend Jason was in town visiting from Philly. He's good people. We miss him when he's not around.
  • Saw Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 911. Definitely a film worth seeing, no matter where you stand in the political spectrum. It has it’s own bias, that’s for sure. He asks you to make a few leaps of faith, but not very large ones. A lot of the information included at the very least begs further investigation. If you’re a Bush supporter, I’d encourage you to go see the film, and then write an intelligent article debunking it. I haven’t seen too much of that lately. I’m open to reading it. Convince me that our government isn’t as deeply corrupt as it seems. Please.
  • Watched most of Wizard People, Dear Reader, a very funny alternate soundtrack for the first Harry Potter movie. “A paradox of baby-ness and power!" Fun!
  • Enjoyed a very good breakfast at the S&S Deli in Cambridge with Jason, Zubby, and Larissa.
  • Skipped the fireworks on the Esplanade.

So that was the weekend… this week has been so far mostly unremarkable, accept for the awful and random earache that I got yesterday for no apparent reason. When I was a kid (4 or 5 years old maybe?) I used to have constant ear infections. Then my adnoids were removed and drainage tubes were put into my ears. The problem disappeared and I don't think I've had one since. Until yesterday. The pain got progressively worse throughout the day until I finally gave up, left work, and called my doctor. The doc said, "Are you running a fever?" No. I wasn't. "Take a hot shower, some Actifed, and some Afrin nasal spray. If your ears still hurt in a few hours call me and I'll get you some antibiotics. Then you'll need to come see me first thing in the morning. Actifed and Afrin? We had that. I gave it a shot. Sure enough, my tubes opened up, my ears drained, and presto! No more pain. Neat! Of course I spent the rest of the night knocked out on the couch by prescription medications. Just one Actifed leaves me in a haze for about 16 hours… Luckily I had no heavy machinery to operate this morning.

July 12, 2004

Providential

Today is my dear bonehead Katrina's birthday! Happy Birthday, dear Bonehead! Katrina claims to read my blog, but she never posts comments... She is a ninja lurker. Happy birthday, Ninja Bonehead!

Saturday Mrs. Lizzie and I went down to Providence on a whim. Providence is a nice little city, with good restaurants, beautiful old New England industrial architecture, ivy coated college campuses, and plenty of urban grit. We spent some time wandering around Thayer Street, were all the shiny young college kids seemed to be hanging out, spending their summer looking cool.

Next we went downtown to University Tattoo where our friend Joy is one of the resident artists. It was nice to have some time to just hang out on the grass and catch up. I also spent some time talking to Dooz, the other artist at the shop. He does some asian-style work with beautiful shading that I quite admire, and he's a very friendly fellow.

We let Joy get back to work, and then grabbed some tasty indian dinner before heading over to our friend Frank's house. Even more friends over there, so more shooting of the breeze insued. We were introduced to jaw-dropping technological wonders that left my geeky little heart green with envy. All in all, it was a lovely way to spend a Saturday.

Sunday was a lazy day... despite the beautiful weather, I think I only left the house because our arugula had wilted. More was needed for Lizzie to create her wonder salad, so I shuffled off to the Stop n Shop. Otherwise, it was a much needed day of sloth. Sometimes, after much busy-ness and running about, sloth is the least deadly of the seven deadly sins.

July 13, 2004

Macworld is a lonely and desolate planet...

I just came back from spending a few hours wandering around the Macworld Expo down at the new Boston Convention Center. It was a little disappointing. While there where a few interesting gadgets and doodads, there was nothing that really knocked my socks off. I'm sure that Apple's decision not to participate in the Boston Macworld had a great deal to do with that. After all, what is Macworld without... well... Macs? Apple going AWOL seemed to have cut the legs out from under the Expo. Adobe was also notably absent. I heard that Microsoft was supposed to have a booth, but if they did, I must have missed it. Without many heavy hitters, there just wasn't a lot to hold my attention. Some of the speakers and presentations sounded interesting, but also mostly theoretical. A lot of "someday soon" this and "just on the horizon" that. Not nearly enough "wow" in the "here" and "now".

It wasn't a complete loss though. I walked away with a giant stack of free magazines, a felt-bottomed coaster made out of a speech recognition CD, and a cool pen that lights up blue when you click it. How great is that? Insanely great! Or not. My company gave me a free pass and paid me to spend the morning there. I feel bad that I didn't come back with any information that would be even remotely useful or interesting to my department, but I tried... honest!

July 14, 2004

Bubba Ho-Tep

Last night, I finally got a chance to sit down and watch Bubba Ho-tep, starring the always amazing Bruce Campbell in the role he was born to play. Campbell is a 70 year old rest home resident who may or may not be Elvis Presley. The King teams up with his only friend, a fellow resident (Ozzie Davis) who believes that he is John F. Kennedy, to defeat an ancient mummy in cowboy boots who is devouring the souls of the elderly.

Not exactly a brilliant film, but a good solid B-movie effort. Campbell and Davis make it worthwhile, taking occasionally lame dialog and spinning it into gold. I’m going to let this one stew in my brain awhile… then maybe I’ll rent the DVD and watch it with commentary. There have to be some fun extras packed into this one...

July 22, 2004

DNC Creeping Up

The Democratic National Convention is only days away. By all accounts, the city of Boston is about to be turned into a nightmare world of gridlocked traffic, security checks, random searches, barricades, striking police officers, and drunken delegates swaggering around like they own the place. The media has been warning us for months that the only sane response any Bostonian can have is to "get the @#%$ out of dodge."

So do we listen? Heck no! Lizzie and I are like the old couple in the hurricane that refuses to evacuate. "It's our house and we ain't leavin'!" I have a suspicion that the hype and clamor about the coming DNC hardships is a little overblown. I'm one of the fortunate folks who live south of downtown Boston, and won't be too affected by the closings of North Station and 93. My particular stretch of the Orange Line should have full service, and will probably even run more often.

With that said, I'll probably still try to leave work a little early and avoid the heavily Convention-infested parts of town as much as possible. The News tells us on a nightly basis that the DNC could be an attractive target for terrorists attacks. Then they show us all of the precautions that are being taken to protect us. Does that make me feel safer? Not really. Like most of Boston, I suspect I'll be on edge next week. Loud noises are likely to make me jump. I'll steal suspicious glances at my neighbors as I ride the train. Then I'll feel guilty about it, and I'll try to remember what it was like when we never worried about attacks on our own soil. Weird times.

July 23, 2004

The DNC vs. the First Ammendment

This is completely ridiculous. For most of the Democratic National Convention, protestors will be restricted to a "designated protest zone". From all accounts, this "zone" is a small fenced in area, tucked out of sight beneath old Green Line elevated tracks. The fences are topped with razor wire and netting, as if they'd modelled this "free speech" zone after Guantanamo Bay. The federal judge who upheld the ruling that the "zone" should stand did so even while agreeing that the space was "an affront to the idea of free expression." He claimed that the pen was an unfortunate necessity because of security concerns and recent unruly protests in other parts of the country. The judge also ruled that the space wasn't large enough for 4000 people it was meant to hold, reduced the maximum occupancy to 1000, and required that extra exits be built.

All this begs an interesting question... What happens when the protesters inevitably refuse to be herded into the "designated protest zone"? There are going to be far more than 1000 protesters in Boston in the coming week. People are coming from all over the country to get their messages across. I can't imagine any of them are going to be too crazy about that concrete, steel, and barbed wire confinement program. And when they refuse to be penned, what is going to happen? Are they going to try to have the overworked, underpayed, and generally frustrated Boston Police (many of whom will be on their own picket lines next week) arrest or disperse thousands of protesters? Gee... I can't see something like THAT errupting into violence, mayhem, and destruction, can you? No way THAT could turn into another Seattle WTO situation, no sir.

Should be an interesting week in Boston. Note to self... start bringing camera to work.

July 25, 2004

Sittin' on the front Stoop

After an incredibly lazy day of just sitting around the house reading (Liz) and playing video games (me), we finally got out of the house at around 8pm. We went over to our friend Tracy's house for an evening of beers on her porch. It was really nice. Just a small gathering of random people hanging out and talking about movies and life in general, while aiding Tracy in the difficult but crucial task of clearing left over beer out of her refridgerator. She had a big party last weekend and had so much leftover brew that she had no room in her fridge for groceries. Always happy to help out a friend, we did what we could. We're troopers like that.

July 27, 2004

The DNC Has Been Veddy Veddy Good to Me

So far, the much dreaded DNC has had a mostly positive effect on my quality of life. My commute on the Orange Line has been speedy and uncrowded. I have yet to see a single bag search, although I’ve heard that they are happening closer to the Fleet Center. The trains and stations are weirdly unlittered and shiny. Even the streets are squeeky clean, despite the fact that anything even resembling a trash can has been removed.

I’ve been going out for long walks at lunch just to see what’s going on. Yesterday I hung out and ate my lunch around the massive Falun Gong demonstration in Copley Square. They had some disturbingly realistic recreations of the torture techniques used by Chinese Government to persecute Falan Gong practitioners. I also caught the tail end of one of the anarchist marches down Boylston Street. It looked like maybe fifty people followed by about 30 cops on motorcycles who where stopping traffic for them. There were apparently no problems... the protestors were peaceful and the police seemed respectful of the whole thing. Aside from that, there wasn’t a lot going on except an above average number of tourists with convention passes wandering the streets of the Back Bay to shop and ogle the FAO Schwartz teddy bear.

Today I took a different route, passing through the Public Garden and the Boston Common. The Really Really Democratic Bazaar was going on in the Common, with bands playing on two stages and lots of booths set up by... well, basically anyone who felt like setting up a booth, I guess. There didn’t seem to be too much going on. It was early, so maybe it got revved up later. On my way across the Common, I ran into Dan P., an old friend from college. He’d come down to see the sights, and was on the look out for our mutual friend and ultimate hotshot power-librarian Jessamyn who is in Boston this week as an official blogger at the DNC. Nice to catch up with him a little bit. As it turned out, I had no Jessamyn sightings today. I wonder if Dan did.

The one thing that I’ve found weirdly menacing this week are the unmarked helicopters that have been hovering over the Back Bay. I watched one hanging fairly low over the corner of Boylston and Berkeley for about five minutes before it wandered off, only to be replaced by another one that seemed to be just over Newbury Street. Maybe the Clintons where shopping...

About July 2004

This page contains all entries posted to Dave's Headblog in July 2004. They are listed from oldest to newest.

June 2004 is the previous archive.

August 2004 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.