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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I Wish This Was On The Radio...

Just some quick thoughts on all the music I bought from iTunes the other week...

Gary Allan - Living Hard. 'Nuff said. seriously though, great album - country/rock with an edge, how I like it. I've been listening to the whole thing on repeat too, so that says something. Top songs include Watching Airplanes, We Touched The Sun, Learning How To Bend, Like It's A Bad Thing, and the great track Half of My Mistakes - written by Radney Foster. If there was any justice (or good taste) on country radio, that'd be a number one hit.

Bruce Springsteen - Magic. More great stuff. Not an album I play whole on repeat (very few are), but some of the tracks are just dynamite. Top songs include Radio Nowhere, You'll Be Comin' Down, Last To Die, Long Walk Home, Devil's Arcade, and the best track on the album, Gypsy Biker. Those last three are instant Springsteen classics the moment you hear them, and Gypsy Biker is one of those songs that you want to hear again as soon as it's done, not to mention it's beautifully crafted and starkly painted lyrics as well.

Allison Moorer - Getting Somewhere. Get the title track for sure. Just about worth the price of the album for it. The rest aren't as great, but some good stuff here (Hallelujah and New Years Day) if a little on the pop side.

Prairie Oyster - One Kiss. Some great stuff here from the veteran Canadian Band. Standouts include the title track, I Threw It All Away, Long and Lonesome Old Freight Train, and the track that got my attention on one of the few times I heard it on the radio, Too Bad For Me.

So there you go. What are you waiting for? Turn off that mind numbing and empty radio dial and go get some good tunes!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Red Sox Win! Now Back To Regular Fox Programming...

So the Boston Red Sox win the World Series - kudos to them. Tough break for the rookie Rockies, but they might be back next year (yeah, right). However, it was another boring World Series. Last year was a sweep by the Cards, this year a sweep by the Red Sox. Where's the drama in the big finish? The ALCS was better. The last Series that really sticks in my mind was the 2001 between Arizona and New York. I remember watching every game of that series and the dramatics of the back and forth. This year, the closest it came to drama was the Rockies home run tonight to make it 4-3. But that was as close as it got. Oh well, back to hockey now and to watch baseball's offseason madness.

Speaking of which, Alex Rodriguez opted out of the world's richest contract - that 10 year 250 million monstrosity he had. He did so with 72 million guaranteed left on the contract. How stinking rich do you have to be to think to yourself "Hmmm, who needs a locked in 72 mil? I'll make myself a free agent for the fun of it." Could be he didn't like playing in New York and knew nobody would take him in a trade with that contract. Now he gets to go to the highest bidder - hello Cubs?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Drive By Drive Thru...

After some overtime at work went longer than I had expected, I was driving home and thought about stopping at the McDonald's drive thru for some salty, greasy breakfast. I decided not to and headed home to eat a fruit cup of pineapple and some ginger snap cookies and sit down at my computer to read this:

McDonald's Hep A-positive worker triggers long wait to get shot

Apparently a worker at a Calgary McDonald's tested positive for Hep A and now anyone who ate there between Oct 1 and Oct 23 has to get a shot and the clinic is rather overwhelmed.

Needless to say, I'm really enjoying that pineapple instead of the egg mcmuffin right about now...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Left To Write...

Look at that, it's almost November. And that means cooler temps - finally! - and NaNoWriMo, National November Writing Month. Basically it's an online community of writers trying to accomplish a 50,000 word novel in a month. Last year, I wanted to take a shot at it, but I was in a stretch of being bumped up to temp fulltime at work and only got about 8000 words or so down. So, I thought I'll try it again next year. What are the odds I'd be bumped back up to temp fulltime again, at the same time of year? Yep, that's what happened...

So, no chance of doing it this year. Maybe I should just carry on with where I left off the last time, and six years later I'll have close to 50,000 words if I stay at the same pace of once a year November writing.

Of course, that means I have to think up another 8000 words to write. Shouldn't be a problem, that's what - 267 words a day? I could knock that out in my long as quality and making sense aren't expected.

Speaking of writing, I gotta post up that 3rd part of the Stranger 10 story, having written it and all. Still mulling a point or two, but maybe I should just put it up before they refer to me and Frank Miller's ASBAR in the same sentence (just Google it...)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I Shop iTunes (aka - Go Buy Gary Allan's Album Living Hard!)

Did some iTunes shopping...scored the new Springsteen album, the new Gary Allan album, the new Prairie Oyster album, the latest Allison Moorer album, and a bunch of various single songs without leaving my chair.

Gotta say there is something really gratifying about getting Gary Allan's latest album - Living Hard - at midnight before the day of release without having to do the trips through Future Shop, Best Buy, Walmart, Zellers, HMV, and more to try to find a great album nobody has in stock yet because they have to make room for the latest teenie bopper pop act. And the great thing was that it (and Springsteen's album too) came with a nice PDF file of the cover art and liner notes with the lyrics. Very nice, wish all the albums had that.

Then I ran them through the Hymn Project DRM cleaner and I'm good to go - saved money, got the albums I wanted, and didn't have to leave the house.

But the other thing was that I perused and bought some of the DRM free songs available in the iTunes Plus section. Can only hope more recording labels get on board with that, cause that's the way it should be. Was surprised to see Keith Urban's latest and Dierks Bentley's albums in the DRM free zone. Especially Bentleys, as his CD's usually come wrapped in cellophane and DRM. Good move to go the other way with it. Managed to pick up his second album without DRM, some old Billy Dean tracks, a couple Trace Adkins tracks, and John Landry's My Heart Says Yes song (haven't heard that one in a while) all DRM free and 99 cents each.

So now I gotta go charge up the blue Shuffle and load it up with new music for my work week ahead.

By the way - halfway through the Gary Allan album and haven't heard a track I don't like yet. Whether its iTunes or somewhere else, go get this album! Great music, and curiously iTunes has the genre listed as Rock. Guess it's not pop enough to be classed as today's country, but it's more country than most of what I hear on the radio, so, works for me.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Wolverine in 2009

It's official. Fox has announced that the Wolverine solo movie will be out May 1, 2009. That gives them plenty of time to do it, I suppose. They've got a director, the script, and the main actor of course. Now they just have to film it. Wonder why it's so far out when they're going to start filming soon, but it's probably better than being in the same year of '08 with comic book movies like the Batman sequel, Hulk, and Iron Man.

I just really hope they make it good. After the let down that was X3, let's hope they learned their lesson about rushing it for the sake of it. Of course, this is Fox we're talking about, so we know there's no artistic brains behind the operation. Just have to hope the director Gavin Hood and Hugh Jackman pull off a good movie with no interference from Fox...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Leopard - Oct 26.

It's official - Apple's new OS X 10.5 Leopard goes on sale October 26. Who can find the most bugs?

They've also setup another up to date program for anyone who bought a qualifying Mac with Tiger on it after October 1. Get an upgrade to Leopard for the cost of shipping, I believe. Or something like that - I haven't checked out the full page of Apple's up to date program requirements yet. But I'm going to see if I can't grab a free version of it since I just bought my Mac Mini. Maybe I can make out with both versions of OS X and upgrade when I want.

Can't wait to read the reviews of the early adopters...

Monday, October 15, 2007

How To Lose A Hockey Game...

Fun Leafs vs Sabres game tonight...I was wondering how the Leafs would find a way to lose when they were up 2-0, and yep, they found a way. 6 goals in the 3rd period and it was a 4-4 tie into overtime. Then the Leafs take a penalty and its 4 on 3 hockey in OT. with something like 2 seconds left in OT, the Sabres fire it on net...and there's a rebound...and Bryan McCabe tries to clear the puck, but shoots it off BOTH goalposts and into his own net...and the Leafs lose!

And the laughter in Leafland continues...

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Observations of a Mac

Haven't had a lot of time to spend on the new Mac Mini with work and all, but I have been testing it out and did play around with iMovie 08 one night. A few things did come to mind...

I was surprised to see VLC be able to be controlled by the Apple Remote. Volume, play/pause, forward/backward tracks, were all controllable from the remote right out of the box. I had read that people had tweaked it so that VLC would work with the remote, but I didn't know it would work right away. Cool.

Front Row worked as advertised as well - much like an Apple TV. I think this machine will make an excellent DVD Player/Media Centre down the road when hooked to a TV. Have to do some more research on resolutions and sound out though.

The other surprise is that there was no PhotoBooth on the Mac Mini. Guess if the computer doesn't come with an iSight, there's no PhotoBooth either. That's just cheap there, Apple. Come on, include it - we can add our own webcam. Luckily, there's an easy way to get it as long as you know somebody with a Mac that has it...or there's always the 'net.

Made a clip in iMovie 08 just to play around with it. Seems a little limited in what it likes to import - from cameras mostly, or H.264 of course. Once imported though, it seems like really cool video editing software. When it came out, people seemed to love or hate it - those used to the 06 version seem to hate it the most. Instead of an upgrade, this new version of iMovie is a completely new program done from the ground up. Personally, I really like it - with one glaring exception. There is no video effects, namely slow motion. What?! Even the most basic video editor has that. However, that's about the only complaint I can come up with. Once the video is imported and iMovie breaks the video down into clips and sorts out the thumbnails, it is incredibly slick and easy to pick out your clips and arrange them in your project. Real time scanning (or scrubbing) through the clips to find what you want, and then highlight it like text and drag that segment to your timeline. By far and away the best and easiest clip selection process I've come across yet. People also complained about the audio editing of the video, but it seems the recent software update has solved that and it worked great for me. There's even a vast array of included sound effects you can add to your clips. You can see the thinking behind the software - it's obviously designed for the YouTube generation, not heavy duty video editing. But then it's not a Pro software package either. But it's also quite well designed and is different in its approach than most video editing software. It's also way better than Windows Movie Maker (otherwise known as Crash'nBurn). Hopefully, they add slow motion and some other video effects in a future update.

My major job to tackle is yet to come - migrating my email over. Seems the best approach is XP Thunderbird to Mac Thunderbird, then using something else to migrate into Mac Mail. Should be interesting. Have to bring my iTunes library over as well, but that should be easy.

Overall though, I'm liking it. Seems quick and stable and I've been able to do away with the Windows Reboot syndrome so far. We'll see how it goes once the migration is done.

Friday, October 12, 2007

My Mac Is Here

Woohoo! Finally, I am posting this from my very own Mac! A Mac Mini that I ordered from the refurbed apple site. Was surprised to see a latest version C2D with a gig of RAM and iLife 08 included for a pretty good price, so I ordered it. Couple days later it was here and I got it hooked up tonight. Pretty nifty little machine - especially considering the space saving design when compared to my other huge PC desktop beside it.

Anyway, I got Firefox and VLC (the trusty media player of choice) installed for some familiar programs that just work, so its looking good so far. Can't wait to really get into it, but going to have to go off to bed here. Gotta work and all. I'm sure I'll post more later as I get this thing going...

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Rerunning Reruns...

Had a Crocodile Dundee moment tonight.

Last night I was flipping through the channels on TV, hit CMT, saw the credits rolling on Married With Children (why is that on CMT?), turned off the TV and went to bed. Tonight, I flipped on the TV and saw the credits rolling on Married With Children.

Yep, saw that already.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Theatre Worthy?

Haven't posted much movie news lately...'cause, well, there hasn't been much interesting to post about. Plus, I've pretty much given up on theatres (high prices and rude idiots), so I'm on the DVD cycle. I would have paid to watch the western 3:10 to Yuma in September, but it looks like I missed that one thanks to a crappy month and four week flu bug. Now here comes October with a couple more movies I'd love to see, but who knows if I will.

First up this coming weekend is the cops and crime thriller We Own The Night. It stars Joaquin Phoenix, Mark Walberg, Robert Duvall, and Eva Mendes. Great cast and crime thriller movies are right up my alley. The movie tagline goes: "Two brothers on opposite sides of the law. Beyond their differences lies loyalty." Should be good.

Check out the trailer here.

Then next weekend (19th) is Gone Baby Gone. Directed by Ben Affleck and based on a book by the author of Mystic River, it focuses on a young Private Detective on the case of a missing girl. Cops, crime, and corruption follow as the risks get higher. It stars Casey Affleck, Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris, and Michelle Monaghan. The trailer looks great, and I'm betting it'll be a really good movie.

Check out the trailer here.

Maybe if my ears stop ringing again and I can sneak in a Monday afternoon show or something, I can work in seeing these. It's certainly not the usual dumb teenager fare, so maybe there won't be as many idiots in the theater if I find a way to get to one. One could hope...

Monday, October 08, 2007

Holiday Weekend...

Well, hope it was a good Thanksgiving weekend for all those fellow Canadians out there. I had a pretty good one with family and food. Then I had some leftovers today...did the meal backwards...started with the apple pie, finished with the dinner. Pretty good.

Just finished watching my Monday night TV lineup of Chuck and K-Ville. Pretty good shows that are showing promise. I just hope they don't get axed too soon. Too bad they're up against some other TV juggernauts...

With Cleveland leading NY 8-2 at the end of the 6th, it looks like the Indians are going to send the Yankees home in the first round of baseball playoffs. And the boss in NY already has said Joe Torre is done as manger of the Yanks if they don't, goodbye Torre. It would have been fun seeing another Boston/NY playoff, but as long as the Yankees are out, I'm happy...

Well, back to work temp full time tomorrow. The money will come in handy with a wanted Apple laptop, and Christmas coming. Hopefully we'll get some seasonal temperatures here too. It'll make work easier to take, not to mention I like it cooler. Today was Thanksgiving - in October - and we were at 30 degrees. Weird. At least the forecast is calling for rain and cooler temps through the rest of the week. I'm sure others will be complaining, but I like it overcast and cool. Bring it on...snow should be next :)

Friday, October 05, 2007

Make Like A Tree and Split...

So, TBS - home of old movies and comedy reruns and Atlanta Braves baseball - is no longer called TBS. It now goes by the name of Peachtree TV. And the bottom screen channel logo is even more obnoxious than the TBS one.

So, Why?

What marketing dude came up with that? Was Banana Split TV taken?

Whatever, just downsize that real estate hogging corner logo so I don't have to see it.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Falling Leaves

Well, it took a little longer to get there, but the Leafs lost to Ottawa 4-3 in overtime to open their season in the expected fashion. Not only that, but the new #1 to be goalie that cost them a number 1 draft pick and an 8 mil contract extension was on the bench while last year's number 1 started. Good ol' Maple Laughs just continue their wacky ways...

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Sports Night! (And I Can't Watch)

For a sports fan, this is the best time of the year. You've got hockey season starting, baseball playoffs, and football. That picture in picture function on the TV finally gets used. Problem for me is that I'm starting temporary full time again next week. And I work nights. Means I can't watch any of it.


New Gary Allan Music - Living Hard

Great news here! Gary Allan, probably my favorite singer of the past couple years, is coming out with a new album called Living Hard that will hit stores October 23. Been waiting for a new album since his fantastic late 2005 effort called Tough All Over (fantastic album, that). He had a greatest hits album in between with the great sad-yet-rockin' track Feelin' Like That. However, Living Hard is all new material - here's the song list:

1. Watching Airplanes
2. We Touched the Sun
3. She's So California
4. Like It's A Bad Thing
5. Learning How To Bend
6. As Long As You're Looking Back
7. Wrecking Ball
8. Yesterday's Rain
9. Trying To Matter
10. Half Of My Mistakes
11. Living Hard

Watching Airplanes is the current single and another great song. I've also heard Like It's A Bad Thing via concert footage on YouTube and it should be a hit single too. In a world of watered down, feel good pop country the likes of Rascal Flatts and Carrie Underwood put out, a new album from Gary Allan is a reason to whip out the wallet and buy some good music. Here's the description of the album via Amazon:

It's raw and emotional. It's freight-train-to-nowhere lonely. It's hard-rockin', no-apologies country music that has traded in its twang for a gravelly growl millions of fans recognize as the voice of Gary Allan.

Well, I know what I'll be buying on October 23rd. Talk about a good music month for me - a new Springsteen album and a new Gary Allan album. With the exception of the self titled Doc Walker album from the Sping, it's been a dry year for good music. Lucky for me, October's gonna change that.

Go and check out the video for the song on his webpage here, and the Amazon link for the album here.

Oh, and here's some concert footage too of him singing Watching Airplanes...

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Like A Brick...

So, it's been fun reading through the Apple news and forums as of late. About 90% of it seems to be about the iPhone, which I have little interest in. However, the controversy of how Apple went out of their way to "brick" the hacked phones is intriguing. With the software update, not only did they shut down phones that had been hacked to use a different SIM card, but it also rendered phones useless that had 3rd party applications on them. So there are customers out there with $500 paperweights because they upgraded a hacked iPhone even though Apple warned the 'bricking' would happen. Those that didn't install the upgrade are still doing ok, and probably won't be upgrading any time soon.

What's interesting is that although Apple had the right to do what they did, it's rather regarded as a stupid thing to do. Why would you tick off your devoted fan base of early adopters and Apple fanboys just to kowtow to AT&T? Not only that, but the 3rd party apps were making the iPhone that much more appealing to use and therefore buy, so shutting them down is making people think twice before buying one.

It seems to have started a backlash against Apple too. The forums are awash in "Apple = the New Microsoft" and wondering if this kind of behavior will extend to the computer lineup as well. I kind of doubt that, but the uproar and pause for thought coming from the Apple purists is a telling sign. I still want a new Mac computer, no doubt about that, but it's going to be interesting to see what kind of corporate behaviour comes from the Apple camp as they gain more popularity in the coming years.

Monday, October 01, 2007


Listening to Springsteen...wonder if there's ever been a song misunderstood like Born In The USA...I remember hearing it played frequently during Saturday afternoon skating sessions at the local rink back when I was a kid in the '80s. 'Course I was just a kid then, so all I really got was the full throttle music and the "Born in the USA" chorus. Sadly, I didn't wind up listening to much of The Boss till much later around 2000 or so when I caught the HBO Live from New York concert and instantly became a huge fan. On that DVD/CD is a bone chilling acoustic version of the song that really drives home what it's all about. It's an ironic look at the 'great' USA's role in the Vietnam War, and the hardships of those soldiers that fought it - many of whom didn't come back. And those that did faced even more grief at home.

'Course, politicians at the time tried to use it for their own advantage as a pro USA affirmation. They of course missed the point and Springsteen had to set them straight a couple times. And I remember writing a post about a review I found on the 'net in '05 of a Rascal Flatts concert where they did a cover of the song and still missed the point as well. The rocking tune comes across as anthemic if you're not listening to the words, but if you are, you quickly realize it's a scathing retort.

And now they've gone and stumbled into another Vietnam in Iraq. Now, I'm not an American, and I'm not an expert on either war, but the similarites do seem to be evident. And regardless of nationality, what's going on right now will have global ramifications.

But again, that's not the point. The point is men and women are fighting and dying in a war that continues to get more dubious. People's brother's and sisters and sons and fathers being affected by politicians egos and plans. And for what? If the world somehow stands for another 30 years, will we look back at Bush/Iraq like LBJ/Nixon/Vietnam? And what will it do to those who remain? I'm 30 going on 60 and worried enough for myself, but I wonder just what the hell kind of world is going to be left for the generation coming along behind me...

Born down in a dead man's town
The first kick I took was when I hit the ground
You end up like a dog that's been beat too much
Till you spend half your life just covering up

Born in the U.S.A.
I was born in the U.S.A.
I was born in the U.S.A.
Born in the U.S.A.

Come back home to the refinery
Hiring man says "Son if it was up to me"
Went down to see my V.A. man
He said "Son, don't you understand"

I had a brother at Khe Sahn fighting off the Viet Cong
They're still there, he's all gone
He had a woman he loved in Saigon
I got a picture of him in her arms now

Down in the shadow of the penitentiary
Out by the gas fires of the refinery
I'm ten years burning down the road
Nowhere to run ain't got nowhere to go...