Tweet Tweet

Normally I wouldn’t relay the highlights of any conversation that goes on in a hockey locker room, because, hey, I have kids. And someday they’ll read this. But last night there was a brief and fairly comical discussion about Twitter, the new hottest trend on the internet. You know something has gone mainstream when you put a bunch of 25-40 year old guys together from varying walks of life and Twitter is the topic of conversation. Most of the guys in the locker room were completely dismissive, one went so far as to say that he would enjoy punching anyone in the face who had a Twitter account and used it. Most viewed it as useless.

One guy, though, hit a double when he said it was just something that the press is tripping over themselves about and that’s the reason for its snowballing. To me, it’s a chicken-and-egg thing. Is Twitter so good that it deserves the building hype and seemingly endless press coverage? Or is the press’s insatiable desire to pump something up and then move on to the next thing just rearing its head as usual? I don’t know the answer to this. I DO know that first it was Friendster, then it was MySpace, then it was Facebook and now it’s Twitter. I do believe Twitter has some very strong value and I can make a very good argument for that, although I didn’t in the locker room. That said, I do think there’s some level of over-hype there as well.

Final hockey locker room quote about Twitter: “I don’t give a fuck what you had to eat today.”

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Versus vs. Netherworlds

Last night I watched the Capitals and Rangers play a game 7 in the NHL hockey playoffs. A great back-and-forth game, complete with astounding saves, hard hitting and general excitement all the way through. I have had my problems with the NHL over the last 15 years, stating like a broken record that they need to get back to 20-22 teams in order for regular season hockey to really be compelling again. But I’ve never had a problem with the NHL playoffs. And not many would argue that things like sudden death, the bone-jarring hits and the frenetic pace make the NHL playoffs so much more compelling than basketball (see here, and this coming from a Los Angeles writer!)

So anyway, after the Caps-Rangers games, I was sure that Versus (the network that broadcasts the NHL) would switch us over to the other game 7 going on, down in New Jersey, where the Devils were heading into the 3rd period leading the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2. I was psyched! Another full period of a game 7! So Versus takes us there – but then after a minute switches back to the studio and says that due to contractual obligations, they can’t show any more of the game. Choke. Cough. What? Seriously? I wonder what the contractual restrictions are?

Alas, I had a plan. There’s a company out there called ZeeVee and they are located just a few towns over from me. Lucky for me, I have a friend who works there, too. So I got myself one of those ZeeVee boxes a while back. Basically what the ZeeVee box does is replicate your computer on your television. Really. Just look at your computer screen and picture it on your television. The ZeeVee remote has a little mouse pad on it so you can navigate through your computer. This means you can watch any video that you can find on the internet – and it’s optimized for your television. I love it. I can go to Hulu, CBS.com, ABC.com, CNN, etc, and watch all the video they offer.

So there you have it. I was able to, ahem, find the game on the internet and enjoy what turned out to be one of the most compelling last five minutes of a hockey game that I’ve seen in many years. I would have completely missed it if I  had been reliant on Versus. You see? That’s why the internet is so great.

Note: the ZeeVee box is great, but very difficult to setup, an issue the company readily admits. Referring back to my earlier comment, I was lucky to have a friend that worked there, so he came over and made it all happen. BOO to Versus, YAY to ZeeVee.

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Porcupine

It used to be that I scoured the list of album releases every week, trying to see if I could uncover something new or something that sounded interesting. Nowadays, due to a combination of the internet and life in general, that doesn’t happen anymore. The internet allows us to sample new music every day. I like that much better than having to go to a record store and listen to sound samples every Tuesday. However, I have way less time.

Anyway, it’s a pretty rare occasion when I wait and wait and wait for a specific album to come out with big anticipation. It’s pretty safe to say that I’ve been waiting years for a new Tim Easton album and it is finally out today. Oh, I was able to sample a song on MySpace, but to finally get my digital mitts on the whole thing – this is a day I’ve been waiting for a long time! The album is called “Porcupine” and it’s one of those very very rare times that I will buy an album in its entirety without having heard hardly any of it. The guy is a monster songwriter capable of throwing songs out there that stick around in your head forever.

Anyway, head over to Easton’s MySpace page if you want to sample the excellent “Burgundy Red” – all you need to do is click that link and it should start playing. Or you can press the little play button below here. Give it a whirl, Easton is really a talented guy.

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Animals & Vegetables

I like food
I like food

I usually get to read books for 10-20 minutes per day if I’m lucky. There are plenty of days when I don’t get to read at all and I hate that. But life is life. I’ve finally completed Barbara Kingsolver’s incredible book, called “Animal Vegetable Miracle,” a work of non-fiction where she tells the story of her own family and their quest to eat 100% local food. I don’t mean they bought local food. They actually made an all-out attempt to grow and eat their own food, own their own livestock and make thier own cheese and bread. Or, to put it another way, they lived off their family farm.

In addition to the truly captivating stories of how the family did this, including an awfully bloody chapter where she details the day(s) they had to kill livestock, the book also provides a narrative of just how much we in America have gotten away from the concept of food. So there are, effectively, two parallel tracks going on in this book, both of which left me pretty astounded – and inspired as well.

Now, I can tell you here with great confidence that Steph and I will not be owning and killing chickens. Nor will we make any kind of attempt to eat 100% locally (this is an emerging trend, btw). We will, however, aspire to do what we can to take more advantage of local food. This isn’t to say we haven’t done that in the past, either, as we are pretty careful about what we eat and we visit the Maynard Farmers Market every week to stock up. But this year and hopefully every year that follows, we will make a concerted effort to put our freezer in the garage to good use by stocking up on local fruit and veggies and freezing them for the winter months.

What Kingsolver really moved me on, though, was putting true thought into how you acquire your food and what that food went through to get to your local stores. For example, if you’re buying asparagus in November here in the northeast, it took a long, hard trip and most likely an oil-heavy rig to get here.  In all liklihood, it also cost you more because of that. It wasn’t that long ago that people in the U.S. simply didn’t eat certain vegetables because they weren’t in season. Nowadays, in today’s now-now-now world, we don’t even think about that. And it’s sad.

Why, for example, are we ok only eating corn-on-the-cob from August to October and we’re ok with that, but you can’t forego tomatoes or asparagus when they are not in season? For me personally, NOT having corn-on-the-cob during the off months makes August to October even more of a delight. Why can’t it be like that with all vegetables? Well, it can. And it should. I suppose I could write another few paragraphs on how much money you can save by buying/eating locally as well or how it will benefit your local economy. But I think you’re getting the picture. I won’t preach anymore. The book is a real eye-opener. One that makes you want to take real action. I can’t recommend it enough.

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Sweep Up, Little Sweeper Boy

A couple of years ago, I attended a Pernice Brothers show at the lovely old Iron Horse in Northampton, MA. It has always been one of my longtime favorite places to see a show. The long gone Bay State Hotel is another, but we’ll save that one for a different rainy day. I came extremely close to moving out to Northampton a couple of times during the record label days, but for some stupid reason felt like remaining in Boston was better for the label.  Digression….

That Pernice Brothers show was memorable on a couple of levels. Joe Pernice’s mother was there. You don’t get to see bands perform in front of their mother very much, so there was a certain charm there, especially when Joe promised from the stage that he wouldn’t swear. He broke the promise, but it was totally legit because he sang an old Scud Mountain Boys song that happened to have a swear in it. She was ok with it.

It was also the night, for some odd reason, that I realized the enormity of having twins. Stephanie was only pregnant at that time for about two months, I believe, so we were still keeping it all a big secret. I remember during the Pernice Brothers set having to go downstairs for a minute just to sit there by myself, with my thoughts. It was a heavy moment.

The other memorable part of the night was that Elvis Perkins opened the show. I hadn’t seen him before, only heard OF him. He is the son of actor Anthony Perkins and photographer Berry Berenson, if that means anything to you. Anyway, his set was par excellence. A slew of big band instruments, a warm vibe and overall well put-together songs. His debut album was very good, not great. So it was with some anticipation when I heard about his second long-player. It’s called “Elvis Perkins in Dearland” and it most definitely a step up from his previous work. Keep an eye on this guy, because his stuff is solid. Check out “Shampoo” below……..love this song!

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