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Archive for July, 2006

Joss Whedon goodies

Thursday, July 6th, 2006

Check out the Unaired Pilot from Buffy The Vampire Slayer (with a different Willow) and a review of the original Serenity script.

Extreme weekend

Tuesday, July 4th, 2006

Friday started well. We were planning on leaving the house at 7:30 and left by 7:45, which is pretty good for us. We hopped on the toll road, happily not hearing any bad traffic news on our route. We actually were a little ahead of schedule, so after we got through 495 and were on 95, got off so I could get an egg sandwich at McDonald’s (pretty much the only reason I go there) and Jill could get coffee and a donut at Dunkin Donuts. We got to BWI, parked and caught a shuttle to the terminal, checked in and got through security, only to discover that our flight was delayed by an hour, and a bit more than that. But we had things to read and sew, and time passed, and eventually got on the plane and had an uneventful flight to Logan.

We got off, grabbed our luggage, and caught the Silver Line that was just arriving, then got to the Red line and got to Quincy around 3:30. Jess was there because Jill had called shortly before with her cute baby Veronica, and we admired before we did a spot of grocery shopping. We went to their house and watched Veronica do cute things and watched a bit of Aeon Flux as we waited for Chris. Chris got home a little after 5, but we had to wait for his friend Wylie to the show.

So I had bought four tickets to the show. Jess didn’t want to go, and Jill decided she’d stay home with her, since she’d see them Sunday. That left me with two available tix, which I sold to a lady through Craigslist. But Chris didn’t read his email about that in time, so got his friend to come. So we had four tix, two of which were promised to others, and three people. So we drove to the venue. We got there a little after 7, and we were supposed to meet the lady from Craigslist at 7:30, and we thought in the meantime we’d scope out people trying to get rid of three tickets in the hope they’d take cash and trade. But Chris found Joanne, who we’d met at the Queen + PR show in March, and her friend was trying to get rid of two tix. So we arranged to take her two tix, and resell them to the Craigslist lady, and then we had four tix again. The Craigslist lady was Jody and she was nice, letting us know the pizza was good inside because she usually worked there. We tried to sell our one extra ticket for a little bit, then headed inside.

To my surprise, the Bank Of America Pavilion had real local Boston food instead of the usual crap you find in venues. The pizza was from Pizzeria Regina and was indeed very good. It went down nicely with a hefeweizen, and we chatted for a while, skipping the opener (didn’t sound that great), and talking to a girl who came up to me because she owned a Rush t-shirt just like mine (opinions were split as to whether she was hitting on us or not). The show was getting close, so we took our seats. And after a taped opening (old footage of the band backstage, interspersed with Boston footage meant to evoke “The Sopranos” opening), it started.

Both nights I saw Extreme this weekend were very similar. The setlist was the same except for the encore, but I think I agree with a review on a message board that if you saw Extreme in the early ’90s, there were no surprises. Meaning even though they hadn’t played together in 10 years, there were still as dynamic and tight as they had been together since. Many highlights: “There Is No God” with a segue into Led Zep’s “In My Time Of Dying”, “More Than Words” with the crowd singing most of it, Nuno’s solo on “Flight Of The Wounded Bumblebee”, and the great show ender of “Get The Funk Out”.

I had one fright during the show – my cell rang and it was a Virginia number. I’d blown one part of the planning and had neglected to make reservations for Illa at the kennel. Luckily I found out in time to make alternate plans with our petsitter, who offer overnight stays. More expensive than the kennel, but we wanted to make sure he was okay. Anyway, the call was a shock because last time we’d left him at a place for the first time and got a call it wasn’t good. Luckily this call was only to check feeding times and parking spaces. My foot was bothering me from standing, so I took a seat in back for a while after the call.

The first night they came back for the encore and did “Hole Hearted”, which was great, but also the last of their big hits. Then Paul, their drummer, took the mike. He told the story about a band who were his rock idols growing up, how he finally got to meet them as a musician, and about how they were there that night. Now if you don’t know, the members of Extreme first met at an Aerosmith tribute show, and Joe and Steve were in town to play with the Pops on July 4th. So my first thought was “O my god, Aerosmith!” My second thought was “Jill’s going to kill me for missing this!” But death was not in the cards as it was three members of the band Boston (not their guitarist mastermind Tom Scholtz, but lead singer Brad Delp, guitarist Barry Goudreau and bassist Fran Sheehan who came on to do “Rock & Roll Band” and then finish with Led Zep’s “Rock And Roll”. Still pretty cool, especially since I haven’t seen Boston yet, and the highlight of the show was the two bands jamming together. The ladies were pretty out of it when we got back (they’d had Chinese food), and Chris and I hit the hay not long after.

Saturday we got up around 10 – Chris whipped me up an egg sandwich. We got to the nearest Enterprise a little after 11, and had our “fully loaded” Neon and were on the road by 11:45. Not our favorite car – Jill later referred to it as a “fully loaded piece of crap”. But we got to New Bedford right on time to catch the 1:30 ferry. When looking at ferries to Martha’s Vineyard, every other one left from Cape Cod, so I preferred taking the one that didn’t make us fight beach traffic to get there. We spent the trip up on deck in the sun, and it was a nice ride. When we got to Vineyard Haven, we’d planned on taking a taxi to High Haven House, but the previous passengers snagged all of them. So we walked up to Main Street and went to 90 Main St. Gourmet Deli for some sandwiches for lunch. Jill had a Thanksgiving sandwich, and I had a sandwich with Italian meats and roasted peppers.

Afterwards we stopped at Le Grenier to drop off our wine – Vineyard Haven is dry, but the restaurants are BYOB, then headed to Owen Park Beach for some sunbathing. Around 4, we headed back and caught a taxi to the bed and breakfast. We checked in and changed into swimwear, then went around back to the pool. We read for a while, then popped into the hot tub for a bit. Later, we went to the room where we changed and had a drink. Our reservations were at 9, but we decided to walk there early to check out the shops. We were about 6 blocks away – not too far, but too far with luggage. We mostly browsed, though Jill did buy some perfume that even my notoriously sensitive nose could handle. We ended up at the pier watching one kind of bird divebomb fish, and the seagulls catch baby crabs. We got to the restaurant a little early, but they seated us right away. The room was charming, with wine corks everywhere on the ceiling. I thought our table was fine, but when I returned from the restroom, Jill was at a different one. Turns out the chef/owner, Jean Dupon, had stood there, watched her, then asked if she wanted to move. The man must know body language, because I hadn’t a clue.

I started with Oysters Rockefeller while Jill had a special, quail in a rich sauce with mushrooms. We both had a Caesar Salad, the first time I’d had one served with anchovies. Not terrible, but I think I prefer mine with just a dash of fish sauce. Finally, the entrees were the highlight. Jill had a special – lobster deshelled and served with scallops in a cognac sauce made with Vidalia onions, while I had the Roasted Duck a L’Orange. We had to share, of course. Jill’s white wine choice was a good pair for both dishes as well. The meal was exquisite – we agreed the restaurant would have fit in nicely in Paris, but it belonged in Martha’s Vineyard to take advantage of the fresh seafood. Jill wasn’t in the mood for dessert there (which meant no “Happy Birthday”, but as she pointed out she got that at my mom’s house), so we walked down to Mad Martha’s Ice Cream where I had a scoop of Snicker’s cream and she had pistachio. We caught a taxi ride with some late night ferry arrivals back, then we sat outside for a bit before calling it a night.

Breakfast was until 9:30, so we got up just before that on Sunday. We were served a fruit salad and french toast with fresh blueberry jam. Some other guests were taking a taxi down at 10, so we hurried to pack and go down with them. We did a little more shopping (Jill got dog biscuits from the Black Dog Bakery), then stopped at the Beetlebung Coffee House. Jill had coffee and I had milk and an eggwich (with roasted chili peppers), then we read for a while. We ended back on the pier waiting for the 12:15 ferry. We noticed it was windy, but didn’t pay attention until the ferry captain told us it was choppy. That was an understatement – I don’t think I’ve ever had such a bumpy ride except for a speedboat. Jill got seasick for the first time, and I was pretty queasy. When we got back to New Bedford, we were both pretty happy.

Neither of us was hungry, and lacking any specific plans, decided to start driving. About 15 minutes down the road there was a sign for Horseneck Beach. I told Jill we could go there and sit on the beach to calm our stomachs so we decided to see if we could. It was a state park (they call them reservations), and the weird thing was the money taker at the entrance ($7 parking fee) told us there were no refunds. When Jill wondered aloud why we’d need a refund, he informed us the it was very windy and the dunes were being affected. Second understatement of the day – as soon as we got to the beach, the strong wind sent a steady stream of sand at us. When we did sit down, we were nearly buried by sand after 30 minutes, and we had sand everywhere. We couldn’t use the showers because our wet hair would have been coated again before we got to the car, so we brushed ourselves off as best we could.

Jill was driving, and got into Rhode Island and a ways south of Providence before she made an executive decision to stop at a Wendy’s. Bathroom, a snack, and a clothing change was the order of business, then we got back on the road to Foxwoods Casino. Due to no exits being marked, we went about 10 miles too far before calling for directions. We got to the casino around 6 and parked. Now the only gambling place we’d been previously was Vegas, so that was our measure here. Not the same, as it was like a giant casino themed indoor mall, with the casinos as the anchor stores, and lots of restaurants and stores between. Neither of us were looking forward to driving back after the show, so we looked at the possibility of getting a room there. After finding out they started at $300, we ditched that idea. It might have helped had we gambled, but we only did it in Vegas just because you have to try it – we’re just not into it. We picked up our tickets, then wandered around (and heard part of soundcheck, including “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know” which they’d played Friday, and “Warheads”, which they hadn’t), before going to Fuddrucker’s for dinner. Due to a long line, it was after 7:30 by the time we got to the theatre. The first 15 rows were “maitre’d seating”, so you’re seated at the discretion of the ushers. I figured the high rollers would get the great seats, but maybe slipping the guy a $20 would help. But there was a lady directing the ushers, so we followed one. He said he could put us in the fourth row all the way to the side, so we followed him. I still gave him $10. The band was supposed to go on at 8, but it was after 8:30 before they took the stage. Luckily there were waitresses bringing cheap drinks – and I mean cheap. $6 for my diet Coke and Jameson’s plus a coffee for Jill.

The show was once again excellent, but it was better being so close to them to really see their faces. The only drawback was I was right next to the speaker, and it was on my right (weaker) ear, so much of the night I had to put my finger on my earplug to provide an extra layer of wave canceling. The main difference in the setlist was indeed “Warheads”, but I wasn’t disappointed in the show. The highlight for me was when Gary and Nuno sat down to play “More Than Words”, Nuno played a Van Halen riff, then they joked about Nuno joining the band, Gary saying “I know some guys”. After the show we were on our way out when I realized I’d left my Treo in my seat – luckily the ushers had it and I got it quickly.

We’d decided I would try to drive back, and I did – a long slog back to Quincy, where Chris had valiantly waited up for us. Right to bed for everyone as it was 1. We missed Chris on Monday morning as he had to work and was out around 8. I got up around 8:30 so we could shower (and get the sand finally out) and out around 9:30. We said good bye to Jess and Veronica, dropped the car off, and hopped on the T. We got to Logan with an hour to spare, but quickly got to the gate (with a stop for coffee) and our flight was on time and pleasant. It was very quick getting the luggage and car at BWI, and we were on our way. No problems on the way home until we got to the main toll plaza on the toll road, where there was a sound like a bag being caught under the car. No big sound after that, so we kept going. But when we got off on Fairfax County Parkway, my battery light was on again and my power steering was gone. We’d been planning on stopping by Safeway, but tried to make it to our mechanic nearby instead. This time we were lucky as we got there before losing power. They said they could have someone look at it, so we went to Safeway, picked up a couple of staples and a fresh sandwich to share. We got back and finished the sandwich just as they finished – turned out a belt snapped, and they were able to fix it right there, plus no charge because of the warranty for the previous work.

So we headed home, let out a very happy doggy, and unpacked. It was nice to have a couple hours, as we left again a little after 6. No rest for the concert goers, as I’d ordered tix for Bonnie Raitt at Wolf Trap months before the Extreme shows were announced. When we were at the mechanic, he’d mentioned that one of the local restaurant owners just had a write up in the Post. I found the review, and we decided to get our picnic there. I got the burrito mentioned and Jill got the fajita burrito, plus a house salad to split. We got to Wolf Trap and sat on the lawn and ate our dinner. Very filling, and we just laid back afterwards. We weren’t really motivated to see Keb’ Mo’, the opener (I’d seen him before), and didn’t move until just before Bonnie came on. I should have done it earlier, as these seats were near the front of stage left so very close to the right speakers as well. It’s tough for me to take that two nights in a row, but I toughed it out for about 45 minutes. We retreated for a while, but Jill wanted to leave since she’s getting up before 6 to go into work tomorrow. We came home and had some ice cream, then she went to bed. I read the paper, then came up to the office and started working on this. Bed now, I think.