David Lynch’s director’s cut of Dune?

According to the current entry here, “at the 11th hour (before releasing a new special edition Dune DVD) director David Lynch decided that he wanted to be involved in the new DVD after all. Which means that when it’s eventually released, not only is the DVD going to include the original theatrical version of the film… it will include a brand new “director’s extended cut” edited by Lynch himself! ”

Guess I can finally get rid of the VHS copies of the extended edition.

This is the definition

Of a relaxed weekend.

Friday Jill asked for a fire and a movie. I offered her one or the other, since I hate to keep getting up to keep it going during a movie. She chose fire, so I started it while she got dinner ready (fish stuffed with crab from Omaha Steaks and broccoli). We read for a while until she dropped off to sleep, then we both went upstairs – me to go online, her to sleep.

Saturday we both had appointments and ran errands. When she got home again around 4, I was making a spinach quesadilla for a snack and made enough for the both of us. I finished all my periodicals and made a good start on the pile of new comics I hadn’t read. Around 8 I heated some Philips Clam Chowder (tasty), then Jill made salad and I made calzones. It was so late we decided to eat in front of the TV as we watched “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” to get us ready for the New York trip. Jill dropped off right before the end of the movie, which is kind of appropriate. I watched the extras and read some more, before I woke her up to go to bed.

Today we got up somewhat early for us to go to church. Afterwards, Jill demanded strawberry waffles, and I cooked some bacon to go along. I read the Sunday paper while she started laundry and went online. I think I can finish all my new comics today. I bought the giant Barnes & Noble edition of Ultimate Spider-Man (issues 1-40) and will take that with me to New York. Tonight we’ll have reubens and watch “Desperate Housewives” and maybe “Monty Python and the Life of Brian” (appropriate day for it). Perhaps one more fire as well.

Top ten concerts of 2004

As work slows down after the end of two crunch cycles, I’ve got some time to do something I’ve been putting off: my top ten concerts of 2004. Without further ado:

10. The Getaway Car at Jammin’ Java on December 23rd
Sometimes something happens to let you know why a band is so entertaining. In this case it was a power loss, where the kept the show going and kept us laughing while they did it. They made it look easy, too. Catchy songs, great stories as usual, but the flawless handling of exceptional circumstances made it memorable.

9. emmet swimming at the 9:30 Club on January 9th.
My Concert rule #2: great seats make any show great (#1 is knowing the songs makes the show go by faster). This was driven home by seeing them at the same place a year later, but last January we had premium seats (thanks to the band) in the reserved area above the balcony but below the bar. The 9:30’s an ok place – I’m getting old and not as fond of standing while getting jostled all night and coming out smelling of smoke. Having a reserved seat in dead center makes me able to concentrate on nothing but the show, which was great. Legendary Don Dixon opened the show with his band and joined the guys on “Birdman” (for what I believe is the second time ever).

8. Pat McGee Band at the Z104 Lounge on April 6th.
What I was saying about great seats also applies for small, intimate shows. And being one of 25 people the Pat McGee Band is playing to is pretty sweet. They only played a handful of songs (hey it was free), but it was nice to be there thanks to my friend Linda.

7. The Darkness at the 9:30 Club on April 6th.
Yep, two great shows in one day. Yes, the show was sold out and everyone was crammed in together, but for once I didn’t care – it was a great show. Sure, they were the flavor of the week, but they backed up their jumpsuit wearing with the right chops. And even if they stole their best moves from Queen, who better to steal from? You’ve never heard “I Believe In A Thing Call Love” until you’ve heard a thousand people try to hit that falsetto note.

6. Velvet Revolver at the 9:30 Club on May 27th.
Possibly the second most highly anticipated show of the year (see choice #1 for more info on the most). Would the unholy spawn of Guns N’ Roses and Stone Temple Pilots even make it to DC before it flamed out? They came, they saw, they rocked. Scott Weiland was mesmerizing, twirling and slithering around stage. Duff and Matt are now more tightly locked into the groove than ever, and Slash hasn’t lost a step over the years. It’s hard to say if they were better on the old band’s tunes or their own, because it was before the CD was released, but on “Slither”, the crowd made the floors jump.

5. 4 Way Street at Jammin’ Java on June 18th.
Unfortunately, their last area show. The harmonies these four guys had was amazing, and they just swept through a headlining set that felt like it was over in 20 minutes. It’s a shame they never caught on. Thank goodness for the magic of video.

4. eddie from ohio at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival on July 25th.
It’s always hard to single out one performance from these guys, especially at this festival where they pop up several times. However the Sunday morning “Gospel Wake Up Call”is always a favorite, and no slouch again this year, especially with Girlyman joining them for the first time. I’d get up early every Sunday morning if I had this to look forward to.

3. Steven Page (from Barenaked Ladies) at the Clarendon Grill on November 10th.
Again, a nice intimate show: Steve Page at a local haunt. A pricey ticket (for a charity) ensured not too much of a crowd, but it was worth it to see him so close and by himself. Too bad there was no recording, as it was a classic.

2. Rush at Nissan Pavilion on August 3rd.
I saw them twice last year, but missed part of the first show, so this had to be the pick. Their “30 year anniversary”tour, was actually the anniversary of their current lineup ( the band’s really 35 years old. And it didn’t matter – this was no “greedy bastard” tour tossing off greatest hits, but a rock band in top form, intent on demonstrating they can still do any piece of music they’ve recorded, from the beginning to today. They even tossed off an EP of ’60s covers songs and treated us to a couple during the show. I’ll never get tired of going to Rush shows.

1. R.E.M., Pearl Jam, Dave Matthews Band, and Bruce Springsteen at MCI Center on October 11th.
By far the most anticipated show of the year, it more than lived up to the hype. I’ve already raved about it at length here, so let me just say this: I’ve seen over a thousand shows at this point, and this puppy’s damn near the top (definitely that top ten, but that’s a list for another day).

The weekend that almost wasn’t

I talked to Jill Friday night and told her I had found out Dar Williams was playing Saturday night and eddie from ohio were playing Sunday afternoon, both about an hour from Holyoke. She said efo was during the parade, but we could probably borrow her parents’ car to go see Dar, so I should go ahead and buy tickets.

I got up Saturday, made breakfast and packed. I got to Dulles around 1:15, and the only parking left was way in the back, in the Purple lot. As I was in the bus about to stop at the terminal, Jill called and started telling me about cancelled flights. I had to call her name 4 times before she paused for breath, so I could tell her I’d call her back in a couple minutes after I got inside. Once I did, she told me that she and Robin were stuck in Minneapolis because their connecting flight to Hartford had been cancelled. They had already tried to get on one flight out with no success. She thought I might want to stay home if they couldn’t get a flight out until the next day, like they were telling her. I told her to go out to the ticket counter and ask to be put on another airline, if they couldn’t get her out that day.

I went through security and got to my gate. My flight was on time, then it was delayed by 30 minutes. Jill called me back and said they’d got on a flight, but it wasn’t going to get in until 10:30. My flight was supposedly on time, so I got on board. I told Dave to pick me up in Hartford 15 minutes late. Good idea, because we ended up waiting for a couple connecting flights and got in just about 15 minutes later than scheduled. Jill and her mom told me I was welcome to drive one of their cars to the Dar concert if I wanted to go by myself, but I decided it wasn’t important enough to go on my own. Sue offered Dave the chance to go, but he demurred. She eventually told me she’d go, though I told her she didn’t have to, I would just take the loss.

In the meantime Dave and I went to the liquor store to stock up on beer. I got some Magic Hat – #9 of course, and a new seasonal ale. Much to Jill’s eventual disappointment, it was a very hoppy pale ale, something she’s not fond of. We got some tasty pepperoni pizza for dinner, then Sue and I went off to Pittsfield. We got there a little late, but she did have an opening act, and we got to see one of his songs. Dar was great, as usual. It was just her and her guitar. She played a couple new songs, but didn’t play my favorites (“Iowa” and “I Saw A Bird Fly Away”). Sue enjoyed it, and we got back to her house before Jill and Robin. They had some pizza, then everyone went to bed. Sunday morning Jill and I were late risers. Sue and her mom and Dave had finished cleaning and were busy cooking. We had some breakfast and went to the St. Patrick’s parade with Robin.

The parade is enormous. The second largest in the nation, it’s 3 hours long. We parked and met up with some of Robin’s friends. Jill and I went looking for someone she knew, but couldn’t find her. The parade was fun (some pictures here). We were right next to a bunch of guys that had been there all morning and had consumed mass quantities (to an older gentleman with a picture of the Virgin Mary on his shirt “Hey dud, who’s the hot chick on your shirt?”, not to mention yelling “Light it up!” every couple minutes). I had prepared well (had long underwear), but Jill and Robin got cold after about 2 hours and we left. We feasted on corned beef and cabbage while we watched the rest of the parade in front of the TV. I grabbed a corned beef and cabbage sandwich before we left, then we waited in the (stifling hot) Hartford terminal for our flight home. We got home around 9, and dumped our stuff and relaxed a little before sleeping.

Meeting Tori

I logged on late Wednesday night to a Tori forum. One girl said she had talked to a Barnes & Noble clerk about the signing on Thursday, and not only were a lot of people planning on coming at 5AM, you had to have already purchased a book or CD from B & N. It was too late to go to a store anyway, but I questioned doing an instore that penalizes people buying something that day (since experience tells me they’ve got a high quota to shoot on the day of). I decided I’d set my alarm for 5AM anyway, since I doubted I’d be able to get up any earlier.

My doubt was shattered by the sound of Jill’s alarm going off at 4:30AM. It had gone off yesterday as well, but I had shut it off (or so I thought) and went back to sleep. I figured that was a sign to get up anyway, and made my way into a nice long hot shower. I stretched, too, figuring I might as well do the usual morning routine because if the line was too long at 5:30, it’d be that way at 7 or whenever I got there.

I got out the door at 5:45, to the Park And Ride by 6, and to Foggy Bottom by 6:40. A quick 4 block hike later, I was in line, only about 40 people strong then. It was cold and windy, but I had entertaining linemates to chat with, and we held each others places while we each hit Starbucks (though I’m not a regular caffeine drinker, and a latte on an empty stomach combined with a lack of sleep had me feeling funky for a while). I was disappointed upon learning we could only have the new CD or book signed , since I have a small poster that’d be perfect. As I thought, you had to purchase a book or CD to get a wristband, but you could do it then. They were efficient and I bought the book and CD and was out the door with my wristband by 9:10. I just missed an Orange Line train at Foggy Bottom, and also had to wait for a 950 bus, so I didn’t get to work until 10:30.

I left work around 3:30 and got back to B & N around 4:30. They had said they’d start lining people up at 4:30, and that it was ok to get there as late as 5. Nope – by 4:30 I was already around 130th in line, but at least I was guaranteed to meet her. They split the 200 of us with wristbands up into groups around the store. I was in a group on the first floor (the signing was on the second). I was with a different group than before, but also fun to talk to.

Tori showed up at 6:15 – we could tell by the shrieks and the reflections of the camera flashes. She started signing right away, but our group didn’t move for over an hour. When we got up to the second floor, we saw it was because she was taking time to talk to each person before she signed. Very cool, but it still took a long time; it was close to 8:30 by the time I finally got to the front.

They had laid out the rules: before you got to the front, they’d take your jacket, camera, phone, backpacks, anything besides you and your book and CD to be signed. Before we got up there, we could take pictures, but not while we were talking to her. I took some pictures from the sides, and tried to get around the restrictions by having someone behind me in line take pictures. Idiot that I am, I managed to block Tori out of the shot, so there’s a nice picture of my butt.

Tori’s bodyguard was nice, and she was wonderful. I had her sign the book and CD to me and Jill, and told her that Jill was upset she couldn’t be there. Then I had to explain why she couldn’t be there, and of course ended by telling her how Jill’s sister Robin really wants go to Montana to meet a cowboy. Tori gave me the strangest look over that one, then told me she had played in Montana and really liked it.

I also had to tell her how much I liked her new book. I had started reading on the way to and from work, and had finished all but 40 pages by the time I got to the front of the line. Frankly, it’s amazing – it’s not a typical biography, but a series of conversations with a journalist and her and those closest to her. You really get a sense of what drives her to create music, and a lot of insight into the songs (mostly of the new CD). It really makes you think.

After she signed my stuff, I went and got my jacket and backpack and waited downstairs for the guy with my camera. I sped off to the Metro, where I luckily caught a train right away and there was a bus waiting for me at West Falls Church – I was home by 9:45. It’d been a very long day, and I was wiped. I just stretched, ate some leftover ham and egg casserole, and watched the previous night’s Daily Show before going to bed.

I must have spent around 8 hours between traveling back and forth and waiting in lines. Still, it was worth the what – I must have had a huge grin on my face last night for a while. I think I’m going to try for the front row seats that RAINN are auctioning off for the Warner show.

Moron Tax

I was looking at the email of my itinerary for my flight to see what time I was leaving and returning. Yep, leaving then, yep, coming back then. Wait a minute – leaving Saturday and returning Saturday? No, I don’t want to spend just 3 hours in Hartford. The Independence Air site wouldn’t let me change it (database down error), so finally I had to call them and pay my $85 moron tax. I really need to pay closer attention to that next time (yes, hon, I just checked the New York trip too, it’s ok).