View blog reactions Waiting for Speedway Fowler: January 2007

Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Bob Seger in Concert at the DCU Center

I caught Bob Seger live at the Centrum last night. The guy is 61 years old, but he sounded as good as ever.

It was a three-star concert until the last :40 minutes, when he blasted through "Katmandhu", "Hollywood Nights", "Night Moves" and "Against the Wind", and did them with such perfection that it brought the whole show up to a new level.

Steve Azar opened for Seger. A good set, but more country than I had anticipated.
(photo by Jim Collins/Telegram & Gazette)

Friday, January 26, 2007


Blue Oyster Cult

I recently went looking for a good concert DVD to buy so I could test the 5.1 set-up. I picked up Blue Oyster Cult's "Long Day's Night", their 2002 concert in Chicago. I have to admit, I made the purchase with some trepidation. I saw BOC live in concert a LOT back in the 70's and 80's... maybe close to a dozen times. I always considered them a thinking man's heavy metal band, but, let's face it, a lot of time had passed since then, and I was nervous about what I'd see on the DVD. These guys were now in their 50's, and there a real chance that all that would be left would be a sad sight, a band that should have called it quits long ago.

That's not what I got.

What I got was an incredibly pleasant surprise.

"Long Day's Night" isn't about a rock band. It's about musicians. That seems a strange distinction, I know, but what I saw on the DVD was three middle-aged guys (plus the much-younger drummer and basist, the two roles in BOC that seem ever-changing - both guys have since been replaced...) who have, for the most part, shed all the trappings of a Rock Band and become something else: a tight trio of professional musicians who just happen to perform as a (small case) rock band. It's what they do. It's who they are. Don "Buck Dharma" Roeser now looks like Joe Pesci, in almost a buzz cut, wearing a simple black t-shirt and jeans. He has a guitar shaped like a wedge of Swiss cheese. He enjoys himself on stage, just playing the music. No pretense. The fact that he happens to be one of the greatest guitarists in the history of rock is just a bonus. Eric Bloom still shows a few traces of his 70's self, but the 'fro is subdued, the beard is now a stylish goatee, and the hipster-vampire vibe is nowhere to be seen. Alan Lainier remains frighteningly corpse-like, but I swear that's genetic. It's just the way he is. These guys could have wound up like a modern-day version of Spinal Tap, but they're just the opposite. They're not trying to hold on to their youth. They're older, more mature, and ... more sophisticated. They're the farthest thing from party animals.

And the music is better than ever. BOC plays an inspired set on this DVD, a mix of hits and obscurities spanning the bands four decades. It sounds incredible in Surround. And when Roeser takes the spotlight with a big smile on his face and mows through the guitar solo on "Don't Fear the Reaper", he manages to dissolve all the years of gothic silliness and gentle mocking that have surrounded the song and restore it to its original coolness. Not bad for an old guy.

Saturday, January 20, 2007


Afternoon Drive to the Berkshires

Monday, January 15, 2007



If you travel in northern New England at all, you may have noticed a slight change in the scenery.

The convenience stores attached to Irving gas stations used to be called "Mainway stores". They were pretty much like any other gas station convenience stores. Basic. Small. Slightly more expensive than the market.

I noticed a little while ago that that had changed.

Irving has scrapped their tired old stores and the Mainway name and all the new stores go by the strange name of "Bluecanoe". Yes, it's one word. Very dot-com-ish.

The new Bluecanoe shops are a nice change. Brightly lit and with a better selection. Good coffee, too... but it's hard to get past the really weird name.

Still. I like the logo design. I guess it will grow on me.

Saturday, January 13, 2007


Mad Props to the Commonwealth

Massachusetts has apparently equipped all its state skating rinks with WiFi.

Thus enabling me to blog from rinkside! Woo-hoo!

Monday, January 08, 2007


YouTube Can Be Really Strange

No surprise there, I guess. YouTube is the clearinghouse for every bit of digital flotsam and jetsam that people find in the corner of their pockets. But some trends I've noticed on YouTube have honestly left me shaking my head.

Airplane landings.

These come in two categories: those taken from the ground and those taken from the passenger seat. These videos are all over YouTube. They tend to run anywhere from :20 seconds to 2:00 minutes.

I can understand these somewhat, I guess. I've stopped by the side of a road at the end of a runway to watch a landing jet pass overhead - the Portland Jetport in Maine is perfect for plane-spotting. And since so many people keep a camcorder in their car these days, the tendency to have a lot of these landings show up on video is probably inevitable. And travelers will of course have their cameras out recording their vacations.

But why post it to YouTube? One :17 second static shot of an airplane wing and the tarmac rolling underneath?? There are HUNDREDS of videos identical to that on YouTube. What's weird is the almost total lack of context for these clips...AND the apparent community of watchers who are really into them. These landing videos will invariably have a ozen or so comments posted under each one, debating the time of day, the type of airplane.. was it an Airbus 230 or 231? Well, the 231 is know for its leather seats... etc. It's like a club. Very strange.

But not as strange as the bus videos.

That's right. Videos of buses. Moving. Parked. Idling. City buses. Tour buses. Even double-deckers. Just shots of buses. Generally no narration. No captions. Just buses.

And again, lots of commentary from viewers. "Oh, that's the old Roadmaster 800, which used to run the route up to Hampshire Road and back." ... "No no.. that's actually the 800-A, which featured the second-generation hydraulic bushings."... or something like that.

Can you imagine how strange YouTube would be if there were no user standards enforced?

Friday, January 05, 2007


More Trouble for the Zune

Microsoft has launched the Zune music player in the U.S. and Canada to mostly tepid response.

And the company isn't saying much about its plans to launch in the UK.

And there may be a hidden reason for that.

Microsoft's catch-phrase for the Zune is "Welcome to the social." They've trademarked that phrase and it's emblazoned on all their advertising. And I guess the slogan works fine in North America. But in England, "the social" is slang for the unemployment office.



I'm Blogging!

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?