Monday, April 30, 2007

Brian Bluhm - Tigers Fan - RIP

I know, I still owe you a Vegas entry but I want to upload my pictures to first and I haven’t gotten that far. I read Mr Schprock tonight and he reminded me that I wanted to write about one of the VTA victims, not because he’s more deserving than the others, but because I’m hoping to, maybe, help people to name someone other than “Murderer #12” as Schprockie called him. I will refuse to call him by name in a completely worthless effort to keep his desired infamy from him.

The person I have chosen to tell you about is Brian Bluhm, mostly because he was a big Detroit Tigers fan, so I feel some connection to him, even though I never frequented the on-line chat sites on which he regularly posted. I read about him in the local papers where his on-line friends talked about how they frantically tried to reach him on Monday with exhortations to please post to let them know he was okay. That Tuesday night at the start of the Tigers game, they had a moment of silence for him and the other victims, as he had even befriended a number of Tigers players via the Internet.

He lived in the Detroit as a child, but never lost his love of the Tigers. He was to have graduated two weeks after his death with a graduate degree in water resources and had already accepted a job in a nice American League city – Baltimore - so he could have caught his beloved Tigers at least once a year.

Does it really matter that the Tigers did well last year in the greater scheme of things? Not really, probably, but at least he got to see them get to the World Series one last time before his life was taken from him so uselessly.

Now that I’ve written this, I realize it’s not the best effort and is probably even a little lame, but I hope all of you at least remember Brian Bluhm’s name for a little while longer…or even feel like remembering another victim who deserves/deserved more than they got.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Holiday on the Moon

I have so much to tell you about Vegas, but I'm afraid that has to wait a little longer because Friday night I went to see The Stooges. They're touring supporting their new album, The Weirdness, which grows on you after a few listenings, even though it got panned by the critics. Who pays attention to critics anyway?

I bought the tickets not knowing who was going to go with me, but knew this was a concert I did not want to miss. I saw their first concert in Detroit in over 30 back in 2003 (it was originally scheduled for the night of the Great Blackout which you can enjoy for yourself on the DVD which I, of course, own) and was so overwhelmed by it that when Iggy showed up on stage bare-chested and in skintight jeans barely hanging on for dear life (the jeans, not Iggy) that I started to cry. I was a little embarrassed by the emotion until my good friend Glen said, "Kathleen, there were 50-year-old men in the audience that night who cried." I was able to hold on to my emotions this time and when Iggy took the stage looking just like he did that hot August night 3.5 years ago, I simply screamed like any other insane fan. In fact, however many days later, my throat is still a tad sore from all the screaming I did that night.

The whole night was incredibly fabulous! I begged my friend Miss Anne to go with me as The Libertarian's view of The Stooges' music was that it wasn't music and why on earth did it ever get made. Whatever. Miss Anne really wanted to go, so she was excited that I had a ticket and was willing to wait until whenever for her to pay me for the ticket. I told her I didn't care if she paid me $5 a month, I wanted to go with someone who wanted to go. She showed up at my house and I laughed. We had both chosen our 3-D Reunion shirt (mine was a tank top, hers a T-shirt), but I wasn't going to change, so we went looking like twins and didn't care! In fact, we got both got stopped by people saying, "Hey, I used to go to 3-D. It was a cool place."

We were supposed to meet friends of ours who were driving in from Chicago (they also had tickets to the Sunday Stooges' show in Chicago) at the Town Pump but they were running late and it was crowded, loud and very smoky, so we told them we'd just meet them at the Fox. We ended up talking to this guy outside the Town Pump and it turned out that he was driving home from work and saw the marquee and stopped and bought himself a ticket (only single seat tickets were available). He was cool and alone, so he asked if he could hang with us. We're friendly folk, so we said No problem. As you can probably imagine, there was great people watching in the lobby of the Fox with all the old punks. There were a good number of Grande Ballroom t-shirts being worn. In fact, our friend from Chicago showed up in hers, but she saw us, she said, "I almost wore my 3-D t-shirt, too." Great minds think alike!

I bought two extremely over-priced T-shirts, but they were so cool, I had to! It was so nice being around old punks, I just feel so at home with them - people who listen to the same music I do and don't think I'm weird for it. I saw a guy in a leather jacket with this picture of Ian Curtis painted on the back, the same picture I have of Ian painted on the back of my jean jacket. I would have, of course, talked to him, except that I was in line buying my t-shirts and wasn't about to lose my place in the mob. I was as excited as a little kid at Disneyland being there. After I bought my T-shirts, I had to tell Miss Anne and our new friend Pete all about the Joy Division jacket. Our new friend Pete then pulled out his phone to display the song Transmission as his ringtone. If you know me, you know that had me freaking out just a bit. He told me where he got it and that I could get Atmosphere (my all time favorite Joy Division song) as well. You know I'm doing that! Good-bye Funeral March of a Marionette (aka the Hitchcock theme), Hello Joy Division!

We missed the opening act, Powertrane, as people watching seemed like a better option as nobody had heard of the band. With my luck, they'll go on to be the next big band I've never heard of and I'll be kicking myself that I missed the chance to see them. But I didn't care, I was having fun talking to my friends. The Chicago friends are also race fans, so they asked about Vegas and I told them how cool it was (oh yeah, I'll tell you all about it after I download my pictures) and they think they might join the fun next year. After that it was time to head to our seats. Chicago friends and our new friend Pete had main floor, but Miss Anne and I had balcony (I prefer balcony, generally, unless, of course, I have seats in the first four rows or something close). I had my binoculars so we were all set.

I saw a guy from work (which was a bit of a surprise as this place kind of defines "conservative") and yelled his name. He was as surprised as me to see someone from work, but he smiled and waved.

The Stooges came out with zero fanfare. All of a sudden, there they were and Iggy was singing Loose (supposedly they did Down on the Street next, but I missed it somehow which is strange since I know that song really well). The third song of the night was "I Wanna Be Your Dog" which had everybody on their feet. And that was the last time 99% of the crowd sat down which is saying something when you think that the average age of the crowd was close to 50. The Freep (the Detroit Free Press, as it's more commonly known) had TWO reviews of the show in Saturday's paper. Iggy, who turns 60 on Saturday, stage dived (dove?) during I Wanna Be Your Dog which shows a lot of faith in his aging fans, I think. During Real Cool Time, fans swarmed the stage and at the end the lead fan yelled "Iggy and the Stooges! Iggy and the fucking Stooges! Iggy and the fucking Stooges!" into the mike. I turned to Miss Anne and said, "That sounded EXACTLY like the guy who did that during the Pine Knob concert (oh yeah, we're not allowed to call it Pine Knob anymore, it's the DTE Energy Concert Center, or some such corporate bullshit)." I mentioned it to Chicago friend and she totally agreed with me, as did the Freep's reviews. I didn't think that the fans being on stage seemed staged, although it's not unexpected as Iggy kind of encourages it. He is smart in that he has a guy guarding him from all the insane fans while he dances and writhes his way across the stage while singing.

I haven't quite figured out how Iggy keeps his jeans on as he wears them really low-slung but he managed it that night. The guy in front of us mentioned after the concert that he was at a concert where Iggy was not so successful in keeping his pants on. As much as I love Iggy, I'm not sure I need to see that. I was at a concert of The Cramps where Lux Interior got a little overzealous with his broken wine bottle (he broke it himself after he was done drinking from it) and slit his black spandex pants ALL THE WAY up which I'm pretty sure he didn't mean. Anyway, as I like to say, "I saw way more of Lux Interior that night than I really needed to."

I'm never ever happy with the length of a concert, so I was a little disappointed when the house lights came on, even if they were expected. If The Stooges are coming to your town, I highly recommended getting tickets to the concert. They put on a GREAT live show. And it's a little like experiencing living music history. I kind of wish I had written this on Saturday when I was still higher than a kite from the energy and emotion of the night, as I don't think my enthusiasm for that night as come out in my writing.

As the long-haired fan screamed, "IGGY AND THE FUCKING STOOGES!!!"

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Lush Garden Within

I had a great time in Vegas and I'll tell you all about that next post, but here's my March List of reading and watching.

March's Books and Movies


PostSecret: Extraordinary Confessions from Ordinary Lives by Frank Warren – 276 pages – My former boss lent me this book and it was quite fascinating to read what people will tell a complete stranger. The one that sticks in my mind was the woman who confessed that she only got married because she wanted to wear the dress. Egads.

This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald – 282 pages – I quite liked this book, and although it reminded me faintly of The Catcher in the Rye, I found the protagonist a generally likable character. I also found the look into that particular period very interesting, from the scandal of getting a hotel room with a woman not your wife to the semi-cavalier way the death of a friend from drinking and driving was dealt with.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald – 182 pages – I know I read this in high school, but I didn't remember it at all. I have the movie at home right now but haven’t had a chance to watch it. I like Fitzgerald's writing style. I find it easy to read and think he has great character development.

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde – 191 pages – I love Oscar Wilde and although I knew the premise of this story I had never read it and only vaguely remember seeing bits of the film. I think it's sad that some great literature is passed over by people just because they're considered classics and the general thought of classics is that they're dry and hard to read. I confess I'm guilty of this thought, but I don't think that would be an apt description of Dorian Gray.

The Portrait of Mr. W.H. by Oscar Wilde – 28 pages – That link will take you to the actual essay wherein two people discuss a portrait and how it relates to William Shakespeare. I confess that I have no clue about most of the mysteries regarding The Bard's life, specifically to whom the Sonnets are dedicated, but still found this essay to be an interesting discussion of art and ideas.

Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald – 315 pages – This book broke my heart as it's considered to be fairly autobiographical and it was just a sad story, although it doesn't start out that way. I liked it better than This Side of Paradise, which doesn't really mean anything.

I also read "An F. Scott Fitzgerald Companion" which came with my Book of the Month Club F. Scott Fitzgerald series. It was 90 pages of bit and pieces of books and articles written about F. Scott by various friends, secretaries, etc. It was just enough to whet my appetite and make me want to search out biographies..


My Man Godfrey (TCM) – 100% – 1937 – I love William Powell.
Notorious (K) – 96% – 1946 – Hitchcock, Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Raines – need I say more?
The Maltese Falcon (Old Redford Theatre) – 100% – 1941 – The quintessential Bogart film with Peter Lorre just for fun.
The Heiress (N) – 100% – 1949 – Olivia de Havilland and Montgomery Clift – she plays the heiress, he plays the gold digger. They made her appear very plain in this movie while Montgomery Clift is as handsome as ever. I liked the way they didn't make this a "Hollywood ending." And if they had I would have been ticked off.
The Illusionist (N) – 75% – 2006– I liked this better than The Prestige, as a "magic" movie. It has Edward Norton which is all good in my book.
That Obscure Object of Desire (N) – 100% – 1977 – Luis Buñuel's last film and I must confess that I didn't get it. I wanted to slap Fernando Rey upside the head for taking that chick back so many times.
The Prestige (N) – 74% – 2006 – Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale and Michael Caine? First off, I probably should have started that list with Michael Caine because I think he's a fantastic actor. There's a song by Madness called Michael Caine and I think it's probably my favorite song by them.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Night Boat to Cairo

I have more fun new projects which need my attention, but sadly, I don't have permission to access the information that I need and won't get it until tomorrow. How handy is that?

Yesterday I was reading an article on the latest airline quality report and saw that starting in June Spirit Airlines is going to charge people $5 per checked bag, if the trip was booked on-line. If you did it some other way (???), it's $10 per checked bag. My issue here is that because of the new regulations designed to keep me safe from people needing more than 3 oz of contact solution (oh wait, that's me), it's damned near impossible to fly anywhere and NOT check a bag, if you wear contacts. If I had gone on my trip to BWI/VA two weekends ago, the only way I could have done it without checking a bag was to wait until I got there to buy my contact solutions. And then I was going to have the YS bring the contraband back with her when she moved back to MI. That’s not going to work tomorrow for my Vegas trip, so I have to check a bag. Thankfully I'm not flying Spirit and won't ever be again, thank you very much.

As if flying weren't horrendous enough to begin with, they've now made it even more hideous and I've reached the point where I simply don't want to fly anymore. I was going to say that after Vegas, I won't have to fly again this year as I'm only going to Cleveland (and hopefully, Road America), but I just remembered I have a wedding in Austin, TX in June. Shit, more flying.

The Tigers lost their home opener yesterday in the 10th inning. Now, I don't want to second guess the skipper, Jim Leyland, but I do not understand why he put Joel Zumaya in to pitch the 7th inning for two innings and then Todd Jones, our saver, in the 9th when the game was tied. Okay, maybe I am second guessing him, but wouldn't it have made more sense to put in a middle reliever, say Jason Grilli?, in the 7th and possibly the 8th, then Joel in the 9th and 10th, and if need be, Todd Jones after that. Fernando Rodney did a great job for us in the playoffs, but he's normally a bit erratic and that's the Fernando that showed up yesterday (single, walk, hit batter to fill the bases). Ah well, it's one game, but it didn't stop HRH from calling me as soon as the game was over. I answered the phone "What? You called to gloat already?" as she lives in the GTA. She just laughed as she doesn't actually care about baseball, but simply enjoys giving me a hard time.

I did a load of laundry yesterday while watching the game (and since I didn't go to the gym, I lifted my hand weights and did crunches and leg lifts), because I wore a few shirts last week which I wanted to take with me to Vegas. Tonight I will be packing as I'm leaving right after work tomorrow. For once, I've planned my trip well, as the weather here is supposed to turn wintry tomorrow. Today it's going to be 70F with a 30-degree drop for tomorrow with a "wintry mix." And it's going to be 80-90F in Vegas. Yes, I'm taking my sunblock, but I fear that I'll be blinding people with my winter white legs, particularly the drivers.

Is there an age when a woman should stop wearing shorts? Because I'm feeling like shorts are inappropriate for a woman of my age, but if you think I'm wearing pants or jeans when it's 90F, you've lost your mind. Should I stop at Target today and see if they have some slightly longer shorts (not that my shorts are short short or anything), but if I'm uncomfortable in them, that probably means something, eh?

Another stolen book survey follows:

Hardback or trade paperback or mass market paperback?
I don't care, although certain books have to be hardover – Harry Potter, for one. I do like trade paperbacks, but won't go out of my way to get them.

Amazon or brick and mortar? Borders, generally, but will buy from amazon.

Barnes & Noble or Borders? Borders, it's a Michigan original.

Bookmark or dogear? Bookmark. I remember back in the day I never needed to bookmark because I always knew where I was in a book. Now that I’m old, I need to bookmark. I despise dog-earing, and hate it when I lend my books out and people do that. So rude!

Alphabetize by author or alphabetize by title or random? I put authors together, but other than that, it's mostly by genre or size. I know where most of the books are, though, and even when I move I try to put the books exactly where they were before.

Keep, throw away, or sell? Are you kidding? Have you seen my house? Books are everywhere. I can't even imagine throwing away a book! I have traded ones I hated back to the used bookstore so I could get more books, however. And I only trade in ones I hated (The Red Tent comes to mind).

Keep dustjacket or toss it? I definitely keep them.

Read with dustjacket or remove it? I read with the dustcover, but have learned to remove it when I lend them out because they've come back sans dustcover or with a ruined dustcover. Again, this pisses me off.

Short story or novel? Novels, I'm not a fan of the short story – except for Poe's.

Collection (short stories by same author) or anthology (short stories by different authors)? Neither, I can't stand short stories.

Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket? Hard to say as I love them both. I, however, wasn't totally thrilled with the ending to Lemony Snicket, and since I don't know how HP ends yet (July 21), I will reserve judgement. If she kills off Harry, I will be severely PISSED OFF.

Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks? As I do my reading generally while eating or at the gym, I stop when I'm done eating or when the hour is up on the elliptical.

“It was a dark and stormy night” or “Once upon a time”? Both, I love fairy tales.

Buy or Borrow? Oh, buy, but will borrow if it's something I’m not sure I'm going to want to keep.

New or used? Both, I'm not picky, but have a tendency to buy new more often, just because it's easier.

Buying choice: book reviews, recommendation or browse? All three, including the blurb on the jacket cover.

Tidy ending or cliffhanger? Tidy ending. Lemony Snicket almost killed me as I had to wait for each new book.

Morning reading, afternoon reading or nighttime reading? ANY time I can get a minute.

Stand-alone or series? Both.

Favorite series? There are so many!!! Artemis Fowl, Harry Potter, Lemony Snicket, Sue Grafton's Kinsey Milhone series, Karen Kijewski's Kat Colorado series, Christian Jacq's Egyptian series.

Favorite children's book? Pokey Little Puppy

Favorite book of which nobody else has heard? Queen of Freedom Trilogy by Christian Jacq

Favorite books read last year? The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde, Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman, The Italian Secretary by Caleb Carr, Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis by Jimmy Carter and The Last Templar by Raymond Khoury

Favorite books of all time? The Eight by Katherine Neville

Least favorite book you finished last year? I know I’m going to be taken to task for this one, but it was The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

What are you reading right now? The Last Tycoon by F. Scott Fitzgerald

What are you reading next? Either V for Vendetta or Vanity Fair

Labels: , , , ,