Thursday, June 26, 2008

Everybody had a good time...

You know what you should do if you want to have a good time?


Well, I’ll tell you. You should come to OM Fest on Saturday in Oakland Mills to celebrate the village’s 40th birthday and, of course, to hear what could either be a pretty good set of Beatles music or an outright embarrassment for yours truly. Either way, it’s a win for you!

Can I market or what?

Seriously, after our first practice late last month, I was a little nervous about the set. But after practicing to the point of exhaustion many nights in the past few weeks, I really think (or at least hope) it’s going to sound good.

Despite all the time spent practicing, I think the hardest part of this whole thing was picking an hour’s worth of music from the vast Beatles collection. Complicating this process is trying to balance what songs I want to play, what songs the audience will want to hear and what songs a band with two guitars, a bass and drums can actually pull off in a live setting. It was not easy, but I think we’ve got a pretty good set.

That said, I won’t try to claim that my taste in Beatles songs in any way resemble mainstream tastes.

You see, I’m a huge Beatles fan. There was a phase in my life when my fandom probably crossed many lines of normalcy and decency. But, whatever. The Beatles rock, and were it not for them, music today would suck. On this I will not compromise.

But unlike the vast majority of other diehard Beatles fans, I never lived the Beatles. Sure, I share Beatles experiences with many of my friends – a few of whom are playing in this band with me – but we weren’t there for Beatlemania or Sgt. Pepper or the break-up or really any of it (though one of my earliest memories as a child is seeing news of John Lennon’s murder on television, if that counts for anything).

I’ve listened to the Beatles in a different context than those who heard them when their songs were still new (ahem, mom, dad, other Boomers), and this, in turn, has led to my somewhat off-the-wall list of favorite Beatles songs. For instance, the title of this post is a line from “I’ve Got A Feeling” – a solid rock tune off of Let It Be that’s on my short list but probably few others. What’s more, if forced to pick an all-time favorite, I’d have to choose “Don’t Let Me Down,” the B-side of the “Get Back” single.

I mean, who picks a B-side as their favorite?

Anyway, let me hear from you. What are your favorite Beatles songs, or what would you like to hear on Saturday?

Also, for sociology’s sake, share whether you’ve been a Beatles fan since the beginning or since you were old enough to appreciate them.

Friday, June 06, 2008

And though the news was rather sad...

A few audio/visual treats for you on a Friday evening. First, a collection of photographs taken from the train carrying Bobby Kennedy's body from New York City to Washington, DC forty years ago this weekend. This is a pretty amazing collection. Here are two of my favorites:

See the link above for more pictures, or the New York Times for a slideshow narrated by the photographer, Paul Fusco.

Also, here's a pretty great site from the Boston Globe with daily stories told through large, high-quality photography.

Finally, this made me laugh on several occasions, but I'm a nerd with a fairly immature sense of humor. Be careful, some of the jokes are a little (or a lot, actually) risqué for those with more delicate sensibilities and refined tastes (you know who you are…).

The kid's name is Bo Burnham.

Somebody spoke and I went into a dream...

I had a nightmare last night.

This is not a very common experience for me. Most of my dreams involve unicorns and puppies.

Last night's dream was so bad that after waking up at 5 am, I couldn't fall back asleep, which usually isn't a problem for me at such an ungodly hour.

I'm sure you're now asking yourself what subconscious thoughts could have possibly caused me such great anguish. It wasn't monsters or demons or even sweet potatoes.

It was the iPhone.

In case you haven't heard, iPhone v.2 is almost certainly going to be announced on Monday. Rumors about the One Gadget to Replace Them All, which I've been obsessively following for weeks, all point to a line up of features that address the initial model's shortcomings. As much as I've wanted one since they were first announced almost 18 months ago, I've held off for a variety of reasons, but following the expiration of my Verizon contract in March, the demise of my old iPod in April and the maelstrom of rumors in May, I have been overrun by an urge to part with hard earned money for the shiniest of the shiny.

Clearly, as evidenced by my dream, this longing has seeped deep into my subconscious. The result of said seepage, however, was not pretty.

Most of the details are fuzzy, but what I remember most about the dream was opening the box to find a phone that fell short of expectations. In this case, short is probably an understatement. The device I removed from the box resembled something like this, only it flipped open to reveal more of the latest in 1980s technology.

I was crushed. And in my dreamy despair, I began frantically scouring eBay for a replacement, only to find that all of the older iPhones were being snatched up for thousands of dollars by disappointed folks like me. And that's when I finally cracked and woke up.

What's the takeway, aside from the fact that I'm a dork? Either I need more perspective in life, or Steve Jobs better not disappoint on Monday.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

They run and hide their heads...

After (grudgingly) being forced to ride out yesterday's storm away from windows with decent views in the basement of the George Howard Building, I anxiously drove home to see what havoc the weather had wreaked in my yard.

As I passed fallen tree after fallen tree, my nervousness mounted. Don't get me wrong, I loving having six mature trees surround my house -- including a huge 100-year-old pin oak -- but such leafiness does not come without occasional concern. If ever there was a day for concern, yesterday was it.

When I turned into my neighborhood, I was greeted with this sight:

Which, needless to say, did nothing to soothe my nerves. (I should point out that this house and its roof are still structurally sound and largely intact, contrary to how things may appear in the picture.

But as I turned onto my street, it was clear that my house had at least avoided that fate. And, indeed, upon closer inspection, it became clear that the total damage was below that of prior storms I've witnessed while living here. I mean:

Sure, we have our share of downed branches, but nothing major and nothing anywhere near the damage I had feared.

The open space around my neighborhood, however, was home to significant tree fall-age.

Columbia Talk has more shots of Oakland Mills storm damage here.

So, after this mess, it looks like we're in for some atrocious heat this weekend. Such are the wages of our otherwise fabulous spring, I suppose.