Thursday, March 31, 2005

Coffee Diaries, Part 4

I get invited to appear as a guest on a national cable news show in Washington. But all I can think about is coffee. How will I get my coffee fix that morning? Do I have to score on the way there? Who will be open at that hour? A producer from the show solves the problem -- there will be coffee there. Awesome. I'm getting treated like a rockstar.

Coffee Diaries, Part 3

I go out for a nice dinner with my wife, and end up having a double espresso afterwards. Whew! It's been a long time since I had one of those...I ended up having crazy dreams including one where we didn't fill an open position at work, and used the money available to buy an expensive statistics service like those used by major sports teams, just to help fuel office arguments. I elect to stay away from the espresso after that.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Coffee Diaries, Part 2

I knew it was going to be a tough day when the Pentagon budget request was going to be released. Covering the budget briefings has always been a pain, and I thought a little coffee might help me along.

I thought about pouring that cup of coffee the whole time during the briefing...the smell of the roasted beans, the warmth of the mug in my hands, the bitter taste on my tongue...

I fixed a cup as soon as I got back to the office to start writing. I'm kind of hungry but I want to finish the article before getting a sandwich, so I have another cup. Before I know it, I've got a great piece together. What should have felt like a terrible grind went pretty smoothly. And who do I have to thank? Coffee!

Sunday, March 27, 2005

The Coffee Diaries

I recently started drinking coffee again.

I tried it first a few times in high school, and then again in college, when I'd need some kind of stimulant to help me stay up until 4a.m. working on papers. My use began increasing in my senior year, as I'd spend the day at my internship, and then come back to campus for class from 5:30pm til 10:40pm. I'd need something to kickstart myself in the morning. Then another cup or two -- sometimes fortified with a packet of cocoa -- to keep going in the afternoon. And another cup when I'd get to campus for class. By the time the second night class started at 8:10p.m., I was so jittery that I'd need some milk to steady myself before beginning my homework.

I knew that this was a problem, and I kicked it after college. Sure, I dabbled now and then socially with a cup, but wasn't making a habit of it until recently, when I fell of the wagon hard.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Have You Had Your Daily Dose . . .

. . . of John Lee Hooker?

I chose his album with Canned Heat randomly from iTunes as I sat down at my Mac to do a bit of work and was just knocked over.

I've listened to Hooker for about 15 years now. When I first started listening to the blues, I asked my sister's ex for some recommendations, and started with the Hook. It was an even better gift than the tape (remember those?) case that he gave me for my high school graduation.

Sometimes I don't put on one of his discs for months at a time, and sometimes when I do, it just doesn't move me. But boy, those Hooker and the Heat tunes really hit me today...hard enough that I skipped the haircut I was planning to get and just kind of sat in front of the computer looking for excuses (looked at some photos, brushed up my resume, etc.) to stay here and listen to him moaning and stuttering.

So if you haven't listened to John Lee Hooker today, I suggest you do so immediately. Hooker and the Heat is not a bad place to start at all...

Monday, March 21, 2005

Dan Tobin and Most Metal Moments

I think that my Most Metal Moment was when L.A. Guns were popular and "Ballad of Jayne" was in heavy rotation on MTV, and the singer answered my fan letter with a phone call. Or ten years later when they were selling in the single digit thousands rather than millions, and the singer pulled a rock star attitude to me after their show at the Hard Rock Cafe in D.C....after I reminded him of answering my letter, he grabbed a nearby reporter and crowed about what a great guy he was to do such a thing.

Or maybe it was when I played guitar in the high school band and I bought extra guitar picks so I could throw them into the crowd at the end of songs like metal guys.

I was thrilled to finally be mentioned on Dan Tobin's blog, but have to quibble with his "Most Metal Moment." My choice for "Most Metal Tobin Moment" was in 1991 when Tobin told me that Extreme's triple album "Three Sides to Every Story" was the new Sgt. Pepper.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

RIP, Monster

I read with some sadness about the death of Dick Radatz, the legendary Red Sox relief pitcher, in the Boston Globe this morning.

I already knew that he was called "the Monster," but I didn't know that the nickname came from Mickey Mantle, who Radatz apparently dominated. The Globe quotes newspaper reports as saying that Radatz faced Mantle 63 times, and struck him out 47 times.

That's awesome.

My father and I met Radatz at a baseball card show in Massachusetts about 15 or so years ago, and he seemed like a heck of nice guy. Much nicer than Wade Boggs -- I waited about three hours in line to meet Boggs at a department store in Boston around the same time and he was a total jerk. And Mantle was a jerk to my dad's father when my Papa Sam approached Mantle at a New York City restaurant one night to get an autograph for his son.

I stopped on my way home from work to return some DVDs at the library, which is right next to a baseball diamond. It was about 6:30p.m. when I pulled out of the library's parking lot, and the field was lit up...for some reason, it's one of my favorite sites.

I hope there's a nice field like that up in heaven where the Monster can keep on whiffing Mantle.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Orrin Hatch and Anita Hill

Is it appropriate to greet Orrin Hatch by saying "Senator Hatch! Loved your work grilling Anita Hill back in the day!"

No? Good thing I didn't say hello when I saw him today.

Far worse than his treatment of Hill was the awful CD of songs about his love for Ted Kennedy. Oh, you didn't hear it? iTunes doesn't have it, but they have some Christmas songs that he was involved with, which sound like Sgt. Pepper in comparison.

Two wishes

I wish that God would come down to earth, and clearly state his preference for how to run things. It would clear up some of the confusion caused by the various people who claim that they're just trying to execute God's agenda.

Second, I wish that Jimi Hendrix would come back to life and start showing up at concerts with his guitar, suprise the bands on stage, and show young people what real guitar playing is all about. Given what passes for "guitar hero" these days, this may be almost important as wish Number 1.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Am I alone...

In finding it really funny that the White House's response to allegations that it's having suspected terrorists kidnapped and taken to countries where they can be legally tortured is that people aren't gettiing tortured and it's just cheaper to keep them oversees?

What's worse is that there is no public uproar about this flimsy response. Whether or not you mind these people being tortured -- and it's not hard to see the potential benefit -- does anyone really buy the line that it's cheaper to fly them oversees and keep them there before flying them back for their trials?

Sadly, yes.

By the way, if anyone in the administration is reading this, my name is Dan Tobin and I live in Los Angeles.

Readership Doubles!

It's not just Dan Tobin reading anymore!
Thanks for reading, boski93!

With this 100% increase in readership, I'm going to have to reevaluate things. Perhaps I'll scrap that series of Dan Tobin-targeted posts for something aimed at this new broader audience.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Guns N' Roses (The Times They Are A Changin'")

The NY Times has an interesting article chronicling the mess of Axl Rose's attempt to finish a follow-up to GNR's last studio album of new material, which was released in 1991. I used to be a huge fan of GNR, but like many others, have since given up waiting. Here is a quick list of things that have changed since then:

1991 -- Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and grunge became popular later that same year, killing the demand for most heavy metal bands at the time (GNR, Metallica, and then Pantera were major exceptions, despite the similarity of grunge to metal in many respects).

1991 -- The New England Patriots are pretty much a joke.

1991 -- The Olson twins are only a few years old.

1992 -- Axl wants to take Nirvana on tour with them, but gets rebuffed by the Seattle trio. Axl blabbers about how much U2's "One" means to him in interviews.

1992 -- Bill Clinton was elected president.

1992 -- I'm still buying tapes mostly.

1993 -- Stone Temple Pilots are popular but derided for singer Scott Weiland's apparent Eddie Vedder impression.

1993 -- Departed GNR guitarist Izzy Stradlin, who left the band to avoid the pressures of the music business, releases his first solo disc, sounding like Keef-heavy Rollling Stones.

1993 -- GNR members say that Axl, wanting to stay current, wants to emulate the grunge sound.

1993 -- I enter college. My friend Carl helps me put a modem on my computer, which helps me access this awesome invention -- e-mail!

1993 -- U2 release Zooropa, and start getting really weird.

1993 -- Hell Freezes Over and the Eagles reunite for a tour.

1993-94 -- "Industrial music" was popular, and suddenly lots of bands had weird clanking noises and overdriven keyboards.

1994 -- Pearl Jam fought Ticketmaster, and lost.

1994 -- GNR members say that Axl wants to stay current and try the industrial sound.

1994 -- The grunge fad ended, but probably helps to open the door for pop punk like Green Day.

1994 -- Does anyone remember when the Counting Crows were taken seriously?

1994 -- Republicans, for the first time in many decades, take control of the House of Representatives, as well as the U.S. Senate.

1994 -- Count Kurt Cobain as one person who will never hear the new GNR disc, because he kills himself.

1995 -- Nothing much happens. I had a fun job working at a supermarket for the summer though.

1996-- They show us how to use the computers at school to access the World Wide Web. Boy there is a lot of porn out there!

1996 -- Bill Clinton is reelected president. Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry barely survives a challenge from Gov. Bill Weld for his Senate seat.

1996 -- Metallica try to go from harsh metal to some weird mix of southern rock and college music that they think is current, and cut their hair.

1997 - I graduate from college. Still no GNR follow-up.

1997-98 -- Bands like Fastball are very popular. Men feel creepy for fantasizing about Brittany Spears and Christina Aguilara.

1997 -- U2 release "Pop" which is a commentary about consumerism or something. Even with my college degree I can't figure it out.

1998 -- People are talking a lot about Napster, but I have no idea how to use it.

1999 -- Metal is back, but now its "nu-metal," which is unhappier than the LA glam bands. Kid Rock appears to be the sole happy face here. Limp Bizkit is considered very hot and cutting edge.

1999 -- Music magazines report that the new GNR record is a big mess, with tons of high paid studio musicians rotating in and out of the project.

2000 -- Al Gore is beaten by George W. Bush for the presidency, despite getting some momentum when he chose Sen. Joe Lieberman to be his running mate.

2000 -- Limp Bizkit is now regarded as mostly a joke.

2001 -- The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 2001 occur, and for a few weeks, people resolve to do away with cynicism and violent movies.

2001 -- U2 release about a million singles from "All That You Can't Leave Behind."

2002 -- The New England Patriots win the Super Bowl, their first since entering the league in 1959.

2002 -- Men can fantasize about Brittany and Christina without feeling dirty, although Christina is all pierced and weird looking.

2003 -- Men can now feel safe fantisizing about the Olson twins as well.

2003 -- Kids don't remember tapes, much less vinyl.

2003 -- I get married!

2003 -- Kid Rock goes country.

2003 -- Hell Freezes Over again and the Eagles are back with another tour.

2004 -- The Pats win the Super Bowl again, the Boston Red Sox win the World Series for the first time since 1918. U2 has another monster hit album.

2004 -- After releasing a few forgettable discs, GNR members Slash, Duff and Matt Sorum get together with STP frontman Weiland. Times have changed -- Weiland is now the only one in the ground with any momentum, but this, combined with the nostalgic appeal of the ex-Gunners, results in a popular disc that mimics neither GNR nor STP.

2004-- George W. Bush is reelected, beating John Kerry.

2004 -- Metallica release a movie focused on them talking about their feelings.

2005 -- All of my friends from college are married or engaged. Pats win the Super Bowl again. Digital music is so popular that even I use the iTunes store. Izzy Stradlin, who was supposedly too lazy for the music business, has five solo discs, Axl has spent $14 million of Geffen's money and STILL hasn't gotten his disc out.