16 May 2010

No Sun in the Shadow of the Wizard

Ronnie James Dio has died.

I was a total metalhead as a kid, and although my tastes have expanded and matured quite a bit since fifth grade, I never really stopped liking it. And Dio was an amazing singer; a tiny little man with a gigantic, operatic voice.

I first became aware of RJD during his first stint in Black Sabbath. Heaven and Hell is a fucking awesome album, and I really dig Mob Rules. Oddly enough, I never cared for his eponymous band, although I did like the Holy Diver record.

Dio got back together with the Mob Rules-era Sabbath lineup as "Heaven and Hell," since they couldn't call themselves "Black Sabbath." The put out a live DVD, which is awesome, and a CD of new material, which is OK (read my mixed review here).

But if you really want to hear him belt his ass off (and hey, who doesn't?) check out Rainbow's "Stargazer." This cut is Eurometal at its finest. The late great Cozy Powell beats the shit out of his drums, Ritchie Blackmore contributes a typically over-the-top guitar solo, and, but of course, backing from the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra. Of course, what gives the track that extra little push over the cliff is Dio's powerful singing, especially in the fade-out. EPIC.

So when the news broke that Dio had passed away today, I went straight for "Stargazer." And when it gets near the end, and Dio is singing about "going home" and "take me back, take me back" (and of course, "My eyes are bleeding"), I got goosebumps.

Farewell, RJD. You were a total badass.

17 March 2010

O My Soul

Alex Chilton died.

My first job was at a Hardee's. I was 17. I was listening to Husker Du and the Replacements and R.E.M. One of the managers had similar tastes in music and we traded tapes. I asked him if he had any Big Star, because their name kept popping up in all the books and magazines I was reading at the time, but I could never find any of their records (turns out I wasn't looking hard enough, but that's a different story).

(Big Star's other singer/guitarist, Chris Bell, was just as talented as Alex. Bell is also dead, but that's another story.)

Anyway, Hardee's Manager loaned me a cassette with #1 Record on one side and Radio City on the other. And they lived up to their reputation. Exceeded it, even.

You can get both those albums on one CD. Worth every penny.

29 November 2009

Pilgrims v. Indians

Holiday. Food. Travel. Family. Friends. Babies. Bourbon. Manger's.

Patton Oswalt on iTunes.

Girlfriend in the bathtub.

Fun? Fun.

One down, three to go.

04 November 2009

Department of Corrections

Actually, mein papa died before I ever started this thing. Just felt the need to clear that up.

29 October 2009

Time Marches On

A lot can happen in a year. Think about what can happen in TWO.

Life can be craptacular, but it's the only thing worth living.

I've been through a lot of changes. Biggest one was a divorce. After that, moving into a new place. Third biggest was probably the new job. After that, I'll say the crash that totaled my faithful Altima, which deserved a much more dignified end.

My dad died, too. Can't remember if I blogged about that. He deserved a much more dignified end, too. But his death was much easier to manage because I had several years and a few close calls to prepare for it.

15 October 2009


Hello. Is there anybody in there?

27 January 2009

The Ice Storm

The forecasters predicted a Class-A Winter Killstorm and it seems to have been accurate. Fortunately for me, I work in an industry that doesn't shut down or cancel work in these circumstances. In fact, I usually have to work harder than normal. Such is life.

So this morning as I left for work at 3:30 a.m., I found myself wondering about many, many life decisions and how I ended up in this predicament. I remembered that my neighbor Joe, the same one who left a polite note on my car (addressed to "Jeff") complaining about the noise from a mini-rave that got out of hand a few weeks ago, had asked me if I would help him shovel the driveway. "Sure," I told him, not out of any sense neighborly duty but more to get him off my back. That was before I knew I'd be going in to work during the wee small hours. So I left a note on HIS car this morning, explaining my situation. I hope he understands but I don't really care if he doesn't.

Back to me: Life is full of peaks and valleys. A few recent peaks have turned into valleys. I'm handling them much better than I would have thought I could. Yay me. But I'm still indescribably bummed. Such is life. The shitty weather plays a role, but I can't blame it all on Old Man Winter.

I left work mid-afternoon. I needed to go home and pick up some clothes because I'm staying in a hotel on the company's dime and I have to be at work at 4 a.m. tomorrow. No point in risking life and limb for a job that I like but don't love.

I wonder about all the missed connections, what might have been, what ought to have been, what should have been. I wonder how I ended up like this.

I did the dishes, in the sink. I have a dishwasher but it's wasteful to run it unless it's full. I admire all the plates and cutlery and cookware I didn't used to have. Then I remember why I didn't have them. Somebody called it laziness but it was always convenience. And now I'm inconvenienced.

What to pack? Who cares? It's going to be a boring night, but I know I will be unable to sleep. And then I will be exhausted at work. Also, they're saying the ice could snap power lines, which means I could be without electricity. The hits keep coming.

I need to make something happen.

Happy New Year.