Friday, January 30, 2009

January 30, 1992 - Rush - Oakland CA

To commemorate January 30th, I encourage you to download a fantastic soundboard recording show of Rush at Oakland Coliseum on January 30, 1992, from their Roll The Bones tour.

Track lists, reviews, and ratings for "Mirrors" can be read at Digital Rush Experience.

Disc 1 (click here)

Disc 2 (click here)


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

State of Nashville Predators hockey

I'm not sure what to think about where the Nashville Predators are right now. Literally, they're waaaayyy back. At the mid-season All Star break, they only have 43 points - 8 points and at least 4 teams out of the #8 Western Conference playoff seed. (However, #43 is not altogether bad. I've had an affinity for that number for over 30 years. I digress...)

Surprisingly, they aren't the worst team in the Western Conference...yet. The Blues have only 40 points as of tonight. Stats for the first half of the season, however, do not paint an optimistic picture for a run towards the playoffs.

Through the first 46 games, Nashville is 20-23-3. In those 26 losses, the Preds have averaged a miserably low 1.69 goals per game while giving up 3.88 goals. In the 20 wins, the Preds have only managed to score an average of 3.35 goals - and 5 of the wins required overtime or a shootout to get the W.

Coach Trotz is rotating two talented but inexperienced goalies. On more nights than not, either Dan Ellis or Peka Rinne have done their best to keep the game in hand. But all too often, Pred wingers can't score, the "superstars" are neutered, the defensemen commit crucial turnovers in the neutral zone - or worse in their own zone, passes aren't crisp and on the tape, battles aren't waged in the corners, centermen won't camp out in front of the net looking to screen or bang home a rebound, etc. Other than that, things are peachy!

But this scoring drought has simply got to end. Somehow. Some way. The best quote I've seen to summarize the fans' frustration of the team's low scoring during the first half of the season was on the Preds message board. Someone posted something to the effect of "these guys couldn't score with a bagful of cash in Amsterdam."

But I'm not panicked. I'm not angered (except at the conclusion of last Saturday's 2-7 loss to the lowly Atlanta Thrashers). I am frustrated, and I am perplexed. I'm not ready to fire the coach or the general manager. I'm not ready to trade a ton of players - although I do think Trotz should scratch some of the big names over a series of games until they get their heads AND leadership back in the game.

The one piece of good news in all of this has been the return of Steve Sullivan. Sully has remarkably from 2 years of back injuries, surgeries, and rehab. With his return, I'm reminded of one of the funnier moments of his career when he played with the Black Hawks. I'll let him tell the story...

Go Preds!


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

January 20, 1991 - Townes van Zandt and Guy Clark

Every 4 years on January 20, we swear in our President of the United States. Sometimes its a new one, sometimes its a second termer. In 2009, we get a new one. I didn't vote for him, but I do wish him well. As a nation, we need him to have a successful term - however that ends up being defined. I'm pretty sure I'll disagree with just about every policy decision he'll make, but we'll see. In transitional times like these, its often easy and natural for us to take our eye off the ball a bit. Some are euphoric, some are despondent, and some are wait-and-see'ers. But we can't let our guard down against the folks who mean us harm - regardless of the political parties that are going or coming.

Rather than dwell on politics, I prefer to blog about a language common to everyone - music. And I want to recognize January 20th in doing so.

On January 20, 1991, Townes van Zandt and Guy Clark played the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. Two different versions of the recorded show are floating around out there. One is a 2-disc, high-quality soundboard version. The other is a 3-disc, lower-quality version. For storage size, download speed, and sound quality reasons, I've chosen to share the 2-disc version.

I got this show in a lossless FLAC format and prefer to share it that way. It makes for a larger download, and the tracks will have to be converted to WAV or MP3 for you to listen to them. But its worth it to me for you to have the original lossless files to keep and to pass on to others in the same manner.

Sample - Townes - Mr. Mudd and Mr. Gold

Sample - Guy - Doctor Good Doctor

Full Download (click here)

Enjoy on January 20...and beyond.


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Raccoon Mountain - Caving and Electricity

Last weekend, several dads and I took about 40 boy scouts for an overnight caving trip to Raccoon Mountain Caverns in Chattanooga TN. I lived in Chattanooga for 9 years and had heard of the caves, but I never took the tour until last weekend.

I was about 14 or 15 the last time I was in a cave - at Cumberland Caverns in McMinnville TN. (Unless you count the time I thought I had been in a cave when I stumbled out of the bed and into the darkness last November and learned Barrack Obama had been elected POTUS.)

I wasn't sure how much I would enjoy the whole belly-crawling, ground-in dirt, stooped-over, damp-night experience. As a kid? Loved it. Always looked forward to it and went whenever I had the chance. As an adult? Well...

But I have to say it was a lot of fun. The tour lasted about 4 hours, and we went through some really challenging passages. I have no interest in wild spelunking in Tennessee's many caves - this was as close as I'd like to get to that hobby.

Tennessee is a beautiful state. I know I'm biased because I've lived here my whole life, but its truly a wonderful state from Memphis to the Tri-Cities. But some of the hidden jewels of the state - particularly in East Tennessee - are as far underground as some of the hills are high above ground.

By the way, as you might have noticed, I got the photos from another site. One, I forgot to bring my camera into the cave. Two, it probably didn't matter because I was pretty busy just trying to get through our tour. Picture taking would not have been at the top of my list of "things to do in a cave" even if I had remembered to bring it.

We also visited the TVA Raccoon Mountain Pumped Storage Facility. TVA has been under a lot of scrutiny and criticism lately - and rightfully so - for the huge ash spill near their Kingston TN coal plant. But their Raccoon Mountain facility is an engineering marvel. They carved out a huge multi-acre pit on top of the mountain to create a reservoir. They then pump up water from the Tennessee River below at the rate of 7 million gallons per minutes into the reservoir. When power generation is needed, water is flooded back down the same tubes through a series of turbines to create electricity. Engineering geekiness at its finest - but I really found the whole design really fascinating.

Looking for an idea for a scout trip, church or civic youth event, or just a dirty weekend with friends where you'll still respect one another the next morning? Then give these tours a try.


Thursday, January 8, 2009

New Tommy Womack / Daddy Song!

Just received! Daddy is Tommy Womack, Will Kimbrough, John Deaderick, Paul Griffith, and Dave Jacques. Their second album is near completion, and Daddy has accepted an invitation to play at South By Southwest (SXSW) in Austin in March. Tommy previewed one of the new tracks from the record at Norm's River Roadhouse on December 20. I dare you to try not tapping your toes on this one. Its pretty obvious from this cut the new record will be one to get in 2009.


Uninstall Control Alt Delete Toss Out Window

I'm mad. Its late at night. I'm tired. And I'm mad. For Christmas, I got a Linksys USB wireless adapter and a wireless router. The router install went OK, and I was able to get it to talk to my laptop and my PC (via the adapter). However, the software for the adapter was trigger-happy. If I went near it, it seized up my machine.

Tonight, I'd had enough. I converted my PC back to a wired connection, removed the USB adapter, and tried to uninstall the Linksys software. Bad move. The uninstall routine got to 50% and then stopped. Nothing more. Nada. Perhaps it was thinking. Perhaps it was contemplating. Perhaps it was a union adapter & it simply wasn't within its job description to finish the other 50%. Either way, I had no choice - I had to do a hard shut-down and re-boot.

When I did, I didn't get any sound on re-start. That was my first uh-oh. Then it loaded my desktop wallpaper - but that's it. That was the 2nd uh-oh.

I immediately went into recovery mode. I restarted in safe mode, and I started copying all my documents, pics, tunes, etc. onto my 2nd drive. As I type this, I've burned 15 minutes so far - and have 15 more to go just to ensure my picture files are backed up. Regular documents are done, but I haven't even started on my music or video files.

I also fear the loss of my e-mail data. We still use Outlook Express. I have a cool application to back-up identities, mail, address book, etc. Has worked great historically. But as I learned tonight, the friggin' thing doesn't work in safe mode! How stupid is that Microsoft?? You don't allow a backup application to run at the most critical time a backup needs to be created?

For the last couple of weeks, I've been thinking about signing up with Carbonite - an on-line backup service - based on a (paid) endorsement by Kim Komando. Analysis/paralysis set-in, holidays were in order, some hockey games had to be watched, and so on. The net result is I didn't sign-up for the service, and now I'm scrambling to salvage my data as best I can because I fear a total re-install for my PC looming.

All this comes on the heels of my on-going frustrations with Vista running on the laptop I'm using now. Firefox, ZoneAlarm, and Vista don't all seem to play well together. I chatted with a Dell rep tonight & told him to send me a Windows XP CD. He suggested I not change operating systems, and I suggested his company install one that works on their equipment vs. being strong-armed by the beast of Redmond. He tried to calm me by asking specifically about the problems I was having. I told him about the squabbles between FF, ZA, and Vista. He then had the audacity to tell me FF and ZA were third-party products and he wasn't in a position to help troubleshoot them. As furiously as I could type, I told him I was not asking him to solve the problem. I reminded him that it was HE who asked me to describe my problems with those applications, and I told him. I then ended the round robin chat session with him with a repeat of my initial request - send me an XP CD, and I'll solve my own damn problem.

Case in point... about half-way through that last paragraph Firefox quit working in between Blogger auto-saves. So I had to retype the last part of it as well as all going forward in IE.

The wife isn't going to be happy. No access to existing e-mail. Limited browsing. Dealing with Vista. I imagine I'll be playing the role of technical support guy for home networking tomorrow while trying to do my regular work while getting by on less than idea sleep from tonight...or is it now morning?

It could easily take me the rest of the night to figure all this out, wrap up my backups, etc. I can't do it. I'll have to pick it up again tomorrow.

Wish me luck...send me a beer...pray for me mama, I'm a gypsy now (with apologies to Jason and The Scorchers).


Saturday, January 3, 2009

Great Canadian Music, eh

I've never been to Canada. Would like to some day - Vancouver, Toronto, maybe even Montreal. The closest I've been to the border is Detroit. I don't know a lot about Canada, but I do know they've given us the great sport of hockey and some great music. Two of my long-time favorites bands - Rush and Blue Rodeo - are both from the great white north.

Several weeks ago, I stumbled across the Addicted to Vinyl blog. A September 2008 entry referenced a live January 2008 Blue Rodeo show on the CBC's Concerts on Demand website. It is indeed a great show.

If you are a Blue Rodeo fan - or at least open minded enough to sample some great new music if you aren't currently a fan, listen for yourself on-line.

In looking through their archives of other shows, I found a few more.

2008-04-03 - Corb Lund & The Hurtin' Albertans - Edmonton Alberta
2008-07-09 - Kathleeen Edwards - Bluesfest, Ottawa Ontario
2008-08-04 - Sarah McLachlan - Victoria BC
2008-05-01 - Tommy Emmanuel - Montreal Quebec
(Tommy is Australian not Canadian - but he is an incredible guitar player & is not to be missed)

I believe one of my 2009 resolutions will be to keep a close eye on the calendar for upcoming shows to catch them as they air vs. trying to find good ones at the end of the year.

Despite watching my Nashville Predators lose their second consecutive game to a western Canadian team - a weak performance against Vancouver on Thursday and a demoralizing loss today to the Calgary Flames from the stick of Todd Bertuzzi with 23 seconds to go - I decided to take the high road, twist the lid of a LaBatt Blue, and share the links to these great shows with you.


Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year's Day

January 1 marks the beginning of a new year. New beginnings. New chances. Resolutions soon to be broken. New budgets. New calendars. Generally lots of optimism.

NYD can also be a time of reflection. Of what was. Of what could have been. Two musical geniuses breathed their last on NYD. Hank Williams (d. 1953-01-01) and Townes Van Zandt (d. 1997-01-01). And, Eddy Shaver - guitar slinging son of Billy Joe Shaver - passed away from a heroin overdose on 2000-12-31.

Steve Earle wrote his song Ft. Worth Blues as a tribute to Townes.

Todd Snider wrote the soul-tugging Waco Moon as his tribute to Eddy, who played guitar in Todd's band for a while.

In re-reading some of the initial entries I've already posted, I realized I've written a good bit about deaths and even drugs; however, I don't plan to continually dwell on those subjects as we head into this new year. Just happens that way sometimes. But let's face it. The deaths of these 3 gifted individuals does has something in common - booze and dope. Even Fred Eaglesmith knows that ...