May 28, 2004

Not Alone...

This morning, James Lilkes bleats:

I wonder if I’m alone. I love current events and politics, I’m fascinated to see history roll along before my eyes, and I’m sick to death of it. All of it. I turn on the radio in the morning, and it takes about three minutes before the waddling parade of canards begins.

You’re not alone, it is indeed frustrating.

You can’t tune out completely, of course, and while I would love to have addressed Gore’s curious peroration, life is too short, particularly when the speech practically autofisked itself.

You’re still here? Go read him. He does an excellent job of pointing out the daily hypocritical bullshit that appears in the media these days.

Posted by Clancy at 9:26 AM

May 25, 2004

NXNW sucks

A couple of weeks ago, Willy Porter came to town. (You should remember Willy from this post.) Anyway – we saw that he would be coming to town many months ago, but we just simply failed to plan for it at the time and subsequently lost track and forgot all about it. Until a few days before. I checked Willy’s site, saw the date, called the venue - a seemingly cool place called North by Northwest (a.k.a. NXNW) and procured a pair of tickets and dinner reservations. NXNW’s website describes themselves as a restaurant and musical club, so I thought we’d treat ourselves to a nice dinner and show. Besides, May 15th marked the 6th month since I’d popped the question, ironically, at a Willy show. Anyway, I got the tickets and made dinner reservations without telling GF anything, and when she asked later in the week what we would be doing over the weekend, I suggested that we have a nice dinner somewhere new. She agreed and didn’t think anything about it. My surprise trap was set.

The Friday night before, we were cruising neighborhoods (see this post) and GF asked me about what we were doing Saturday and she said that she wanted to work-out sometime in the afternoon (we usually go to the gym together). I said that would be cool, but reminded her that we would have dinner out that night and we couldn’t be too late coming back from the gym. She was quiet for perhaps 15 seconds (did I ever mention how smart and quick she is?) when she turned to me and asked, “We’re going to see Willy, right?” My face said it all and through a sheepish grin I just replied, “You suck.” My surprise was ruined. But, we were gonna get to see Willy again, so everything was ultimately OK.

That Saturday night we went to NXNW to see and hear Willy. IF you ever go see Willy is it is important that you actually see him. Hearing him is one thing. Most people assume when they hear a recording of Willy that there is some major production going on with his recordings because there is no way one man with an acoustic guitar can make that much sound. (By contrast, the beginning of Hotel California, by the Eagles features 8-13 guitar tracks – depending on whose story you read – and Willy easily makes more sound than that from his lone guitar.) Seeing him is believing. Actually, maybe not – I have seen other guitar players watch him with their jaw hanging agape in disbelief. Really – he’s that good.

So anyway – we get to NXNW and were seated at the absolute most horrible table in the entire venue. If we were to stand at our seats, we still wouldn’t have been able to see the stage. The hostess was extremely apologetic and later in the evening even tried to get us closer to no avail. The waitress was initially slow, but she eventually earned her tip and treated us well. The food was moderately priced, but bland. Bland bar food is OK when you pay bland bar prices. But this place claims to be a restaurant and their menu looks quite appealing. Just don’t believe it.

We suffered through dinner at our horrible table. Thankfully, the opening act was Angie Aparo, and Angie rocked. He gained two new fans that night and we bought two of his CD’s after his show. (Angie wrote ‘Cry’, which became a pretty good hit for Faith Hill.)

These was a tall table in front of ours (partly responsible for our horrible view) and it was occupied by a bunch of ‘Angie-Addicts’ who left after his set. I hopped up as they were leaving and laid claim to their table. So… The view still sucked, but at least we would be able to see Willy. Finally.

Willy took the stage and the show began. And the people around us wouldn’t shut up. The layout of the venue separates the stage from the bar area (where we were) and this separation disconnects that part of the audience from the stage. There were more tables on a raised area behind the bar area and I would imagine that those people were just hating life at that moment.

Two girls were sitting at the bar talking to each other, the bartender and their cell phones incessantly until I got up and asked them to shut up are move to the way back. The manner in which I asked, and the burning anger in my eyes must have told them all they needed to know because they were indeed quieter for the rest of the show.

No sooner did I get the pair of chatty cathies to shut up when the hostess, the bouncer and assorted other wait staff seemingly invited people in off the street for a party at the tables behind us (our initial crappy table). They were talking loud and proceeded to totally ruin what remained of the show for us and the other fans around us. (I don’t know for sure, but I strongly suspect that none of these people paid $20/ticket to get in that night.)

The disconnected audience showed in Willy’s performance too. He played well, he is after all a consummate professional, but that cool, connected vibe that usually exists at his shows seemed to be missing. I’m convinced the crappy venue was responsible.

Before we left, GF went to the bar, asked for the manager (he was one of the bartenders) and unloaded on him for his inconsiderate staff sitting behind us and destroying our experience. We left upset even before Willy finished his encore. We’re true fans and that statement alone should say everything that needs to be said.

Bottom line, NXNW sucks. We spent over $100 that night on tickets, dinner, drinks and tips and had what was bar-none, the absolute worst small venue experience either of us has ever experienced. It bears repeating. NXNW sucks. NXNW sucks. NXNW sucks. NXNW sucks. NXNW sucks. NXNW sucks. NXNW sucks. NXNW sucks. NXNW sucks. NXNW sucks. NXNW sucks. NXNW sucks. NXNW sucks. NXNW sucks. NXNW sucks. NXNW sucks. NXNW sucks

OK, I admit to google-baiting. I just want to make sure that if anyone is considering going to NXNW to see a show, don’t. NXNW sucks.

UPDATE: If someone from NXNW wants to contact me privately, my e-addy is: Clancy at Oferrall dot net.

Posted by Clancy at 11:19 AM

May 23, 2004

I Want To Ride My Bicycle

Let’s compare and contrast these two stories. The first is from May 3, 2004:

Kerry uninjured in spill from bicycle

CONCORD, Mass. (AP) - Democratic presidential Candidate John Kerry took a spill from his bicycle after hitting a patch of sand during a ride Sunday afternoon, but he was uninjured, Campaign officials said.

He was approaching a stop light at the intersection with Route 2 and was slowing down when he veered left into the oncoming lane and fell, according to an Associated Press reporter who witnessed him fall. Secret Service agents and local police immediately stopped traffic while Kerry and a handful of bicycling companions moved to the shoulder.

"He's fine. They took the bike into the bike shop, and he went home," said Kerry campaign adviser Michael Meehan.

The Massachusetts senator was riding his custom Serotta bicycle, and was wearing a helmet.

The second is from today:

Bush takes a tumble

Crawford, Texas - President George W Bush suffered cuts and bruises when he fell while mountain biking on his ranch, White House spokesperson Trent Duffy said.

Duffy said Bush was riding on Saturday with a military aide, members of the Secret Service and his personal physician, Dr Richard Tubb.

"He had minor abrasions and scratches on his chin, upper lip, nose, right hand and both knees," Duffy said. "Dr Tubb, who was with him, cleaned his scratches, said he was fine. The Secret Service offered to drive him back to the house. He declined and finished his ride."

Bush was wearing his bike helmet and a mouth guard when the mishap occurred. Duffy said he didn't know exactly how the accident happened.

"It's been raining a lot and the topsoil is loose," the spokesperson said. "You know this president. He likes to go all out. Suffice it to say he wasn't whistling show tunes."

So… Bush was mountain biking, Kerry was doing the roadie thing. You can infer a comparison there if you want, but it’s not really valid. Both are challenging.

Kerry was uninjured in his accident, but he didn’t finish his ride - the article said the bike went to the shop so perhaps he bent his custom Serotta as he slowed to a stop. President Bush was scraped up pretty good, yet when offered a drive home he refused and instead completed his ride. I think there is a pretty clear analogy to be made between those two statements.

The final comparison will be how the media treats the President’s story. Will there be more or less coverage than Kerry’s mishap? Will it be another opportunity for them to portray him as a bumbling clutz, or will they play up the environmentally conscientious side of biking?

I haven’t seen any pictures of Bush on his bike, but this scares me:

Do we really want a president who thinks that orange and yellow go together?

Posted by Clancy at 8:12 AM

May 21, 2004

Paradigm Shift

Some buggy-whip manufactures refused to accept reality. With any luck, RIAA will soon follow them into oblivion. Free is always good.

The first time Moe played San Francisco, the band didn't have a song on the radio. It didn't have a video; it didn't even have a record deal. Yet the group sold out the 750-seat Great American Music Hall.

The secret to Moe's success? A community of West Coast music fans had been trading tapes of the New York band's concerts, duplicating bootlegged recordings and distributing them to friends. The members of Moe never saw a dime off those concert tapes, but they arrived in San Francisco to a full house.

"I definitely believe that file sharing has helped our business," Guster guitarist Ryan Miller says. "We've sold only a couple hundred thousand copies of each of our last albums. We've never made a cent from our album sales, so we don't really see that money anyway."

New paradigm, new business model.

Posted by Clancy at 4:16 PM

Undocumented Drivers

Everyone laughed at California when they adopted ridicules legislation to grant illegal immigrants a drivers license (Something the Governator immediately reversed – and don’t forget that he himself is an immigrant). Now Delaware has some calling for the same. This idea is just too stupid for words.

Posted by Clancy at 4:15 PM

May 20, 2004

Pier 86

40 years ago today, the SS United States docked at pier 86 in New York, New York. A sea-sick young man and his terrified and already homesick new bride walked the gangplank and set foot on American soil. For him it was a homecoming. For her it was the beginning of a new life. Not that her old life really needed changing. But that’s what love will do to you…

They moved into an apartment unit attached to his mother’s house in the grand metropolis of Barclay, Maryland. Barclay is a little more than a cross-road with a stop sign (I think they have a flashing light now). At the time, it had a total of 86 residents. This young couple had just upped the count to 88.

In the 40 years that passed they moved to Delaware, bought a nice little home, and had two beautiful children. The children were lucky to grow up in a household with a second language and a loving family far away in a strange and distant land. These children were exposed to a life most Americans – hell, most people no matter where they’re from – never get to experience. Every year, they got to live for 6 to 8 weeks of the year in (what was then) West Germany. They learned to speak the language. They made German friends. During one of these trips, their stay was extended and they even got to experience school in a foreign land. 8th grade started out pretty weird for their oldest child that year. In the end, the greatest and most treasured lesson of all was that of perspective.

Of course, other things happened along the way. The couple is no longer married, but they did survive about 20 years which is pretty good by today’s standards. And that young bride eventually relinquished her German citizenship and became an American Citizen. In fact, she’s lived here longer now then she lived in Germany. And she considers this her home now.

Welcome home, mom.

Posted by Clancy at 9:10 AM

May 19, 2004

Salvage Effort to Begin Shortly

Just an update on the post below - Offer accepted. Tentative closing date is June 16.

Posted by Clancy at 4:06 PM | Comments (1)

May 18, 2004

Raise the Titanic!

GF and have been cruising neighborhoods for the last few weeks to get an idea of where we would like to buy. We know we’re about 2 months from being ready to seriously start house shopping and we are trying to make sure we both have the same idea of what sort of house we want.

The preliminary shopping has been interesting. Two weeks ago, after returning home from a session of cruising we were both sitting in front of our computers checking on the homes we’d seen ads for and researching property transfer values. We were also looking at other current ads (of which there were 97 homes for sale in the area we are considering). Totally absorbed in what I was doing, I found an interesting house and said “Wow, look at this one.” GF was equally absorbed and without turning to view my monitor she said, “No honey – look at this one.” So we did, and I bet you can guess the rest. It was exactly the same ad. It was also about $125,000 over our original budgeted price…

We never did go see that house, but we did realize that we needed to up our original budget.

Last week, again we were cruising neighborhoods. 30 minutes into our cruise we happened across a nice, although a bit huge, home in a very nice neighborhood. It looked to be out of our price range, but there was a handy info sheet out with the sign and GF hopped out of the car to retrieve it. While she was out, I tried to guess. I though – wow it is big. So, maybe 400, perhaps 450… (WAY out of our price range, but still, maybe there was a train wreck in the neighborhood – you never know.) GF got back in the car broken hearted. $750,000 was the asking price. We could visibly see both of use deflate. We’re doomed. We’re never going to find anything we like without mortgaging the first, second and third born…

We didn’t have much enthusiasm left to cruise after that so we went home. Again, we both started surfing the ads and property transfers. And again, I began looking at ads for the area we’re looking in. When the search page returned all the houses in the area, it started with the most expensive and went down from there. And guess which house was topping the list. Yep. We stumbled across the most expensive house in the enter 100+ acre area we’ve defined. It was good for a laugh and it helped to buoy our spirits.

Then I saw a FSBO (for sale by owner) with an address that caught me off-guard. It was close to where I used to live – in a neighborhood I used to run through when I lived there. And the price… The price had to be a mistake. 6 Bedrooms. 2 full baths. Florida room. Half basement. 2400 square feet. 2 car garage on 1/3 acre. Borders parkland on 2 sides. I wanted to go drive by it right then and there.

When GF and I started this process, I said that my ideal house was to be a train-wreck. I wanted the worst house in a good neighborhood. My requirements were pretty simple. Good neighborhood. Good roof. Good, sound structure. No aluminum wires. 2 car garage. 3-4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms. If it had all of that, but otherwise needed cosmetics, then, cool. I can do that. In fact, my new neighbors will probably love me if I do that. Bring on the train wreck. Fortunately for me, GF and I think alike in this regard. She wants to rip out a wall. She’s going to paint everything anyway - even if it was perfect to start with so it might as well be a wreck.

So Saturday morning I went to see what the house looked like. GF went to the gym. When I stopped in front of the house, I noticed someone sitting in a car in the driveway. He appeared to be waiting for someone. I parked and got out. He got out. I said, “I’m not who you’re waiting on, but I would like to see the house too.” He agreed and gave me a tour. The house belongs to his parents. His father has passed on and his mother recently had a stroke. No one has lived there for about 15 months. He’s been slowly cleaning it out. His father saved everything. He found income tax records dating all the way back to 1937. Like I said, he saved everything. And he could save everything because the house has more built in storage than anything you’ve ever seen before. And … It’s a train wreck. Imagine the worst, ugliest wallpaper you’ve ever seen in you life. There are 2 to 3 layers on every single wall (except the Florida room which features paneling – yuck!). Imagine the most hideous carpet you’ve ever seen. The stuff on the floors in this house is worse. But … under every one of these floors (except the bathrooms) is hardwood.

GF and I went back Sunday. She saw the same possibilities I did. I saw fear – in myself. Can I do this? Do I want to do this? Is it worth it? This house will consume every waking moment, and every spare dime for the next 2 years, probably more. Am I ready for that kind of commitment?

I haven’t renewed my surf-tag for this year ($50 – allows me to fish on the beach with my truck). I can forget about that for the next two years. No beach fishing for me. Hell, no fishing of any kind – unless it involved a fish-tape and some wire in a wall…

GF isn’t sure that the term ‘train wreck’ properly conveys how much work is in this house. She thought it was more like 5 train wrecks. Perhaps even a feat equivalent to raising the titanic. We’re convinced our families will commit us when they see this place.

We had planned to go to the gym after we saw the house. On the way to the gym we drove by an open-house. On a whim, I turned around and we toured the open house. We needed a reality check. We toured another one just down the street from the first. They were both nice houses. Very small. 3 bedrooms, 1 ½ bath each. Tiny yards. Dense neighborhood. No garages. Same money.

We went to the gym. 25 minutes into the most uninspired Precor workout of my life, I decided that I could do it. And I stopped thinking about it, bumped the level up to twelve and started to sweat in earnest for the last 10 minutes.

After we left the gym, GF turned to me and said, “22 minutes into my Precor spin I decided that we could do this, I want to do this - it would be worth it.” Funny – that thought must have struck us at the same time…

The financing is secure - I locked in on a rate this morning. The official offer should go out today. If all goes well, we’ll have a contract by Friday. Closing is less than 45 days away.

Raise the Titanic!

Posted by Clancy at 2:07 PM | Comments (1)

Where art thou, my dearest TIME!!!

I have so much to write about, but absolutely no time to do so. Why does it always happen that way???

I’ll be back – I promise…

Posted by Clancy at 9:49 AM

May 9, 2004

I Called It!

Not only did I get the finishing order, but I got this:

Also – if the Amber/Rob love thing is for real (and I think it is), and assuming Rob has any class (not sure that’s possible – he is from Boston - :-) ), he should have a nice fat diamond ring for Amber in the finale.


Posted by Clancy at 10:15 PM | Comments (1)

May 7, 2004

Bad TV – Continued

I wish I could explain my addiction to Survivor. I know it’s silly, but there are so many underlying lessons in the playing of the game. Nevermind that most of the lessons are about how to lie, cheat and deceive people who you later need to remain loyal to you - kinda like how your employer treats you. And even the producers are trying to dupe the viewer because we only see so little of what actually happens in the game, and even then they spin it to hide the true outcome – kinda like how the major media tells us (or not) about what’s going on in the world…

Anyway… So far, my predictions have been spot on. And I continue to stand by them. Why Rob & Amber didn’t boot Rupert last night is a mystery and I think a possible fatal flaw, but I'm confident they’ll find a way to survive.

Amber may win the million, but Rob deserves it. He is the ultimate puppet master. He has played his game his way from the beginning. People may have hurt feelings (his one flaw - other than that horribe accent), but he has remained true to his plan. And it’s worked. I’ll be totally shocked if he’s not sitting next to Amber in the end.

If I could choose, I’d want Rupert to win. But you know what they say about nice guys…

Posted by Clancy at 9:29 AM

Coding Barefoot

My company has a huge system conversion scheduled for Memorial Day weekend. Most of the IT staff is either scheduled to be here working, or required to be close to home for the weekend to help with any problems. As an early thank you, they are throwing us a “beach party” today in the office. Part of the beach party theme is a relaxed dress code. A very relaxed dress code. Bathing suits are not allowed, but shorts & sandals are good. And to top it all off, there is a Hawaiian shirt contest. And since I don’t have any Hawaiian shirts (as attested to by GF here), I had to borrow one.

So I’m at work and I’m wearing my borrowed and extremely loud (I wouldn’t have it any other way) Hawaiian shirt, shorts and tevas. Actually, I took the tevas off. That’s where the post title came from. Anyway, I just wanted to say – this is cool. Mind you, I’d rather be on a beach with a margarita, but if you have to work, this is the way.

Posted by Clancy at 9:07 AM | Comments (2)

May 6, 2004


Rachel. Is. BACK!!!!!

I've been wondering if I should update my blogroll (and everything else about this neglected blog) for some time, but I could bring myself to kill Rachel's link even though her site was down for some time. I just couldn't do it.

You see, as a lowly reader, Rachel's blog was one of my first daily reads. And Rachel originally linked to a funny story by Don (It was funny in context at the time - you have to know how Rachel wrote). And through Don I found Helen and Jim and the rest of the folks - my extended blogosphere family.

And now, Rachel is back.

Posted by Clancy at 10:16 PM | Comments (3)

May 3, 2004


Given that I don’t watch much TV news, nor do I read any newspapers on a regular basis, I’m not sure how much press the gloved child molester ... ahem, excuse me, the gloved accused child molester is getting. Anyway, I can’t see this thing ever getting a verdict. When I explain my reasons to GF, she was shocked, because she had made exactly the same prediction earlier in the day. Both of us believe that before the court can find judgement, Michael will off himself. This way, his devoted fans will always insist he was innocent.

Btw – here’s an interesting study of his face.

Posted by Clancy at 3:02 PM