Category Archives: Music, Movies, and Stuff

40 for 40, Part Two

So yesterday I started a list of 40 songs and published the first 20 here, just in case you haven’t seen it. If you have already seen it (and I thank you for coming back to check out more), it’s time to wrap up this list. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did, and if any of these songs end up stuck in your head well, sorry (I’m not sorry).

21. DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince – The Fresh Prince of Bel Air

Now this is a story all about how my life got flipped, turned upside down

and I’d like to take a minute just sit right thereI’ll tell you how I became Prince of a town called Bel-Air

Since this is now stuck in your head, I think I can move on now.

22. The Who – The Seeker

They’ve got more notably famous tunes like “My Generation”, “Baba O’Riley”, “Won’t Get Fooled Again”, and “Who Are You” but this one is my favorite. There’s a message in that song somewhere, but I’m tired of desperately looking for it so I’m not going to.

23. The Charlie Daniels Band – The Devil Went Down to Georgia

One of the few country songs I don’t mind, it’s just a lot of fun-and Charlie Daniels plays the fiddle like I’d never heard played before this song. Love listening to it.

24. Frank Sinatra – The Way You Look Tonight

His amazing voice just makes this favorite of mine even better. I know a bunch of singers have performed this one (Sinatra’s was also a remake since the song was originally performed by Bing Crosby and Dixie Lee), but in my opinion this version is the best.

25. James Morrison – You Give Me Something

Confession time: no matter what I’m still a hopeless romantic. This song just has soul and a great melody, and it’s one of those I can listen to on repeat. Feels like hope for a better day.

26. Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody

This song was one of their best even before it resurfaced thanks to the movie Wayne’s World. Freddie Mercury’s amazing vocals are on full display in this classic, and hearing the band perform this is electric.

27. Sara Bareilles – Uncharted

Typical pop fare, but I just love her voice and the piano work throughout the song. Would love to see her live someday, seems like she puts on a very good show!

28. Bill Withers – Use Me

I love the bass line in this song…and while this song reminds me of Any Given Sunday or She’s Out of My League now, it also reminds me of a couple of people I used to know a long while ago and that’s all I have to say about that.

29. Johnny Cash – Ring of Fire

The Man in Black has some great tunes, and this might be the one memorable to most. Don’t really have much else to say, although one person reading might be wondering why it took so long for Mr. Cash to show up here in the first place (and for the record I’m playing all the songs on random).

30. Imagine Dragons – It’s Time

Sure the song is fairly new, but it’s got a great feel to it that just seems to resonate with everything that’s been going on with me lately. No matter what happens I really don’t like letting anyone down, but I won’t change who I am either.

31. Dave Brubeck Quartet – Take Five

Whenever I need to relax a bit, I just turn this song on and close my eyes for a few. Dream of someplace warm, sunny-preferably a beach. Drink in one hand, slice of bacon in the other. All problems go away for a bit (whether it’s the tune, the drink or the bacon that makes it so, I’ll leave that up to you-sometimes you need all three depending on the problem).

32. Norah Jones – One Flight Down

Her voice just has this almost hypnotic effect on me, and on this song it’s just perfect-her voice and the melody just blend in perfect harmony. It’s a mellow tune but I can’t help but smile while listening to it.

33. The University of Michigan Marching Band – The Victors

Best fight song in the land, don’t even bother trying to argue against this because you’ll be wrong (keep dreaming, ND). Also makes me think of fall Saturdays, tailgating and waiting with 110,000+ friends for the band and the football team to come out and lay waste to whoever dare sets foot on the field to play them (Rich Rod era not included). Leaders and best!

34. The Temptations – Ain’t Too Proud to Beg

A Motown classic.

35. Joe – No One Else Comes Close

In the lead up to this project, I got into a big R&B kick-and this is just one of those tunes I could never get tired of listening to. Hopeless romantic, all that stuff.

36. Led Zeppelin – When the Levee Breaks

They’ve got other songs they are more known for, but this is the one that I like the most-the drums, guitars, and harmonica just all blend together in this sweet Bluesy piece topped off by Robert Plant’s vocals.

37. Squeeze – Tempted

All that really needs to be said is that this song reminds me of someone I used to know. This song was actually remixed in the early 90’s and featured on the Reality Bites soundtrack, and I like that version even more than the original.

38. Van Morrison – Brown Eyed Girl

It was a tossup between this song, Moondance, and Tupelo Honey (all classics). This is ultimately the most memorable for me, past and present. Bass line is fun to play, too.

39. Otis Redding – (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay

One of those timeless classics I simply can’t get enough of. On a side note, also liking the amount of jazz and blues that made it to this list.

40. The Police – Every Little Thing She Does is Magic

This goes back to something I mentioned in a previous post: the song just reminds me of one of those nights that turned memorable and eventful when it didn’t look like it would happen that way at the beginning of the night. Besides that, it’s also just a catchy, fun tune that feels 1980s.

So there you have it-the 40. Hope you enjoyed reading, I thank you for making it this far-and if you come up with a list of your own I’d love to see it!

Leave a comment

Filed under Music, Movies, and Stuff

40 for 40, Part One

A couple of years ago a good friend of mine had a great idea around the time of her 27th birthday: pick 27 songs that evoke some strong memories and write about them. I remember telling her the idea was great and that I wanted to use that too, and she said go for it. That was two years ago, and I still haven’t done it (and if you’re at all familiar with how often I write a post here, this shouldn’t be a shocking development to you).

Until now.

I absolutely love music, and I couldn’t imagine a day going by without listening to it. Different songs can have so many different emotions for everyone, either dredging up some great memories or even some awful ones. There are a bunch of songs that seem to fit every single situation I might be going through (and my iPod seems to have a knack for playing those on random at just the right time), and I know there are many others that feel the same way. What I chose to do was go through my music library and throw songs that either had some powerful memories for me or were just songs I had never grown tired of on a playlist, and then go from there. My first draft of that playlist had 173 songs (whoops). It took a bit more time, but I was finally able to get that down to 40 for me.

Anyway, enough with the explanation-here’s the first 20 (in no particular order-haha, no way in hell I was going to rank them):

1. The Beatles – A Day in the Life

My all-time favorite Beatles song seems to change every few months, but usually alternates between this one, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Something, or Paperback Writer. Come Together tends to sneak in there from time to time too. But this one just seems to play on my mind the most. I absolutely love the work Paul McCartney does on bass with this song, and the changes that happen throughout this song are a nice little ride.

2. Hall & Oates – Out of Time

To be completely honest, I had a bunch of Hall & Oates on my initial playlist-they’re one of those bands I just grew up listening to and liked quite a bit. I’m always partial to their earlier stuff, but there’s just something about this one that evoked a bit more emotion for me instead of some of the others. The melody just seems a bit joyful even if the lyrics don’t carry the same message.

3. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – American Girl

There’s just something fun about this one for me-I remember sitting at a bar one day with my good friends Mike and Michele, and he used this tune as a trivia question: in Silence of the Lambs, what song was the girl jamming along to before her fateful run in with Buffalo Bill? Maybe it was the course of the entire day (pretty much that whole day was worth remembering), but that always stood out to me.

4. The Jackson 5 – I Want You Back

Song came out way before I came along, but I’ve always loved this one for as long as I can remember. It was always a great tune to listen to, but once I started playing bass I finally started to hear Nathan Watts’ excellent work in this song (or was it Jamerson? not sure) as well. Lyrics carried some meaning too, but that’s a story for a different day.

5. The Black Keys – Lonely Boy

Sure it’s a fairly recent song, but this song just sticks with me. Can’t help but turn this song up whenever it comes up on the radio while I’m driving along, or even at the office when I’m working. I really have no other memories for this song other than I absolutely love it, so I’m going with it.

6. Dave Matthews Band – #41

My favorite DMB song, and may very well be my favorite song ever. For those that don’t know, I’ve seen this band more often live than any other-probably at least 10 times dating back to 2000. I’ve always said I’d retire from seeing this band live once I heard them play this, but as it turns out they played it at Comerica Park back in 2001 (day 2, and was on the field to the right of the stage) and I simply don’t remember it (I’ve got the recording though). I have fun times each and every time I see them play-some I remember, and others are a bit more hazy. But this song is my favorite.

7. U2 – All I Want Is You

U2 has had a bunch of great songs, and this is definitely one of them. Two of my best friends also used this as their wedding song (wow, that was 10 years ago????), and their wedding (and reception) were an absolute blast…I also worked midnights at the time and had worked the night before and that was also an interesting night. So whenever I hear this song, it reminds me of that whole time. Ha.

8. Rush – Tom Sawyer

I’ll admit to having not gotten into Rush until at least high school, but this song was my introduction to the band…and it’s awesome. I also like that an episode of Chuck even used this song as the basis for an episode titled “Chuck vs. Tom Sawyer”. Any show that can tie-in this song and Missile Command wins bonus points from me, and it was a great episode.

9. Barenaked Ladies – Brian Wilson

That same friend that introduced me to Rush also introduced me to this group too-it didn’t even hit me until just now that they’re both Canadian bands. Two entirely different genres for sure, but here they are. This song (and this band in general) reminds of undergrad…also saw these guys quite a bit live, including one night in December where I turned down Red Wings tickets since I was seeing them. Turns out that night Sergei Fedorov scored five goals in that game…and that one of my bosses now was also at this concert. Small world.

10. Earth, Wind, & Fire – September

This song is just one of those really upbeat tunes that gets me going-can’t help but smile when hearing this one. Also love the bass line!

11. Debbie Gibson – Out of the Blue

At one point in time, I thought Debbie Gibson was quintessential 80’s pop…and I fell for it hook, line, and sinker. To this point, I’m not ashamed to admit I still like the stuff too. So there.

12. John Mayer – Belief

“Belief is a beautiful armor, but makes for the heaviest sword…

Like punching underwater, you never can hit who you’re trying for”

His live version of this song is the best, but I really like trying to interpret the lyrics. I believe that he’s saying we don’t do anything without belief, but I also know others feel that he’s saying beliefs are ultimately meaningless. I don’t know if I agree with that, but I really like this tune anyway.

13. Kenny Loggins – Danger Zone

This guy is mostly remembered for a string of hits he had for soundtracks back in the 80’s, and this one might be his best. I’m pretty sure I wore out at least three cassette tapes of this soundtrack, and even when I hear it know I can’t help but drive just a little bit faster.

14. LL Cool J – I’m Bad

This is classic LL at his very best, letting everyone know he was the best out there. It doesn’t get much better than this.

15. The Eagles – Take It Easy

One of my favorite bands, and one of their best. This song reminds me of one of the many driving trips I used to take out west, usually to Las Vegas or Arizona (ha…both).

16. Smashing Pumpkins – 1979

They had better songs than this, but this is one of the ones that I simply never got tired of. It also reminds me of the aftermath of a Del Amitri concert, but I think I’ll just put it this way: ever have one of those strange, really eventful nights that you really had no idea was going to turn out that way when the evening started? This was one of them.

17. Aerosmith – Dream On

One of their best songs ever. Also used in an epic ESPN video montage as well as the end credits for Miracle. Also a nice little reminder that time moves quickly, and (for me anyway) it’s better to act on things instead of just watching chance after chance pass you by.

18. Elton John – Tiny Dancer

Love this song, but it also reminds me of one of those nights that just took off into the strange/eventful territory really quickly.

19. Al Green – Let’s Stay Together

This song stood quite well on its own way before Quentin Tarantino used it in Pulp Fiction (and for some strange reason the song worked at that moment too, even if it had nothing to do with what was going on in the scene).

20. Weezer – Island in the Sun

Two memories stand out: driving from Cocoa Beach to Orlando with two friends back in late 2007, and the Blue Leprechaun in Ann Arbor just a couple of years ago. Felt the same thing both times, though: I had a feeling changes were coming for me, but wasn’t sure what…and I was right.

If you’ve actually made it this far, I thank you for sticking around this long-the next 20 will be posted…eventually.

Leave a comment

Filed under Music, Movies, and Stuff

Shows that need to be added to streaming services immediately

Holy crap, it’s been almost a full year since I posted last??? Ooops, my apologies to all two of my readers for keeping you waiting for so long.

What the hell has been going on with you lately, and where have you been???

So glad you asked, and the answer is: not much. Things are going very well, though: still have my health, great family, great friends, an awesome girlfriend, and a bunch of other things to help kill the time. My sports teams are doing well, Brady Hoke has brought Michigan football back from the disaster of the [name redacted] era, and this winter wasn’t really much of a winter at all (although these warm temps the last few days are going to seem far away once the Tigers Opening Day hits and it’s 30 degrees out and snowing…c’mon, you know it’s Michigan).

Just decided now is as good a time as any to post, and tv shows streamed online seemed a good place to start. Seems like just about anyone has access to Netflix, Amazon Prime Instant Videos, Hulu, or any other instant streaming service I haven’t thought of yet. I was thinking about shows that simply aren’t on any of those services though, and seem like they never will be there (and my response to that is: WHY???). Sure I could just buy the dvd’s for all of these shows, but for some reason once I buy a dvd set I don’t even bother watching it, and that happens with a lot of the movies I buy too. Seriously, I bought Boondock Saints on DVD almost ten years ago from Tower Records in Chicago (a store that’s no longer there, I might add) and I still haven’t watched it. No idea why.

So anyway, here’s the list of shows that I think would be in high demand for viewing on instant stream sites…

Aaron Sorkin's masterpiece: The West Wing

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. The West Wing: OH NO!!!! LIBERAL SCUM SHOWING HIS LIBERAL AGENDA!!! RUN AWAY!!!! *conservative leaves website, never to return*

Ok now that I’m down to one reader, the West Wing was a popular show that ran on NBC (maybe their last truly popular show?) from 1999-2006. It was brilliantly written by Aaron Sorkin (and others, click the link above) and had an exceptional ensemble cast led by Martin Sheen as President Josiah “Jed” Bartlet. It wasn’t afraid to tackle social issues and current events. Just how close it was to the real West Wing is up to debate but I thoroughly enjoyed the show.

Homicide

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Homicide: Life on the Street: Created by Paul Attanasio and based off of David Simon’s book Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets (the author’s name might be familiar to fans of the HBO show “The Wire”-one of the best shows ever made), this focused on a Homicide unit in Baltimore, Maryland. This also featured an ensemble cast but Andre Braugher’s performance as tough veteran detective Frank Pembleton was usually the most noticed. Perhaps the reason this show isn’t streaming now is simply because the show was usually low rated throughout its entire 7 season run. If this show ever hits Netflix though, I highly recommend checking it out.

A Bruce Campbell show that hardly anyone watched *sigh*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.: A short-lived series that ran on Fox  for 27 episodes back in 1993-1994, it featured Michigan’s own Bruce Campbell as the title character hired to hunt down the outlaw John Bly gang. Since I’d just seen Army of Darkness earlier in the year, I was really curious about this show and it didn’t disappoint. A Western with sci-fi and steampunk elements? What’s not to like?

I’m sure I’m missing quite a few more off of this list *cough*Batman: The Animated Series*cough*, but those are the ones that stuck out to me. Have more to add? Feel free to mention them in the comments section…and maybe, just maybe, I’ll write more than once every 11 months.

Leave a comment

Filed under Music, Movies, and Stuff

I should start working on thi–ooh, Dark Knight is on…

I was told recently I should write more, and I have had a few ideas/projects I’d like to get moving on…well, here goes. Of course, I’m going to write about absolutely none of those ideas/projects for this one-this post is just because I got sidetracked by a movie that was on this morning (I’ll get to that movie in a moment). I’m pretty sure we all have those films that once you flip through the channels and see that it’s on you drop whatever it was you were doing and watch. I’ve got a few of those films that I’ll list further on down, and if you stumble upon reading this maybe you can tell me some of yours too. Of course if I really am the only one this happens to, enjoy this brief little look into my psyche and try not to shake your head in disapproval.

Batman Begins/The Dark Knight/Inception/The Prestige – I could’ve just changed this to pretty much to say “just about any film Christopher Nolan has ever directed”, and it wouldn’t be far off. His reimagining of the Batman franchise helped save it after Joel Schumacher turned it into a laughingstock (a fate that Batman does not deserve). I could talk for hours about the amazing performances in both Batman films from Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, and Morgan Freeman, as well as Liam Neeson’s turn as Henri Ducard/Ra’s Al Ghul in Begins, Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent/Two-Face in TDK, and of course the late Heath Ledger for providing one of the most memorable (and IMO, best) Joker performances ever in the same film. Prestige is a movie I’d just watched recently and I found it amazing, I’m sure I’ll lose an hour or two to it again if I see it on tv. Inception is easily a top 5 film for me, and if I ever have some free time I’m usually watching it. Once it hits the premium cable channels in a bit, I’m sure I’ll be sidetracked then too.

If you are a Christopher Nolan fan chances are you noticed one film that isn’t up there, and that’s Memento. It’s actually not included for one simple reason: I haven’t seen it yet. Yes, I’m aware I need to correct that error soon.

Typical reaction to finding out I haven't seen Memento yet

Big Trouble in Little China – This is actually the movie that was on this morning (I never said these were going to all be cinematic masterpieces). Sure it’s cheesy, but it’s hilarious. Kurt Russell as trucker Jack Burton stuck in Little China helping out a friend, but more importantly to him trying to get his truck back. It’s a film that isn’t supposed to be taken seriously, and it knows it too.

Super Troopers – “Littering and…littering and…” “Say Car Ramrod! Say Car Ramrod!” “I swear to God I’ll pistol whip the next guy that says ‘shenanigans’!” “I don’t want a large Farva! I want a goddamn liter of Cola!” “If you were my son, Mac, I would’ve smothered you by now.” Yeah, that’s pretty much all I need to say about this movie.

(500) Days of Summer – I guess you could classify it as a romantic comedy, but it really isn’t your typical romantic comedy (those ones I tend to avoid unless I really have to watch them). It doesn’t follow the typical timeline of the relationship, and I think it’s well written. It helps that Joseph Gordon-Levitt (as Tom) and Zooey Deschanel (as Summer) have good chemistry, too. There’s also moments in that film where I thought to myself “oh yeah, I’ve done that”. I’d suggest checking it out if you haven’t.

The Shawshank Redemption – Incredible story, great performances out of Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman, what more could you want? If you haven’t seen this already, get to it.

I’ll just list some of my other ‘timesuck’ (for lack of a better word) movies since I’m running out of things to say (and to prevent you the reader from possibly nodding off haha):

  • Clerks
  • Casino Royale
  • Training Day
  • Shaun of the Dead
  • Pulp Fiction
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • The Empire Strikes Back
  • Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
  • Zoolander
  • Miracle
  • The Hunt for Red October
  • Up


 

4 Comments

Filed under Music, Movies, and Stuff

Lost: My ‘mixtape’ skills. If found, please return here.

I probably should’ve noticed this a long time ago, but I didn’t realize it until I was putting together yet another playlist for my iPod. It’s the kind of playlist I find typical with most iPod/Zune/whichever mp3 player of choice you’re using (this isn’t a debate about the merits of each one, so Apple/Microsoft bashers go run along and write about your superior machine somewhere else): 50+ tunes that catch your eye and within a matter of moments you’re good to go. It’s convenient, no doubt…but there used to be a ‘skill’ to putting a mixtape (and later on, mix CD) together, and I’ve simply lost it.

Putting together a mixtape was a labor of love for me. With 45 minutes on each side (sorry, 60 minute tapes just seemed a waste), I had to plan how to lay out the songs I wanted. I’d try to keep the space between each song less than a second to pack on as much as possible (hey, when I started doing this I was spending good allowance money on blank tapes, had to get the most for my $), and also just tried to make sure there was a decent flow to it. I never wanted too many fast or slow songs in a row, and I’d always try to limit the mix to no more than two songs by the same artist. A couple of hours later, the mix is complete. I’d usually fire it up right then and there, but if I thought it was really good I’d wait until I was with friends before debuting the mixtape-if it made it through the whole play without getting a “can we fast forward through this song, it sucks”…SUCCESS. I’d also go through phases where I’d make mixes but deliberately left the tracks unlabeled, so I could just listen to them sometime down the road. More often than not, they would be like a little window into what my state of mind was at the time: if it was a bit on the mellow side chances are I had just broken up with someone, and if it was more on the sunny side I must’ve had some good fortune come my way. It was always fun listening to what I was enjoying (or not) at the time.

Making a mixtape for someone special? Even more planning, because now the tape takes on the added dimension of trying to deliver a message (yes, I was one of those that relied more on my music selection to say what I wanted to say instead of actually saying it…sometimes it worked). That’s the power of music, though-it can cover a wide range of emotions in different people, and I figured if I could get to know someone well enough I could put a tape together that I just knew she’d love. Sure it was a time consuming process, and on more than one occasion I probably should’ve been studying instead of looking for just the right track but ultimately the mixtape was just as much for me as it was for the one I was making it for.

Go forward a few years, and all of a sudden it’s possible to burn discs. That definitely took a lot of time off the process, but a majority of the time I had less space (around 70-80 minutes worth of blank CD) to work with. Printing up nice little CD cases was a nice bonus, and even better if you had one of those CD label makers (which I did) to really spruce it up for someone…of course, if you take a nice look at those stickers now they look all warped and make the disc difficult to be listened to unless you want to watch your CD player destruct Mission Impossible-style (I’ve always wanted to try that). Anyway, a short time later various mp3 players would hit the market-now all you’re limited to is whatever storage space you have. Set it to random if you choose, and your mp3 player will do the rest.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love my iPod-anyone that has set foot in my car in the past knows that there were usually a stack of tapes (later, CD cases) scattered all over the interior of the car like a Tower Records had met an untimely demise there. It’s nice not having to explain that mess to people anymore, and it’s also nice not having to fumble around for another tape or CD to play while doing 80 70 down the freeway. But I also fell so far into the trap of throwing a bunch of songs in a playlist and just letting the iPod do the rest of the work, that it might be hard to dig out. Can’t hurt to try though.

Leave a comment

Filed under Music, Movies, and Stuff

Fanfiction and the NHL Lockout

Alright, the last couple of days my twitter feed has blown up with talk of ‘fan fiction’ which I guess is…ah, look it up. I don’t feel like explaining it, although it should seem fairly self explanatory. After asking, I now know (for better or worse) who Holly Solace is…and no, I haven’t read a word of it. But all this talk got me thinking, and then I realized that I (yes me, the one who doesn’t think it’s a good idea for me to read about Ms. Solace deflowering whichever NHL player she feels like) had written one too. Now compared to what has been passed around, this is strictly PG rated (think Miracle, without the cool Kurt Russell speech). Back in 1994, Detroit Free Press columnist Mitch Albom (don’t stop reading, he actually wrote about sports quite a bit back then and was good at it) wrote a series of articles titled “The Secret World Series”, after MLB locked out the players in August of that year and cancelled the World Series. When the NHL locked out in 2004 and ultimately cancelled the season…this was written, sometime in early 2005. This was going to be a big project too, of course going all  7 games and a last second winner. But as with many writing projects I start, they never get finished. So without dragging this intro out any further, I bring to you my contribution to fanfic: The Stanley Cup Final that ‘Didn’t Happen’.

————————-

The puck sailed over my glove hand probably about a second before my glove had even appeared there—by then it was already in the goal. Shouldn’t come as much of a surprise really, it’s been happening most of the evening. They take a shot, for the most part I react way too slowly and they score. But one thing that might shock you is that score only tied the game at 14 apiece. Another thing that might shock you is that I’m happy to be playing this well—and as far as I know the other goalie is happy too, he’s in the same beer league I take part in. Chances are you’ll be as shocked as I was when you find out that I’m not playing against just a bunch of beer leaguers, I’m playing against a group of professional hockey players—as is my counterpart in the other net. But what you don’t realize—hell, what I won’t realize until a few days from now, anyway—is that what we’re playing in right now would turn out to be just the first game of a best out of seven series to decide which group of players would win the coveted Stanley Cup. Yes, that Stanley Cup. Sure, none of us will ever actually get our names acknowledged on the sterling silver trophy that all hockey players dream of some day getting their hands on—some type of legal crap about the NHL owning the rights to it probably wouldn’t allow it. Too bad they don’t know that right now it’s just on loan for a few days.

But before I tell you about Cam Neely’s second goal for the Wales Conference team that just tied the game late in the 3rd period, let me explain how the hell it is I got here.

My friend Mike and I were driving around in his black Chevy Avalanche (an omen, perhaps?) earlier this evening, and had planned to drive down to the Mount Clemens Ice Arena for our usual ritual—pickup hockey on Wednesday night. It’s all in fun, but of course it gets competitive—both Mike and I have had our share of disagreements with other players. Once or twice even with each other, but since he’s about a foot taller and about 70 pounds bigger, those usually don’t last very long. Just the way it is. Since he was driving, I was using the chamois cloth he usually uses to wipe his car down to clear out the visor on his helmet, and we’d been talking about where to go afterwards. Then my cell phone rang, and in just a moment our plans would take a drastic change. I took a look at the display for the ID, and the only thing that showed up was a number, no name. I knew that number wasn’t work, so I decided flip open my phone and answer it.

“Hello,” I said into the receiver.

“Hi, is this Norm?” the inquisitive voice said back. “Sure is,” I replied.

“Okay, good. This is Steve down at Civic Arena in St. Clair Shores, do you know where that is?” I replied yes, because I live about two minutes away from it…and something about that voice sounded familiar, like I’d heard it before but wasn’t sure where.

“Think you can show up here in about 20 minutes?” Steve asked. “I’m with my friend Mike and we’re actually on our way to Mt. Clemens to play our beer league game there—can’t this wait?” I said. “No, it really can’t—look, just tell your friend Mike to come here too, we’ll use him also. Your brother Nolan was the one that told me to call you, and that to forget about the beer league game for now,” Steve answered back. Well, Nolan was supposed to join us tonight too, but if he’s skipping out for a game at Civic… “Alright, we’ll be on our way,” I said back to him, with Mike looking over at me wondering just what was going on since he hadn’t heard the conversation.

Steve sounded happy. “Good, we’ll look forward to seeing you both then,” and then he hung up.

Mike looked over and asked “So, what was that all about?”

“Mike, head towards Civic man, I guess we’re playing somewhere else tonight,” I told him. “Some guy named Steve says it’s important, and Nolan’s  playing there too.”

“Nolan?!?!?” Mike exclaimed. “If your brother says so,” he said as he turned the Avalanche around and we headed toward Civic. “What do you think it is?” Mike asked me.

“I don’t know,” I said, “but that Steve guy sounded familiar, like I’d heard his voice somewhere before. Guess we’ll figure it all out when we get there.”

When we got there about 15 minutes later, Nolan was waiting for us out in the lobby, already geared up and ready to go—and he was as excited as I’d ever seen him. “Hey man, glad you could make it,” he said. “Go into those lockers over there, and then come on out onto the ice—most of the guys are out there already; Pat, the guy who was supposed to play goal for the other team in our beer league tonight is here too.” We tried to ask my brother what was up but he wouldn’t tell us, so we grabbed our hockey bags and walked into the locker room eagerly awaiting to find out what the big fuss was about—he was seriously as excited as a little child on Christmas morning, looking at a large number of presents waiting to be opened up.

I can’t even begin to describe the excitement we felt once we stepped out onto that ice though, and it dawned on both Mike and I as we realized just who was out here tonight. At one end of the ice, guys like Cam Neely, Brad Richards, Pat Lafontaine, and a few others I didn’t immediately recognize were taking shots on Pat. At the other end of the ice, Jarome Iginla, Sergei Fedorov, and ‘Steve’—as in Steve Yzerman, only my favorite hockey player of all-time and a legend in the Metro Detroit area, and, as it turns out, the voice on my cellphone that I couldn’t recognize—were taking shots into an empty net, which I would soon be guarding. Darren McCarty and Kris Draper were also here, although that wasn’t much of a shock because we’ve seen them here before. Mike looked at me incredulously and said, “Can you believe this; we’re playing with these guys tonight!”

“I know, this is nuts,” I said, most likely with that same incredulous look on my face. Along with Mike, Nolan, and Pat, I probably had that same look glued on my face throughout the night as the game started and went on.

That is, until they tied the game at 14 late. I was happy—until I saw D-Mac skate over. He looks at me and says, “Hey man, I now this isn’t the level of competition you’re used to playing against, but do you think you could stop a puck or two near the end here?” To add a little more emphasis to that, Mike also skates up and says “C’mon man, get your head out of your ass!” and then gives me a slap to the side of my mask. After gathering my senses together, I dig the puck out of the net and pass it to Draper, who is getting ready to bring the puck back up ice and hopefully end this game.

About an hour later Nolan, Pat, Mike and I are sitting at Shores Inn, recounting our tales from earlier in the night—our tales of getting to play with some legends and kidding each other about some crazy plays we’d try to make. Or at least teasing me about my goaltending escapade, for the most part. “So Mike, how in hell did you end up with the game winner tonight?” I asked.

“Well, after you made that unbelievable stop on Lafontaine, Noles found Iginla streaking up the ice with only Richards there. He deked out Richards, and then Pat totally cheated to Iginla’s side thinking he wouldn’t pass it—I didn’t think he would either but he wasn’t selfish about it at all, and it’s a damn good thing I kept my stick down.” To that we raised a glass for a toast. “Here’s to the sweet taste of a 15-14 victory,” I said.

But the night wasn’t done with the surprises yet, for Nolan spoke up and said “…and to a few more victories as well.” We all looked back at my brother, with a look of apparent shock because all he would say was “Oh, I forgot to tell you—we’re playing tomorrow night too.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Music, Movies, and Stuff, Sports

Songs that get stuck in your head…

Uh-oh–twice in 24 hours. This could be a trend. 😀

I’m currently in Chicago with the Canucks/Blues game playing in the background, and just chilling out for the moment. Thought I’d throw this out there, since I saw this topic posted at another website I frequent this past week: What songs get stuck in your head once you hear ’em? Here’s a short list:

A Little Respect by Erasure: You know damn well you know the song, and if not, here’s a clip from Scrubs (one of my favorite shows, although it’s not as funny as it used to be now; this is from the great first season) to remind you…this song really is like a virus.

Hip to Be Square by Huey Lewis & the News: Patrick Bateman from the movie American Psycho says it best: “…a song so catchy, most people probably don’t listen to the lyrics. But they should, because it’s not just about the pleasures of conformity, and the importance of trends, it’s also a personal statement about the band itself. Hey Paul!”

Bad Day by Daniel Powter: They overplayed the piss out of this song a couple of years ago, and even then it still gets stuck once I hear the first few bars of this song played. I used to love this song, too.

That McDonald’s commercial with the filet-o-fish…hilarious but once I hear it’s there all day… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6bJOIqVAD-s

April in the D by the Good Luck Joe’s: It’s a local commercial here on FSN-Detroit, and it’s this ad campaign they started last year. It sucks. I thought the song they had last year was awful with this fake Nikki Sixx lookin’ dude trying to sing April in the D all hardcore, but nope–they had to prove me wrong and find a group of douchebags that sound even worse than last year. I’m not posting a link because I don’t want to subject any of you to it, and to be honest I don’t even want to look ’em up on youtube. I’d rather staple my dick to a corkboard and light it on fire instead of subjecting myself to hearing that crap again (yes, I feel that strongly about it). At least April’s almost over…

Your turn!

Leave a comment

Filed under Music, Movies, and Stuff