Thursday, April 20, 2006


The good news: they finally fixed the A/C at my office.

The bad news: some fucknut set the (locked) thermostat to 60 degrees!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Music Monday - Billy Joel

I know I've been gone a while.... hopefully people are still coming here to check out my blog. Things were just really crazy the last few weeks, with our kitchen remodeling, my parents visiting, and our scuba lessons. But hey, it's Music Monday, so let's get to the music!

Friday Jen and I went to see Billy Joel in DC. The show was amazing, as expected. I just wish I had been able to enjoy it more. The (drunk) couple in front of us insisted on turning around and talking to us between and even during songs. When they were in their seats, that is. Thankfully they spent more than half the concert out in the beer line or in the rest room. Explain to me why someone would spend $90+ each for concert tickets and then spend more than half their time standing in line to buy $7 beers?? Blows my mind.

Anyway, as for the show, Billy was in rare form. He had more energy than I have seen from him in a LONG time. He basically spent the last seven songs of his regular set running around the stage, playing guitar on a few numbers and twirling the mic stand like a color guard flag for the others. He even got up on top of the piano as it came up from its trap door -- although the days of one-handed round-offs off the piano are long gone. (I have a picture of that from 1990. I'll have to post it if I can find it.) I've read some reviews that say Billy has lost his spark. From what I saw Friday night, that is far from the truth. This was the 7th time I've seen Billy Joel in concert and this show was certainly as good as any I've seen.

I have also seen a lot of reviewers complain about Billy's shows being nothing but retread hits. I have to disagree with that too. You can see the set list from Friday's show here. At our show, Billy did four songs that I would consider at least somewhat obscure -- Everybody Loves You Now, Ballad of Billy the Kid, The Entertainer, and Zanzibar -- and there were a few others that haven't been heard in concert since the early 90's. The only complaint I have is that Billy played all four lesser-known songs within the first eight tunes of the show. I guess this makes sense from a sense of "building to climax" (a quote from Billy during Friday night's show), but I would have liked to see him mix them up a little bit more. At least then he would have kept everyone's attention through the first part of the show and given them a chance to hit the beer truck again later in the set.

I am a little bit jealous of the people who got to see some of the Philadelphia shows, like this one on March 13 where he threw in Vienna, Stiletto, All For Leyna, Captain Jack, The Night Is Still Young, and And So It Goes. But what did they lose? Everybody Loves You Now, New York State of Mind (gasp!), The Downeaster Alexa (a personal favorite), An Innocent Man, Goodnight Saigon, and I Go To Extremes (Double gasp! My all-time favorite live BJ song!). So I guess it was a good trade-off overall.

That being said, exactly what's wrong with Billy Joel playing a "greatest hits" show? I mean isn't that what the audience is paying for? Not everybody at a BJ show is a diehard fan or has seen him eight times like I have. They pay big bucks to hear the songs they hear on the radio or on their "Essential Billy Joel" CD. I've heard reviewers say "If I just want to hear his hits, I'll stay home and listen to the CD." That's ridiculous. People come to concerts to see and hear the hits played live. And even though I would have enjoyed hearing some of the more obscure songs, I know that would mean cutting one of the bigger hits and leaving even more people disappointed.

My Billy Joel shows (some dates are approximate):
12/17/89 - Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA
10/18/93 - US Air Arena, Landover, MD
7/9/94 - Veterans Stadium, Philadelphia, PA (with Elton John)
3/28/96 - master class at Penn State
2/6/98 - CoreStates Center, Philadelphia, PA
4/25/98 - MCI Center, Washington, DC
1/18/02 - MCI Center, Washington, DC (with Elton John)
4/14/06 - Verizon Center, Washington, DC

Monday, April 03, 2006

Honey, our breeding paid off!

One of the "perks" Jen and I used to joke about when we talked about having kids was having someone to do the chores. Well I never expected it to start this early! Last night LM helped me unload the dishwasher -- and I mean she actually helped! She stood there and (after I removed the sharp knives, of course) one at a time handed me every object from the lower rack, starting with the silverware, then the plates and pots and pans. It was AWESOME! Not just watching her have such a good time as daddy's little helper and how well-behaved she was, but I didn't have to bend over once!

Now if I could just get her to keep those swiffer pads on her shoes. :)

Sunday, April 02, 2006

First words

Little Miss is now 14 1/2 months old and she's getting more vocal every day. Here are a few of her favorite words.

muh - more
bah - milk, or basically any food/drink. Also used in place of "more".
tata - thank you (This is the funniest one -- she's been on this kick of handing things to us lately, so we always say "thank you". Well now she says it back any time she hands me something!)
hada - hello (only said into the play telephone, of course)
ah - up
dah - her all-purpose word, but usually means "here" or "I want that".

She also knows her sign-language for "milk" and "more", although she uses "milk" to mean any sort of food or in place of "more". ("Milk" is a squeezing fist, kind of like milking a cow, while "more" is a motion kind of like stretching a piece of taffy. LM's version of "more" looks more like a sideways "time out" call or, if she's REALLY hungry, punching her palm.)

"Mama" and "dada" are still rarely heard. Oh well.