Monday, October 30, 2006

I've Been Tagged

RR tagged me. I usually don't do these sorts of things, since I don't think I am very interesting, but here goes:

5 Quasi-Interesting Things About Dim

  1. Let's get a heavy one out of the way: I have no contact with my birth father. My Mom divorced him when I was very young. She remarried a few years after that and I was adopted by the man she married. I have his last name and I'm damn happy to say that I do. He's a great guy, great dad. The funny thing is that a lot of people who don't know this think I look like my Dad, even though he has an English/French Canadian background and my blood is 50% Italian and 50% Portugese.
  2. I have a nice collection of autographs and photographs with various musicians that I really like, including Elliott Smith, Bob Mould, Grant Hart, Kristin Hersh, Grant-Lee Phillips, John Doe, Twinemen, PJ Harvey, Queens of the Stone Age, Willy Porter, Glen Phillips, Neko Case, Richard Thompson, and Greg Dulli. Those that I REALLY want to meet, but haven't yet are: Mike Patton, Jeff Tweedy, Ryan Adams, Jack White, Nick Cave, and Pete Townshend.
  3. I know all 50 states in alphabetical order and can say them in about 15 seconds. It serves no useful purpose other than it gets me a free beer now and again.
  4. I have made an appearance in Rolling Stone magazine.
  5. I have strange, symmetrical scar-like markings on the inside of my forearms and on the sides of my knees. Yet, I never had surgery there and don't recall being abducted by aliens. OK, one more for good measure:
  6. I met my wife at a Halloween party. She was some Star Trek character (it was all she could throw together on short notice) and I was Zorro (not my best ever costume...that would have to be the time I went as Elvis). We dated casually for a few months after the party, but then didn't see each other for awhile. I ended up seeing somebody else and when that didn't work out, we started seeing each other again. The rest is history. Oh, and I'm following in her footsteps and growing my hair long so I can donate it.

See? Told you I wasn't very interesting.

I tag Jenny G, Rusty, and Pog. Get crackin'.

- Dim.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Delivery Companies Suck

Ah, the convenience of on-line shopping. Visit one of the assjillion number of vendors on the Internet, click on a little "buy now" icon, enter in some sensitive information that give identity theives sweatpant boners of the highest degree, and watch, as little zeroes and ones infiltrate your checking account, stealthly remove the money it needs, and in return, you get whatever it is you bought. Seamless. Painless. Convenient. Right?

Guess again.

And you can thank two well-known couriers for this aggravation. The first:


Their website claims that this stands for "United Parcel Service", but I take umbrage. Based on my experience with these assholes, it stands for Unbelievable Pain in the Scrotum.

Back when Xteen and I were getting married, a good chunk of our guests decided it would be far better to mail their gifts to us, rather than actually transport them themselves and ensure their safe and pain-free scrotum delivery into our hands. But they meant well...they didn't know UPS sucks. But their suckiness made for a very stressful pre-wedding time. Because while you are trying to coordinate everything for a life-changing event, it's important to try and also be home for the myriad of candleholders and vases that weren't even on your register, as they arrive from Mr. Brown.

Interesting marketing campaign, by the way. "What can brown do for you?" Well, first of all, you can deliver my fucking package without making me take time off of work, just to get something that is lawfully mine. It's no coincidence that brown is also the color of shit. Which is what UPS seemingly can't even do for me. I have a new tagline for you. Howsabout this?

Shit - Our color and our service.

That has a nice ring to it.


UPS...Brown can't do shit for you.

Ain't that the truth.

Here's why.

Every day, I would come home to a mosaic of crap- and yellow-colored stickers decorating our apartment complex's outside door window. It would tell me the news I loathed to hear:

Basically, the ball smashers came to deliver our gifts sometime between the hours of 7:31 and 4:01, which are precisely the hours that we, along with most people who actually work for a living, are not home. And to pour more lemon juice on the paper cut, all of these taunting pieces of paper inform me that they are going to try and deliver our gifts again, tomorrow, at exactly the same time we weren't home in the first place.


One time, I ordered Xteen's birthday gift through an on-line retailer and didn't realize they used Unbelievable Pain in the Scrotum to deliver their items until after I got the order confirmation. I saw it and the blood drained to my feet. Shit. Brown.

Not sure if you realize, but birthday gifts are kind of time-sensitive presents. It's not like you were sitting at home one day and decided it would be kick-ass to get the latest Ronco home incinerator, but hey, it could come tomorrow, it could come in a few weeks, no biggie. In the meantime, I can just fire up the George Foreman grill.

Birthday gifts, especially those from a husband, pretty much need to arrive on time, or I will be experiencing a completely different kind of unbelievable pain in the scrotum.

The package comes. I'm not home to receive it. Of course.

I saw that they checked off that they would deliver the package between 2 and 5 the next day. I arranged my work schedule so I could be home early. I get home at 1:45 and find a fucking sticker on the door. They came at 11:00. No one was home. Imagine that.

So, I call and bitch to them. And their answer is "Can't you have a neighbor sign for the package?" I slap my forehead. "Wow! What a great idea. Except for the fact that, in the middle of the day, NOBODY IS FUCKING HOME!! WHICH IS WHY I AM IN THIS MESS TO BEGIN WITH!!!"

I actually plead: "Can't you pleeeeeeease leave it outside the door? I'll sign whatever you want me to sign to absolve you of any and all blame if some derelict comes by and steals a Victoria's Secret bathrobe."

Of course they can't. It's not like the package is mine or anything.

"Well, can you try to see if someone can deliver it sometime after 4:00?"

(uproarious laughter on the other end, which culminated with the customer service person half-assedly covering the mouthpiece and yelling to his fellow donkeys, "This guy wants us to deliver it after 4:00! When he's home!! HAHAHAHAHAAHAHAA!!!")

I hang up and call back hoping to get someone else. I do. They're shitty too. Not sure what I expect. They are brown, after all.

This person did suggest that I could always have delivery held and go pick it up myself. This kinda frosts my ass, because I did pay dearly for shipping, which I expect should involve me not having to go retrieve the package that is supposed to be delivered to me. Last time I checked, that insane amount of money after my subtotal didn't say "Go getting it yourself and handling". But I acquiesce. "Where can I go pick this up?"

Keep in mind, that despite the fact that I live about 15 miles outside of Boston, I do live in an area that has EVERYTHING in like a 2 mile radius. And I mean everything. So, they look up where the package is being delivered from.

It's a half hour drive away.

And from my estimation, there are approximately 14,874 UPS locations that are closer to me than where I have to go to pick it up. At this point, I'm surprised it's actually in the same time zone.

So, I go and pick it up. An hour, round-trip, gas money, and the giant pain the scrotum. And guess what?? I actually had to PAY for that experience!

Now, I work from home on Mondays, so when UPS leaves a sticker behind, I can actually request that they deliver it on Monday when I am home. You would think that's a great thing. Well, it's kinda. But when I am working from home, I am here from 7 until whenever. But I can't move if UPS is coming. I can't go for a run during my lunch break or take a shower, because in the ten minutes it takes me to wash up, the UPS dude will predictably show up and leave another one of his fucking stickers on the door. But, I ask for things to be delivered on Mondays, figuring it would make things easier. Invariably, when do they show up? 6:30 PM. I would have been home anyway if that was any other day. But if it was any other day, they would have come at noon. Leave it to brown to take something potentially cool and turn it, well, brown.

Now, onto:


I usually like these guys, despite the cleverly subliminal arrow in their logo, because even if you are not home, they let you sign their non-shit colored stickers, which permits them to leave whatever package you ordered outside the door to the complex. Usually, I don't order anything terribly expensive or fragile, so I take them up on this.

But recently, I ordered Xteen's Christmas gift (don't worry, she knows about it) and it is a musical instrument. Not a super-expensive musical instrument, but a decent one, and one that would be optimally used if I could avoid having it stolen or damaged by the New England fall weather. Doesn't help that the sender probably emblazons their packing box with words like "Be careful! Somewhat expensive and very pawnable musical instrument inside!"

Well, FedEx (who shortened their name from Federal Express, seemingly to try to initiate a marketing campaign with Kevin Federline), decided to deliver the instrument on a Saturday. Yes, the same day of the week that I would have given my left nut to have UPS deliver on. But, as luck would have it, I had no idea they were coming, we weren't home and missed the delivery by, no lie, 15 minutes.

Their sticker informs me:

"We will make another attempt tomorrow (Sunday, Monday, and Holidays excluded) between the hours of 9 and 5".

Jumpin' Jehosephat on a popsicle stick! REALLY? Between the hours of 9 and 5?! The hours in which most people aren't home?? Who would have thunk that?

Might as well tell me it is coming on a mystery day between November and June and then give me some sort of Einsteinian algorithm that'll tell me the exact date if I could figure the fucking thing out.

OK, wait a second...You don't deliver on MONDAY? Well, that's just brilliant. K-FedEx's sticker has a lot of green on it. And not a pleasant green, either. Kinda like a pea soup, vomit green. I'm getting nauseous.

I call K-FedEx and someone politely asks what they can do for me and I reply that I would like to see if I can pick my package up at the place where it is being held (which is, incidentally, about as close as the Crabhead Nebula in driving time). This person replies, "I would be very happy to see if I can help you with that."

This is customer service-speak for:

"There's no fucking way in hell you are getting what you want".

They come back with:

"I'm sorry, sir. This type of package does not allow for a pickup."

To which I reply, "OK, I'm not going to be home at the time they are coming tomorrow, because you apparently don't do work on Monday, which, the last time I checked, is a pretty important, albeit 20%, of a normal, non-brown or puke green company's workweek and I really don't want to sign this thing completely absolving you from any liability if you leave it outside the door and it, I dunno, gets RAINED ON or fucking Bluto from Animal House comes by and slams it into the stairway wall or something. So, is there any circumstance in which I can pick this up?"

At this point, the record on her end must have skipped, because I got:

"I'm sorry, sir. This type of package does not allow for a pickup."

I counter with, "OK, so what you are telling me is that, without actually staying home from work all day, it is going to be virtually impossible for me to receive a package that, um, I OWN, by the way, and paid for you to deliver, yet I am offering to deliver to myself."

Eminem scratched the record again...

"I-I-I-I'm sorry, sir. This type of package does not allow for a pickup."

"All right, thanks anyway."

And then they have the nerve to ask, "Is there anything else I can help you with today?"

Hold your fucking horses, there, lady. That question actually implies that you were of some help to me before. Which you weren't. The question you should have asked is, "Since I can't do jack shit for your other thing, is there something else I can piss you off about?"


How about writing your company president and asking him to change the corporate colors to a nice shit brown. But put some corn kernel yellow in there, too, while you are at it just to shake things up. That will make up for the whole mess.

Waiting for the bell to ring,

- Dim.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

One of Life's Trying Questions

I gave myself a slushy headache today thinking through one of life's unanswerable questions and decided to put it up here at Dim City in the hopes that some of my faithful readers would chime in with their opinion. It's not easy for me to ask for help in these matters, because usually I can fend for myself and opine on things as serious as this with little or no outside influence. But...(deep breath)...

Here goes:

Which cartoon character did more irreparable harm to the series on which they appeared?

In this have...

The Great Gazoo

Nothing great about this visitor from the great beyond, I'm afraid. OK, here's a great idea. Here's a cartoon about THE greatest modern stone age family ever. Let's introduce an outer space green floating apparition that only Fred and Barney can see. What? You don't have a shark that Bam Bam can water ski over while wearing a leather jacket? For one episode, I can understand...OK, they had an e-coli batch of brontosaurus burgers or something and they were so delusional they saw this friggin thing. But making him a recurring character? Inexcusable.

Let's look at why:

  • He kept fucking things up for Fred and Barney and showing up at the very wrong time. Kinda like when your little brother used to come into your room, without knocking, when you had Cinemax After Dark on and visions of Shannon Tweed in the back of your head where your eyes were.
  • Only Fred and Barney could see him. That joke lasts for about the same amount of time it took you to read it, which is, not nearly long enough.
  • No originality. They had a chance to blow the doors off of animation and really give this thing the Alien treatment. Instead, they caved and completely stereotyped it. Little. Green. Man. Ooooh! How cutting edge! Let me guess...he has a "ray gun" and drives a "flying saucer" too! Space aliens everywhere protested, holding signs like "Zetoxians are people too" and "Aliens don't kill people. Uranium PU-36 Explosive Space Modulators kill people". Hey, no one likes being labeled. Not even alien freaks from another galaxy. Thank goodness, decades later, The X-Files showed us all that not all aliens look like little green men with antennae sprouting from their helmets. Oh no. They all look like naked grey pygmies with giant heads and huge black eyes.
  • Far be it from me to criticize the great Harvey Korman, but he voiced Gazoo like something from Queer Eye for the Straight Anachronistic Space Being. Mike Tyson has a more manly husk.
  • Any Flintstones character that makes me long for the days of guest stars like Ann-Margrock (I was a kid...I had no idea who she was even supposed to be!) and, heaven forbid...the fucking GRUESOMES, has to suck copious amounts of ass.

Yet I still watched, which makes me as idiotic as Joe Rockhead.

In this corner...

Scrappy Doo

Man, those cats had the life. You had the Mystery Machine, one of the best methods of transportation ever. You had Scooby and Casey Kasem-voiced Norville "Shaggy" Rogers, two stoner buds who wanted nothing more than to kick back, mellow out to some Dead, and eat Scooby Snacks. Then you had Daphne, the hottest cartoon character ever. THAT'S RIGHT! I said it! And I'm talking to you, Judy Jetson, Betty Rubble, and ALL of the Pussycats! And then you had Velma, the lesbian. And finally, Fred, the swinger. Oh come on. Look at him. Nothing screams "swinger" more than a orange scarf tied around the neck. Well, other than a scorching case of genital warts, but I digress.

OK, once in awhile, between the drug haze and the orgies, they went out and busted nefarious innkeepers, or museum curators, who used otherworldly hoaxes to scare the bejeesus out of the innocent town folk (not to mention Scooby and Shaggy) and commit crimes. And these evildoers would have gotten away with it if it wasn't for those meddling kids.

And forget Scooby Dum for a second because no one remembers Scooby's smart-as-a-box-of-hair inbred hick cousin. But Scrappy frickin Doo??

Those guys were doing just fine for themselves. Sure, Scooby and Shaggy always smelled of patchouli. Velma was trying pull off the whole Rosie O'Donnell thing, and Fred was desperately trying to convince Daphne to join him and the couple he met during the last caper for a little Eyes Wide Shut party. But things were just fine. No one got hurt (again, except for maybe Fred's scorching case of genital warts) and I can't recall a single bad guy that escaped unpunished by the local sheriff. But then comes Scrappy Doo.

Like Gazoo, this runt got the group into more trouble than he was worth. Nothing worse than a pain-in-the-ass yapper dog with a Napoleon complex. Anyway, even more annoying than his mere presence was his war-cry "Puppy power!!!!" Puppy power?? What the fuck is that??? The only puppy power I'm aware of is the scent when one of these ankle-biters drops a surprise of recycled Chuck Wagon in my slippers. Puppy power, my ass. Not to be confused with "Punky power!", by the way, which was the war-cry of the strangely non-combative Punky Brewster. And to add to the myriad of differences between the two, I severely doubt that Scrappy Doo later had to undergo plastic surgery to reduce the size of her noteworthy yabahos.

The prosecution rests.

In the final corner of the great Triangular Triumvirate of Suck are...

The Wonder Twins

The Justice League of America.
Superman. The Man of Steel.
The Green Lantern.
Captain Marvel.
And even...
Wonder Woman.
These names strike fear into the hearts of villainy everywhere.
Gleek the Space Monkey.
Not so much.

While all of the aforementioned were kicking evil's ass in the air, on the ground, and under the sea, these three fuckos would, like their two opponents in this Suck Contest, get themselves into trouble and have to get bailed out by the real heroes and stars of the show.

Let's engage their twin powers, they needed to do the now patented "knuckletap" (illustrated above), which has been passed down to fratboys across this great country along with the ability to become a complete fucking jackass in the blink of an eye. The twins' "superpower", however, was their ability to change themselves into other things. With limitations, of course.

So, Lex Luthor is about detonate a million kiloton atom bomb and Zan bellows. "In the form of....that annoying drizzle that causes your wipers to make that terrible scraping sound when you try to clear your windshield!"

Kick ass, Zan. That'll get 'er done.

And then his equally useless twin squawks:

"In the form of...a sight-impaired, crippled lemur with problem flatulence!"

Atom bombs are no match for blind, hobbled, marsupials that you don't want to be stuck in an elevator with.

And what's up with the fucking monkey that squeaks like a dolphin on like four espressos. Maybe it's his job to keep Fred from Scooby Doo away from Jayna.

So, those are the three nominees. Who do you think sucks more and why?

And no write-in ballots for Coy and Vance from The Dukes of Hazzard. They weren't cartoons. They were real people.

Get voting, dum dum,
- Dim.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

More Random Crap *Edited with more on #5*

OK, I had a post all done last week and friggin Blogger ate it. God forbid they incorporate useful shit on their toolbar, like cut, copy, paste, and, for the love of all that's holy, UN-FUCKING-DO! But no...thankfully, I have a friggin eraser up there, which does something that I don't understand and a "quote" button which, the last time I checked, can be effectively noted by using the quote button on the fucking keyboard. So, because of Blogger's deficiencies and most definitely not because of my own idiocy, there was no post, alas.

But to get Annoyed off my back, here's just some random crap from the last week or so.

  1. We went to go visit my grandmother in her new assisted living joint this weekend. Hey, don't feel bad for her. She loves it and the place is like a palace. We had lunch with her there and I seemed to forget that they have to tailor the meals so that old people with no teeth can eat it. Thus, my vegetable medley, thankfully unlike the one I get at work in sheer diversity, was the consistency of Cream of Wheat. And tasted like cauliflower. But the real treat of lunch was sitting in the fancy dining room when, all of a sudden, we heard delicate piano music wafting through the air. I looked over and there was an elderly resident tickling the ivories. Oh, and he was playing the piano, too. Best part about it...other than the fact that he was pretty good...he was wearing a shirt which read on the back "It ain't easy being sleazy". All while wearing those virtual reality sunglasses, which I'm starting to think was actually a ViewMaster with a bunch of Bettie Page reels. Anyway, good for him.
  2. The My Space page of someone who works at my company was recently brought to my attention and it was rather, um, surprising. Among her "interests" was, um, let me put this delicately: Blowjobs. I certainly hope she is kidding, because it is going to make for a really awkward Secret Santa gift if one of us draw her name. I'm kidding!
  3. We found a house that we really liked a few weeks ago and we made an appointment to view it on the inside. The place was very nice, except, that when you walked in, you were greeted with a 25-foot-high mural of Yosemite National Park, seemingly to scale, and airbrushed a la those flourescent t-shirts they make for you in Hawaii that say, "Hang loose, Dim!" or whatever your name is. This was the entire height and span of the stairs leading to the second floor and nestled in the corner was a spraypained sign that said something like "Follow Your Dreams" or something similarly Yanni-like. Apparently, the couple in the house honeymooned there and gave this as an anniversary gift to each other. Good thing they didn't honeymoon in Disney, or I would have to figure out how to cover up a painting of Goofy playing badminton with Figment the Dragon.
  4. Speaking of Yanni, I've been flipping around the TV on occasion and have stopped at one of his concerts on PBS or WIMPT-V, or whatever shows it. And prior to launching into an agonizing song whose length makes Waterworld seem like a Three Stooges short, he explains between a thick Greek accent, "This is a song about how all of the children of the world should never have to live without love."'s a fucking INSTRUMENTAL! It isn't about anything! When Brian Johnson of AC/DC introduces "You Shook Me All Night Long" as a "song about banging some chick", you get it. The lyrics are there. Thanks for the clarification. But this yahoo busts out his recorder and plays an eon-long ode to the rain forest, with no words, and he expects me to believe him that that's what it is about? Hey Yanni...go frig.
  5. What's up with this spam shit lately? I'm not talking about the messages that come in a block paragraph and actually sound like a novel written by Tonto. You know those ones...the ones that have a bunch of sentences like "Fox bought building seven at night hurt knee". I'm talking about the ones that question my potency. And try to circumvent spam filters with clever ruses: Du U have probs when U phu(k? Take these pll and U will have &ig D!(<)k. So, what I want to know is what the hell is my (yelling) D!!!!! and how do they know that it is naturally less than my k? I swear that computer can see me when I walk around naked. - **EDIT 10/18/06** - I just now got a spam message from the sender "Trent Sidesaddle". I shit you not. I'm going to start keeping a list of these names and will update all 4 of my readers with the good ones when I have a few.

Anyway, that's it. Since I don't have any content , if you want to send me questions asking me anything at all, with no topic off-limits, forget it. I'm not that hard up. Heh.

- Dim.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Iron Maiden at Agganis Arena, Boston, MA - 10/06/06

Exploding out of the seedy shadows of East London in the late 1970s/early 1980s, Iron Maiden was a flag-bearer for the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM). Maiden, along with Judas Priest, have arguably been the most popular and prolific from the movement. Expertly mixing incredible musicianship with dark lyrics and a heavy dose of bombast that defines heavy metal as a genre, Maiden endured some important lineup changes and now finds itself, some 26-years after their eponymous debut album, still going strong and touring in support of their newly released war-themed disc, A Matter of Life and Death.

Still plodding along from the beginning is bass player and founder Steve Harris and one of three guitarists, Dave Murray. Rounding out the current incarnation of the band are Adrian Smith, a brilliantly fluid guitarist who took over for the sacked Dennis Stratton in time to record Maiden's second album, Killers, in 1981. Smith flew solo in the early 90s, officially splitting from Maiden following the tour for the keyboard-tinged, but still heavy Seventh Son of a Seventh Son album in 1988. Smith rejoined Maiden in 1999 and has been with them for their three subsequent releases.

Replacing Smith on guitar for the No Prayer for the Dying disc was Robert Plant lookalike Janick Gers. And even after Smith's return to Maiden, Gers has remained, providing the band with a triple guitar threat.

On drums, pounding away and orchestrating the complex time changes, is the omni-present Nicko McBrain, who took over for the ailing jazz-influenced Clive Burr, an amazing timekeeper in his own right, in time to record Maiden's 1983 Piece of Mind disc, which contained one of the band's signature songs, "Flight of Icarus".

Finally, on vocals is the intensely energetic Bruce Dickinson, who replaced the raspy Paul Di'anno just before Maiden's seminal 1982 disc, The Number of the Beast. Prior to Dickinson joining the band, Maiden was a little more underground and gritty, but after Dickinson, they because a full-blown metal powerhouse, thanks to the band's increasing songwriting talent as well as Dickison's acrobatic and operatic vocal stylings. Dickinson left the band in the 90s to persue a solo career, and was replaced by the unfortunately named Blayze Bailey for some ill-advised records, before joining back up with Maiden, with Smith, for their Brave New World disc.

Arriving just before the lights went down, I didn't get an opportunity to check out the crowd very closely, but I will say this: Iron Maiden fans wear more t-shirts of the band they're currently going to see than any other band's fans, hands-down. It seemed like 60% of the sell-out crowd were clad in Maiden shirts, ranging from classics from the Killers era right up to the current tour shirt. Looks like no one bothered to read my concert-going guide.

The lights went down and the crowd went absolutely bananas.

The stage was a magnificent display, with McBrain nestled in a drummer's nook and above him, a secondary stage upon which Dickinson would often find himself, belting out his songs and conducting the crowd response.

The band isn't going to rival Franz Ferdinand for the "snappy dressers" award, with most of the band donning sleeveless t-shirts (bearing their own band's logo, no less!), and long 80s-metal hair, despite some receding hair lines. Bassist Harris, perhaps in theme with the new album, was actually wearing camouflage shorts, so for the greater part of the show, I thought he was just a torso and a head. I kid.

Dickinson, previously known for his long straight mane, and affinity for leather (especially metal-spiked armbands) was oddly, dare I saw, sophisticated-looking. He had short hair, with just enough of a messy tussle, and wore brown dress pants, a blazer, and a t-shirt that bore the likeness of an alien's head. For a cocktail party, he might have looked a little underdressed, but for a metal show, he might as well have been wearing a tuxedo. But strangely, it all worked.

And it all worked because Maiden is as tight of a live band as they come, and it especially worked because Dickinson's voice was abolutely perfect, and his talent as a frontman is unparalleled.

The first song of the evening was not-so-ironically the lead track from the new disc, "Different World". The crowd was in a frenzy, as Dickinson ran seemingly non-stop from one end of the stage to the other, and then up a ladder to the platform above McBrain, all while leaping and emoting and never once losing his breath.

The crowd, surprisingly familiar with the new material pumped their collective fists in time and even provided some backing vocals among the obligatory "horns up" signs. \m/

When the band proceeded to play the the new album's next two tracks, the audience participation-fueled "These Colours Don't Run" and the vocal tour-de-force, "Brighter Than A Thousand Suns", it became obvious that we might not hear and old song for quite some time.

This was actually OK with me. Despite having never seen Maiden before, I was actually enthralled with how well the new album, especially the single, "The Reincarnation of Benjamin Breeg", translated live. Smith, Murray, and Gers all traded guitar solos and rhythms while Harris provided his patented galloping basslines while assuming his familiar position: one leg stepped up on a stage monitor, as close to the crowd as he can get, all while mouthing the words to every lyric, even without a microphone being within 10 feet of him.

Dickinson played the crowd to a T. I'm not one of those concert-goers that usually claps in rhythm when the lead singer directs the crowd to, and I rarely sing along, or make noise upon request. But there is something about Dickinson's presence...something that makes you do all of these things. I was like a puppet from The Number of the Beast album cover and Dickinson was the master, playfully controlling my response. And most of the crowd was just like me.

Announcing that the band was going to be playing their entire new album in its entirety and in order left me with a little bit of trepidation and fear that I would not hear the songs I have waited a long time to hear live. No matter, Dickinson and the band absolutely slayed the new material, reproducing each note and vocal part flawlessly.

As the set progressed, the more epic songs like the intense "For The Greater Good Of God" and "The Longest Day", exuded an almost classical aire. Between the time changes and the guitar harmonies and Dickinson's powerful and clear vocals, one could have easily imagined Mozart banging his powdered wig-adorned head along with McBrain's snare drum beats.

All the while, Dickinson played with the lights, climbed upon speaker cabinets, and dynamically worked the entire audience into a frenzy. At one point, because of his constant movement, the light guy lost him. The band started the song's intro while Bruce whimsically chastised the light guy: "Over here...over here...near the speakers...crouched down. You twat."

The main set ended with Spinal Tap-esque bombast and folly. As the band began the album closer, "The Legacy", Gers apparantly had a mistuned acoustic guitar which caused a lot of shoulder shrugging and frantic looks between Murray, Smith, Gers, and a sure-to-be spoken to guitar tech offstage. The band recovered as a giant army tank emerged from the backdrop and above the hatch rose an oversized soldier with binoculars, scanning the crowd.

This was followed by the obligatory appearance of Eddie, Maiden's undead mascot, who emerged as a 10-foot high foot soldier, complete with huge AK-47.

Dickinson again told the crowd that that portion of the show was A Matter of Life and Death, which caused us all to anticipate what was sure to the next half of the show...the songs we all knew.

The band then launched into the title track from 1992's Fear of the Dark, a brilliantly spooky song, characterized by more crowd singalongs and Dickinson's ominous vocals. Then came "Scream for me, Boston!", usually Bruce's lead-in to the song "Iron Maiden" and that is what came next.

Again, the band was flawless, particularly Smith and his tasteful solos, often mirrored by Murray. During this song, Gers started doing these weird gimmicky tosses of his guitar over his shoulders and crap like that. It reminded me of Whitesnake and I was half expecting to see an age-ravaged Tawny Kitaen dislocate a hip dancing on a Camaro or something. While Gers is definitely a talented guitarist, his presence is almost superfluous as Murray and Smith more than adequately can handle the guitar duties. No matter, it was still brilliant.

But then, "thank you, good night."


No "Aces High"? No "Flight of Icarus"? No "Run to the Hills"? No money song ("The Number of the Beast")? No "Wasted Years"?

Well, no.

There was a couple of encore songs and, honestly, they were great. Hearing the spectre of nuclear war-tinged (hey, it was from 1984) "2 Minutes to Midnight" was utterly amazing, as was hearing one of my favorite later-Maiden songs "The Evil That Men Do" from Seventh Son of a Seventh Son. The entire set concluded with the goosebump-inducing song of a condemned man, "Hallowed Be Thy Name" from The Number of the Beast.

But that was it. Other than the new album, they played 5 old songs. Which were fucking fantastic, but left me definitely wanting more Maiden.

While the setlist was a tad disappointing (I had no problem with hearing the new disc, but a band that has been around as long as they, with their catalogue, should be playing without an opening act), I was really blown away by the band. Musically, they are elite...virtuousos at playing and composing. But when the night was over, the one thing I will carry from this show is just how amazing Bruce Dickinson is as a frontman. Intense, energetic, commanding. And that's just his presence. His voice was absolutely mint and, despite my fandom of Di'anno-era Maiden, I now realize that Dickinson and Dickison alone is the voice of this band. The backbone of Harris and McBrain, along with the genius of the guitarists all augment this and made the show a tremendous experience and a concert I won't soon forget.

"Up the Irons",

- Dim.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

More Pretzel Logic **Edit..added #9**

Since I'm still struggling with theme-oriented posts, I decided to yet another post more along the line of my brain having about 6 IPAs and then deciding that a Sambuca shot-contest is the perfect way to go. The result? My brain yakking its brain out to the point of dry heaves. That's what this post is like. My brain has the dry heaves. Told ya my creativity well was dry!

  1. I am far from a world traveler, but in my modest adventures on the highways and biways (which are what, exactly?), I've seen a slew of "Weigh Station" signs and all of them say the Weigh Station is, in fact, closed. I've yet to see an open Weigh Station anywhere. They have McDonalds' that are somehow open 25-hours a day and have served upwards of an "assloadillian" customers, yet I have yet to run into one person who hasn't been stymied by locked doors and cobwebbed windows at one of these Weigh Stations. Probably for the best. Considering my need to go on a diet, I wouldn't want to use one anyway. Seems a little out of place, too. Getting weighed on the highway. Besides, I don't trust any scale that I can't calibrate with a bag of sugar. They're all liars.
  2. Speaking of things I never see, has anyone actually ever seen a live opossum? I swear these things are born full-size, live for about 4 minutes, and are intrinsically driven to then get squashed beyond recognition in the middle of the road. Every single opossum I have ever seen had a body flat as a flapjack, lying on its decimated back, arms raised like antennae to their now other-worldly home, and a look on its face that says, "I can't believe I just got killed by a fucking Datsun."
  3. How come in all of those alphabet books (you know, the "A is for apple" books), X is ALWAYS for xylophone? You mean, there are no other X-words in the entire English language? "X is for xylophone" is a total cop-out and laziness to the nth degree. Howsabout "X is for xenophobe"? There's a quality bedtime discussion waiting to happen.
  4. I was walking around today at lunch, listening to my iPod and, all of a sudden got a tremendous urge to play guitar and get my setlist in order for my next open mic night, which has not yet been scheduled. Which makes total sense, because today, my right hand is very sore (not from THAT, you pervs...well, maybe from that...) and I have a sore throat (sore, not meaning a little irritation. Sore, meaning someone lit my esophagus on fire and tried to put it out with sandpaper), so it'll be hard for me to hold a pick and, if I try to sing anything other than the deep, seductive bass notes of Barry White tunes (which is what my voice sounds like today), it'll come out like "It's Time To Change" by Peter fucking Brady. This is so typical of me...get really jazzed up for something when I can't possibly do it. Unlike when I force myself to play, when completely healthy in hand and throat, and stop halfway through my Dandy Warhols cover and decide, "I really need to clip my toenails. They are talon-esque. I could probably swoop down and ensnare a small marsupial like, I dunno, an opposum maybe, with these bad boys!" I really don't have ADD. I'm just a spaz. Can't wait for the day I finally want to take ballet classes. It will undoubtedly be the day I get my toes run over and crushed by a Datsun while trying to nudge an opossum out of the middle of the road.
  5. I better get over this sore throat thing in a hurry, because I am going to see Iron Maiden this Friday and really want to enjoy myself in as metal a manner as humanly possible, which means screaming and giving the "horns" with the injured right hand. Let me repeat that last bit. I'm going to see Iron Maiden. Don't say, "HAHA! Dim, you're so funny! Iron Maiden! Really, Dim...tell us another of your uproarious jests!" It's true. And all I can say is, if you are going to the Maiden show this Friday, please do me a favor and read this first. This show promises to be off-the-charts on the unintentional comedy scale, so I should have a good post next week.
  6. By the way, if you think this is a lame post designed to only have people read other archived posts from my blog that are funnier and wittier, you could not possibly be more wrong.
  7. Speaking of my work cafeteria (or not, if you didn't take the bait and click on the links on #6), their "desert" special yesterday surprisingly wasn't "Sahara", but a chocolate "mouse". Can't imagine it was a big seller. They really need a copy editor.
  8. I'm on day two of a psuedo-diet, so my lunch today consisted of a salad (read: lettuce) and a modest portion of sweet potato bisque soup. After eating this, my stomach said to me, "Yeah, that's great. Thanks for that. But when's lunch?" I tried ignoring it, without realizing that my stomach is actually Glenn Close from Fatal Attraction. So, now, I am practically doubled-over in hunger pains and I just looked over at one of my co-workers and their head transformed into a pork chop before my very eyes.
  9. So, I was listening to a song on the iPod today and it kept telling me over and over again to think for myself. So, I thought to myself about thinking for myself for awhile and figured out that if I now decided to think for myself, I wouldn't be thinking for myself, because this song told me to do it. Then again, if I thought for myself and decided to not think for myself, then I'm still not really thinking for myself even though I'm ignoring the voice ordering me to think for myself. Then, my eye started to twitch and I decided I really didn't need this shit and decided to eat some Funyuns instead.

That's all I have. Try to think of more X words and for the love of all that's holy, won't you save an opossum today?

- Dim.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Just Stuff

Sorry for the lack of updates recently, but my creativity well has runneth dry yet again. I never intended this blog to be a "What I had for breakfast" or "What I watched on TV last night" kind of blog, but I'm starting to get desperate for content. So, like my blogger bud RR's request, if you have any ideas, requests, or questions, send them my way. Hopefully, it will jump start some creativity and I can start posting regularly again before y'all renounce your Dim City citizenship (I've already noticed that some residents have moved out. I weep. Really.).

Anyway, in the last few weeks, here are some things that have been going on:

  1. Saw the Raconteurs on Friday in Boston. I was gonna write a review, but March kinda stole my thunder. I had third row center seats for this show and it definitely rocked my socks off. Being that close to Jack White, a guitarist and songwriter I admire immensely, was quite the treat. I was also really impressed with what guitarist/singer Brendan Benson brought to the band and drummer Patrick Keeler was an absolute powerhouse. Bassist Jack Lawrence, who looks like he would be more comfortable in the Physics Club than on a rock stage, regrettably had his mix a little overpowered, but the show was still phenomenal. Their cover of Nancy Sinatra's "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)" was one of many highlights. The show really made me appreciate the CD a lot more. You should check them out.
  2. One of the things I neglected to mention in this post, was that when Xteen's car was wigging out, the odometer read that she had over 650,000 miles on it. Thankfully, this was corrected when the kid from Deliverence brain was replaced or we'd never be able to get rid of that piece of shit.
  3. I really need to go on a diet, because, at the Raconteurs show, I bought a concert shirt (size Large). I get it home and put it on and my mid-section looks like a giant Vienna sausage. Which leads me to another thing:
  4. Sizes. I have Large t-shirts that I swim in and Large t-shirts, like the Raconteurs shirt that fits like a girdle. Why is there such a discrepancy between one Large and another? I can almost understand it, because terms like "small", "extra large" are really subjective measurements, but I really shouldn't have two t-shirts, both the same "size", one deprives my entire abdomen of oxygen and blood, while the other one has enough room in it for both me and Gilbert Grape's mom. Then, I have fancy pants that are measured in inches instead of letters. I'll spare you the waist length, but I find that my inseam is usually 32. But I have 32s that fit just fine and I have 32s that drag so much on the ground, that I think that the Witch Doctor from Beetlejuice sprinkled some of that shrinking dust on my legs when I was sleeping.
  5. Speaking of sizes, how come I can never find a frame the size I want? We bought a nice print and I also bought a concert poster, and you would think that they were made by Martians. No pre-made frame will fit (unless you want like 6 inches of space between the edges). I swear it's a scam with those Corners-type custom frame places. "Sure, I realize you only paid $10 for the print, but if you want to actually display it and not get it ruined, it will cost you roughly ten times that amount." They can go screw.
  6. Hey, go see The Guardian. My brother-in-law did a ton of the 3D animation for the special effects in the flick. And considering it was a Kevin Costner/Ashton Kutcher movie, it was actually pretty good. Then again, I also cheered when my BIL's name scrolled on the credits, so what the fuck do I know?
  7. Seeing his name on the credits really made me realize that I am not in the business of doing anything even remotely fulfilling and I'm really contemplating making a change. Ideally, I'd like to write for a living, but when I can't even come up with an idea for a fucking blog entry, I'm not sure how writing for my financial well-being will work out. But lately, I've taken a really big interest in brewing beer. Maybe it's because we did it a few weeks ago and it was a lot of fun, but the title "Dim, Brewmaster" has a nice ring to it. Then again, maybe it's because my current job is really dicking me over. Who knows...maybe, just maybe, you'll be sitting back in the warm summer sun, reach into a cooler, and pop open a nice cold bottle of Dim. I can dream.
  8. House hunting sucks and I'll leave it at that. Other than to say looking at, and falling in love with, houses on-line is not a good idea. We saw an ad for one that we absolutely loved. Drove by it, and 15 feet to the left of the front door is an 18,000,000 foot high power line tower that heads a nice chain of humming carcinogens all through the back yard and beyond, as far as the eye can see. Hey, I love electricity, but I don't want to have any two-headed babies. Oh, and the photos of these houses are all frauds too. Airbrush jobs to the highest degree. It's like seeing a picture of Kate Beckinsale on-line and then driving by and it is actually Bea Arthur. Not cool.
  9. Xteen and I went away for a mini-vacation for our anniversary last week and ended up buying more things for other people than we did for ourselves. In other words, we started Christmas shopping. And this is late for me. I'm already getting agita because there are less than triple-digit days left til Christmas and I'm not close to being done. But one of the things we did buy for ourselves, which still leaves a painful sting of buyers' remorse, was...
  10. A wine-making kit. We did a brewery tour on our vacation and met up with some nice folks who brewed their own beer and made their own wine. And they somehow managed to convince us that this was a good idea for us, and our tiny apartment, to do. (We were buzzed). So, we went all the way into town and found this hole in the wall store that they recommended and waited for 45 minutes until the owner finished helping someone else with their recipe for some sort of moonshine (we were buzzed) and ended up walking out there with a wine-making kit. After, of course, sampling some homemade mead and ginger apricot liquour. We were buzzed, what can I say. We don't know the first thing about making wine and all I can do is picture Xteen and I stomping grapes in the bathtub like Lucy and Ethel, but who knows? Maybe you'll be in a fancy restaurant some day, enjoying a steak or some fish, and say to the waiter, "Please sir. Bring us a bottle of your finest Dim Chianti". Hey, I can dream.
  11. I hate outlet stores. First of all, they are all named after some really narcissistic people: Liz Clairborne, Hugo Boss, J. Crew, Calvin Klein, Kenneth Cole, Anne Klein (Calvin's sis, no doubt), Ann Taylor, Office Max. And, I'm sorry, but the prices are really not all that great. Why would I pay $75 for jeans that are already faded and ripped? At an outlet store, no less! Xteen bought a cloth belt at one of these joints for $25. $25!!!! When I think of outlet stores, I think of places that sell you merchandise that was recovered off of the ocean floor, after their cargo ship sank. Sure, it's a little musty and everything is the color of seaweed, but the shirt is only $2.50! I sure as hell don't think of $125 crushed velvet blazers. Besides, I don't even know what size to get.

Well, that's it for now. If you have any ideas to help ol' Dim out, leave a message. If not, piss off. And check out the archives if you want. I used to write good.

- Dim.

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