Sensory overload

Wow, what a night. Last night was Duran Duran at the PNC Bank Arts Center, and what a performance. It was actually my second time seeing them, as Lisa and I had caught their first big reunion show in NYC about 2 years ago. For Lisa, it was her fourth time (although only the second time with the original lineup). It’s tough to say which show was better, as this one was far more bombastic and the last one was a rather intimate setting. I guess I’ll just have to settle for saying I’ve seen two great shows by them!

We headed over to Jeff and Sara’s house in the afternoon and grabbed some sandwiches for the road. Fortunately we actually played it smart, and headed over early enough to avoid traffic and parking difficulties. That left us plenty of time to eat and people watch – and let’s face it, 80s revival concerts are the best times to people watch. Oh the fashion atrocities and shirtless wonders that we beheld! Never again shall I gaze upon plastic skirts in such horror and amazement! Nicole and her parents arrived for some tailgating (that’s right, her parents were tailgating for a Duran Duran concert – pretty damn cool).

As for the show, the opening act was fairly forgettable, but that’s the best we could hope for. At 9 the main act took the stage. Simon LeBon was far more energetic this time around, and did high kicks, spins, and lept over equipment. Not bad for a middle aged guy! More importantly, however, his voice is still in prime condition. I’m amazed at how well he sings after all these years. The song selection was fantastic, and covered most of their hits as well as some of their newer material. We were ecstatic to hear “Reflex” as they had omitted that track at the last show, so it was definitely my top priority song. Aside from that I most wanted to hear “Ordinary World” and figured enough other hits would be played to satisfy me.

“A View to a Kill,” “Wild Boys,” “Notorious,” and “Hungry Like the Wolf” were all amazing and lively performances. They also did some great numbers from their latest “Astronaut,” which means that I need to listen to that album some more. The encore included a 15 minute version of “Girls on Film” featuring the band introductions (Simon pulled a woman on stage to introduce himself) and an out-of-nowhere segment of “Groove is in the Heart” and concluded with a rousing rendition of “Rio.” They had done more of their 80s hits when we saw them in NYC, since that was before this latest release, so this show definitely left off some great ones (notably “Is There Something I Should Know?”). But that just means we’ll be sure to get tickets again next time their in town.

The whole concert left us with this semi-drunk, overwhelmed feeling. The night was late enough that I find myself still sitting in bed in my underwear at 1:30 in the afternoon. Time to start the rest of our weekend!

Happy pre-anniversary to me!

Last week Lisa and I officially booked a place for our wedding. It’ll be July 29, 2006 at the English Manor. That’s right, at this time next year I will be Mr. Thomas Bernstein… wait, no, I mean Mr. Thomas Slattery… but, that’s already my… oh I give up. At this time next year I’ll be hitched.

I held off on the Internet announcement to make sure my family heard first. It’s no big deal for them to get regular ol’ updates thru this site, but it’s a little embarassing if they have to find out WEDDING details online. Especially from this site… which reminds me, I guess I have to do the tradional geek thing now and register a domain name for us (that way you know it’s forever – in one year increments).

The only other decision we’ve made is on the band – but Slippery was an obvious decision, unless you can name another band that can do Apache!

Flash geography goodness

Sheppard Software has some cool flash games to help kids learn geography. They even do multiple levels of difficulty to test your ability with capitols, shape recognition, and placement. Level 5 for the US kept me busy this morning:

Trial Score %Correct Avg. Error Time
1 42/50 84% 28 miles 409 sec.
2 46/50 92% 15 miles 311 sec.
3 46/50 92% 8 miles 286 sec.
4 48/50 96% 3 miles 298 sec.

On this level the states disappear if you get them correct, but stay if you were wrong. Unfortunately that means that the difficulty can really depend on the order you get the states. In other words, there’s no way I can place Colorado on a completely blank map, but by getting it wrong early, I can use the image to place a lot of the other states around it. I won’t even get into how poorly I did on the European map even on the easy level (hey, do you know where Andorra and Monaco are?). Apparantly the really high levels make you rotate and resize the states/countries, too – that ought to cause some serious mental anguish.

(thanks to MeFi)

No, it isn’t hot enough for me

You wanna know a great way to make a near 100 degree summer night even better? Turn the oven to 450 degrees and then forget about it for an hour or so. I could have sworn I killed the gas midway thru cooking some taters. Well after having eaten dinner, I noticed the kitchen was still pretty hot, but figured it was just taking awhile to cool off. Finally Lisa and I noticed that the knob was still pointed at 450. Brilliant! A couple hours later, and the kitchen is finally approaching the torrid temperatures of outside.

All of the reports of overloaded grids have left me somewhat concerned. Since the back A/C isn’t running that well, Lisa and I have brought the piggies into our bedroom for the night. I’m actually trying to conserve energy a tad more so, in addition to my desktop system (which has been powered off more frequently these days), that A/C can be shut off completely. We’ll leave the little goobers in our bedroom for the next day or so with the more efficient unit keeping them cool. Otherwise they just sit on the wet lettuce I feed them, rather than eating eat.

Fortunately, parakeet are more accustomed to high temperatures, so Birdie should be quite comfy in the jungle-like atmosphere in the front room. Of course that means he gets far less company these days.

Let’s boogie

Since I am horrible at getting around to reviews of all the movies I watch (which is really sad, considering how much I’ve slowed down with Netflix these days – more on that later), I try to at least talk about what I see in theaters. So how could I ignore the blissfully tripped out viewing from Saturday night – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?! I most certainly could not!

For starters, let me get this off my chest: THIS IS NOT A REMAKE! THIS IS NOT A REMAKE! THIS IS NOT A REMAKE! This movie is, in fact, based on a book upon which the 1971 classic Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory was also based. You can easily compare them, but it is also quite possible to love them both. I don’t think I could really decide between the two of them, as I thoroughly enjoyed both Gene Wilder’s and Johnny Depp’s portrayals of Wonka in their own right.

Wait, I’ve already told you that I liked it, now where do I go with this review? The movie is bizarre – as dark and twisted as the first one was, this movie was creepy and trippy. Depp plays an awkward and rathered isolated Wonka consistent with the surreal worlds that Tim Burton so often creates. His Wonka is filled with a certain disdain for both children and their parents that is conflicted with his love of sweets. While Wilder’s Wonka was a realistic view of an improbable world, Burton and Depp create another fairy tale geared more towards adults than the usual Disney crowd.

The Oompa Loompa songs are brilliantly adapted by Danny Elfman (perhaps the greatest film score talent of our time) and performed by Deep Roy (you have to see it to believe it). I could barely contain my mixture of laughter and bewilderment each time “they” would take the stage. The entire film was a great ride from start to finish, and now I really need to read the books.

With each film he does, I am even more certain that Johnny Depp will go down as the greatest actor of our time. He has solidifed his ability to take on any role – whether it be serious and dramatic or bizarre and comedic – and “CatCF” continues that trend. But equally enjoyable in this film is the appearance of Freddie Highmore as a spot-on Charlie Bucket. He also recently played Peter with Depp in Finding Neverland, and looks to be on his way to a promising film career.

There’s more I could say, but I fear I have already given away too much. “Charlie” is a brilliantly executed film, and I highly recommend seeing it if you haven’t already.

Two men walk into a bar…

…the third one ducks. The questions in this quiz alone had me laughing pretty hard – but I’m easy that way.

the Wit
(56% dark, 39% spontaneous, 38% vulgar)
your humor style:

You like things edgy, subtle, and smart. I guess that means you’re probably an intellectual, but don’t take that to mean you’re pretentious. You realize ‘dumb’ can be witty–after all isn’t that the Simpsons’ philosophy?–but rudeness for its own sake, ‘gross-out’ humor and most other things found in a fraternity leave you totally flat.

I guess you just have a more cerebral approach than most. You have the perfect mindset for a joke writer or staff writer. Your sense of humor takes the most effort to appreciate, but it’s also the best, in my opinion.

Also, you probably loved the Office. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check it out here:

PEOPLE LIKE YOU: Jon Stewart – Woody Allen – Ricky Gervais

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

free online dating free online dating
You scored higher than 56% on dark
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You scored higher than 56% on spontaneous
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You scored higher than 68% on vulgar

Link: The 3 Variable Funny Test written by jason_bateman on OkCupid Free Online Dating

One thing this was way off on was the suggestion that I might like “The Office” – terribly unfunny show (and yes, I’m talking about the British version). Nevertheless, I am quite the wit!

(thanks to various LJ brethren)

Just hand over the damn fudge

I normally don’t get this “personal” online, so let me lay down a quick disclaimer: Lisa is typically the sweetest, most even-tempered person in the whole-wide world. Even when it comes to that particular time of the month, she is far more of the overly emotional, “prone to excessive crying during Hallmark movies” type than the angry, “nothing you can say will be right” type. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, perhaps I can relay the night’s happenings without doing serious damage to our relationship.

It all started with a simple enough idea: Let’s go get some ice cream! We had a nice weekend, including joining the Y and starting to work out (hopefully a regular occurance). After dinner and a movie, it seemed like a nice enough evening to walk over to Bloomfield Ave and get a scoop of cold, creamy goodness. Lisa conceded, and we began the trek.

Unfortunately, I made the mistake of skipping the local throwback diner, and decided the softserve options at TCBY might be better. After several minutes deliberating over the somewhat limited selection, Lisa and I both made our decisions. It is important to note that Lisa’s choice was predicated upon the addition of hot fudge to whatever flavor was available. So a single scoop of mint chocolate chip it was.

The girl behind the counter already got Lisa in a bad mood by ignoring her request for a scoop, and insisting upon the small, regular, or large sizing. After filling the small cup with not one… not two… but three scoops, the girl informed us that they were all out of hot fudge.

Now, let me interject here and say that yes, this was stupid. If I place an order, and you can only fulfill half of it, let me know right away. That gives the customer a much easier out for weighing their options and possibly fleeing a hot fudge-less ice cream insitution. But what followed left me somewhere between terrified and hysterical with laughter.

Sure, Lisa was disappointed, but I really didn’t think it was that big of a deal. Lisa, however, had become convinced that this girl was, in fact, a hell-born demon sent with the intention of destroying her sweet enjoyment (the order coming to $6.66 might also have contributed to this theory). And that had killed the mood. Walking home, she just kept ranting and raving about what an idiot this girl was and how nasty she had acted – purposely screwing her out of the ideal opportunity for hot fudgey goodness. The nerve of some braindead teenager to just force upon her a topping-less cup of useless ice cream. Every few steps, just as I thought we had made progress, she blew up again over the outrage of the situation. How could she enjoy such a worthless cup of nothing?!?!

Granted, she realized the hormonal overeaction, but that didn’t stop her from a few more explosions of vitriol aimed at the flunky cashier. But at least by then we could laugh about it – although I did so from a few steps away. Normally the whole PMS thing doesn’t really amount to much around these parts aside from a need for more tissues, but it can still get a tad wacky.

Should I stay or should I go

I rarely get out to shows these days, and haven’t seen much of the ol’ Open Mic crowd. But Eugene is playing at Maxwell’s tonight:

Revolutionary Records and ArtKore present:
Girls Rock & Girls Rule the Road!
Wednesday, July 20th
[1039 Washington Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030]
(VERY short PATH train or bus-ride away from Manhattan)

8:30pm-9:00pm -For the Love of Nancy
9:10pm-9:50pm – Tang
10:00pm-10:40pm – G-spot
10:50pm-11:30pm – eugene

Since Chris has suggested it, perhaps tonight’s a good night to cut loose and have some fun. Sure, I prefer it when I know a few of the bands instead of just one, but this means that we don’t need to follow a tight schedule. If we catch the other bands, great, otherwise we actually have time to eat and drink (and be merry). If anyone else is interested let me know (or just show up).

Also, I’ve been thinking of getting people together for some hibachi. Lisa and I frequent a great sushi place down the road from us, but have yet to try their slinging chefs out. I like the idea of filling an entire table for that, so I’m just putting it out there.

Awesomest website ever

My jowler
Originally uploaded by indieb0i.

Alrighty, the rest of the Internet can shut down, we have a winner. There is no need for anything else on the web, except for Jowlers! This site should be able to keep us amused until the end of the world. The insrtuctions alone left me howling – imagine my delight at discovering they had liquid-specific entries! Taking these photos was more fun than should be legally allowed. I think I may have found a new avatar…

(thanks to Jess)