« September 2006 | Main | November 2006 »

October 2006 Archives

October 10, 2006

I went to Virginia and all I came back with was this stupid cold

Ugh. Argh. Frick. So my R&R weekend trip to a good friends wedding yielded the following:

1. a $600 credit card bill
2. a nasty cold
3. no time for studying

However, it was nice to see old faces of friends who I have not seen or spoken to in years. Perhaps the highlight of the weekend (besides the wedding, duh) was a group of us gathered in a hotel suite, playing "flip-cup" and downing Colt 45 beer. If an outsider were to survey the room they would find strange bedfellows indeed. A lawyer, a law student, a software engineer, a medical student, a doctor, business professionals, and one strange looking guitar. Nobody would have believed me if I told them we are all in our mid-to-late twenties, and some of us respected professionals. It looked more like rush week at your local frat.

Stupid cold. Now I get to gross out all of my coworkers by sitting here sniffling and sneezing all day.

-ljr

October 11, 2006

back and busy...

so... as ljr said down below... a bunch of the old buff crew went down to virginia this past weekend for a friend's wedding. talk about your weekend of unexpected events. some friend's got into a car accident driving down. some lady sitting behind me was on the plane for the first time going down on friday, and because of the bumpy ride from big storms, all i heard for the last 10 min before landing was gagging, and purging. day of wedding, the place it was supposed to be at was flooded, somehow people in the wedding party pulled off finding an alternative place to hold it. coming back, my flight was cancelled, and it was the last flight out of the airport for the carrier. i spent all afternoon trying to get a seat on another airline, on the phone with service agents, going in between different carriers ticket counters, getting sent back to the original carrier's counter because things hadn't gone through correctly. i think in total, i made about 4 trips back and forth between counters before everything finally got settled. talk about your frustrating travel experience. my plan to study for my midterms in the airport was shot, as i wasted most of the afternoon and evening rushing around and panicking about getting out of the place.

yup... then i had a midterm on monday... and one today.

and one next monday, wed, and friday.

and pcats next saturday.

and one last one the following friday.

i frickin love life!

so i can take a breather now... so i figured i'd update the ol blog.

(-) busy until november, bills got demolished, still don't have my new sloan, lab not working
(+) sabres are 3-0, the republicans are scrambling, al gore's speaking @ ub in the spring

hmmm... other big news... hospital closures are coming... there's way too much capacity here (only around 50% of beds are filled) and many hospitals are in dire financial straits. i've heard 2 plans to open a new university medical center for ub in a merger with ecmc, or buffalo general in the medical corridor downtown. this would be a great idea for the medical school to have it's own teaching and research hospital. academic medical centers are usually more cutting edge, and are able to provide medical care for lower income residents.

this is cool (watch it and you're day will instantly get better).

maybe i'll put some pics up later from the weekend. that's it for now. hope you're all doing well.

October 12, 2006

early snowfall...

it's snowing! the first snow of the season always gets me excited... even if it is only OCTOBER!?

October 14, 2006

would you like some power with that?

we got walloped with snow on thursday. for those out of the loop... here's an article. record snowfall for october... it started when i got out of my lab on thursday... and i had just posted the entry below... and a few hours after... we just got dumped on. trees went down... bringing along the powerlines with them. my house just got power restored to it an hour ago... it was a little over 48 hours with no power. it was a surreal experience... cause it's so weird to have a snow storm knock buffalo down for the count.

here's a pic.

October 16, 2006

Let me throw my hat in the ring

October Storm 2006 - Buffalo, NY.

Pictures of my yard...before & after.

My Flickr pics

October 17, 2006

The Notorious F.E.M.A.

A local newspaper, in a story about the recent storm, noted that there were people go around door-to-door saying that they work for FEMA and that they were negotiating relief aid costs for debris clean-up or flood damage. The story quoted a local official who said something along the lines of "..do not believe them and do not do business with these criminals. They are imposters..."

Uhhh, FEMA is essentially run by criminals and imposters so what's your point? :p

And on a few other notes:

John Fasso - I don't think I would've voted for you for Governor in the upcoming election but since your campaign chose to bombard my home phone with senseless jibber-jabber about your bid for office - DURING THE STORM WHEN WE WERE COLD AND WET - you definitely don't get my vote.

Mayor Byron Brown - I had high hopes for you. But you proved you are like the others. When Governor Pataki (who I detest quite a bit) offered the aid of the NYS National Guard, you refused, citing head-in-your-ass reasons like "they don't know how to navigate our city streets" (Dude, they drive around in Humvees and if they see a 5 story pile of trees, they pick that shit up and haul it away), and "we are not yet in need of the services of the National Guard" (Cause they are better off being misused by GW Bush and his stupid war? The National Guard is for times like these, not going to war because Washington is filled with idiotic officials *cough* Rumsfeld *cough* who didn't allocate enough troops in the first place.) So with that Byron, I wish you farewell. You could've been a contender. Instead you are another suit with no care or concern for your citizens, just the private companies you will give the cleanup contracts to.

In summary: a big fvck you to Byron Brown, John Fasso, GW Bush, FEMA, and Rummy.

damage control

i went into my lab yesterday and took some pics of the damage. i was hoping to get some more pics of the villages of williamsville and snyder, however electrical crews were out canvassing the areas, and the trees laying on the street did not offer me a good place to park and walk around.

http://gdbtc.dyndns.org:8080/gallery/main.php?g2_itemId=1546

"and you're getting too old to be cared for... by me, and for that matter, this cake is baked but i much prefer the batter. perhaps in part because it had so much potential, to be delicious and still be influential. i'm undecided." - fading into obscurity, sloan

October 22, 2006

buffalo-boston sports weekend

argh... hiccups!

anyways. let's write about the bad first shall we? the bills crapped their pants... again. thankfully i didn't spend too much time watching the game (ie. wasting time). i watched them not compete for about 10 min, and walked away. they look just as good as when bledsoe was under center. i'm quite sick of losing to new england (well... them and everyone else). remember in the 80s and 90s when the pats were a joke? the new england patsies? for the love of God, the bills lost to the lions last week! we have not had a decent o-line since the 90s. we've had 9 starting and potential starting qb's come into the organization since kelly. todd collins anyone? oh well whatever... it's a good thing hockey season starts in october!

so the sabres managed to take it to the bruins last night for a nice 6-2 win. was listening to the game in the car back from my lab... could clearly hear a pretty loud contingent of sabres fans @ the td bank north garden chanting, "let's go sabres" @ the end of the game. i guess that's the one good thing about buffalo... the economy's pretty bad here so lots of people leave the area... but they all remain sabres and bills fans... and you'll find them being the obnoxious away fans in most cities with an nhl or nfl team =]. they are now 8-0, the only undefeated team in the nhl. they embarrassed the flyers last week... and their gm resigned an coach got fired, but not before waiving 4 players from their team. they'll be gunning for a franchise record 9-0 start when they play the habs tomorrow. sorry k... i'll be fiercely rooting for my slugs... er... sabres tomorrow night... no offense =p.

so i think most of the power has come on in the area. there were 2 traffic lights that are on a heavily travelled main road up linking the north and south campuses of ub that were still out friday, but they've came back on sat. still see lots of lumber on people's lawns... piled up high. most of the public grade schools in the area were off all of last week. some are off until this wed. crazy... it's like a week and a half unexpected vacation! however, there seems to be some concern how they are going to make up the required days of instruction. i'm hearing that they may have to hack off some days from their spring breaks.

one of the big congressional races here is jack davis vs. tom reynolds. reynolds wields a good amount of power in the republican party... and most of you know my dislike for that party. however, i am quite scared of davis' views from both an economic and societal aspect. the loss of domestic jobs to other countries is a concern... but protecting jobs by imposing tariffs and turning away from trade is not the answer. some of davis' ads are very anti-china, i fear this has the potential to rile people up and cause some race issues. anyway, back to the point... global trade is important to the economy. most developed economies are turning towards the service industry to grow. traditional manufacturing is pretty much a dead end in this country. people living in developed countries are used to a certain lifestyle. they want their media, entertainment, ipods, computers, material products now, and cheaply. in order to provide these products at an acceptable cost to consumers, are companies going to: 1) choose to manufacture the goods where labor costs $24/hour through union negotiated contracts, or 2) choose to manufacture them where labor is $2/hour (which mind you is still above prevailing wages in that area)? i ask you, what would make the most sense to you? as a consumer, how much are you willing to pay for your items? a simple solution would be to just ask everyone to stop shopping at wal-mart, however i don't think that solution will happen. living in a market economy, it's not fair to say you want to change the rules when things hurt. looking at it from a more global view, pulling out of these agreements may dramatically damage foreign economies causing developing governments to collapse. these trade agreements may hurt us in the short term, but they are raising the living standards of many countries. to reach any sense of equality and equillibrium, this period has to happen. so... as much as i hate to say it... i will be voting republican for this particular race.

the US now has a population of > 300 million, yet almost 16% of it's population is uninsured.

cool article and pics of colliding galaxies.

October 24, 2006

it's gonna be november next week!

how'd that happen?

i've been sloaning it up since i got the new album. i've got a few favs... and since autumn has really settled into almost a winter... here are the lyrics to one of my favs on the album. it's kind of simon and garfunkel'y... ish.

it's not the end of the world, sloan

it's not the end of the world
but into a ball you are curled
winter will pass
when it does

you can go cause this isn't what it was
say the snow made us do it just because

while we weghed the pros and the cons
the sun had unfrozen the ponds
winter had come to an end

i don't know if you will call me your friend
say it's so or i'm libel to pretend

now you've made your mark on the world
at times into a ball i have curled
so i had to move on
but i'll always be fond of you

winter was hard on us all

bundle up cause it already feels like fall
i'm all right but i don't mind when you call
we can talk of our brief time in the sun

the acoustic works well with chris' voice. if i had an ipod, i'd put it on my ipod on a playlist for a fall hike or walk through the woods.

October 28, 2006

rough 2 or so weeks

i feel like i've been sprinting the last couple weeks just trying to get past midterms, tests, lab presentations, etc. didn't help with that storm knocking power out and putting people's lives on hold, things were still hanging over my head.

i'm glad to say that i made it out intact for the most part. i have one more take home midterm i have to hand in on monday. i'm not particularly happy with how the tests all went so far... i don't think i did spectacular cause my focus just hasn't been with me since october began... but i don't think i did terrible either, so i'm ok with it. still lots of deadlines to be met, but i can return to my normal more relaxed go-with-the-flow personality instead of staying up all night to cram for tests.

so the sabres are playing tonight against the thrashers. game downtown's sold out, should be a really great environment. should they win, they will break the nhl record for most consecutive wins at the start of a season (though the sabres had a couple shoot-out wins to start off the season this year, and technically the leafs did it with actual wins as SO's weren't implemented until recently). the sabres are also on the verge of selling out their season already. quite a turnaround from the dark days of rigas ownership. even when they reached the conference finals and cup in the 98 and 99 seasons support for the team wasn't as great.

with the team on the up and up, other things are moving around in the city too, such as developer bashar issa proposing a new building replacing the hsbc tower as the tallest building in buffalo. issa is currently also redeveloping the statler towers. both projects are going to be done without public funds, and completely privately financed.

interesting to note too that ub's bioinformatics/life science complex should be fully operational with researchers moving completely into its labs as early as next month. here's a video from the center... it's kind of weird to see some of my professors in it.

so... onto the sloan. just some historical stuff that dug up. it was kind of interesting to read what the members of the band had to say about their second full length album 'twice removed', which is also my favorite one by the band. it's weird to think that patrick hated the album so much, cause one of my favorite classics is 'i can feel it'.

so the new album is quite a departure from the last two... which i think many people didn't care too much for. i on the other hand liked action pact quite a bit. it was a solid rock album, good for driving on the open road with the windows down on a nice summer day. pretty together was hit or miss... i liked half the album, mostly songs that were written by chris and patrick. the new record has sloan experimenting more with sounds, rhythm, and styles a little more. jay turns in some great songs, but i don't think it measures up to his output on between the bridges (poor boy being my yardstick for jay). it does retain a better cohesiveness like btb in the sense that some songs flow right into the next, which works well. case in point, i didn't like 'who taught you to live like that' when i heard it as a single... on the album though, the first track 'flying high again' which was a collaboration between all the members of the band runs right into 'wtytllt' without a break, and makes for a better listening experience. 'wtytllt' also works as a song a whole lot better once the entire album comes into play. andrew also turns in some songs of note on the new album. it's rare that i like how andrew's songs and will actively want to listen to them. most times, i don't mind listening to andrew songs in the background, but i don't go seeking them out. on this album though, there is a more than the usual amount of andrew material that i would probably seek out.

i really like how the album starts off with flying high again, and every band member having a little blurb to sing.

wtytllt gets a little better on each hearing for me. the rhythm is good, i like the piano in it, i'm not so big on some of the lyrics.

i've gotta try is an andrew song, overall it's a good song, though i don't particularly like the intro to the song. it gets more enjoyable as the song progresses. i think though, the blending of the first 3 songs makes this group much stronger.

everybody wants you is the first song that i really like on the album. it's got this acoustic rhythm guitar in the beginning of the song that is replaced by an electric. there are elements of the song that remind me of the clash. ahhh... there's also the great harmonizing that sloan is known for... on this one it's patrick and chris. the tempo of the song is good, rhythm changes, chord progressions, and time structure make for an interesting listen instrumentally.

listen to the radio is another one of patrick's ballads. it was an initial favorite, but after listening to some of the other tracks it's dropped a few. it's nice, and good, but not as strong as some of his other ballads. the synth is kind of interesting in that it's different, but i think it might be stronger without it. still a good one though, with patrick songs, even if they're not great... they are still better than most of the stuff out there... at least for me.

fading into obscurity. i really like this song a lot. i like how it's divided into a couple of sections, with different styles. i never really gave too much thought on lyrical word play until i was in a relationship with someone who absolutely loved chris' lyrics. the more i thought about it, the more i appreciated it. chris has some of the coolest lyrics around... lots of word play in this song... makes for an amusing... and entertaining listening experience. the end of the song is especially catchy.

i can't sleep is ok. it's not so bad because it's only a minute long, but if it didn't have that drawn out sound and vocals at the end of each phrase. i like the instrumentals on the track.

someone that i can be true with starts off pretty good, but ends up being ok only because of the repetitive nature and though chris can come up with some great lyrics for some songs, the lyrics to this song are kind of ridiculous towards the end of the song. it's not a terrible song, but i've heard better. i do like how it blends into the next track though... it makes it a little better.

right or wrong by jay... goot harmonizing, good instrumentals, above average. i particularly like the piano that goes along with this song.

something's wrong... first solid song by andrew on this album. i like the band's backup vocals on this song. interesting elements from classic rock. a little short... but it leaves you with a sense that you'd like to hear more... which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

ana lucia... from what i've read it's about sloan's manager's baby. lyrics are cute. how cool would it be if you had a rock song written about you? good song. rockin heavy guitars.

before the end of the race... first jay song on this album that i really like. the mix of instrumentals are really good on this track.

blackout is another andrew song that i like. solid rocking out, almost feels like it could've been included on their navy blues album.

i understand. this is a great patrick ballad. some lyrical elements aren't the best, but... the chorus is frickin catchy... especially with the harmonizing and handclaps! i like how patrick likes to put in horns on his songs. perhaps cutting it a little shorter would be better. good song!

you know what it's about, this and the next track golden eye kind of go together. both have elements that i like. however, of the two... golden eye stands out with better instrumentals and rhythm, though the lyrics are kind of weak.

can't you figure it out, is another jay song that is quite good. it almost feels like it could've been included on btb. love the guitars and beats on this song. catchy chorus... good moving bass line.

set in motion is kinda funny, i think my fav part of the song is the chorus.

love is all around is a different kind of sound for andrew i think. it works. i do wish though that he would stop using that effect where his voice sounds like it's 10 feet away from the microphone.

will i belong. i don't care for this song much.

ill placed trust. this is as solid a patrick song as any. i listen to this when i drive to school in the morning... cause i'm usually late getting out the door... and it pumps me up to start the day... cause lemme tell you... these days... i haven't wanted to start many of em.

live the life you're dreaming of. i like this song a lot. it's a chris ballad. "maybe i can make it happen, i can help you work and love." good chorus, and use of all member's vocals. classic harmony.

living with the masses is possibly my favorite andrew song on this album. i like the chorus a lot, and andrew sounds like he's actually close to the microphone on this one.

hfxnshc... frickin halifax, ns hardcore.... great patrick song... lots of energy, "new beat generation!"

people think they know me... it's kinda eh, but i think the chorus to the song saves it.

i know you... what's with the knowing song things with that thing? it's kinda slowish in the beginning... but speeds up. the song definitely gets better as you listen to it.

last time in love. good catchy song by chris. i like how he plays around with the down beats on this song, and changing of the times. good harmonizing... classic use of sloan handclapping. grooving bass line.

it's not the end of the world. the most folk sounding track of the album... see below.

light years... it's got catchy piano in it... it's an ok jay song... not my fav on the album though.

another way i could do it. the middle portion of this song rocks the hardest... but overall the track is quite good. i'm trying to think of who this track reminds me of... but the name is not coming to me at the moment.

so there you go... that's my review. it's quite a lengthy album... and there's a lot of variety on it. i think as a cohesive album it's not as cohesive as some of their others because of the variety. however they do try and blend things together with fading on the song... which does work for some of them. in terms of the quality of the music... there are definitely more hits than misses when taking the album as a whole. there are only a couple of songs that will be able to come off this record as singles. it's hard to assign something out of 10 for the album... because i think it depends on what kind of day i listen to it on. in terms of the concept of the album though... i'd have to give it a 9/10. i guess i'll have to wait a couple years to see how high this ranks amongst their discography, which so far looks like this: twice removed, one chord, btb, action pact, navy blues, smeared (which i like a bit... but i think many of the songs would be much better without the distortion), and pretty together... however i don't forsee it taking down twice removed as my top pick. also... hearing the songs live in the future may have some impact on how much i like the song.

everyone have a good weekend!

October 31, 2006

Sloan

Wow, well J's written an amazingly in-depth review of Sloan's latest album, Never Hear the End of It. (I could probably make a stupid joke about how I thought I'd never get to the end of his review, but I seem only to be able to get away with dumb things like that at the office, where the silliness provides necessary levity. Plus I really like what he's done and don't want to besmirch it for a cheap laugh... or groan.)

I've listened to the album five times through now, each time from start to finish, and I haven't really dabbled with individual tracks. Reading the review has me listening to the album a sixth time now. (I ended up taking a break from it, and from rock music in general, and focusing on classical music for a bit. I always oscillate between the two, and sometimes the periods are longer than others. I had a really long rock music phase recently, and now I'm in a half-and-half phase.)

Anyway, I've listened to the new record enough times to have general opinions of it, but I'm not ready to do a track-by-track review yet. (I don't know when I'll have time for that.) I really don't dislike any of Sloan's releases, except perhaps the Peppermint EP, which I think they bettered in every way with the release of Smeared. However, I do think some of their albums are stronger than others. I agree with The Onion AV Club's Hall of Fame that their masterpiece is Between the Bridges (henceforth referred to as BtB). Pretty Together was hit or miss, Action Pact was rockin' but perhaps a bit monolithic in its approach, and now we have, in my estimation, Sloan's best album since BtB.

What do they have in common? Aside from blending the songs together (something that was done masterfully on Side B of The Beatles' Abbey Road) and generally keeping them short in length, there's a very musical flow to the way the songs are arranged that makes it easy to listen to the full record, despite its overall duration. When the individual members of Sloan are at the top of their songwriting game, and all four are making quality contributions, something magical happens. They provide a variety of styles, which is what makes them so fun to listen to... again like The Beatles. (Jason's gonna harp on my bringing them up like this, but they're undeniably an influence, and always have been.)

The thing that surprised me the most about this album is the number of Andrew songs in it - and how good they are! After being shut out of Action Pact, probably by choice, he's come back with a vengeance. His contributions are my favorite this time around. His voice is great, his songs don't have the occasionally self-indulgent quality that Jason was complaining about, which has been evident on some of his tracks in earlier albums. I think Andrew had some really terrific material on Pretty Together, and of course the culminating "Delivering Maybes" on BtB, so I'm happy to hear that he's carrying it forward.

Jay... Jay does his best work since BtB. His music is so unabashedly happy here! I don't want to seem to take Chris and Patrick for granted, but they've put out so much material over the course of their careers (and dominated the last album) that I don't really have anything new to say about their work. I like what they do. Patrick's been getting harder and Chris has been turning out some really pretty ballads... sort of a flip on their roles earlier in the history of the band. They are both very skilled in both genres, but I just get the impression that there's been a gradual shift of focus from one to the other.

So in summation, Andrew's work here has me going back to appreciate his earlier work, and Never Hear the End of It has me switching back and forth between it and BtB. Both albums don't work so well on iPod shuffle mode, and so what? I'm such a fan of musicians that really craft albums as a whole, and the new one falls right in line with my sensibilities. Simply, it makes me happy to listen to it, the whole blessed thing, from start to finish, every time. For a newcomer, I'd still recommend BtB first, because I don't know how the uninitiated would react to the sprawling new album (and they may not be amenable to the Sloan sound), but Never Hear the End of It would be my follow-up recommendation. Definitely.

About October 2006

This page contains all entries posted to .:Gotta Drop a Blog in The Corner:. in October 2006. They are listed from oldest to newest.

September 2006 is the previous archive.

November 2006 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Powered by
Movable Type 3.32