Archive | August, 2007

Happy Blogiversary to Me!

31 Aug

It’s not quite the Day of All Days, but today is my two-year blogiversary. When I first started this blog on September 1, 2005, I didn’t know what it would become. But now, 640 posts later, it’s become a living, breathing thing that keeps growing by the post. And I thank all y’all out there — some folks I know, many I don’t — who’ve found the site and keep coming back to see what I’ll post next. Clearly you like what you’re reading, so I’ll keep it up.

Last year on my blogiversary, I counted down the top-5 best posts from my first year in the blogosphere. This year I thought I’d recall some memorable moments: notable life events, rants and raves, fun times, and sad times, all documented right here at Martin’s Musings. So, in no particular order, do you remember when …

I hated Cambridge?
I met Sam LaGrassa?
I almost appeared in the Wall Street Journal?
the Red Sox season ended so badly that I had to forgive the team?
… I lost both my friend Marc and my grandmother in a space of less than two months?
Time voted me Person of the Year?
I interviewed an Oscar-winner?
I was a change-maker?
my sister and my friend Andrew got married? (not to each other)
Dice-K sucked? (actually, he still does)
I rediscovered books and also loved Once and Amy Winehouse?
… I celebrated my 32nd birthday and my 33rd birthday in the space of one month?
I considered moving?

Yeah, I remember all that. But according to my traffic reports, more people remember when I hated Best Buy more than any of the above things; the Best Buy post was the most read one of the past 12 months.

So, again, thanks for reading, folks. I’ll try to make year three of Martin’s Musings even better. Stay tuned, and keep coming back.

So What?

30 Aug

Big deal. The Yankees swept us this week. I feel no sense of deja vu. After all, we’re still in first place by five games. The next time we meet up with the Yankees — right here in Fenway Park — we could be 10 or 12 games up. That’s how confident I am. So all you Yankee fans out there can just go enjoy your sweep. But don’t get too used to it.


27 Aug

I’ve been good all season, but I just couldn’t resist reposting one of my all-time favorite photos after Monday night’s humiliating loss. 16-0. That hurts, don’t it?

Ha ha! And now, as the Red Sox gear up to play three in the Bronx, up a whopping eight games — !!! — in the division standings, and with the Boston Herald proclaiming that It’s Over, that for all intents and purposes we’ve already clinched the division, it sure is good to be a Red Sox fan. Let’s just hope Dice-K (or Eric Gagne) doesn’t screw it all up and kill the momentum tonight.

And I Am Telling You …

23 Aug

To paraphrase the oft-quoted line from The Godfather: Part III, “Just when I thought I was moving out, they pull me back in.”

Or, as Effie White sings in Dreamgirls, “And I am telling you, I’m not going.”

I could keep quoting movie lines, but the fact remains: I’m not moving. At least not yet.

Today I reached an agreement with my new landlord to stay in my current apartment until at least the end of March. They wouldn’t let me go month-to-month or sign a six-month lease.

So, my condo search is on hold for a while. Continue reading

Is Summer Over Already?

19 Aug

Everyone has their favorite way of marking when seasons change. For example, does summer end on Labor Day? On September 1? On September 21? On Rosh Hashannah? When baseball season ends? When the Red Sox’ season ends? When football season begins? When the new TV season begins? Well, if you look around, you may see signs that summer is coming to a close are all around.

One of the biggest is that the gate to the parking lot at the Allston Shaw’s on Comm Ave. is now closed and you need to get a ticket before entering. When the college kids leave town, Shaw’s opens the gate permanently and laxes the restrictions on parking in the lot. But the gate going down means the students are returning. And sure enough, there were plenty of them all over Shaw’s Sunday night. Ugh. It means do your grocery shopping earlier (by all means, before 4pm on Sundays). It means the streets and the T are going to get more crowded. It means … summer is ending soon.

Another is my annual excursion with Dave and Scott (and their families) to Rye Playland and T.G.I. Friday’s. We started doing it back in 1992 before we (and five other friends) left for college, and we’ve made it a tradition to go sometime in August every year. This past Saturday we rode the Dragon Coaster and all the other rides for the 16th straight year. (Sixteen!) Amazing, I thought, that we’ve been going there that long and the park is basically exactly the same as it was when we first started going. It means people still enjoy an old-fashioned good time. It means Dave, Scott, and I are all still in touch. And it also means … summer is ending soon.

And then there’s the whole moving thing. My apartment building is emptying out. It’s largely because of the excessive increase in rent, and I’ve heard that come September 1, the place will only be about half full. That’s crazy. My across-the-hall neighbor is gone (bummer). My next-door neighbor (the loud one I don’t like) is gone (woo hoo!). Who knows who’s moving in (or when I’ll be moving out as well), but it means the place is going to be quieter for a little while. It means I have a better chance of doing my laundry whenever I want (for at least a couple weeks). It means soon there may be new people moving in — here and in other buildings all across the city. It means … summer is ending soon.

But living in Boston, I choose to go with the Head of the Charles as my marker for the end of summer. After all, the season starts late so it should end late too, and while the temperatures do get cooler in late September and early October, there’s always at least one weekend where we get a last gasp of warm weather. It means there’s still plenty to look forward to. It means there’s no need to worry. It means … summer isn’t ending just yet.

Bah Humbug

17 Aug

Jeez … someone forgot to put sugar in Virginia Heffernan’s coffee this morning — or rather, whenever it was that she watched High School Musical 2 and wrote her review for The New York Times.

Of the movie, she writes that there’s “so much to hate. Just search the bottom of your shriveled little sunless heart. You’ll figure it out. The widespread pressure to embrace the experience as kitsch only twists the knife. This is supposed to be the time of your life, and yet — oh brother. Just like high school. Just like a musical.”

She criticizes the bad lip-synching, the tanned skin (mind you, the movie takes place in the summer), the dancing … she just really didn’t like it. And yet, she ends her review this way: “The movie is mediocre, and should be skipped. But I can’t wait to buy the soundtrack and do the karaoke.”

So at least she doesn’t have a heart completely full of coal. Continue reading

Let the Music Play

16 Aug

The kind folks at Philips sent me a press release Thursday announcing that today, August 17, is the 25th birthday of the compact disc. Did you know the CD was that old (or that young, depending on your perspective)? And did you know that the first CD to be manufactured was The Visitors, by ABBA? Over the past 25 years, more than 200 billion CDs have been sold. That’s a hell of a lot of music. So it got me thinking: How many CDs do I own, and of them, which are my favorites?

Well, I wouldn’t even want to know how many I own. I think I got my first CD player and CDs when I was around 11, sometime around 1985. But to be honest, I’m sort of embarrassed that I can’t remember. Today, if you saw my apartment, you’d see stacks and stacks of music. There’s a CD tower, CDs stacked two layers deep on bookshelves, and CDs in a tupperware container under my bed. That’s music I’ve bought, and mixes I’ve burned (like this one and this one). It has to be close to 500 CDs. Maybe more. It’s insane.

As for my favorite CDs from the past 25 years, well, that’s a harder question to answer. But certain albums always sound good, so off the top of my head, here are some of the CDs that seem to be in perpetual rotation, in no particular order:
* Gold, by Ryan Adams
* Back to Black, by Amy Winehouse
* Shine, by the Pat McGee Band
* Gordon, by Barenaked Ladies
* MTV Unplugged, by 10,000 Maniacs
* The Dance, by Fleetwood Mac
* Twentysomething, by Jamie Cullum
* Chariot, by Gavin DeGraw
* For the Kids (Vol. 1), by Various Artists
* For Me, It’s You, by Train
* Painted from Memory, by Burt Bacharach and Elvis Costello

If I had to pick a list of “desert island CDs,” that’d be a chunk of them. So now I ask you: What are your favorite CDs — not the best CDs, just your favorites — of the past 25 years? Not albums reissued on CD, but albums originally released on CD in the past 25 years. I really want to know. Put your answer in the comments field below.

Calling All Nannies!

16 Aug

I received a press release from the Weinstein Company this afternoon alerting me that to promote the new movie The Nanny Diaries, which hits theaters next Friday (8/24), companies around the country have banded together to create Nanny Week, and to offer special discounts to those who toil each day supervising children. How nice, right? Well, the cool thing is, why limit the promotion to just those few people? So the coupons — which are good at places like Baskin-Robbins, Blockbuster, and Victoria’s Secret — are available to anyone, no proof of child supervision required. Click here to check it out. The promotion and coupons are only good from tomorrow (8/17) to next Friday, so don’t wait too long to take advantage. Enjoy!

Geek City

14 Aug

As the saying goes, If You Lived Here, You’d Be Blogging Right Now. I read in the Boston Globe this morning that according to the Web site, Boston is the bloggiest city in the country, with 89 posts per 100,000 residents recorded in March and April of this year. Good for us. I guess we have a lot to say. But it brings up an interesting question: what was I saying back then? Let’s take a trip in the wayback machine, shall we?

Ahh, March and April. Those were the good ole days of Haley Scarnato. When Dice-K was just bad, not quite awful yet. Back then I was listening to Amy Winehouse and making fun of Best Buy (how times have changed). There were good movies and not-so-good ones. Ah yes, March and April. Those were good times. No wonder I was blogging so much. And to think, we only had one more post than the greater Philadelphia area. I wonder if they counted this one or this one. Either way, I say Ha! Take that, Philly! (And yes, that was said with all due sarcasm.)

Welcome to P-Town

12 Aug

It’s really a shame that Talk to Me hasn’t found a bigger audience this summer, but I guess it’s not really too surprising. After all, how can a bio-pic about a Black radio DJ compete with the action of The Bourne Ultimatum or the humor of Superbad? The answer is it should have, because while Talk to Me might not have explosions, it does have an explosive performance by the always reliable Don Cheadle, making this the second great one he’s turned in this year (the other being Reign Over Me).

As noted, Talk to Me tells the story of Petey Greene, an ex-con who worked for a time at Washington, D.C. radio station WOL and became a hero in the urban community for discussing life in an uncensored, unvarnished style — basically telling it like it is. The film describes how Greene initially unsettled his white bosses, but ultimately earned a regular gig when he calmed his listeners following Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. It then shows how Greene became a media sensation with stand-up comedy gigs and a regular television show. (Here is a famous clip where Greene described the “proper” way to eat watermelon.)

But the film is more than that, and really, at its core, it concerns the relationship between Greene and his boss/manager/friend, Dewey Hughes (Chiwetel Ejiofor), two Black men coming from different places and points of view. While Greene is a product of the streets and sees himself as a real Black man, he views Hughes as simply a white man with a tan because he has assimilated into the establishment. Hughes views Johnny Carson as a hero, and he tries to make Greene more like him. But more importantly, the two men share a tight bond: one says what the other wants to say, and the other needs the other to say what he wants to say. Ejiofor (Love Actually, Children of Men) paints a sympathetic portrait of Hughes, and portrays him as a seeming polar opposite of the more raucous Greene. It’s a very good performance.

Talk to Me isn’t perfect entertainment; it feels longer than its two-hour running time and were it not for the Hughes-Greene dynamic, it’d be a pretty standard-issue film, with a plot similar in nature to Good Morning Vietnam. But Cheadle, as always, makes the movie worth seeing, and he’s also supported by Cedric the Entertainer, as another DJ at the station, and Taraji P. Henson (Hustle & Flow), who brings laughs and excitement to her role as Greene’s girlfriend. If you can still find it in a theater near you, I’d say the movie’s worth seeing. I’m going to give it a strong B.

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