Friday, September 29, 2006

Big Game At West Point Saturday...

While the Rice Owls may not be a big football powerhouse, it is nonetheless a big game for the beloved Army team. If they can prevail, it will mark the first time in a bazillion years that Army will hold a WINNING record (3-2) and I'm already fighting a case of the "What if's". What if we'd have not let time run out with the ball on Texas A&M's four yard line and punched it in for a touchdown and the win? Again, with the win this weekend, Army would be 4-1. Never mind that crap though, they played tough against A&M and were able to carry it over to last week's win and that's what counts. GO ARMY!!!

Click the avatar for a most haunting and lovely melody...

I'm sorry, I'm sorry...

Again, I'm sorry it's been such a light week of posts. It has indeed been a busy week in the area of my job search. As many of you already know, my employer has decided to close my facility at the end of November. This has prompted me to conduct my first search for work in over 13 years. My how things have changed since last I had to do this. As things wind down here in my current position and in between writing recommendations on behalf of my employees, I spent more and more time blasting out resumes to any lead somebody will give me, as well as hitting the job boards daily. So far there have been many who have passed on names, numbers, e-mail addresses, and advice for which I am grateful, and this week I've actually received a few nibbles. I desparately needed this since my spirits have been sagging a bit.

Let it be known that I welcome ALL advice and/or leads that anyone is willing to provide. I’m casting a pretty wide net geographically including the metro NYC, greater Washington DC, and Raleigh/Durham area. We’d love stay here in the ATL of course, but know that we must go wherever opportunity exists. If anyone would like a copy of my resume to hand to a prospect they have in mind on my behalf, please e-mail me and I'll get one over to you post haste.

So what else is up? Trying to get into these two M Ward discs (here and here) that Misanthrope recommended and am struggling a little with the first one. Hoping the other gives me more of a warm fuzzy.

Looks like Lori’s Gamecocks couldn’t put a win together last night despite her birthday booster avatar message she left on this blog this week. The Cocks blew a couple of sure opportunities to win the game early and are now in a real struggle for credibility this season.

My little sister is in town this week and we’ll be getting together down at my folks place this weekend for what I hope will be a lot of family fun. My sister is a corporate recruiter and has thus been a great source of information and encouragement in my search for a new job.

What else..?

Fred at AVC has a post up partially inspired by a Bob Lefsetz blog who shares my pessimism about listening habits of today's music consumer. It’s very rare that I find myself in agreement with Bob, but this time he nails it. I'm sure Fred wasn't looking for so much scope creep in his comments section on this post since the majority of it addressed his eviable postion of having all his kids digging the same great music he and his wife do, but the link to Bob's post inspired me.

Lastly, to make up for the light posts here at IDM this week, I’ll leave you with this video that I ganked from Fred that had me in stitches all morning. If you haven’t seen any of this guys “The Office” or “Extras” shows you absolutely must. Enjoy!

Monday, September 25, 2006

A Case For New Orleans...

While I’m not convinced that many more folks will return to New Orleans than already have, I do now have a personnel reason to see that the city is restored to whatever state is deemed necessary and that reason is Cowboy Mouth. Saturday night our friend, the always lovely Ms. Lori Crow, celebrated her 25th birthday and we all headed down to the Roxy to check out the musically banal 13 Stories and headliner Cowboy Mouth (That's Lori's tonefully sweet voice currently featured on my avatar cheering her SC Gamecocks on). After munching on some lomticks of tasty hors devours and sipping some wonderful spirits at the birthday girls abode, we all piled into Bacon’s behemoth monster truck and headed into the heart of Buckhead for the show.

First off, I love The Roxy. It had been several years since I’d been to a show there, but it’s a great room. Perhaps a little sparse, but it does have a balcony and a large elevated stage. The Roxy is also outfitted with a great console and PA system and is manned by guys who know how to get great sound out of it. The bar area is large and separated from the viewing hall and they deploy remote beer serving stations as to not to tie up the bar with beer drinkers. Our crew relied on some standard tailgating booze smuggling tactics as well and we had ample quantities of airplane bottle whiskey to supplement our Coca-Cola's before Cowboy Mouth took the stage.

I knew it was going to be good as soon as I saw that Cowboy Mouth’s lead singer and drummer Fred LeBlanc was being set up to the front of the stage. While I don’t own any of their records (that’ll change today) I was a little familiar with this band from their hits and local popularity here in Atlanta. All that can be said is that these guys rocked the muthaf**king house down with their cajun tinged, high energy power punk set. Fred is Billy Joe Armstrong on a healthy concoction of cocaine, speed, crack, Viagra, and meth. He beat those drums like his life depended on it, at one point breaking the snare drum head. If I had a band, this guy would be my drummer. No bullshit, just hitting the things hard and pulsing the beat with his cannon like bass drum. They did a bunch of tunes off their new album Voodoo Shop (title track, Joe Strummer, Glad to Be Alive, and Misty Falls) and some killer stuff from their rather extensive catalog including their big late nineties hit “Jenny Says”. Huge chunky guitars brought to us by Paul Sanchez and John Thomas, solid bass from the very hot looking Sonia Tetlow. I love bands that give it they’re all during every show and these guys delivered that and them some.

There’s something about musicians that hail from New Orleans. It would seem that it’s impossible to separate the local musical flavors from whatever genre they play and Cowboy Mouth’s music is no exception. Cajun punk. I weird spicy blend that, as Cake magazine aptly noted, "...on a bad night they’ll tear the roof off the joint and on a good night they’ll save your soul." Consider me saved.

Now for the standard post celebration apologies… Lori, I’m sorry that your entire apartment complex had to learn that Army upset Baylor in overtime at such a late hour. I hope management and your neighbors go easy on you and no harm results do to my over zealous celebration. It was your birthday and, after all, the Cowboy Mouth show was your idea. Please let them know that the loud nature of my celebration was largely due to the fact that I could not hear a damn thing following the performance and, well let be honest, Army just doesn’t win that many football games. I was also sure that I had won the weeks college football pool something that happens as rarely as an Army win.

How good a night was it? As Mrs. Alva and I were bringing our little girl home from next door sometime in the wee hours, I turned around and saw Yoda Jacket in the back seat of his car fast asleep. Hopefully his wife had mercy on him and went back out to rescue him later. That’s a good night.

UPDATE: This is Sonia Tetlow, bass player for Cowboy Mouth. Like I said rrrroooowww!!!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Greatest Photo Ever...

This photo captivated me the first time I ever laid eyes on it on so many years ago. It is my all time favorite rock and roll photo ever. It was published as part of the photo collage’s that make up the double album artwork for the Rolling Stones masterpiece “Exile On Main Street”. This photo to me is more than a picture of some rock stars doing their thing. It embodies the very essence of collaboration, friendship, codependency, and love. To understand the magnificence of this photo, it helps to know the historical context under which it was taken.

The Rolling Stones were under going what some might describe as growing pains. They were emerging from their coddled existence within the warm bosom of the corrupt world of the record industry to an insular, and dare say paranoid life, of creative and financial independence. The band had just discovered that after selling countless millions in records and concert tickets they were flat broke. Cheated and swindled by so many of their most trusted “friends” and business associates. In addition to that pesky problem, a huge tax bill was coming due to Her Majesty’s Government on money they did not have. In order to avoid this payment and along with their entourage, they sequestered themselves to large estate in the South of France earning themselves the outlaw distinction of “Tax Exiles” from thier homeland. While the band had been together for some time up to this point, they were all reaching an age where each individual was developing their own unique personality and life away from the band. They still maintained some mutual friends, but after discovering how their “friends” had ripped them off and taken advantage of them in previous years, this circle grew quite small. I’m not sure this subset was any better of a positive influence.

The Stones had left much death and destruction in their wake already by the time Keith rented the mansion that would become their hideout for the next several months and being in such close quarters tension was building amongst the group as Mick made his movies, Keith did his drugs, and they all screwed each others women in a frenzy of self destructive behavior and decadent distraction. Despite all this, these two visionaries kept this strange bond through out it all and held the band together. A partnership that had a higher priority than anything else in their lives at that time including wives and drug habits. While their personality differences can certainly be pointed to as causes for future creative failures (see “Emotional Rescue”), for reasons known only to the gods, it only amplified the art they made in the basement of the Nelcote Estate that summer. These guys were, and still remain true blood brothers to this day and into their old age.

Many writers far more eloquent than I have dissected the relationship between these two men. For me, this picture tells the whole story with nothing more needing to be added.

I wonder if either of them has this picture hanging on a wall in their homes?

Monday, September 18, 2006

Mourning the loss of the best coffee in NJ…

As I mentioned in my last post, mother-in-law was in town this weekend on her way to Savannah with my brother and sister-in-law for some ghost tours, sight seeing, and good eating. Ahead of her arrival, we were informed by my New Jersey based sister-in- law that a terrible tragedy had befallen the people of Paramus and surrounding communities, an incident that will surely dampen the spirits of my wife and I when we next travel to mom’s for a visit. We were given the horrible news that the Tom Sawyer Diner had burned to the ground last week.

There are many, many things I look forward to when we travel to the NY/NJ metropolitan area. There’s seeing my in-laws (I am blessed to have a mom in law, nieces, nephews, bro/sis in law that I enjoy and love so much), there’s seeing Jackson and the Smoke & Mirrors kibbutz of musical talent, there’s football and friends at West Point and Highland Falls, but the thing that I get to enjoy everyday I’m on NYC metropolitan area terra firma is the good eatin’. The Tom Sawyer Diner is a block and a half walking distance from my mom-in-law’s house on Ridgewood Ave., at the light between the Garden State Parkway and Route 17. It is usually our family’s first eating stop during visits. Once we drop our bags and the girls hit the restroom immediately following our arrival, we always beat a quick path to the Tom Sawyer Diner. It is a classic Northeastern diner in the truest sense. Fresh cooked food from a menu two inches thick. Great breakfast, great lunch, great dinner. Now it’s gone.

George Siamboulis, told the local newspaper that he named the restaurant after Tom Sawyer because he is a Mark Twain fan and owns an edition of "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" published in 1900. An image of the title character snoozing on the banks of the Mississippi River, his fishing pole by his side, was etched into a large mirror that hung in one of the restaurant's dining rooms.

I hope the Siamboulis family opts to rebuild and keep the family business going. Meanwhile, like George, Jerry, Elaine, and Kramer had to do a couple of times, we'll have to find a new diner to patronize.

Woe is me, Woe is Jackson...

Wow. What a bummer of a football weekend for yours truly. It started early with the underwhelming Maryland Terrapins getting handed their jocks by a lightly scheduled, but still formidable West Virginia. I continue to remain loyal to the Fridge at UM for his honestly if nothing else. When asked about turning away a scholarship to WV star Steve Slaton he simply offered, “Yeah, that was a pretty dumb move on my part”. It’s going to be a long season for the Terps I’m afraid.

The GT vs Troy game was a respite from the let down. As many expected, Troy came with game in hand after shutting people up in Tallahassee two weekends ago. Same thing happened here. They hung in with GT’s defense and played like they belonged in Div IA football. Late 3rd/early4th qtr, GT went up by a touchdown and Troy seemed to panic and ended up losing control as they did against FSU. Good teams like GT and FSU know how to exploit this and both did handing Troy their second straight loss. It was a nice day and a good game. A word of warning to GT fans: Don’t be so quick to clear a spot on the calendar for the conference championship just yet. Clemson is most definitely for real and will be HIGHLY motivate to get even for all the squeakers GT’s pulled off over the last couple of years. (Why aren’t we going to this game?)

The events of the day left me physically drained and after having a pleasant evening with my wife and mother in law who was passing through on her way to Savannah, I headed up early to bed. I knew the Army vs. Texas A&M game had started late and was more than likely at half time. I also knew that I’d get little resistance to watching it since Mrs. Alva was fairly exhausted herself and would drift to sleep quickly, but I was given to serious evaluation of the merits of staying up into the wee hours just to see Army get demolished by one of the “sure loss” teams on their independent schedule (I even picked A&M to cover on my card). I attempted to fain interest by putting the local news on and picked up my book hoping I could resist, but eventually succumbed to temptation and flipped over to ESPN2 to catch the score. “HOLY SHIT! Army has them tied up 14-14 at the half” I said to my barely conscious love of my life quickly followed by, “Ah crap, I don’t want to stay up until 1:00 am watching them get their hearts broken, do I?”

Of course that’s exactly what I did readers, and that’s exactly what the outcome was. Army looked like a real football team out there as they once again proved themselves to be the best team in the league at winning a football game without actually winning the game. They lost the game with possession of the ball at Texas A&M’s two yard line 28-24 as time ran out. Go here and get all the gory details, but it was indeed quite exciting if not demoralizing. As I stated in a post early this year in regards to being an Army football fan: this is the life, the burden, we choose. I hope they can recover from this near upset and play well next week.

I listened to the Falcons win on the car radio (despite missing exactly 47 field goals) and upon returning to my homestead following a terrible round of golf in Peachtree City with my dad, brother in law, and Tom Culver, USMA class of 62 and Army football letterman himself, I turned on the Jet game with some trepidation.

The Jets were down 24 zip against the New England Patriots and people were leaving the stadium as the third quarter clicked passed the five minute mark. I was sure that I had nothing more in me after the Army loss and considered watching something else, but I knew Jackson would give me shit about it so I hung on. Just as I resigned myself to my decision, Chad Pennington connected to Jerricho Cotchery who was then delivered a vicious high/low hit by two Patriot safeties. A hit so awesome I was sure Cotchery was going to claim he was Batman once the whistle blew, but instead the dude somehow avoided letting his knee or his elbow touch the ground, he quickly rights himself, and sprints another 40 yards or so for a touchdown. I’m sure the play ran on every local sports highlight reel and much deservedly so. Okay, now I’m hooked. Following a three and out Pat’s series Laveranues Coles does an amazing dance to the end zone after catching a short screen pass and the Jets are now in the game with a quarter still to play. They made it exciting including blocking a Pat's field goal in the waning minutes, but in the end couldn’t rally enough to get the victory. I was left exhausted yet again. I’m sure Jackson would tell you: Such is being a Jets fan, this is the life, the burden, we choose.

I will forgive the disparaging remarks he made this weekend in the comments section of his blog with regard to the greatest game in the universe (college football) and wish him and his team the best next week knowing that he’ll have to contend with his new comment friend and annoyingly rabid Dallas Cowboys fan after the Redskin’s disappointed the world by not beating the star helmet sneeches.

Football starts early for us this week with UVA coming to Bobby Dodd to get their ass whuppin’ at the hands of the Ramblin’ Wreck on Thursday nights ESPN game. Going to be fun and perhaps uplifting?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

For a departed homie...

Found this photo while doing some junk drawer cleaning last week. This is the legendary Rambo aka, Super Buddy, Buddy, Super, Snooper, and Little Black Mambo Murder In Disguise. He was a great cat indeed. He was a staple character of the old Coal Mine Studio back up in New York. He was often seen sitting on the wall which flanked the road leading up to Michie Stadium at West Point. He'd sit their greeting the throngs of football fans walking up the hill hoping that one would stop and chat, perhaps share a snack with him. He was the one who would follow me to work at the post convenience store. He was unusually amiable and friendly. He was pretty much up for anything as you can see from this photo. Try putting a football helmet on any other feline and cut to ribbons would more than likely be the outcome. Not Rambo. Sure, put a football helmet on me, why not? University of Maryland sweater? Absolutely. It was a cat tee-shirt that Mr. L Smart brought to the studio one day baring the phrase "Super Stud" that starting the litany of names. We all thought "Super Stud" was too male prostituteish so we took a Sharpie to it and thus was born Super Buddy. He is immortalized on many tracks recorded at that studio. He is partly the inspiration for my current studio’s name (Grey Cat)

So pardon my gratuitous cat blogging, but I got a good chuckle out of finding this photo and wanted to share.

Rambo 1978?-1996

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

You've got some nerve...

A dude over at Peter Case's blog found this cool video of him out back of some cafe smokin', jokin', and jive'n 'bout old times presumably with the Plimsoul's guys. He runs down what appears to be a couple of old Nerves tunes he wrote. The audio is out of sync with the video, but that's cool.


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Way Cool...

Just got my double opt in e-mail marketing letter (as my friends in the business call it. Long word for friendly spam) from Mike Doughty HQ announcing he's going to be playing the Arena at Gwinnett Center on November 9th as the supporting act for The Barenaked Ladies. This will be very cool. The Arena is a great place. It's small and literally right around the corner from the Alva homestead.

I've asked my favorite youngest sister to help muster up a chance meeting with my fellow West Pointer and army brat, at the very least put in a request to play "Grey Ghost" on my behalf while he's here. I look forward to it!

Now, if I can just The X's down here somehow...

Friday, September 08, 2006

Photo Credit...

The new Alva family photo which is now displayed in the right hand sidebar was taken by Marybeth Hemenway.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Georgia Tech vs. Notre Dame Wrap Up...

It is simply the greatest game ever. Saturday’s all day affair at the Georgia Tech vs. Notre Dame game went as well as anyone could have expected, with the exception of actually winning the game. Our new tailgate spot is a winner and the big screen set up worked perfectly despite an early scare in which a bad bulb on the projector was discovered. This would have killed the spirits of most tailgate revelers, but not this group. We worked the phones and thanks to Debbie Lynch and her gracious boss, we came up with a replacement long before anything football related began to air. I’m not certain, but I think us guys did a pretty good job of draining a full ½ keg of beer, before packing it up and heading down the hill to Bobby Dodd Stadium around 7:30 PM.

Having ESPN Game Day on campus was great. While we struggled to get our mugs on TV, it was fun to be down there with the students, the GT band, television crew, etc… The only dark spot; having to bare being in the presence of the absolute worst sports color guy in all of broadcast, Brent Musberger. The guy is simply the biggest idiot to ever get air time. I even drew some hearty laughs doing my impersonation of him for the GT band we were standing in front of.

We tried in vain to make a few regular game day drunk dials to friends and relatives at other games across this great land of ours, mainly my sister and brother in law who were cowboying up at Happy Valley, PA watching Penn State stick it to the Akron Zips in the midst of hurricane Ernesto rements, but the crowds were too loud for either of us to hear our phones ring, and we were too numb from libations to feel them vibrate in our pockets. Being around a college campus on football Saturday is just a great feeling no matter which institution it might be. Katie loved the GT band coming around and serenading the tailgaters. Our fellow tailgaters, whether they be GT students, alumni, or visiting fans were a pleasure to hang out with. It was noted by more than one person how great the Notre Dame fans were in comparison to the king of all jackasses: Georgia Bulldog fans who come down to campus every other year looking to start fights and other trouble like the redneck drunken high schooler’s that they are.

The tailgate and Game Day coverage was great, but it’s all about the game folks and a great game it was. This was the best football game I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing since arriving here in Georgia 15 years ago. Yes, it would have been nice to win, but one thing for certain, GT’s defense smacked any sugar plumb thoughts of a blowout out of ND’s head the first time they lined up over the ball. It was a hard fought defensive contest in which no mistakes were made and ultimately ND just simply outlasted the underdog Yellow Jackets. The best thing about it was that the Jackets were in it up to the end.

It can’t go unmentioned that I was personally let down by the treachery of my friends who, after seeing me dump four/five airplane bottles of VARIOUS types of booze into my garbage pail size coke, failed to stop me from consuming all of it. This lead to wee hour in the morning consumption of too many Tums, which lead to no sleep, which lead to some porcelain hugging, and an entire Sunday’s worth of convalesence. No matter, it was all worth it. Lesson: when preparing your gametime drink, pick ONE type of booze and stick to it.

Elsewhere amongst my other college team favorites, things looked pretty grim. I didn’t get to see or hear any of the Army game against Arkansas State, but my dad says they played horrible. Not good. This was a game that they should have won. Could be a tought season up at West Point for the Cadet's if their rookie offense can't do better. Maryland Terp’s won, but not as decisively as they should have IMHO. They’ve got QB troubles on par with that of Army. I thought Penn State should have won bigger, but they did look pretty good in the muck and mire. For their first game, I’d say that verdict is still out on them. They head to South Bend, IN for a tough one against ND next weekend. That’ll be one to watch for sure.

As for GT, they've got a long string of home games against a couple of cupcakes and then UVA, who looked pretty bad this weekend, before they face anybody tough. After last Saturday’s game, it feels like these will be underwhelming events for us tailgater's in comparison to last Saturday, but that okay too. I have no doubt we’ll make the best of them and have as much fun as anyone can have. If anyone out there would like to make the trip down to join in the fun simply let me know and we’ll make it happen. Until then, GO Jackets!!!