Friday, April 29, 2005

For Those Who Think Jazz

Sunil reminded me about the Montreal Jazz festival the other day. As the summer is getting closer, jazz music festivals will be abundant, from New Orlean's Jazz Fest, to the International Jazz Festival in Montreal, to the Newport festival, just to name a few. So here's a reminder of couple of these festivals with links to their respective webpages for the lineups.


The Newport Jazz festival is one of my favourites, and although I have never been to it, I have enjoyed listening to various live recordings made over the years, including Miles Davis' 1958 live performance, and Stan Kenton among many. This time, being much closer to Newport than before, I plan to attend the September event and post reviews and pics from some of the events.


Monday, April 25, 2005

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

During his recent concert in Boston, Moby asked those in the audience who had played with a 20-sided die to put their hand up. A few did, including couple of his band mates. As Moby went on to explain, if you knew what a 20-sided die was, then you were a geek, as you probably would have played the one game where such a die is used in, "Dungeons and Dragons" at some point during your youth.

Another example of supreme geekdom is knowing all the characters of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy", a trilogy in four (or actually five) parts. Or knowing what was the answer to the meaning of life found in the Hitchhiker's trilogy. Ok, ok, it was "42". And the only reason I know is because I used to really like an 80's band, "Level 42".

Now, Douglas Adams' masterpiece of a comedic sci-fi story has been made into a movie. Before you think that Hollywood botched it again, according to the online guide, h2g2 (found on the links to the right), Adams always wanted to turn his stories into a movie, after having converted them to a BBC radio show, a BBC television show, a play, a computer game, etc. According to Adams' brother, the movie is bang on with the interpretation of the characters. I'm looking forward to seeing the movie when it comes out.

Once Upon A Time In Boston...

...with apologies to Robert Rodriguez' movie. I just couldn't resist. I'll tell you what I mean shortly.

My third week in Boston came to a close Sunday night. I didn't get to explore much over the weekend as it rained for almost two days. But, I did get to unpack most of my boxes and fix up the apartment a little. It looks more and more like a place to call home.

I did manage to get out Saturday evening though, continuing to explore the neighbourhoods around Boston. After walking around Brookline's Coolidge Corner, checking out restaurants and other stores, I ended up resting my weary feet at Peet's Coffee and Tea, for a good cup of cappuccino, a little reading, and some net surfing courtesy of free Wi-Fi.

Sunday afternoon was a nice, mild one which called for a run along the river, from Watertown to Cambridge and back, admiring the blooming trees and other lovely parts of nature. Early evening I ended up at Firenze Trattoria. The restaurant occupies a small basement, with an authentic ambiance, as well as authentic home-style Tuscan recipes, and a very affordable wine list. And here comes the "Once Upon A Time In Mexico" part. After checking the menu and the daily specials, I decided to order the risotto special (pancetta and artichoke hearts). You have to realize that risotto is one of the hardest dishes to be consistent when preparing, as it is not a dish for the foolhardy to make. In my endless quest for the perfect risotto, whenever I got to Italian restaurants I try to sample their version. Alas, and to the cook's benefit, although this was a tasty treat, it was not perfect. Unlike Agent Sands, I did not have to restore balance by shooting the cook.

Peace and Love

Friday, April 22, 2005

Do Big Cities Need Defending?

I found myself in a discussion last night that became hotter by the moment. On the one side there was a relatively recent "North American" and on the other side, moi!

The topic of this discussion was whether it's better to live in a big city like Boston, or in suburbia. My opponent's clear preference was for the 'burbs, although he had recently bought a condo in the outskirts of Boston. His dislike for anything "big city" stems for having worked for a large financial institution downtown. Picture cube after cube a la "Office Space" or that early scene where the agents paid Neo a visit at his office in "The Matrix", and you will have the general idea.

I sympathize with this view, as most of my working life, I have never worked in a cube. But, if his argument was based on only this observation, then it would be flawed. However, he continued to expand his view. What other things bothered him about a big city? Congestion. And he didn't refer to just traffic congestion and the lack of finding affordable parking (or parking in general), but also, the congestion when walking on the streets downtown. Hmmm...I guess he has never been to Hong Kong, or Tokyo, or even NYC, or New Orleans during Mardi Grass. What bothered him the most was the constant jostling when walking the streets, the fat, smelly people on the buses and trains, the beggars one runs into every other corner. Again, hmmmm...I guess you've seen "The Matrix" one too many times Agent Smith!

What did I have to say during his endless tirade? Well, I suppose I understand his point of view, although I don't agree with it. Don't get me wrong. I like the countryside, the trees, clean air and fields full of cows and horses. I see that every day I drive to work. And for years I lived in a small town outside a large metropolis in Canada. And every time I was driving home from my work downtown, I felt good. I felt good waking up to the sound of birds, being able to open my windows during the day and not worry about car pollution. But, every day when I was driving downtown, and would see the skyline getting closer, I would begin to feel alive. Why? Because there are so many things you can do in a large city. The fact alone that you can walk everywhere during most of the year, that the choices or restaurants, bookstores, clothing stores, entertainment in general are so abundant, that fact alone is enough, at least for me, to love big cities.

I'm writing these lines while I'm sitting at a cafe by the window, watching an endless stream of people walking by, coming in for a coffee, going in and out of the restaurants and the movie theatre across the street. The city is just so alive!

I won't say anything more. I don't have to defend big cities for being harsh, unforgiving and heartless. After all, suburbs are equally as heartless with their vastness and isolation, where people occupy houses on large properties and don't even know their neighbours. I will let the big cities defend themselves as they continue to reinvent themselves every few years or so. After all, you can't have too much of a good thing - big city or suburb.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Thievery Corporation North America Tour Dates

For those of you interested in Thievery Corporation, here's the updated list of their North American Live Tour. I'm looking forward to seeing the spinning their music, much like they did in Atlanta couple of years ago:

5/05:@ 4th and B, San Diego, CA
5/06:@ The Wiltern, Los Angeles, CA
5/08:@ The Warfield, San Francisco, CA
5/09:@ Roseland Theater, Portland, OR
5/10: @ The Premier, Seattle, WA
5/11: @ The Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver, BC
5/15: @ The Quest, Minneapolis, MN
5/16: @ The Vic Theater, Chicago, IL
5/17: @ Majestic Theater, Detroit, MI
5/18: @ Carlu, Toronto , ONT
5/19: @ Le Spectrum, Montreal , QUE
5/20: @ Spirit, New York, NY
5/23: @ The Roxy, Boston, MA

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Moby @ The Avalon: Mini-Review

Moby's concert on Saturday night at the Avalon in Boston was one of the best live shows I've seen since Yanni --kidding! Moby rocked the house for two non-stop hours, playing mostly from 1999's Play and this year's Hotel, tinged with some dance, or as he called them "disco" or "boogie" songs. With help from his band and Laura Dawn's skillful vocal talents, Moby, in a way, reinterpreted most of his classic songs from Play, adding the tempo and power that a casual listener cannot really attain from the current recording CD technology. The Hotel songs came out especially well, mostly because Laura Dawn was able to really let loose. I think my favourite songs from the night were "That's when I reach for my Revolver", "Next Is The E", "Where You End", "Natural Blues", and "Bodyrock". Heck, the whole night was great! Posted by Hello

Concert Playlist:
 Posted by Hello

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Is It Really Worth It?

Is it really worth it? I don't know yet. It certainly has the look, and it is comfortable. Some friends had this chair in their living room some years back in T.O., and it was a good piece of conversation during their parties. They did used to have a cord all around it though. I suppose to prevent us from sitting on it. That didn't stop the cat though! Posted by Hello

Greek Parade Pics

Friday, April 15, 2005

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

I haven't had a chance to get my hands around how to get pictures into my blog as yet. But I will do over the weekend and the I'll post some pics from the parade, among others.

Boston It Is Part 2

Well, we are almost at the end of my second week in Boston and I must admit, I will miss Atlanta. I just returned from there, after spending a day with the moving crew that will bring all my stuff to Boston. And that is a good thing, because my Boston apartment does not feel like home as yet, without my books, CDs, stereo, etc. Besides, sleeping on an air mattress is getting really old.

I'm not sure I like moving anymore. It makes me take stock of my life and I've been doing this all too often lately. I have realized that I accumulate too many things, that I am tied to these things and don't want to part with them. And I don't like that. I don't like feeling so dependent on accumulated objects. I do want to have few nice, even prized possessions, but that's about it. Everything else seems to be superfluous. Sunil, what do the Hindus say man? I know what Buddha says, and I know what Mohammed and Jesus say about earthly possessions. I still need some light though.

Anyway, too heavy. Let's get on to some fun stuff. My first week in Boston was good. There are times when I'm driving around, going to the office (which is far from being Boston, and I'm sure I will feel different when winter's snow storms arrive in time), or just walking around, that I feel that I belong here. At least for the next little while. Darn, I need to find a new hairdresser too!

Alrighty then! So, my first Saturday in Boston I spent getting lost driving around, trying to find my way. In other words, familiarize myself with the terrain. I woke up early, went downstairs to the gym for a short workout, and then went running on the path along Charles River. Darn! I didn't know how long it was. I did 5 miles before I realized how far I was. Of course, if it weren’t for all those lovelies on that fine day, I wouldn't have gone that far. Then I had to take my sore ass back, and that wasn't pleasant. But I came to the realization that if I were to do a marathon (maybe Boston next year), I would be bored to TEARS after 10 miles or so!!! There better be some good bait dangling in front of me mate!

Driving around was mostly pleasant, even when getting lost. Now I know of at least three different ways of driving from Watertown to Marlborough. And I also know that getting lost in Allston isn't fun. Cambridge on the other hand, I have to do by foot this coming weekend. It looked cool when I drove through it. It's just a bitch trying to get to the Mass Pike from there. Tad, I want to thank you for helping me choose a location to stay. Watertown is so close to everything.

Sunday was such a beautiful day. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, the Greeks were walking. Really, a perfect day for the annual Greek Independence parade through downtown Boston. The actual date of the celebration, the time Greeks kicked Turkish butt, is on the 25th of March, but the Greek community decided to have it on Sunday, April 10th. The parade started at 1:00 pm and went along Boylston to Charles where it ended at the park. I didn't see much of the parade, as at first I couldn't find my way around and got lost in South Boston. Nice area, upcoming, with lots of expensive shops, restaurants and overpriced condos. And home of the alternative lifestyle! Those from Atlanta, please refer to Ansley down towards Piedmont Park and you've got the idea. I'm glad I found my way back to where the parade was taking place though!

On the other hand, I did find a very nice furniture store in South Boston called Design Within Reach (I had briefly ran through the one in ATL). Before you say, "All right, Nick! You found a cheap design-furniture store", actually, "Within Reach" means really expensive furniture from the Modernist and Post-Modernist era (John P., Sunil, I'm sure you know what I'm talking about), manufactured somewhere in the Netherlands, but warehoused in the U.S. I don't think I will be paying mucho dinero no matter who originally designed the frigging piece! Well, maybe a table and lamp won't hurt a lot. Keep in mind Nick, "few nice, even prized possessions".

Back to the parade for a moment, and then it's time to sign off. It's been some time since I've seen so many Greeks concentrated in one area outside of Athens, Greece. It reminded me for a moment of Danforth Ave. in Toronto, where Little Greece is. All I could hear when I was walking around was Greek. But, unfortunately or not, this lasted only until the parade was over and the festivities in the park finished. I'm not sure if Boston has a concentrated Greek area like Toronto, NYC or Chicago, but that's all right. Familiarity breeds contempt after all. Well, I continued my walking around that part of Boston, where a bunch of restaurants and some really fine shopping exist. I ended up recovering a little from all my walking inside the Prudential Center, at Barnes & Noble's for a good cup of cappuccino and some relaxing browsing before heading back home.

This coming Saturday, it's off to Avalon to see Moby in concert. I can't wait! His new CD rocks. Molly, I'm sending you a copy, no matter what. Leigh, I'm sorry you will miss him, but you never know.

I miss some of you in DC and Atlanta. You know who you are. I wish we were all in the same place. You have been an inspiration to me, and you will continue to be.

Till then,

Peace and Love.