On Your Mark … Get Set …….. GO!

And we’re off on the 2014 blogathon! In an ideal world, I will update this every day with something amazingly cool–not just with music, but with stuff that I simply enjoy doing. This will involve game reviews, iPhone/iPad app/game reviews, tie-dye techniques that I use, shirts and other things I’ve made, music reviews, concert reviews, hockey-talk, my own personal missives on any of these subjects or others … I’m going all-out.

I don’t know if I’ll have a set agenda like some bloggers (read: CRYSTAL! She’s SO organized! I could only dream of reaching her level of awesomeness), but I do have a goal: EVERY DAY write something new.

Today marks the beginning. This is it. Get ready, world.

I’m sure I’ll post more later today. This is more of an announcement than anything else, and I needed to start somewhere.

Buffcon 1

As previously mentioned, I’m a hockey fan. Specifically, I bleed blue and gold. Lately, I’ve been bleeding a LOT of blue and gold, as has most of SabreNation cuz the team, as a general whole, sucks. There’s no heart. There’s no grit. There’s no scoring. There’s no defense. There’s no good goaltending. And it’s getting really, really old. So old that talk show hosts are actually excited to see them lose tonight in Winnipeg JUST to see if change will actually happen.

Lots want to blame Darcy Regier, the GM. And that’s fine. I get wanting to pin this on him. He’s the one who assembled this team; he should be held accountable for the on-ice performance. Right?

Except here’s what pisses me off the most. This same team, from Februrary 22, 2011, until the end of the season, were THE BEST team in the NHL. They went on a rampage and got themselves into the playoffs as a 7th place seed, then took Philly to 7 games in the first round.

Off season brought in some great acquisitions in Ville Leino, Christian Ehrhoff, and Robyn Regehr. Our defense AND offense was supposed to be upgraded. And it seemed like everything was going great.

Until November 11th.

Since November 11th, the Sabres have lost 22 games, 4of which were in OT/SO. They now sit in 11th place, 9 points out of 8th, and 3 points from the bottom of the conference. If they had won even half of those games instead of losing, they’d be vying for the top of the conference. Even if they had won just 5 more games, they’d at least be in 6th or 7th. But no … they haven’t. They’ve just about hit rock bottom, and if they lose tonight in Winnipeg, there very well might be some major shake-ups, from the front office down to the janitor (cuz he’s obviously not taking out ALL of the trash). \

So we of SabreNation watch nightly as the team collapses. I’m kind of on the side of WGR’s early morning hosts. There is nothing about this team worth watching right now, OTHER than to see what happens if they end up losing again.

I will wear my jersey with pride, and I will continue to hope that they’ll win and start climbing out of this funk. I don’t expect a miracle, but it starts with one game. Might tonight be that game? Could be. The optimist in me hopes that it is. The realist in me wonders if they can win another game before the All-Star break.

Confessions of a Sabres Hockey Addict

Hi, my name is chris, and i’m a sabres fan. This is my 25th year of following them, and there’s no end in sight. Sometimes … sometimes, I feel like I *need* to walk away. you know … for my sanity, right? And I’ve tried. i tell myself every year, “i will *not* re-order the CI package this time. NO. I will save that money and put it towards a family vacation. Or my girls’ college fund. Or … or SOMEthing!” But no. Every year, I get recharged the $170 to follow a team I literally have dyed in my blood. If you cut me open, I bleed blue and gold. For a period, I bled red and black, but not anymore.

And really, isn’t every game like a little mini-vacation? A very stressful, anxiety-ridden vacation, where the kids are in the back seat beating on each other and screaming “MOM! SHE TOUCHED ME!” “DAD!! I WANT A CHEESEBURGER!!!” “ARE WE THERE YET?!” I want to tell them that yes–we’re there! we’ve reached the promised land! we have arrived at nirvana. But the reality is so much colder and darker than anything I want to tell them. They’re young. They do not need to be subjected to this ….. THIS!

The part that worries me the most is that they’re already there. They already have little jerseys. they already know Miller, Roy, Stafford, Vanek, Pominville … all by number. My daughter wants a picture of Roy, bless her gargantuan heart. They get exicted when the Sabres are ahead, and they know daddy is “sad” when they lose.

I mean … it’s just a game, right? It’s just a bunch of people getting paid to play with sticks and a puck. In the end, it doesn’t *really* matter … right?

Right …?

My name is Chris, and I’m a Sabres addict.

OT: Hockey Heaven

It’s no secret to my twitter followers that I’m a monstrous Sabres fan. For those of us who bleed blue and gold, free agency opening day has been hell for the last 4 years. 2007, we lost Chris Drury and Daniel Briere. Absolutely brutal. 2008-2010 we’re literally pointless. No big acquisition, no big signings … nothing exciting except watching the big-name players move everywhere else but Buffalo.

Tomorrow is opening day of the free agency market. At this point, to Sabres fan, it’s almost an afterthought already.

In the last 48 hours, we’ve acquired Roybn Regher from Calgary–considered by many to be one of the top defensemen in the NHL–and as of this afternoon, we’ve signed Christian Ehrhoff from Vancouver. Yah–he of Stanley Cup finals fame and experience. The rumor is that he had an off finals because of a shoulder injury, and he still had a good run.

Whatever happens tomorrow or in the days/weeks to come is pure icing on the cake. We’ve already beefed up our blue line more than we dreamed possible. We’ve been watching these annual NHL goings-on with such disdain and jealousy that it’s been surprising to be caught up in such a whirlwind of excitement and … erm ….. luxury, I suppose. I mean, I don’t know any other way to put it. We’ve been the bridesmaid for so many years that this being the foot that fits the glass slipper is a totally unexpected but more than welcomed experience.

Terry Pegula is the flat-out man. I’ll give Darcy Regier his props for being GM, but really … TP is the hero of the day.

EDIT: It’s almost 1 in the morning in Utah. We are about 9 hours away from the free agency market doors swinging wide open. I cannot sleep. My eyes are heavy with exhaustion from the adrenaline rushes throughout the day. I’m already planning next year’s playoff parties. Hell, if I were mayor Brown, I’d be planning the parade route as of Saturday morning. Hey, why not?

I’ve been following Buffalo sports for almost 25 years. Between the Bills and Sabres, I *know* bitter disappointment and resentment (I’m staring straight into your soul-less eyes, Dallas). Part of me *wants* to go to bed because I know that’s about 7 hours I can shave off the wait. The other part of me is irrationally afraid to go to sleep because I seriously do not want to wake up and face the possibility that every Sabres fan’s greatest dream that could possibly less than 12 months away was nothing more than an over-stimulation of cerebral cortex while REMing into oblivion. Right now, my best chance at seeing the Sabres hoist the cup is to simply not go to bed. Obviously, that’s not going to happen, and yes–I know how ridiculously psychotic this all sounds. I don’t care.

You Cleveland sports fans know what I’m talking about here. The pain of realizing your teams are at best runners up to someone else excruciating at best. I’m not willing to face that just yet. So for now, I will continue to stay awake. More than likely, I’ll fall asleep in this chair. I’m okay with that … so long as when I wake up, nothing changes. We still have Ehrhoff and Regehr, and we’ll still be riding the dream until next June when Buffalo graces Lord Stanley’s cup.

Review: Eddy – Start an Uproar

I have no idea how music finds me. I honestly don’t. Sometimes, I just open my iPod and there’s stuff on there that I’ve never seen before. You think I’m kidding, but I’m not.

Okay, maybe I hyperbolize a hair, but not by much. I’ll give you a good example. Today I downloaded Tenpole Tudor’s and Skyclad’s versions of “Swords of a Thousand Men.” A tad campy by both, but the chorus … “Hear our roar, hear our sound. We’re gonna fight until we have won this town. Hoorah hoorah hoorah yay! Over the hill with the swords of a thousand men.” This is potentially the Buffalo Sabres’ goal-scoring song. Philly, Rangers, Boston … all have goal-scoring songs. We don’t. We need one. This fits the bill perfectly. So I downloaded birth versions to test drive them and see what I think. There’s definitely potential.

But that’s not why I’m writing, is it? I’m writing to review Eddy’s four-track EP, Start an Uproar. To be honest, I have no idea how I found her. I just did.

OH! HI! I just made the connection. Maybe it’s not that I have no idea how all this great music finds me, but it’s more the fact that I’m just forgetful as hell. I was checking out TUAW’s website on my lunch break, hoping to get some info on the upcoming iPhone 5 (or whatever it’ll be called). Sifting through their news blurbs, I found one about some chick who shot a video using nothing but a bunch of  iPad 2 devices. I haven’t checked out the video yet due to company policy on streaming media (which in all honesty I do stick to since this company was gracious enough to offer me a writing position. I dont’ even use their wi-fi to run my iPhone; it’s all 3G baby!), but I have every intention of checking it when I get home, which will be in a few short hours.

Anyway, this news blurb had a link to Eddy’s website, with whom I was heretofore unfamiliar. Her website had me curious. At first glance, she looks a bit like Maria Brink. The pictures on her site give her a furtive, “Ha ha … I know something you don’t know, and I’m not gonna tell you what it is” look. An air of mystery! Being the sucker for intrigue that I am, I downloaded her four-song EP from iTunes and gave it a listen. Here are my thoughts.

Where has this chick been hiding?! I’d say “the kitchen” solely because it says right on her website that she bakes cupcakes, so I’m not being sexist or funny–she very well may have been hiding behind her culinary expertise. But apparently while she’s been concocting confectionary delights, she’s been dabbling with making some *extremely* catchy tuneage for us to enjoy. The opening track on the EP is “Rise Up,” and I will tell you this much: if you’re sitting down while you’re listening to this, you will want to jump out of your seat and move and shake it like you never have before. It has “dance club remix” potential like nothing I’ve ever heard. Granted, I don’t listen to a lot of dancey music, but this … even *I* want to get up and dance around.

Her voice oscillates between bold and stormy, and wispy … like cirrus clouds on a deep-blue sky sunny day. Strong when the track is up and moving, soft and gentle when

“Beautiful Mistake” opens with a great piano hook that follows up with some synth strings and bass line. We’re treated to a complete shift in vocal dynamics, where she shows hints of channeling Lacey Sturm (of Flyleaf fame).

In short, I don’t know what her future plans are, but her long-term plans are more and more music. If her website is any indication, new music is possibly on the way. The video she shot on the iPad 2 is for her song “Need,” which is *not* on the EP. GOOD! Like I need to mention it, but this gets filed under “shake” with an emphasis on GET UP AND MOVE IT!

Eddy, if you end up reading this, leave the cupcakes. Embrace your inner musician and keep the tunes flowing!

The end.

The Melding of Two Loves

Outside my family and friends, I have two passions: music, which I think is a given, and the Buffalo Sabres hockey organization. I’m a fan of the sport, but the Sabres are “my” team.

That being said, yes–I’m *extremely* stoked with what Terry Pegula plans to do with the team. He’s already shown his commitment to making the organization a world-class place to play in removing the old locker room carpet and replacing it with new carpet with the logo emblazoned into it. It looks great.

One of the other changes that they’re planning on making is to the theme music of the pre-game show. I don’t know the name of the band who plays the intro to the Sabres broadcast, but it sounds like the Buzzcocks. All distorted guitar, and that’s it. Not a bad version, but … I don’t know. I guess it’s getting stale.

Rumor has it that they’re replacing it with a new song–something more classy. Wanna hear it? I’ll do ya one better. Watch it.

I present to you Vanessa Mae–violinist extraordinaire:

EH?! Yah? See that? Sabres new pre-game them song. Filed under “shiver” for the goosebump-inducing chills.

She has plenty of CDs to pick up. My favorite is her rendition of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. She makes “Winter: Allegro non Molto” sizzle.

Glad To Be Back

Sorry for the absence the last couple of days. A bit about me: I get *wicked* serious tension headaches and back aches, to the point where they’re actually debilitating. I’ve been hospitalized for these in the past for the most severe cases–twice in about 20 years, but still … having to go to the hospital because of a headache is kind of ridiculous. Fortunately, I’ve discovered some techniques to combat these without having to check myself in at the local emergency room. Yesterday and Thursday though … holy crap. It felt like hundreds of knives were digging into my shoulders, middle back …

and of coures, after that HUGE Sabres win against the Flyers IN PHILLY isn’t helping me any. Too much cheering, jumping, thrashing and celebrating. Okay, maybe not TOO much of any of that cuz hey–how is there too much celebrating when the win is THAT huge?!

Anyway, now you know the reason for being in abesntia for the last couple of days. And now, back to your regularly scheduled post.

So I actually started writing this around 7 am. I was up, I hadn’t written in what seemed like forever, so I thought I’d jump in. The first thing I did was hit my “Stumble” button and see what popped up. This is what greeted me. If you’re a Van Halen fan, this … this may hurt to read. Not in a painful, “Kill me now; my life is over” kind of way … but in a “Dude. Dude …” kind of way. Read it, then come back.

All done? See what I mean? I mean, even if you’re not a VH fan, that’s still tragic. There is hardly a honest to goodness musician who would not tell you that Eddie Van Halen was a virtuoso with the guitar. He innovated some playing techniques that were simply out of this world. He constantly tweaked his sound and tinkered with different ways to get different noises. My favorite was finding out that he used an actual drill on his strings to achieve the sound at the beginning of “Poundcake.”

You’ll notice that the video is from the 1991 MTV awards. This was the opening performance, and did it ever set the tone for the rest of the evening. There were a ridiculous number of amazing performances from just that show. Queensryche performing what I consider to be the best live version of “Silent Lucidity” ever; Guns & Roses performing “Live and Let Die“; Metallica performing “Enter Sandman“; L.L. Cool J’s “Mama Said Knock You Out“; EMF performing “Unbelievable” … of course, there were some “less than” performances too, like Mariah Carey doing some stupid ditty, so it wasn’t all highlights. But man.

Yah, that Queensryche performance was just mind-blowing back then. Even this evening when I watched it for the first time in probably 19-20 years, it floored me how pure and precise Geoff Tate’s voice was then. Even today he can still belt it out. I saw another video of him and a couple of the other band members doing “Killing Words” from an acoustic set in May 2008. NAILED it. As if he had just recorded Rage for Order and decided to do an in-store performance for kicks. There are few voices in music that hold more power than his.


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