Monday, February 28, 2011

Statistics and a New Blog

It's been a long while since I reported statistics of any kind. It's been a crazy year for my blog... Last year, January (of 2010) started out strong, going about a thousand page views and visits for the month. After that, it was showing a steady decline till July when it peaked again. I'm thinking it was the Summerfest reviews that helped. After that, it slowed down and plateaued for the next for months.

Came football season...The successful season of my favorite football team, the Green Bay Packers, provided a MONSTER of traffic through my blog. The better the Pack did, the more hits my blog received. On the night of the Super Bowl, the blog received over 300 hits! I never expected that to happen! I was floored! Yet most of these readers were searching for the Packer logo through Google.

I do want to take the time to thank everyone whom came here and visited my site. I treasure each and every comment posted here. I think you guys and gals are all wonderful! Without you, this blog wouldn't as great as it is!

I do want to make a mention of a new blog-THB's TLC. This new blog is presently in the works of a special friend. Please give her a warm welcome! Thanks!

Friday, February 25, 2011

My New Ride


Out with the old and in with the new they say... My old car, a 1991 Chevy Caprice Classic (pictured above) was reaching the end of line. Although the car served me well for the past three years, was really starting to become problematic and high maintenance. At 147,000 miles, gremlins ravaged the electronics leaving me unable to open the driver's window (and the window behind it), the radio, rear window defroster and the wiper fuses would blow. In the last six months I had the thermostat replaced, the heater fixed, gotten new snow tires, and replaced the starter. The car was bleeding anti freeze and spewing white smoke. Other words it was being held together by two bolts, one nut, a roll of duct tape and a wad of bubble gum for good measure. Once I gotten an estimate for $900 to get the manifold replaced, it was time to let The Beast go...

The search for a new car wasn't an easy task... Searching for the right car to fit my budget and dealing with the bank loans was a major headache. A 1999 Ford Taurus (43,000 miles) and a 2001 Mercury Sable (110, 000) were considered and rejected by the bank. Frustrating! A trip across the border to Antioch proved to be fruitful...

We looked at 2010 Nissian Altima that was 22,000 miles and FULLY loaded. (I wouldn't be surprised if there a cappuccino maker stashed there somewhere in the truck) The monthly payments on that would have given me a heart attack. While there, a light shone through the clouds and the heavens sang as we were shown this car below....



A 2007 Chevy HHR LT. This baby has a four cylinder engine, front wheel drive, power windows, loaded with safety features AND a working radio/CD player. It has 62,000 miles on it and gets up to 35 miles per gallon. Rides nice and smooth and handles the road well. The price was reasonable and the payments I believe I could manage.

I signed my name on the dotted line and left the Caprice behind...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

DrewTube Revitalized.....

I've been kicking around the idea of publicizing my album collection for some time now, but where? Understanding that this would a huge task to undertake, I felt this blog would better suited for the way it is and Facebook didn't seen right. So, I decided to bring up my then defunct DrewTube and display videos from each of my albums one day at a time. Yep all 2000+ recordings from AC/DC to ZZ Top! Each album is going to be presented alphabetically and chronicled from oldest to the newest. On top of that, I'm going to try to include my bootlegs...

Its still a work in progress, I may add more to as I go along. Feel free to visit and express your comments and/or opinion, if you wish....

ENJOY!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Presence

It was August 4, 1975 while vacationing on the Greek island of Rhodes, a car driven by Maureen Plant flew over a precipice and slammed into a tree. It was a serious accident. Singer Robert Plant suffered a broken elbow and a shattered ankle. Doctors said that he may never be able to walk again. His wife's injuries were more serious. She had suffered a fractured skull and a broken pelvis.

This was a turning point for Led Zeppelin. With the band was riding high with six classic albums and filled stadiums, the band's luck had come to a screeching halt. With Plant unable to walk, any plans to tour were scrapped.

The tide had turned. Guitarist Jimmy Page wasn't giving up on Zeppelin's momentum. Unable to stay in England because the band was in tax exile, the band reconvened in the warm climate of Los Angeles were they rehearsed new material for the upcoming Presence. In October the band had moved to Munich, Germany to record the new album.

Recording the new album was nothing sort of a miracle. Robert Plant. still in a leg cast, recorded his vocals in a wheelchair. That didn't hamper the progress very much. The band shined under pressure. The highlight of the album was the phenomenal ten minute epic masterpiece "Achilles Last Stand". Plant's voice here just sails above the din, bringing a lyrical landscape of mythical proportions. Jimmy Page builds a guitar orchestra that is stacked up layers and layers of sound. Feels like one is hearing multiple guitar players instead of one. John Bonham-holy cow! His frantic drum rolls-rounding off his tom-toms, crashing into the cymbals is an air drummer's wet dream! John Paul Jones' thunder bass supplied more than ample rhythm.

The rest of the album may not fare as well as "Achilles", yet they are worthy of note. "Nobody's Fault But Mine" takes pages from an Blind Willie Johnson tune, is complete with a killer harmonica solo and cascading riffs. "For Your Life" takes a look at the somber side of cocaine overdose in Los Angeles. "Royal Orleans" pokes fun at John Paul Jones' nocturnal adventures in New Orleans two years earlier-something about "kissing whiskers". The last track of the album, "Tea for One", Plant pours out for the loneliness of being away from his wife and children.

All of this album was done in a mere three weeks!

This may not be the best Zeppelin album done, but it is a hell a lot better than many out there. My biggest complaint would be the lack of John Paul Jones keyboards here. In the hurried frame of mind, I guess that would be understandable. The next studio album would change that fact...

I'd highly recommend this album to any Zeppelin fan. Then again, every Zeppelin album is great to me....

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Aha Moment

My friend, Joe Heuer, the Rock and Roll Guru has appeared in a television commercial last night and will appear again soon. He appears on the Mutual of Omaha's 'Aha Moment" commercials.



Here's the schedule of his commercial appearances:

Wednesday, February 16th: 9pm-9:30pm Modern Family (ABC)
Sunday, March 6th: 8pm-9pm Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (ABC)
Sunday, March 13th: 9pm-10pm The Apprentice (NBC)
Sunday, April 10th: 8pm-9pm Amazing Race (CBS)
Tuesday, April 19th: 8pm-10pm Biggest Loser (NBC)
Thursday, April 28th: 9pm-9:30pm The Office (NBC)
Wednesday, May 18th: 9pm-9:30pm Modern Family (ABC)
Monday, June 20th: 10pm-11pm Castle (ABC)
Thursday, July 7th: 9pm-9:30pm The Office (NBC)

Please note that all times are US EST.

It's kinda neat knowing a friend of yours is on TV....


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Ice Formations

Over the weekend, with the temperatures finally rising above freezing for the first time in months, we decided to take a walk by the lighthouse. We saw ice stretching from the shore to about 100 yards into the lake! The ice was so thick that can easily walk on. What was really neat that you see frozen waves! Like it was trapped in time...







Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

I haven't celebrated Valentine's Day in years, at least not since my divorce over seven years ago. Much of that has to with the fact I haven't been with anybody on this particular day since then. Because of that I have disillusioned about this day, denouncing it to just another "Hallmark" holiday.

This year, things have changed. Now, I'm with somebody special. Yesterday, we spent it checking out the ice formations on the lake, visited a local museum and then went out to dinner at a lakeside restaurant. I know it doesn't sound like much, but it was a day to ourselves.

Ever since she has come into my life a few months ago, she has given me strength and hope. Something to look forward to each day. Here's a few that about her that I'm thankful for...

For getting up in the mornings with me, even it's 4 AM.
Breakfast at that hour.
Lunch time chats.
Treating me like a king.
Taking care of things while I'm at work.
Being a good step-mom to my son.
Being sassy and funny, teasing the hell out of me.
Kisses and cuddles in the night...

I could go on and on, but you get the idea...:)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Overplayed

I don't listen to the radio as often as I used to. One of the big reasons for that is many radio stations tend to keep playing the same song over and over again. It gets old and mundane after awhile when the DJ announces an artist and you know what going to be played. I would like to hear radio stations to be more unpredictable. Play something old, something new, something obscure, something heavy, something mellow, dig deep into the catalogs and mix it up! More of a variety is a good thing...


Here's a short list of tunes that I'm getting sick of hearing on the radio. Now don't get me wrong, I LOVE these tunes! It's just that I'm getting bored with these tunes and I would rather hear something different....

Jimi Hendrix Experience-Purple Haze
Pink Floyd-Another Brick in the Wall (part 2)
Led Zeppelin-Stairway to Heaven
Santana-Black Magic Woman
Queen-Bohemian Rhapsody
Yes-Roundabout/Owner of a Lonely Heart
Kiss-Rock and Roll all Nite
Guns n' Roses-Sweet Child O' Mine
Nirvana-Smells Like Teen Spirit
Black Sabbath-Iron Man

I realize that these songs are classic, but instead of Another Brick in the Wall could they play something off of Animals instead? How about the full length version of Close to the Edge from Yes? I'd totally rock out to Santana's Samba Pa Ti. Zeppelin, Hendrix and Sabbath have a full catalog of music to choose from. Time to dig deep into their music-great stuff in there!

So what tunes are you getting sick off? What would you like hear instead?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

First Rays of the New Rising Sun

Here's something that really annoys me. How people associate Jimi Hendrix with his monster smash hit, "Purple Haze". To many people, the iconic guitar player represents the hippie era of the '60's. The hippie '60's meant drugs. Yeah, we all know that Hendrix died of a drug overdose. "Purple Haze" was about drugs. So therefore, the equation was simple-Hendrix+the '6o's ="Purple Haze" OK, I get it. Well folks, I hate to break it to ya, that is only ONE tune out of MANY great Hendrix tunes out there.

Hendrix was beyond the "Purple Haze" scene. He was a young and talented guitar player with a taste for the blues. His ambitions led him to many hours in the studio, perfecting his craft over many takes of seemingly endless caches of songs. There are stacks upon stacks of music that been stashed away, hidden from the light of day. Much of it has landed up on various "unauthorized" records released after his death. It makes me wonder of where did he find all this time to record so much music in his short lived career and how much is there still left.

Tracking down some of this treasure can be bit of a chore. Hendrix has only released three studio albums, a live one and a compilation during his lifetime. The rest posthumously. Scattered over dozens of "unauthorized' albums under various different names, it's a guessing game to what is authentic or not. Questions arise like who owns the rights to Jimi 's music? Is this what Jimi intended to release? When was this done?

Many of these questions got answered in 1995, when Jimi's father formed Experience Hendrix LLC. Many of the lost and scattered tunes were recovered from various labels and pieced together in their own respective packages. Here I would claim these be the definite Hendrix recordings.

The first of these packages would be the First Rays of the New Rising Sun, released in 1997, is a suburb collection of tunes. Most of it was either done or being worked on in the months prior to his death in 1970. The newly reformed Jimi Hendrix Experience boldly marks their return to full force here. Newcomer bassist, Billy Cox seems to blend well with long time drummer Mitch Mitchell through these recordings. Gems like "Izabella" , "Dolly Dagger" and "Freedom" are catchy and memorable, worthy to be among Hendrix's best work. There is searing guitar work at full ablaze through out this album..."Astro Man", "Beginnings", "Stepping Stone" and "In From the Storm" set my ears on fire! Even the ballad "Angel" gave me the shivers...

There isn't a wasted note on this CD. Not once, I felt this album to feel like a compilation of outttakes, but rather a brand new album from Hendrix. Something that Hendrix intended to release. In the end, I placed it on the ground at my feet and did a Wayne's World "we're not worthy" bow to it. It's that great of an album! Only wish I heard it on the radio instead of "Purple Haze"

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Bowl XLV

The Green Bay Packers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 in this action packed Super Bowl game.

Here are my thoughts of the game...

My girlfriend's son came down from Shawano to watch the game with us. Had sub sandwiches and snacks galore during the game.

The pre-game show was the usual crap.

The Packers completely dominated the first half. Aaron Rogers was on fire. The Packers' defense was red hot! After all, the Steelers got picked off twice. Although the Steelers defense was good, not enough to stop the Pack. The Packers were leading 21-3.

Half time was a joke. The Black Eyed Peas looked like a Christmas tree gone wild. The only bright spot was the special appearance of Slash.

Injuries got the better of the Pack. Charles Woodsen, Donald Driver and Sam Sheilds got sent the locker room to tend their injuries. It looked as if the Steelers were going to make a comeback. Things were getting scary. Yet the Packers prevailed in the forth quarter, stopping a potential winning Steeler drive in the end.

Aaron Rodger won the MVP award for his game efforts.

All in all, it was a GREAT season for the Packers. I never expected them to go all this way, but I'm GLAD that they did!

More on the game here.




RIP Gary Moore


Renowned blues guitarist Gary Moore was found dead in his hotel room in vacationing in Spain. He was 58. Moore is best known for his work with Thin Lizzy and his inspiring solo work.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Storm Aftermath....

For those whom called me and e-mailed me with their concerns, thank you, I'm fine. My city however, is a mess.

As the storm clouds drifted off the east early this afternoon, I was finally able to survey the "damage". My parking lot was covered knee deep in snow and cars were buried. It looked impassible.

Thanks to the snow plows, I was finally able to get my car out and take a drive around the area. Many people were out there armed with snow blowers and shovels digging out. There were banks upon banks of snow mounds looking like mountains. Yet, I still saw abandoned cars plowed in and buried and many side streets still unplowed. With all the snow we had, it is going to take awhile to clear all of this mess.

By all news accounts, Racine and Kenosha counties got hit the hardest. We got nailed with 23.5 inches of snow. Wind gusts up to 64 mph were reported. Interstate 94 was shut down from Milwaukee to the Illinois border. I heard of numerous reports of police cars, tow trucks and rescue vehicles stuck and stranded, sometimes for up to 10 hours. The National Guard were called in to rescue stranded motorists. The entire southeast Wisconsin was shut down and became literally a ghost town. A state of an emergency was declared.

All in all, I'm fine and relieved that this is over. Thankful for a warm home and safe from the outside elements. This is the worst blizzard I've seen since 1977/1978, when I was a kid. I pray that I don't see another like this anytime soon...

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Well, It's Here!...The Blizzard!

video

Well, it's officially here! The big blizzard that the meteorologists have been yakking about the last couple of days. By tomorrow morning they are talking about us getting about two feet of snow. With white-out conditions visibility is about 20 feet. Winds are blasting away at 50 mph or more as temperatures plummet to around 19 degrees. With the wind chill, it is zero out there. I know-YIKES!

Everything is shut down around here. Schools, businesses, activities and roads. The General Mitchell Airport in Milwaukee has canceled flights in and out of there. I can imagine Chicago's O'Hare is the same. Here in Racine, it's like a ghost town in a sea of white.

Above is a video I took just as the storm was hitting here. The video was taken at the lighthouse about a quarter of a mile down the road from here I live. If look closely you'll see Lake Michigan in the background raging...

While all of this is happening, I'm staying inside with a cup of hot cocoa and some good tunes...

UPDATE!!! JUST IN!!!

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
CIVIL DANGER WARNING
WISCONSIN EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY MILWAUKEE/SULLIVAN
RELAYED BY NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MILWAUKEE/SULLIVAN WI
1241 AM CST WED FEB 2 2011

THE FOLLOWING MESSAGE IS TRANSMITTED AT THE REQUEST OF THE
WISCONSIN EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY MILWAUKEE/SULLIVAN
WISCONSIN.

DRIVING IS EXTREMELY HAZARDOUS TONIGHT ON ALL ROADS IN SOUTHERN
WISCONSIN. IF YOU BECOME STRANDED...EMERGENCY VEHICLES MAY NOT BE
ABLE TO REACH YOU.

IF YOU ARE STRANDED...DO NOT LEAVE YOUR VEHICLE. RUN YOUR VEHICLE
10 MINUTES PER HOUR...AND CRACK A DOWNWIND WINDOW FOR VENTILATION.

This storm is getting really bad!