Monday, December 06, 2010

George Lucas's First Failure

The Star Wars Holiday Special.
Campy, horrible, and just plain ugly.


Friday, November 12, 2010

Brilliant Marketing

Showing that people are really idiots when drunk, a young woman who happens to be a Boston Bruins fans kicks in a column in the bathroom (seen here).

Now regardless of the fact that my mind slightly melts at the fact that they would upload a video with their faces which is them performing vandalism on public property, the Boston Bruins really impressed me.

You see, they have this bear (known as The Bear) who gives the rules of right and wrong for hockey fans.

The Bear posted his response to these women today.

Absolutely brilliant. It also makes me want to go and look at other Bear videos (I did).

Keep up the good work, Bear. And defend that Garden. And that's coming from a Rangers fan....


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Have We Met?


So, dear reader (and at this point I'm assuming there's only one left), I've been writing for five years now.

And I'm not sure what to write about now. See this is what's happening in my head:

Hey, you could write about work

No, I can't. See, I'm a teacher, and while there would be wonderful stories about the frustrations of the job, the kids, and more, the issue is that my colleagues would get wind of it, read it, and then come after me. It's happened, while I would love to vent, I can't.

Ok, how about your life?

In truth, my life isn't that interesting anymore. When I started this blog, I was looking to use the things that had happened in my life as a way of creating moralistic stories (hence the title). I did a great deal of stupid stuff and there was fallout. The problem is that I have become just another person. I'm married, have kids, and work. As such, I don't go out and do crazy stuff anymore. I can't. I need to be a better role model for my kids. Which is ironic as I suck as a human being, but that's only what two bosses, a few exs, and some other people have told me.

So what do you want to write about now?

Well that’s the issue, isn’t it? I’m not sure. I don’t want to be one of those bloggers who just writes about his kids, and I can’t write about work (even though people would love to hear about how crazy I, the kids, and my colleagues are).

I’ve been thinking about micro-fiction, but Michele did that really well and I feel like I’d just be copying. Seriously, go read her stuff. She’s really good. I’ll wait….See? Awesome.

I want to keep writing, so I’m not sure yet what it will be, but the blog will be here until Blogspot starts removing people it doesn’t like, and I am tossed aside.

Anyway, dear reader, there you go. That’s what’s been happening. I’ll try to get better as I was (for some reason) Blogger’s blog of note for a day. I’ll need to try and live up to that.


Winds of Change

It was a gorgeous day today, and Little Leab (as opposed to Leab 2.0) had a birthday party to attend. This is the neighbor's tree saying, "Hello," as we headed out.

Fall is most definitely here. Isn't it wonderful?

Monday, September 06, 2010

Toes on the Edge

This is always how I feel right before school starts. This year will be interesting. I have a full Freshman schedule and a student teacher. The issue won't be the material; it will be if my brain explodes or withers from the possible boredom of teaching the same thing all day.

However, I am grateful to have a job. So, with toes on the edge, I will leap off.

Good luck on 2010-2011, my fellow teachers.

My Hero

In many ways, he is.

Monday, August 16, 2010


Quick, what
store in downtown Minneapolis has a bank vault in the back? A random bank vault, which has nothing to do with the store itself?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Modern Playtime

I'm an adult...and this is how I play now. You can say it...NERD!

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Quietly protecting my daughter from intergalactic bad guys while she sleeps.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Little Cooking Insight

The lovely Sopheava has started a new cooking site for those of us who need a

Not everyone is a master chef, so it's always nice to hear stories from others who like to cook.

No, I'm not just mentioning the site because I just happen to be a contributor as well. There are many folks who have some wonderful ideas on there.

Go and enjoy.


Monday, July 19, 2010

Watch Your Step Out There

Originally uploaded by alecks(zander)kwin

Because you just might step on a Squirtle or a Bulbasaur.

How great would this be to stumble across. Pokemon out in the real world.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


While the storm was hellacious, the only real damage was to my neighbor's roof. This is the edge of one of the branches sitting on their roof after breaking off their tree and falling down.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Close Them Up?

As a person living in Minnesota, a state that prides itself as more progressive than most, this is quite shocking to me.

I will wait to reserve judgement until more is said...but still....

Friday, July 16, 2010

Old Guard

Can Someone Please Explain Inception to Me? | The New York Observer

Look, I can make this really easy.

My mother used to say, "If you don't understand what's going on, don't comment on it."

She used to say that to my father all the time. Rex Reed needs to heed this advice. If you don't understand or like the film, that's fine, but to critique a film not based on the artistic aspects but instead say, "I don't understand the movie, therefore it is bad," is lazy.

This is almost as ill-conceived a commentary as Roger Ebert's piece on video games.

However, both of these men show something important about the 21st century: Critics are no longer really necessary or appreciated. There was a time when Roger Ebert's words on a film could make it or break it. A time when Rex Reed was the authority on film. A time when we really cared what Owen Gleiberman had to say about a film.

Now, however, the in-depth ideas of the artistic cinema are dead to the audience. The modern audience wants the Facebook status or Tweet about the film. Instead of an in-depth look at how Eclipse makes the world look fresh and new as though Lewis and Clark had just discovered it (thanks, Roger Ebert), the people who go to the movie theatre want:

Film is worth the time, RPatz hot, TLaut hotter!

If you ask the main theatre going audience with money (the 18-34 year olds), they don't read the lengthy reviews anymore. No, they look and see what their friends say. Just recently one of the recent grads of the high school I work at said this about Despicable Me:
"Awesome. Minions are so cute. "It's so fluffy!" Go see this now."
I saw this and thought, "What kind of review is that?" Yet, several people went to see the film solely based upon what she said.

Soon all reviews of video games, films, books, etc will have to be able to fit into 140 characters. It saddens me to see that all of the wonders of the world now have to be boiled down to quick snippets, but it also means that everyone truly will become a critic.

And if you don't like what I'm saying here...write about it...politely.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

God Don't Smite the Nerds, Foo!

Via God loves nerds.

Without nerds, geeks, and dweebs, who would pray to God?

Without nerds, who would come up with all of those stories based upon the story of Jesus (here's a hint: Superman is a Jesus figure...sssshhhhhh).

Come on. Get working on real issues. You know like ruining military funerals and hating all gay people for being happy.


The Little Things (Leab and 2.0)

You can have the worst day in the world, but if you remember the whimsy of childhood and what makes things fun... it no longer matters.

My children have great senses of humor which makes my life that much easier.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Boss Is Out

George Steinbrenner died today, and even though I am a Mets fan, I actually found Steinbrenner fascinating (and a major part of New York culture). Yes, this is a man who created the free agency issues of today (so if you're a Pirates hate him), who tried to convince the city that a new Yankees ballpark at Ground Zero would be best of the city, and who didn't like Dave Winfield so much that he hired a guy to smear him...and got banned from baseball for life (or three years), but he did do good things as well.

He created a way of life for the New York Yankees. They had to dress well and look professional. This meant no long hair or beards. He brought them back from the brink of nothingness after they had been so great.

Yes, he was a tough son-of-a-gun, but he also wanted to win...and to win, you have to be tough.

No one really remembers, however, that Steinbrenner had a sense of humor and pretty good heart.

For example, he kept bringing Billy Martin back. Yes, he fired him, but he kept him on the payroll and kept bringing him back. And you could tell they had somewhat of a fondness for each other as was evident from this commercial:

And this extended to other players as well. If you listen to the different pundits out there, you'll hear about how Steinbrenner kept fired staff members on payroll. You'll hear how he helped out kids in Tampa who needed help going to school or needed lights for their baseball fields. This leads to my George Steinbrenner story. Mind you, much of this was relayed to me by my parents.

In the summer of 1986 (the year the New York Mets won the World Series), my parents had setup a house in a small town in Northwestern Connecticut. The town sold raffle tickets to certain items to raise money (sort of like how many Minnesota towns sell pull-tabs to pay for things like Whiz Bang or Duk Duk Days). I, being a charming and precocious child, was drafted to sell said tickets at a carnival held near the Congregational Church. With a sandwich board and a reel of tickets, I set out to charm as many of the people as I could. There was also a prize for the top seller ( I don't remember what it was, and I didn't win as I didn't have a bajillion family members to sell my tickets to like the other kids).

I was focused, and I wanted to win. I spied a group of older men who all looked to have money and figured I could get them to buy from me...but I wasn't sure who they were. I found my mother and asked her to tell me quickly. "That balding man," she told me, "is Mayor Ed Koch. I'm not sure who's with him."

So, I marched up to Mayor Ed Koch in the circle of these men and said, "You are Mayor Ed Koch, and I am Marcus Leab, and YOU are going to buy some raffle tickets from me." The Mayor of New York looked amused. Here was a kid telling the mayor of the greatest city on Earth what to do. And to his credit, Mayor Koch bought ten dollars worth of raffle tickets off of me. Once our transaction was completed, I started working on the rest of the men in his circle. Almost everyone said no, but I started talking to they guy closest to me.

"Please," I said, "do it for this town. There's so much history here...."
"Sorry, kid, but that's a nice try," he responded.
"But did you see Mayor Koch? He bought some."
This would continue for another minute before Mayor Koch would turn to the man and say:
"Come on, George. Help the kid out. Maybe he's a Yankees fan."
At that, George Steinbrenner turned to me and said, "Kid, what's your name?"
"Marcus," I said.
"Well, Marcus, you're quite good at this," he said. "If you stay out of trouble, you might have a future as a salesman. I'll match the Mayor's purchase and take ten."
I started to pull the tickets off the reel for him. Then he said, "I'll tell you what. Give me ten more than the mayor." Then he smiled.
As he and the Mayor walked off, Mayor Koch said, "See George...I told you you had a heart."

I sold George Steinbrenner those twenty tickets. He never complained, and he was never rude to me (unlike Dick Ebersol, who told me not only to go away, but called me a parasite...but that's another story). He didn't have to buy those tickets, but he did because he wanted to help a kid out.

Of course, as good of a guy as he was, he was shrewd. Steinbrenner is probably up in Heaven now trying to replace God. Then he'll install Thurmon Munson as head angel, force Jesus to get a haircut ("No long-haired hippies on my team," he'll say), and then trade Billy Martin to Hell for Adolph Hitler and a soul to be named later. When asked why Hitler, Steinbrenner will say, "Because I needed a leader...regardless of his past."


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Any Way the Wind Blows

Diving horses anyone?

Where Do Muppets Come From?

In case you thought it.

Monday, July 12, 2010


Fun never looked so...empty.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Eduardo's Insight

"Ten years, "he muttered as he threw the switch. The lights near the tiny helicopters flashed red as the machine roared to life. Eduardo began the speech he had learned from his cousin and had said so many times over many summers.

"Hands are to be kept in at all times, wait until the ride comes to a complete stop to get out, and please, kids, don't puke on the ride. Now have FUN!"

With that, his hands moved over the controls as they had done thousands of times before and clicked the buttons. Laughter, screams, and gasps were his currency...along with the tickets the children gave him, and sure enough the little girl in front of him gasped loudly as the helicopters began to spin. As the helicopters made their second spin, he stepped away from the controls to high five a boy in a baseball cap. "You flyin', brother," he told the boy, who squealed with delight. They loved his smile.

He had been ten when his cousin Luis had shown Eduardo how to run the machine. It didn't interest him. He wanted to be something. His aunt and uncle had dragged him around the United States following what they called, "The Carnival Circuit." He hadn't understood this until he was an adult, but the life of a carnival worker depended upon people to play your games or get on your rides. Most workers bought their rides and then drove from place to place to setup and take people's money. Sure, the guys who owned the games made more money from the idiot high school kids desperate to win their sweethearts a stuffed animal. So desperate were these kids that they would spend upwards of $50 for a $10 stuffed animal. There were also the drunks and macho guys who were sure they could best the "carnies" at their own game. But the rides...the rides made money because more of the little ones showed up to the carnival. And Eduardo had seen: the parents wanted their kids out of their hair for a few minutes and wanted them quiet. Town to town, state to state, it didn't matter. Parents in Las Cruces, New Mexico were the exact same as parents in Keene, New Hampshire. They paid for their tickets, and many times they overpaid.

Still, he wasn't interested. He saw how the road destroyed his aunt and uncle. He experienced the lean months with them. No, Eduardo wanted more. He wanted to be a lawyer, or a doctor, or whatever job the good looking people at his fairs had. They looked so happy with their cotton candy watching their kids spin around on the metal frames. Not like him or his family. Luis, however, was insistent. "Life," Luis used to say to him, "Can by funny. I thought I'd be a Detroit Tiger. My knee decided I wouldn't be. So here I am. It's always good to learn something."

So he learned from Luis. He learned how to run the machine ("It's just hitting some buttons and watching for problems," Luis told him.), how to fix it, he learned how to "bark" at people to come to his ride. "It's in the voice and look," Luis would say to him with a grin. "The people love a smile and quick saying. Make the ride look good for the kids...and the people will come."

Luis was right. The first time Eduardo did it, he was 13. Having spent so much time in the sun and packing and unpacking the rides, he looked older. He had some muscles on his wiry frame and could flash a smile that made the parents look at him. The girls too. And that first year WAS fun. The money wasn't bad either, but this was not the career he wanted.

How could he know that the lack of school and ambition as a kid would mean he was going to be a carnie forever? He tried. As a 19 year old he wanted to go to college. He wanted to become anything else but a ride operator. A cop, a cook, even a janitor. As long as it meant that he didn't have to be on the road anymore, he'd do it. So he signed up to learn how to be a chef, but there was so much to remember...and he couldn't always buy the necessary tools. (Thank God the women in his class loved his smile.) When that didn't work, he tried to apprentice his uncle Julio who was a plumber. The problem was he spent most of his time just waiting, or holding tools.

He was now 21 and had no idea what he could do other than run the machines. He gave in, took all of the money he had saved in his life, and bought the helicopter ride from his cousin.

"Ten years," he said to no one in particular as he slowed the spinning down and went to help the kids. As the happy riders moved past him to the exit, they didn't notice his slumped shoulders as he checked the doors. Nor did the notice his eyes starting to fill with water. He sucked in a hard breath.

"Who's next?"

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Idle Hands

Quick work of passing fancies.

Friday, July 09, 2010


Alone, each piece is useless, but together, it saves my life.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Ramblings for the Evening (7/8/2010)

Haven't done this in a while.
So, without further ado: Together!

LeBron Feels the Heat:

I'll be honest about this even though I'm a Knick fan (or used to be before the NBA changed into no fun):

I'm really not surprised, and I really don't care.

Look, this is a great thing for the NBA. It's making people (yup, even me) talk about it. Now, you have a super team that people are either going to REALLY cheer hard for...or REALLY hate. This will generate buzz for a league that is in serious denial about the trouble it's facing. It also shows a couple of interesting things.

1. Months ago, a sports pundit (can't remember who) mentioned that these three guys might meet to discuss what to do. They were all drafted in the same year (2003) and all three talked about how much they wanted to play together (which they did during the Beijing Olympics).
So here's your conspiracy theory. All three of these guys used this time brilliantly to build publicity to create a super team that will be talked about. The media, needing a story for the 24/7 news cycle ate it all up. Hell, ESPN aired a one hour special that will make LeBron a ton of money (it's his advertisements) and ESPN will get the ratings.

2. This proves that the players, not the owners, dictate the league. These players are getting tons of money and the owners can't tell them no, or they will lose their fan base and then lose money. Years ago people were outraged that Alex Rodriguez was given a contract to pay him close to 25 million dollars a season, but no one bats an eye (no pun intended) at an NBA player getting 20 million a year? As long as your team wins, who cares? Now pay your $60 for the upper level ticket, your $9 for a beer, and shut up... of course the owners are fine for now because....

3. The NBA is in trouble. The collective bargaining agreement is almost up and the owners are being crushed by the amount of money they have to pay, so the league will probably be locked out. The economic troubles of the times are going to mean trouble for the owners, so things will need to change. Lowering the salary cap and such, will do that.

4. And poor Cleveland. You go back to being a city of nothing. You have a terrible football, terrible baseball, and, now again, a terrible basketball team. This is going to hurt for awhile. And LeBron's leaving is also going to really hurt the economy of Ohio.

In the end the story will die now. LeBron, D-Wade, and Bosh will go on and dominate the Eastern Conference (with a team of 5 guys, because that's all they can afford), and that's fine. They will have fun and enjoy the ride...until they lose to Kobe and the Lakers....

Thom Pham on the Lam:

Ok, so Azia is closing, and he's opening a new restaurant in downtown. (
See here) Why are people surprised by this? Azia is fine, but it's now in a bad location. If he opens a restaurant that can bring in even an 1/8 of the Twins fans during every game, he's going to make a good amount of money.

I used to work with a guy who became a restaurateur. I told him I was heading to the Heart Walk at the Twins stadium and he started talking to me about how he wished he had enough money to open a restaurant.

"Why?" I asked.
"Can you imagine the money?" He replied. "You get a ton of people in during the season and that can last until September. You also get people in who can't get into the games. Then, if you've done the job right and make good food...they keep coming back during the offseason."
"Ok," I said, "but what if you're food is bad? What if you don't get them in?"
"That's the risk you take."

So Pham is taking that risk. Maybe it is because he has money issues. Or maybe it's because he recognizes that he can get more people right there in a more central area. Either way, you should be surprised.

And finally...

Shirts Up:

I've talked about this before, and I'll say it again: There are no really cool shirts for young girls out there.

For example:

Here's a girl's
shirt. Ok, it's ponies, which girls like (apparently), but has a twist that seems almost insulting.

Same store, but here's a boy's

Why can't girls have shirts that are cool but don't have to deal with ponies and shoes and shopping?

I just don't understand. Here I was at Target the other day looking for a t-shirt for my daughter. I look over at the boys and there's a Beatles shirt, a Grateful Dead shirt, and a Paul Frank Monkey shirt. Glancing to my left, I see the girls' shirts. There's a super glittery shirt that reads, "It's all about ME," with the "ME" in big pink glittery letters. Next to that was a shirt with an ice cream cone. Why can't my daughter have a Grateful Dead shirt without me having to buy her a boy's shirt? It's frustrating.

Look, I get that boys are supposed to have the Star Wars and Batman shirts, but do girls really only get Wonder Woman on a rainbow? And the problem is if I buy her a Junk Food t-shirt (which are the cool shirts that aren't super girly), I'm paying about $30 for a shirt that will last only a few months.

It may make her be considered a nerd (and that's not necessarily a bad thing), but I bought my daughter a Boba Fett shirt. Yes I did. She'll be able to wear it soon, and I'm excited.

Of course what do I know? My daughter wears a sundress when her mother dresses her, and she wears Batman when I do.... I could be wrong.


Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Dairy Air

I need to go back to my Flickr account.

There was something so sad in this cow's eyes. I could almost imagine the conversation we could have.

Ironic Teachings: Hello there!
Cow: Moo!

Damn. That was boring. Let's try using the patent (pending) IT cow translator.

IT: Hello there!
C (sounding like Snuffalufagus, but drunk): Hello.
IT: How are you?
C: It's hot and humid, buddy. And everyone who comes along just looks at me and attempts to low like me. It's kind of annoying. I mean how would you feel if every cow passed you and yelled 'Hey!' at you?"
IT: I'd be glad someone cared? Besides, you look li
C: Fuck you! You would not. You'd be all, 'Why is that cow yelling at me? What did I do to it?' And of course you people only think about eating me and turning me into shoes...
IT: I don't.
C: Suuuuuure. Whatever. But I wouldn't make a good steak, pal. I mean you can see my ribs. Is that the kind of animal you want to eat? One that has been sitting out in the hot sun so fools like you can come along and take pictures of me? Huh?!
IT: Well I can't pet you...and I can't feed you...and my daughter loves you. I think she wants to take you home more than a dog. She hates those chickens over there...but that's because the one rooster tried to eat her finger. It was adorable watching her contemplate the evil act the chicken did....
C: Hey, hey, HEY! This is about me here, dude. I'm just saying...where's my love?
IT: What do you want from me? I took your picture because I find you captivating. What else can I do?
C: Besides letting the world know about the plight of cows and our desire to be seen as more than just food and belts? Can I have that Coke you're drinking?
IT: ...No. You're a cow. Cow's don't drink Coke.
C: How the fuck do you know?
IT: You swear a lot for a cow.
C: I'm angry. It's like 95 degrees and really humid, and I'm mostly black. So of course I absorb so much more heat than you do. I'm allowed to swear.
IT: True, but you have less fur and black on you than a black bear...that's something.
C: I hate you right now. If I could get you in this fence, I would kick your ass from here to Des Moines.
IT: You know we're in Kansas, right?
C: What?! When did they move me...oh my G..yes I know I'm in Kansas. I'm a cow, not a sheep, idiot.
IT: Ok, my kids are running away to go look at the steam tractor. Have to go. Good luck with the heat, and I hope you aren't bought by McDonalds.
C: You're a jerk, but I like you. Thanks for letting me swear at you. I'm going to just lay here with these flies for a while. Don't

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

An Ironic Thought (7/6/2010)

I was reading the beginnings of my blog the other night and came across some interesting comments from one Jason DeRusha. Now, Mr. DeRusha, though he might deny it, once upon a time read my blog. This is because, when Rex started MNSpeak, Jason and I were neighboring blogs. On Thursday, September 15th, 2005, I made a comment that Jason had left a comment on my blog, and felt important.

The following is his response:

"1. You guys think I'm a local celeb? D-list at best.

2. You guys think I have an intern? I wish."

Now, go to Jason's WCCO blog page. Here, I'll help you.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen...after 5 years (and I know it was well before this too), Jason does indeed have an intern.

As for being a D-list celebrity. Well let's start here: Singing at a Twins Game.

Then there's the monthly article...Seen here.

And I could go on and on.

Hey, I like this guy...even though I've never met him. I tried once, but he ran away at warp speed from the dude yelling his name. And if not for him, I never would have had the opportunity to meet Katie Couric and watch Matt get his pen taken away...among other things.

I don't think he reads my blog anymore, and that's ok. He's moved beyond it (as most have, dear reader), but I'm glad that for a little while, he and I were e-neighbors...and that I could prove that his comments made on my blog would ironically come back to bite him.

You have to love the interwebs.

So thanks, Jason.


Monday, July 05, 2010


On June 21st, I was lucky enough to go see Sting with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Xcel Energy Center.

I had never seen Gordon Sumner (Sting's real name) before, but I was told the concerts he puts on are quite fun.

This one was...and wasn't. It's not that the show was bad, but it just

Upon entering the XEC, the entire arena was filled with smoke. Not, "Help, help! There's a fire smoke," but, "Obviously set up to create ambiance through lighting later," smoke. While not overly problematic, it did make looking around and just sitting a little difficult.

The first thing that really struck me, however, was that I was twenty years younger than almost all the audience members. It was all silver hair (or no hair for that matter). Stuck in-between pentagenerians was the occasional teenager. None looked excited. It would turn out a teenager was sitting three seats from me as I sat on the aisle of row 6 in the left section. When I asked him why he was there to watch the show, he replied, "My mom made me. I have to..." and he paused and looked at this woman standing near us in a sundress that could almost barely stand. Then he said, "I have to watch her." It would turn out that he most definitely had to, as she would later try to get close to Sting.

I read in the Star Tribune that maybe 6,000 people showed up, and I believe that number to be fairly low. While there were empty seats (and the show did start late as they really wanted people sitting), there was closer to 10,000 people there. I used to be a season ticket holder for the Minnesota Wild and have seen the XEC sold out. It was not that packed, but the floor was full, the lower bowl was mostly full, and the club level was almost completely full. Of course it's true, from what I was told, The Police concert was almost as full as a Wild game. Still, this wasn't a bad audience...for the most part.

After starting late, the audience was treated to Philharmonic orchestra coming out on stage and beginning the show with Steven Mercurio firing up the "band" before Sting himself walked out on stage. And it was his beginning with "If I Ever Lose My Faith in You," that made me realize: This man is old. He's 58, and though he looks good, he doesn't have the same sound as 15-20 years ago. I listened to Ten Summoner's Tails when I was in high school, and Mr. Sumner could WAIL on the chorus of that song. He sounded strained that night at the X. He also didn't move. Understand, this is a man who came out half naked in David Lynch's version of Dune and slithered like a snake. Beyond that, he just oozed appeal from his movements. During this show, Sting spent his time at the microphone with a tambourine on a stand for him to hit to follow the beat. It made him look (no pun intended) fragile.

The lack of backup dancers and Sting's movement, however, was made up for by Mercurio who conducted with such passion, that he was like a backup dancer moving around the orchestra (so to speak) to get the best performance.

Where I was really bothered, however, was not in the fact that Sting has grown older (that's a given for anyone), nor was I bothered by the set list (more on that later), nor did security bother me (as they chose certain people to take away their recording devices, but not all). No, my issue, as a theatre geek of sorts, was the set, sound, and lighting most of the time. When I was in college, my lighting instructor told me that I tended to light shows like concerts. This meant I had a knack for moving lights and knowing when to light the speaker (or singer). Thus, I was incredibly frustrated that Sting began almost every the dark. He'd sing and get into the verse only to have the light pop on about three or four seconds too late. It was frustrating to me. I can only imagine what the Stage Manager thought.

Beyond the lighting, the mix wasn't the best (maybe it was because I was close), so that Sting's voice was occasionally drowned out by the orchestra. During one of my favorite songs, "A Thousand Years", there were times when the musicians completely overpowered Sting's voice so that he was below the strings.

And the set.

I don't quiet understand the panels. There were three giant panels that were raised and lowered throughout the show. It felt kind of pointless at first, though toward the end of the first set they did show Sting being soulful (see above), and some art pieces (some of which were during "Tomorrow We'll See"...a Freaking out Lucha Libre is not what I see during that song).

And yet there some beautiful numbers on the set list.

During the first set, we were given:

Here is what Sting played with strings:
"If I Ever Lose My Faith in You"
"Englishman in New York"
"Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic"
"Straight to My Heart"
"When We Dance"
"I Hung My Head"
"Shape of My Heart"
"Why Should I Cry"
"Whenever I Say Your Name"
"Fields of Gold"
"Next to You"

I've never really been a fan of "Fields of Gold", and here it was played as saccharine sentimentality to the point of being hard to hear. We had to have a history lesson for the youngins' in the audience to understand the song "Russians" (and still had a teenager near me say, "Who is Reagan?"). I've also personally never been a fan of "I Hung My Head", but many people near me really liked this take on it. "Englishman in New York" found Sting obviously annoyed with the audience as he kept trying to get them to sing with him and the lack of participation was obviously annoying him.

During his explanations between songs, Sting was unfortunately heckled by a fan who yelled (not kidding), "Freebird!" Like a good showman, the former Police singer stopped, looked at the man, and said, "No, sir, I didn't write that one...and I remember my first joint too." Unfortunately, that man would yell, "Freebird," again later.

It was at this point I was surprised that the band and Sting took a twenty minute intermission. Maybe they knew their audience. However, they returned early. It was as if Mr. Sumner wanted to get the heck out of dodge.

Returning five minutes early, they played:
"A Thousand Years"
"Tomorrow We’ll See"
"Moon over Bourbon Street"
"The End of the Game"
"My Ain True Love"
"All Would Envy"
"Mad About You"
"King of Pain"
"Every Little Breath You Take"

"King of Pain" is always an enjoyable song, and he made it even more fun with the orchestra behind him. While Jo Lewis is a beautiful woman (who has nailed the back up singer sway) and quite talented, she's no Alison Krauss. This was seen when she sang "My Ain True Love" with Sting and most of the audience members around me said, "Better with Alison Krauss," out loud.
Where Sting almost lost me was when he turned "Moon over Bourbon Street" from an incredibly lovely jazz tune into a strange horror piece, complete with pointless costume change and a theremin solo. While I applaud Sting for trying something new, the theremin proved to be annoying, and to play it while clips from Max Shreck's version of
Nosferatu played on the panels made it feel as though Sting was playing to the Twilight crowd. In my book, it didn't work. It's a jazz number...period.

There were four encores:
"Desert Rose"
"She’s Too Good for Me"
"I Was Brought to My Senses"

I know the Star Tribune marked it as being only two encores, but the fact that the band and Sting kept leaving the stage and then returning (to me) means four encores, not two. "Desert Rose" was done well, but Sting should not do the opening. "She's too Good for Me" was also well done. However, the highlight of the encore was the actual opening where Sting returned to stage with an iPod on and began singing "Freebird." I managed to shoot this part of the show....

Of course he also sang "Fragile", which was pretty but again had strange visuals. Finally, after long coaxing from an audience that didn't want 1984 to end, Sting returned one more time to sing the opening lines to "I Was Brought to my Senses." While pretty, it almost felt like he was doing it as a quick means to keep traffic clear while he and the orchestra shot out of town in their buses.

It was a nice concert. Probably not as rocking as Tom Petty, who rolled in the next night, but enjoyable. However, it demonstrated that rockers and musicians do in fact change as they get older. Even James Taylor can't sing "Steamroller" like he used to, and Sting is no exception. His voice has changed. I was also sad that he didn't have his Lute with him as "Until" is one of my favorite songs, but I digress.

Yes, it was enjoyable, but different from what I expected. As the tour continues on, I would merely ask those lighting cues be fixed. Do that, and the show will be much better.


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Jesus says, "Rubber!"

This would be awesome to see.

I am a fan of Patrick Boivin. He seems to have reinvented some great stop motion work. Yes, "Iron Baby" is adorable, but he has some other ones that are even more fun. Beyond the Pope vs. Jesus above, check out this one:

Evolution of Dance...with Optimus Prime.

And of course, because you might not be able to sleep (like me) and need a game, so here's B-Boy Joker....

He has lots of other really interesting, nerdy, and hilarious stuff. Go and enjoy.

Friday, June 18, 2010

W00tstock 2.3

So I mentioned a while ago that I had the pleasure of sitting through the five hour show on the 7th.

Now, thanks to the Creative Commons by-nc-sa 3.0 license (and grnbrgb's channel on Youtube), you can too.

Here is the opening of the show and luckily it's in chronological order. (How about that?)

Here is my favorite segment of the night:
MST3K on Mr. Bungle.


Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Rare Moments

Managed to get Sopheava to let me take a picture of her. This is after we did the official nerd fistbump at W00tstock.

Peeking Sun

I had the opportunity to go to W00tstock on Monday thanks to
W00tstock itself will be the subject of another post, however.
While we were waiting for the show to begin, she snuck me up to a little secret place in the Guthrie where we could look out into the city.
Like fools we left our "real" cameras in our transportation because we were afraid pictures weren't allowed (turns out they were if credit was given), so my subpar cell phone camera will have to do.
Enjoy the beautiful skyline.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Preparing for "The End"

I'm not the biggest fan of TV, but I really like the television show Lost.

As the final episode of the show prepares to air on Sunday, here are some primers for people who know the show.

Learning Lost:
In case you have no idea who the characters are or have forgotten. Note: this site contains spoilers galore, so only click through if you've been watching the show.

Muppets take on Lost

Wired's explanation of Lost

Everything you wanted to know...within reason.

And here you can see how much they like being a part of the show:

Suffice to say, it's a show that maintained interesting philosophies while also being easily accessible.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Broken System

I'm fascinated by this, but I also hope they present all sides. Schools that are underfunded while others are money wasters; teachers that don't care while others work too hard, and students who don't care, while others are ignored.

Oils Well that Ends Well

So you get an understanding of how bad this spill is.

via Information is Beautiful

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Darth Driver?

The nerd part of me really wants to get this....

Monday, May 03, 2010

Saving the Day

There are real superheroes.

Don't believe me? Then check out Electron Boy.


The quiet markings of love


Dear Blog,

Hi. I miss you a great deal, and I really want to write more, but I have been swamped by life and work lately.

On the life front, my daughter turned one, and my soon-to-be-four son is slightly sociopathic. As such, attention is slightly diverted. Beyond that, I am trying not to get overwhelmed by the never ending Honey-Do lists my wife gives me.

It is work, however, that absorbs most of my time. My students are slackers, not unlike me with you, dear blog. They choose to do the minimum amount of work and want the maximum amount of credit for it...which saddens me to no end. The very fact that I had a student ask me how old Malcolm X is now shows me that they are not getting the knowledge they need.

So I trudge through realizing that for the first time in my short career...I want summer to come. I want the children to go away and leave me in the peace that is my family and freedom.

I'm sorry, dear blog, that I have been neglecting you. I will attempt to get better.



Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Dr. Horrible...8-bit.

If only Nintendo had this when I was a young lad...sigh.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Scott Pilgrim

If you've ever read this comic, then you know why this is very exciting. Finally Michael Cera plays a sort of bad ass.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Muholland Endor

Oh what could have been....

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Dry Dock

As I prepare for the start of the second semester of my high school, I feel a great deal like the guy in the boat.

As of today, I'm really not sure if I will be voted to or even be allowed to speak at this year's graduation, but I do know that my speech is going to be about not accepting the mediocre.

I'm also curious about this news story about how everyone being connected and online makes the young folks smarter than the older generations. Of course that depends on what the definition of "smart" is. If they are saying that being able to navigate an iPod makes you smart, then, yes, my son is smarter than my father. However, if it is being able to take the knowledge and apply it, then most of the students I work with are severely behind their peers.

Here is an article that covers some of the issues I have right now about how we all need to be heard.

I seem to be rambling. Maybe it's time to bring that back...and for me to try and sleep. I hope to talk about some of the modern issues I'm seeing in education soon as well as some other observations. I know this blog has been sporadic as of the last year and having two kids will do that to you. I will try to post more often.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

No, Really...Check the Punctuation

The SarcMark

I could probably use this in my texting and even in my posts. I just find it incredibly fascinating that out language has evolved to a point that we have to create a brand new punctuation mark so that our ideas are understood.

Will I have to add this my grammar lessons?