September 2009

Album Cover: Begin To Hope

"On the radio, you hear November Rain. That solo's awful long, but it's a good refrain."
Regina Spektor / On The Radio

Pearl Jam at Key Arena in Seattle on September 22, 2009

September 26, 2009 5:35 AM

Eddie Vedder On Stage

I hoped to post this the night of, like I did for the September 21st show, but life kinda got in the way. When I guessed that the September 22nd show would be more memorable, little did I know that that would end up being an understatement!

Since my wife and daughter needed to catch a flight to Phoenix the morning of the 23rd, my wife decided not to go to the second Pearl Jam show with me. I couldn't find anyone else to go with me on such late notice, and didn't want to risk any trouble with my fanclub membership by selling my other ticket, so I decided to just eat the cost of the extra ticket and go alone. What I found, though, is that I got more than my money's worth, even considering both tickets.

Whereas our seats were in row 23 the first night, my tickets the second night were for row 15. Knowing I'd be a little closer to the action had me pretty excited. One of the things that I missed out on the first night was a grey tour t-shirt with a buzz saw-shaped vinyl record on the front, since they had run out of my size. The first thing I did upon entering Key Arena was make my way over to the merchandise section and pick up one of those shirts. This time around, they had my size, so the night was already off to a great start.

When I got to my seats, I noticed that row 15 was right after a wide aisle, which meant there'd be plenty of room in front of me during the show. When I sat down, I realized that I was indeed much closer to the stage and not too far off center. Given my experience the night before, I was able to time my arrival just about 30 minutes before Pearl Jam took the stage.

When the band finally did take the stage, I got the sense that there wasn't as much energy in the building as there had been the night before. However, after getting only a few songs into the set, it became very clear that the energy and emotion in the building actually far surpassed that of the previous night's show.

One of the main reasons for the abundance of energy was the set list. Whereas I mentioned the first night's set list seemed a bit strange, night two's set was very fluid, full of surprises, and completely engaging.

The band kicked off the set with "Sometimes," worked its way through "Dissident" and "Faithfull," two songs I love to hear live, and then kicked into an amazing trio of "Lukin," "Not For You," and a brief Sleater-Kinney homage that I just so happened to capture on video. I've always loved how Eddie changes the "Small my table, seats just two" lyric in "Not For You," and during this set he sang something along the lines of "Small my table, seats just four. Got so crowded, it can't seat anymore." I definitely thought this was a reflection of his personal life.

As if that trio wasn't exciting enough, Eddie introduced the following song as being one the band always refused to play, despite constantly being asked to play it. The band then proceeded to play "No Way" from Yield for only the fourth time ever live, and for the first time since September of 1998. It sounded so good, you would have never guessed they never play it live.

During the first encore, the band played "Just Breathe" (which is easily my favorite song off of Backspacer) and "The End" with a string quartet (featuring Matt Cameron's wife) accompanying. They ended the encore with three more live favorites of mine, "Black," "In My Tree" and "Spin the Black Circle."

The second encore started off with another rarity that might in fact never get played again. Eddie said that solely for this one performance, he had rewritten "Supersonic" as "SuperSonics" with lyrics specific to the Seattle SuperSonics, our long lost basketball team. As Eddie introduced the song and the fact that this performance would be a one-time only deal, I noticed that Jeff was wearing an old school Seattle SuperSonics t-shirt. The band then kicked into this custom version of the song, that featured lyrics along the lines of "SuperSonics took my soul...I bought my tickets but the Key was closed:"

What Eddie at one point noted was the band's 50th time playing in Seattle ended just how I had hoped it would. After "Porch," the house lights came on and the band started playing my favorite song of all time, "Yellow Ledbetter." As usual, after the song had come to an end, Mike took center stage, metaphorically speaking, and closed the show with his Hendrixesque rendition of the Star Spangled Banner. Once the final chord had been played, the band got together in a group and bowed. The crowd went nuts, but to be fair, the crowd had been going nuts all night long. But it was clear the night had been an emotional experience for the band just as it had been for me and the thousands of people around me.

I've been a Pearl Jam fan long enough now to have been to my fair share of second or third nights, but I haven't ever been to one that lived up to this one. The band put their hearts into it, the crowd put their hearts into it, and the show truly became an example of where the whole became greater than the sum of its parts.

Now the waiting game begins. Picking up the bootlegs will be one way to ensure that the memory of this show and the previous night's stay with me for a very long time.

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Pearl Jam at Key Arena in Seattle on September 21, 2009

September 22, 2009 12:59 AM

PJ

If I'm not mistaken, my last Pearl Jam show was way back in the summer of 2006, at the Gorge Amphitheater on July 23, 2006 (I also attended the show the night before). It seems crazy that it's been that long, but the drought ended tonight when I attended the first of two shows at Key Arena.

The band caught me a bit off guard with their latest album, Backspacer, since it's only available to buy on iTunes and Target. Therefore, I've yet to actually buy it, which made tonight's concert a very new experience for me. It's pretty much the first time I've heard a bunch of songs live from the band before hearing their studio-recorded versions. It was actually kind of cool to experience them that way for the first time. Pearl Jam always puts a little extra mustard on their songs when they perform them live, and it's something that just doesn't come through the same way on a record.

I took my beautiful wife with me, thanks to some great neighbors who are willing to babysit until the wee hours of the night. We arrived in time to hear most of the opening act, Ben Harper and Relentless7, perform, and there were some songs that were actually pretty listenable. That being said, when you're anticipating Pearl Jam taking the stage in a matter of minutes, nothing ever sounds good enough.

Thanks to my Ten Club seniority, our seats ended up being in the 23rd row. That sounds a little better than it actually is, because the rows are spread apart enough where that actually ends up being around half court (if you haven't been to a basketball game at the Key before, that equates to the middle of the arena). However, I've sat all over the place inside that arena to see Pearl Jam play many times in the past, and there really isn't a bad place to be. In the same room as the band is good enough for me.

The band opened up with "Long Road," which is probably my favorite among the many songs I've heard the band open with. Several songs into their set, just before playing "Insignificance," Eddie Vedder took a break to mention to the audience that President Obama had recently taken a stand on something that the band was completely in agreement with.

The show, especially for one at the leading end of a tour, had a lot of energy, and unlike a show back in 2000, had a crowd to be proud of. There were plenty of singalongs and Eddie and the band seemed to be relishing in it. The only strange thing about the show was the setlist, or maybe just the way it broke down. There seemed to be an abrupt break in the middle of the show that I wasn't expecting, and the overall mix of songs was a little strange as well. All the songs were great, of course, but there were some Pearl Jam staples that went overlooked, and to have the show end with "Alive," when they've typically ended with my favorite song, "Yellow Ledbetter," in the past, was a bit of a surprise as well. Luckily, I'll be at tomorrow night's show as well to see if the band was just saving the best for last.

When the set finally came to an end after about 2 1/2 hours, the predominantly middle-aged crowd (we Pearl Jam fans are getting older) seemed more than satisfied with the experience. My wife and I made our way to where they were selling t-shirts and other memorabilia and I managed to get a red t-shirt with "Pearl Jam" in black, Japanese lettering on the front. It was my second choice, so I'm hoping they'll have my size in my first choice tomorrow night.

As expected, tonight was yet another example of why there is no better show than that put on by Pearl Jam. It was an experience to remember, and yet somehow, I'm anticipating tomorrow night's show being even more memorable. I guess we'll see.

I'll leave with a video I took of the band performing one of my favorite songs, "Indifference:"

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How I Fixed Flash in Firefox on Ubunty Jaunty Jackalope

September 20, 2009 8:59 PM

Ever since I upgraded to Ubuntu Jaunty Jackalope back in May, I've been having issues with Flash in Firefox. Luckily, I don't really rely on Flash for too much, but tonight I needed to order a pizza, so the issue became critical. ;)

I'm no stranger to Flash issues on Linux, so I knew if I dug around in the Ubuntu Forums I'd come across something helpful. Sure enough, I found this thread, in which the following commands were suggested for fixing the problem:

sudo apt-get remove --purge swfdec-mozilla mozilla-plugin-gnash flashplugin-nonfree adobe-flashplugin

sudo apt-get install adobe-flashplugin

I ran the first command and found that the two packages I had installed were flashplugin-nonfree and swfdec-mozilla. They were both removed by the command.

When I tried the second command, I got the following:

Package adobe-flashplugin is not available, but is referred to by another package. This may mean that the package is missing, has been obsoleted, or is only available from another source.

My guess is that is due to the note in this post, which refers to needing to have the Canonical "partner" repository set up.

Before I looked into how to do that, I decided to fire up Firefox to see if it would present me with the option of installing the plugin from there (seemed easier). However, I was pleasantly surprised to see that all of a sudden, after only running the first of the two aforementioned commands successfully, Flash was finally working fine again.

And now the pizza guy is here. :)

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Dawg Day

September 20, 2009 12:22 AM

Today was a very interesting day. After a busy Friday at work, I was pretty beat last night and ended up falling asleep earlier than usual. I then ended up waking up around 3 or 4am feeling like I was ready to start my day. I spent about an hour tweaking Media Center on Lando in preparation for watching the Huskies game and tomorrow's Seahawks game in HD. Once I had finished that, I felt like I should head back to bed, but I ended up getting distracted by my feeds, and before I knew it, I heard my daughter making noise in the nursery.

It was at that point that I realized I probably wasn't going to be going back to bed anytime soon, but I was actually pretty happy to hear my daughter bustling nearby. After a long work week, it's always nice to finally get to spend a full day with my daughter. We went through our usual morning routine, and once she was back in her crib for a nap, I started anxiously counting down the minutes to kickoff.

Come 12:30pm, the the Huskies game finally got underway. Whereas I was expecting to see USC slowly but surely overpower the Huskies and come away with a win, time wore on, the score stayed close, and the Huskies showed the true grit that made them so great in decades past. The end result was one of the greatest wins in the history of the program, and one that I certainly will not forget for a very long time. The Steve Sarkisian era is most certainly upon us.

University of Washington Quarterback Jack Locker Surrounded by Husky Fans

After the game, though still a bit stunned, I took my wife and daughter to the AT&T store to get my wife a new phone. She ended up getting a Samsung Impression and seems to be pretty pleased with it so far.

Once we returned home, it was time for my daughter to head to bed. Once she was asleep, we ate dinner and watched the second half of the Texas Tech vs. Texas game. That ended up being your typical Big 12 shoot-out, with the only ranked team of the two, Texas, coming out on top.

After that, we had dessert and finally watched this year's MTV Video Music Awards. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, but that doesn't mean it was any good either. It came in with a bang (the whole Kanye spiel) and went out with a bang (a killer performance from these two), and otherwise had a whole lot of utter nonsense in between.

Now, as I finish up this post, Saturday has morphed into early Sunday and my bed is calling my name.

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Eight Years Later

September 11, 2009 1:03 AM

American Flag

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A Preseason Game to Remember

September 08, 2009 1:21 AM

As big a Seahawks fan as I am, I don't typically go to preseason games. I figure the money's better spent on regular season games when there's more on the line and the 12th man is in top form. However, who could turn down two free tickets to a game, preseason or not? Furthermore, who could turn down those two tickets when they come from the quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks, Matt Hasselbeck!?

For the sake of some back-story, a few weeks ago, Matt Hasselbeck gave away two 300-level tickets to someone who answered a pretty simple Seahawks trivia question on Twitter. When Matt Hasselbeck forewarned last week that he'd be doing it again, my wife spotted it and told me to be ready for the coming trivia question.

Surely enough, just after noon on Thursday (game day), Matt Hasselbeck tweeted another trivia question, this time a bit more challenging, but right up my alley. Having followed Michael Crabtree quite a bit leading up to this year's NFL draft, I became very familiar with the Fred Biletnikoff Award. Knowing that it's gone to the top wide receiver in college for the past decade and a half, it definitely piqued my interest when I read stories this off-season about how Mike Hass, one of the receivers fighting for a roster spot on the Seahawks, had won the award back in 2005.

That knowledge, combined with knowing that Mike Hass had attended Oregon State University, allowed me to reply to Matt Hasselbeck's question in no more than a minute. Only a few minutes after that, I saw this:

Screenshot of Matt Hasselbeck's Twitter Page

Needless to say, I was pretty excited. Not long after Matt Hasselbeck tweeted that publicly, he direct messaged me with the following:

Congrats dude! I'll have your 2 tickets at will call by 5pm. The game is at 7pm. (you'll be sitting in the family section so be nice) :)

Not long after that, I started getting a bunch of replies from various people, mostly congratulating me on winning the tickets, and I even got mentioned in a tweet from Rich Eisen. Essentially, my status rose from an F-list online celebrity to an E-list one, if only for a few minutes. ;)

The fun didn't end there, though. My wife and I were lucky enough to get my brother and his fiancée to babysit on very short notice, so once they arrived we made our way to Qwest Field. When we arrived at will call, we gave the woman my name and she handed us an envelope with this on it:

Matt Hasselbeck's Autograph

The view from our seats was pretty darn good, too:

The View from Our Seats #2

Not only was the view great, but, just as Matt Hasselbeck had mentioned in his direct message, we were seated in the family section. We spent quite a bit of time looking at the people around us, trying to figure out who the people were. My wife actually asked the people behind us, and we found out that they were Jordan Kent's family. We also spotted a girl who looked related to Justin Forsett and two girls we were pretty sure were John Carlson's and Joe Newton's wives.

Aside from all that, the game itself was an exciting one, featuring some great long-gainers on offense and some energetic football on the defensive side of things. We pulled out the win in the end, and in fact, the final score (31-21) wasn't actually indicative of the game, since the Seahawks dominated throughout.

Whereas most preseason games get forgotten almost as soon as the final gun sounds, this is one preseason game that I'm sure I'll never forget.

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