Thursday, September 24, 2009

Time to Tune In Again

The cooler temperatures and return of college students means one thing: the new TV season is here. Finally, I can stop wasting my evenings because I'll have something to do again other than watch Red Sox games and go out (said with all due sarcasm). I wonder if my couch and my Slanket have missed me. Anyway, it's become a quasi-tradition here, so just as I've done before, I thought I'd share what I plan to watch this season. Here's my weekly lineup:

Monday: How I Met Your Mother at 8pm, Gossip Girl at 9pm
Tuesday: The Good Wife at 10pm (maybe)
Wednesday: Glee at 9pm, Modern Family and Cougar Town at 10pm (recorded during the 9-10 hour), Eastwick (maybe)
Thursday: Weekend Update Thursday at 8pm (until October 1), then Community at 8pm (starting October 8), The Office at 9pm, Community at 9:30pm (until October 1), then 30 Rock at 9:30pm (starting October 15), Grey's Anatomy at 10pm (recorded during the 9-10 hour)
Friday: Nothing, catching up on anything I missed during the week
Saturday: Saturday Night Live at 11:30pm (if I'm home)
Sunday: The Amazing Race at 8pm, Curb Your Enthusiasm at 9pm (starting when the Seinfeld cast does, on October 4), Brothers & Sisters at 10pm

I know, I know: That's an awful lot of TV — and it doesn't count House, which I'd like to start watching this season, but I'm sure I won't have time for. The truth is, I'm sure some of the new shows won't live up to the hype or my expectations, and especially when there's a time conflict (as on Wednesday nights), I expect to fall behind on a few shows and not catch up. And, most importantly, I do still expect and hope to have a life outside of my apartment (that's what a DVR is for). Thus, by the time Lost and American Idol return in January, I expect my weeks to be a bit less TV-filled.

But enough excuse-making. For now, it's a new season, and I have more reasons to tune in. My TV is ready. Is my DVR?

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Update, 9/24 10:30pm: Forget what you read above. After watching the first episode of Flash Forward and the second episode of Community, I'm changing my Thursday at 8pm plan. I'll now be watching Flash Forward from here on out.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Listen Up

Tuesday was one of those big multimedia purchase days that I have every so often. The third season of 30 Rock was released on DVD, and David Gray, Mika, and Harry Connick Jr. all released new albums. When I was at Costco, I noticed that A.J. Jacobs had a new book out, so I grabbed that, and because I hadn't purchased it yet, I also picked up the third season of Brothers and Sisters on DVD. A mixed bag of music for sure, and maybe not your tastes, but I always enjoy new stuff from artists I like. (The David Gray album is particularly good. I'll let you know about the others when I hear more of them.)

Apparently, I'm going to have a few days like this in the next couple months because a bunch of my favorite singers and bands have new albums coming out, including Michael Bublé (October 9), Flight of the Conchords (October 20), the Swell Season (October 27), Train (October 27), Robbie Williams (November 10), Jamie Cullum (November 10), Jason Mraz (November 10), and John Mayer (November 17). There's also the Glee soundtrack (November 3), American Idol winner Kris Allen's debut (November 17), and others I'm sure I'll want when the times comes. (Hopefully, I'll be able to get a few on Jonny Ali's blog.)

Point is, I guess it's a good thing I got the 32GB iPhone after all, because I'm going to need all that memory to hold all the new music I plan to acquire between now and the end of the year. I'd better get my headphones ready now.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Seeking Space

I'm trying to figure out when some people lost the ability to park a car. I used to think this was a problem isolated to Newton — particularly at the Star Market on Route 9 — but of course, I was wrong. Tonight, for example, when I came out of Costco up in Waltham, I saw this sight to your left. The photo doesn't really do it justice, but suffice it to say, the minivan had parked at such an angle that it was almost blocking me in my spot. I ask: If you had parked so horribly, wouldn't you pull out and right yourself? I mean, even after you had gotten out of your car and seen that you were over the line? And especially if you saw how close you were to another car ... a car that could very easily back up and hit your own car?

Thankfully, I was able to maneuver out of my spot easily, but I was still annoyed. This was not an unusual sight at Costco either, and it's worse because of all the SUVs and minivans that are often parked at extreme angles. It'd be one thing if it was all Civics or other small cars like that, but these are large vehicles and they really do get in the way.

So with this in mind, I thought I'd conduct a short, anonymous survey. Do you know how to park a car? Click here to answer two really quick questions and let me know. I'll share the results in a future blog post, but I'll see for myself when I'm out driving around.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Noises Off, Please

It usually starts after 10pm. That's when my upstairs neighbor — we'll call her LC — starts making noise. You can almost set your watch to it. Night after night, it's like she's sat quietly in one place, and then, just when my evening is starting to wind down, she gets up and just wanders around the apartment. Sometimes she decides to rearrange the furniture. Sometimes she drops things. And sometimes she decides to vacuum, though she often saves that task until Sunday night. She has a very heavy walk. Oh, and did I mention she wears shoes (they sound like heels) when she's doing all this?

I must be fated to have bad luck with my neighbors. Maybe I was a bad neighbor in a former life, I don't really know. But what I do know is that for the past, oh, three years, whether it was the piano-, the flute-, or the violin-playing back at 110, or my current inconsiderate neighbor upstairs, I've had some real tests of my patience lately.

Unlike the "musicians" at 110, I've actually said something to LC about the noise. For example, there was that one night a year ago when I came home from work late (i.e.: around 10pm) and heard some particularly loud, beat-heavy music playing upstairs. I knocked on her door. No response. I buzzed her from the front door. No response. I slipped a note under her door asking that she not play her music that loudly so late at night. Finally, after 11pm, and another round of knocking and buzzing, she got the message and turned it down. Now she prefers to taunt me with her late-night walking around and cleaning.

Oh, and there was also the time when her toilet had a leak and it was dripping into my bathroom. I was very civil with her and thankful for her quick (though cold and half-hearted) response. So yeah, it's not like we haven't ever been in touch.

Don't get me wrong: I realize that living in a condo (or any other kind of multi-unit) building means I'm going to hear noise from other residents, especially when I live on a lower-level floor. I'm just saying that I seem to have gotten the short end of the stick here. When I come home, one of the first things I do is remove my shoes — not just for comfort and cleanliness, but also because ... well, I guess those are the only reasons I do it (after all, I don't have anyone living below me). And I don't turn the volume on my TV up as loud as I'd like it because I know that's rude. So why does LC not show the same consideration? I mean, even my banjo-playing neighbor has asked me if he is playing too loudly (I told him not really) and has adjusted so as not to disturb me.

I know I'm probably not a perfect neighbor, but I'm sure I'm more patient than most. And I'm also friendly; whenever I see LC in the hallway, I say hello to her — despite my frustrations. Maybe eventually she'll think about her neighbor and will be a little bit nicer to me.


Tuesday, September 08, 2009

More! More!

Abby has learned some new words since I last saw her (in June): "More" and "No." She said both many times this weekend while she was here in Boston for her family's now-annual Labor Day Weekend visit to Boston. Nothing was ever enough, and she knew what she wanted (and what she didn't want). Suffice it to say, a great time was had.

Abby's an exhausting little girl now, but an endlessly fascinating (and fascinated) one. I loved watching her walk all over — my apartment, an open field, a playground, Farry & Barrah's apartment, the Pru and Copley malls, the Public Garden, Boston Common, the B.C. campus ... you name it, she was there exploring every nook and cranny. Abby's been to Boston before (most recently in January) but each time she comes, she's more aware of and curious about her surroundings. I could sit and watch her wander around for days and days. And that's pretty much what I did.

And, as if Mitzi and Jason didn't have enough to tire them out with chasing Abby around, they also got a little bit hooked on my Wii (Mitzi especially). Who knew they'd like it so much? It's safe to say that when the three of them left on Monday, we all wanted a little bit "more" time to spend together. Alas, real life beckons. Thankfully, we'll always have the pictures to remind us of the great time we had (click here to see them). Till their next visit ...

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Saturday, September 05, 2009

Loud Mouths

Near the end of the new documentary It Might Get Loud, Jimmy Page (of Led Zeppelin, of course) says something like, "I don't know if I picked it, or if it picked me, but I've really enjoyed it." He's talking about the guitar, but the sentiment could apply to this movie — which I definitely chose to see. An intimate look at three of the greatest guitar players in rock — Page, the Edge (from U2), and Jack White (from the White Stripes) — Loud is indeed a very enjoyable movie and I dare say essential viewing for any music fan.

Directed by Davis Guggenheim (the Al Gore doc An Inconvenient Truth), Loud zeroes in on these three men, showing them individually talking about their influences and what led them to discover the guitar, and together comparing notes and playing their respective instruments. You get interesting anecdotes about the early days of U2, insights about the recording of classic Led Zep tunes like "The Battle of Evermore," a look at White's writing process, and much more. While some of it may not be earth-shaking or new for longtime fans of these men and their bands, it's still a kick to see them tell their own stories in the same locations that they happened. And no surprise, the soundtrack really rocks. So that's why I'm giving Loud a strong B+.

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Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Four More Years! Four More Years!

So here we are again, another year later. When I first started this blog, did you ever expect it to last four years? I surely didn't. But today does, in fact, mark the four-year blogiversary of Martin's Musings, and at least for me, that's reason to celebrate.

Looking back on another year of musings, a few things pop out. First, there was "Curiosity Killed My Appetite," the post that was read more than any other — 2,400 hits in three days! There was also the election, which culminated in Barack Obama being chosen as our next president; I documented my support of Obama in many posts last fall. The week in April when I saw Flight of the Conchords, Lily Allen, and Bruce Springsteen (twice!) in concert. And the times when I've pigged out and then attempted to watch my weight. But that's just a sampling of the many, many things I've written about.

In short, the past 12 months — or at least the past eight, ever since I got a new job — have truly been a lot of fun, and you, my readers, have been right there with me along the way as I've ranted, raved, documented, and posted. In fact, I can tell you that more than 12,125 visitors in the past year clicked on more than 15,330 pages of this blog — and that doesn't include all the folks who've read these posts on Facebook.

So I thank you for reading. In four years, I've written close to 1,280 blog posts. Anyone want to guess how long it'll take me to double that number?