Big Dan's Ramblings

Ramblings from a Boston Boy stuck in New York

Monthly Archives: July 2005

Family, Friends, Food, & Fireworks

Well, the 2005 4th of July weekend is in the books, but it’s far from forgotten. What a great weekend it was. Veeco, in an unnatural act of kindness (I’m sure there was some other reason, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt), gave us all Monday AND Tuesday off. A 4-day weekend! Let’s see if I can remember how all the debauche…err, fun, went.

The weekend started off with a great meal with the in-laws at a place call Sagamore Grill (I think) on Jericho Turnpike while we waited out the yahoo’s on the road. We rolled up to MA with virtually no traffic. Very uneventful drive up, which was nice.

Saturday: Woke up Saturday morning around 8-8:30 and made it over to Bungay Brook with Zac and Anthony around 9:30. I proceeded to win a fun 18-hole round with the best score I’ve ever gotten when playing 18 (100) and was about 3″ away from breaking a three digit score. Went back to the house and just farted around with the folks. Went to my cousin’s All-Star baseball game and then came home and went swimming. Some of the extended fam came over and we had a nice little cook-out. Fun city!

Sunday: Slept in nice and late and then leisurely got ourselves ready for some fun. Drove down to Fall River and met up with Rob and Amy at their place. We met up there (great drive – even saw a hawk) and headed out to Marc’s boat. Spent the rest of the afternoon wakeboarding and hanging out in the boat. After picking up some food (and booze), we headed over to Rob’s buddy Jake’s place for a BBQ and shindig. The gang there had already ate upon our arrival, so we fired up the grill and made a feast. As the night wore on, we rolled out some ‘pizza dough’ (very inside joke) and ‘cooked’ it. Everyone on that lake lights big bonfires on the water’s edge, so we got to see them and a fireworks show (private – nothing professionally done) that lasted about 1.5 hours and rivaled anything professional I’ve ever seen. Great night!

Monday: Hung out with Mom and Pop and said good-bye to Z and Alys. Ant and I played 9-holes at Fore Kicks (I kicked his ass again) and we just chilled. Ris and I made dinner that night – steak, potatoes, and shrimp on the grill – and we just enjoyed being on the lake and with each other. It was a great way to spend time with each other.

Tuesday: I got up fairly early for a vacation day (8ish) and headed over to Semco around 9:30 or so. Hung out there and talked shop for a while. Then it was time for Ris and I to get on the road. The ride home sucked, but it was worth it, because the weekend was just great!

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Metal, Metal, Metal….

I was talking to a friend the other day about needing some music to throw on my iPod Shuffle for when I’m lifting. Given his affinity for metal, he put together the following list of must have metal albums. Without further ado, I give to you:

JP’s 21 (cause 20 just isn’t enough) Must Have Metal Albums

Powerslave – Iron Maiden
If you need to ask why you need this album…well. NWOBHM at its finest, and Dickinson could sing. This is like a textbook of metal.

Sad Wings Of Destiny – Judas Priest
Another no-brainer. Great songs throughout, killer guitar, and Halford is the greatest metal singer of all time.

Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath
Again, duh. It is impossible to NOT like “The Wizard” and “Sleeping Village/Warning”. Throw in “N.I.B” and it’s a classic.

Lightning To The Nations – Diamond Head
Some people would make fun of this album, but without this album, Metallica might not exist. The songs might seem familiar…”Am I Evil?”, “Sucking My Love”, “The Prince”, and “Helpless” are all classic. The whole album rocks, and has the same raw vibe as Kill Em All. Real singing, too.

And Justice For All… – Metallica
Um, yeah. The depression of existence, captured on record at 200 BPM! “Dyer’s Eve” is the greatest Metallica track of all time.

This Darkened Heart – All That Remains
The greatest album of 2004. Phil is a little bit lower and hardcore growly, but not screechy, and if you read the lyrics, you’ll understand him. There is some singing, but this album is about devastating riffery and the sonic assault waged by Mike Martin and Oliver Herbert.

Beware The Heavens – Sinergy
THIS is how chicks in metal should sound. Kimberly Goss is married to Alexi Laiho from COB, and he plays on the album. Kind of like COB but with singing. Great album.

In Search Of Truth – Evergrey
The Pink Floyd of metal albums. This is a very relaxing and simultaneously frightening album. Themes of abduction, insanity, and being trapped abound. Lots of creepy parts, cool singing, and some killer solos.

Burning Bridges – Arch Enemy
Arch Enemy’s “melodic” album. Flat out screaming, but you can understand it alright. And the guitar work is raw and angry.

The Art Of Balance – Shadows Fall
This is the most melodic album from SF, in my opinion. “The Mystery Of One Spirit” is the most screaming track they ever recorded, in my opinion. Similar to All That Remains, but a little more singing and the riffs aren’t quite as good.

Cowboys From Hell – Pantera
Uh……………………dude. “Message In Blood” and “Cemetery Gates” rule, as well as the title track. Phil Anselmo could get up!

Stained Class & Hell Bent For Leather – Judas Priest
Man, another great pair of efforts from The Priest. Both released in 1978, and I usually listen to them together. Awesome vocals from Halford, and some of Tipton and Downing’s most memorable riffs, including “Better By You, Better Than Me” and the back-to-back anthems “The Green Manalishi” and “Killing Machine”. “The Green Manalishi” was originally written by Peter Green, I think, from Fleetwood Mac, I am pretty sure. All of these songs rule, even if they are about gay sex.

Night Of The Stormrider – Iced Earth
Some of Schaffer’s best riffing, including “Travel In Stygian”. Classic metal singing, a little thin at times.

Iron Maiden – Iron Maiden
Paul Dianno rocks the mic on this bad mother. “Phantom Of The Opera” is the best track, great harmony work. Dianno was a great singer, too, but it’s tough to top Dickinson.

The War Within – Shadows Fall
Better drums than The Art Of Balance. “The Power of I and I” rocks, and the drums on “The Light That Blinds” rocks.

Suicide By My Side – Sinergy
More like COB, less happy riffage. ANGRY!!!!! But Kim Goss still r0x0rz.

Pornograffitti – Extreme (I am not joking…)
Don’t ask. Just crank the NON-radio tracks. This is tone like Zakk Wylde, but some weird riffing. Excellent solos, esp. in “Pornograffitti” and “Almighty Dollar”.

Master Of Puppets – Metallica
Nothing to say here.

Melissa – Mercyful Fate
If you like the devil, you’ll like this album. Ha ha. Just playing. Satanic themes aside, this is another big chunk of the Met sound. KD is a goofy singer, but at least he doesn’t just growl. Great thin metal sound. “Into The Coven” has a ripping intro.

Something Wicked This Way Comes – Iced Earth
Their best album ever. Listen to the last three tracks. Great vocals by Matt Barlow and insane rhythm guitar from Schaffer. THIS album rules.

Buried In Oblivion – Into Eternity
Nothing to say here.