Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008: The Year in Review

A new year makes you think back over the happenings of the last year. And what a year it was!!

OF COURSE it's all about Bon Jovi. So, the top 5 highlights ...? (in no particular order)

1. Meeting up with my great German friends in Chicago and then Philadelphia (with a little pilgrimage to a particular condo building ... LOL). I'm counting the days til you get here in February!

2. A weekend of awesome shows, the best frickin' pizza ever and laughter with Fiction Mistress, Goddess Hathor and Willow.

3. Grabbing Jon's leg while in the pit in Vegas to let him know that the Soul won the game and were 7-0. (Sorry, Jonny, I know I scared you there for a minute...but it was good news, huh!?) And, we all know how the season ended!

4. Jon seeing my sign in Central Park and reacting (thanks Willow for capturing that on film!) Poor guy saw it at every concert I attended ... that was 21 times. Oyyy!

5. Obie trying to "save the day" when we couldn't get the concert broadcast into the Wachovia Center after hours of trying. I will always remember him pulling out his phone and waking Rew up just to try to help me.

There were a lot of other great moments centered around the Soul (wahhhhh), Jovi friends, great music and lots of smiles.

May 2009 bring all of you what you wish for! Now, off to have a little champagne!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

That's Why I Keep Coming Back ...

So, sitting at my computer this morning on what seems like day number 56,793,546,271,736 of my frickin' job search, I was listening to WPLJ.

I usually don't listen to the radio because of the sad state of the playlists ... I mean, seriously I can take a little David Cook and Coldplay, but EVERY OTHER song ...?! Is that really necessary?

Anyway, I was shocked out of my job listing coma by the opening bars of "Always." I stopped mid-email and just sat and listened. Closing my eyes, I could almost see it in my head .. Jon singing his guts out, the mic lean, the emotion.

At that moment, I remembered again why I love this band and Jon Bon Jovi, in particular. Its been hard to remember that lately with all the silliness that has been swirling around the fan club, etc. If you don't realize how silly things have been, kindly read FM's post yesterday about Bon Jovi merchandise - seriously, y'all the funniest thing I have read in a while. Must get me some of those Russian Wobble Dolls! LOL

In any case, I urge you to go back and listen to some of your favorite Jovi songs, it will excite you all over again.

.....but now back to reality, David Cook .... AGAIN ...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Twas the night before Christmas ...

And all thru my head,
I just could not stop thinking
of Jonny in bed!

(sorry, I usually keep it pretty clean on this blog ...
but it is Christmas and a girl has gotta dream!)

In any case, it IS the night before Christmas, so here's a little holiday cheer ... (and Jon Bon Jovi in a Santa hat can always make you smile!)

You know ... as much as we malign one Bongiovi brother (that would be Matt), we've gotta appreciate the other one for giving us little tidbits like this. So, I would like to publicly thank Anthony for all the glimpses into the backstage world and catching great memories of life on the road.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

So ... what is there to do in NYC on Christmas Eve? Tons! But for me, I think its gonna be service at The Cathedral of St. John the Divine -- I really go for the music -- lots of brass, organ and a huge choir. And, its virtually impossible to get into St. Patrick's on Christmas Eve so its the uptown cathedral tonight. (Hey! Maybe we'll even have a Christmas miracle and Notre Dame will win tonight ...? Nah, maybe too much to wish for...)

Oh, a quick note to my ff readers ... I actually have been working on writing again after a bit of a hiatus. So, you can expect new chapters of Vienna over the next few days. ;-) But in the meantime, if you aren't already reading it, I highly recommend The Big Easy by my dear friend, The Fiction Mistress. That girl can frickin' write!

And in closing, just wanted to wish all of you out there who read this blog a very happy, healthy holiday season. Thank you for your support and your comments.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Just a Damn Good Christmas Song

So, I was standing in line at Staples -- fyi, there is a line for everything in NYC ... people just line up out of habit, doesn't matter what it is ...

Anyway, I was standing in line at Staples -- btw, does a USB cable really need to be $30? That's highway robbery in my opnion ...

ANYWAY ... try number 3 ... I was standing in line at Staples when one of my all-time favorite Christmas songs came on. It certainly made waiting much more palatable.

The song? "I Wish Every Day Could be Like Christmas" by our beloved Bon Jovi. And its not one of my favorites just because its Jon and he sounds awesome - its because of that old time rock-n-roll feel, its because the lyrics are just so perfect. And because like I have said before, I am a sucker for anything in 6/8 or 12/8.

Take a listen if you don't know the song and see what you think.

{Here's a live clip from one of the HAND concerts in New Jersey - three amazing sold-out shows that simply rocked ... oh and one helluva great canned food drive!}

P.S. I heard from one of my Soul staff buddies ... we should be singing "Dry County" cause all the money's gone, all the jobs are gone ... still they're hanging on ...

note to Jon Bon Jovi: I hope you do something for these kids 'cause this whole thing sucks ... no way around it.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Philadelphia Soul ... oh how I loved thee!

This is going to be a bit long and rambly, so just stay with me ...

Well, it became official today with the announcement of the cancellation of the 2009 AFL season. After all the speculation last week, I am disappointed but not surprised at this course of action.

Of course the question by many a Bon Jovi fan was about whether the celebration/concert would still take place. Well, rumors are still swirling about that ... so its a wait-and-see. But, in reality, I don't even care about that so much anymore.

My biggest concern is what about the staff and the players whose livelihoods have just been pulled out from under them? As someone who has been on the job search for months now, I know first-hand what a difficult market this is. So, I care about Jason, Steve, Liam, Heather, Mark, Sara, Matt, Tyler and all the staff that busted their butts -- and who, regardless of the level of exhaustion or frustration, always put a positive take on whatever obstacle or fire that would come up.

And to the players, so many of whom became more than just guys on a field, but guys in our communities and in our hearts: they can never take the championship away from you.

So, before I wrap this up ... just thought I'd take a moment to relive some of the better Soul times.

There is NOTHING like beating Dallas ... in the old, sweaty Spectrum on a stormy night. It was electric!

Can't beat a guy who can play both sides of the ball, start a new charity initiative AND has a good sense of humor. Gotta love Mike Brown!

And who could forget that impromptu celebration in the parking lot!? Now, THAT was amazing!

Well, Coach, we got our trophy and its ours until someone wins it away from us!

PLEASE NOTE, I understand that the League is hoping to return in 2010. And if they do, I will be there. But for right now ... we are left with only hopes.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Yes, Virginia, There is ...

Holy cow, I think I just found heaven ...

I was talking to a friend last night and he was raving about a place downtown that only serves rice pudding. I am a big lover of rice pudding so my ears perked up right away. I remember hearing rumblings about such a place at one point ... but then something about it closing. I have been to the all-cereal "restaurant" in Philadelphia and that was fun, but this had potential to be something truly great, so I was happy when he confirmed that it did exist.

So, in the cold, I trekked down to Spring Street to see what I could find.

Of course, I had to have a few samples just to get the flavor of the place ... my first - Sex Drugs and Rocky Road.

They have a few seasonal flavors as well - the best name in the bunch being the Kiss my Anisette XMas Pudding. But, I found Don Cappucino was particularly yummy.

I'm looking forward to Summer when I can try Rest in Peach (yet, another RIP ... see my previous blog about R.I.P. ... on second thought, maybe not while we are talking about food ... LOL)

Anyway, so the next time you're visiting Jon Bon Jovi ... oh, I mean New York City ... stop by and check it out. 37 Spring Street (between Mott and Mulberry.)

P.S. Also try the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory when you're here - its fantastic, too. The Green Tea Ice Cream is wonderful. :-)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Jon and Johnny

It is no secret that there are two Jersey musicians I absolutely love more than anything ... Jon (Bon Jovi) and Southside Johnny.

So, if two are good ... four must be better right?! Here is a clip of one of my absolute favorite SSJ songs performed by JBJ, SSJ, RS and BB. Quite simply fantastic.

I was in search of some inspiration yesterday and while surfing around YouTube found this incredible video of SSJ and JBJ in 1994. Damn, Jon looks so frickin' happy here - makes me smile. Take a look at this.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Just Can't Get the Creative Juices Flowing ...

For some reason, I am totally uninspired to write today. I think it may be the emotional drain of all that back-and-forth with regard to the Arena Football League. So, when all else fails ... what does one do? Look at pictures of Jon Bon Jovi.

(to the AFL) "Don't you even THINK about canceling the season!"

"Did anyone see me take that extra cookie?"

"Since y'all are looking at my butt anyway!"

"Hey Richie, let's pose for the new Bon Jovi action figures!"

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Note to Self ... DO NOT drink Mountain Dew at 11:30pm

I made the mistake of having something to drink while talking on the phone to the Fiction Mistress last night. By the way, she is fine in sunny Mexico and I am green with envy having heard about the hot tub out on her terrace. And, Samantha, your birthday present should be waiting for you when you get home. ;-)


Its now 2:41am and I can't sleep. I'm a pretty serious coffee drinker so I'm surprised that a little can of Mountain Dew would have such an effect (or is it affect) on me.

In any case, it gives me time to "dew" this post about my beloved Philadelphia Soul.

I loved this billboard ... from a few years ago.

So ... I was walking around Midtown when I saw the ESPN ticker and read "Arena Football League cancels 2009 season." I simply stood there in shock ... right in the middle of Times Square ... tears running down my cheeks.

There had been rumors for several days to this affect (or is it effect ... ha ha) but nothing official. OK ... before you get all worked up - there is still nothing official other than that they are continuing to look at their options.

I have been a loyal and fervent fan of the Soul since its inception. Even when I lived in Cincinnati, I came up for the games ... by Greyhound bus no less. (By the way, that is 17 hours each way with a layover in Pittsburgh in the middle of the night. They weren't necessarily fun - but I don't regret a minute of those trips.)

I have always loved what the team stood for, the guys who play - not for the money, but for the love of the game, the staff who works so incredibly hard and the impact the organization has had on the community.

And, as a result, I tried to introduce every person I ever met to the team and the sport - even having a Soul-oriented birthday party in Ohio where we collected 300 pairs of socks for one of the charity initiatives.

And trust me, I have been paid back tenfold for my loyalty by meeting some really amazing people that either work for the organization, play on the team or are fans. Soul fans are incredible.

So, with Christmas just around the corner, I know what I'm asking Santa for. Hopefully, he is listening and we will soon receive the good news that all is right in Soulville.

P.S. And, thank you, Jon Bon Jovi for putting your heart .. and soul .. into this whole endeavor. The man has worked his butt off (though, thank goodness that's only a figure of speech) for the league - events, endless media, constant promotion - he even was willing to don a Dallas Desperados jersey ... Dallas ... argh!

Hey, Jon ... I have a jacket that looks just like that! LOL

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Going Down in a Blaze of Glory

So ... it has been quite a day.

Last night I noticed that my computer was moving rather slowly ... I really didn't think anything of it at the time. Then, when I woke up this morning the whole thing had crashed ... no internet, no files, no nothing - just a big blue empty screen!

Of course, I completely freaked out. Remember Carrie's reaction on "Sex in the City" when her computer died? Imagine that - multiplied.

So, I packed up my computer and shlepped down to Best Buy near Lincoln Center. I didn't know if they could help me, but I had to try something - anything.

All that kept running through my head as the Geek Squad was making faces at my computer and pushing buttons and plugging and unplugging things was Jon Bon Jovi singing "I'm going dooooowwwwwn in a blaze of glory...."

Then, as time continued to pass by ever-so-slowly, the song changed and I found myself humming "Its gonna take a miracle to save us this time ..."

But, in the end ... the Geeks totally saved the day and I still have my files, my pictures and all the fan fic I've been collecting (shhhhhhh.)

SO ... lesson learned. I bought an external hard drive and am now backing everything up - though the Geek's parting words as I skipped out of the store were ... "Hey! This drive only has room for 285,000 Bon Jovi photos - you might need to scale back a little."


Monday, December 8, 2008

Sell Out or Smart Business...?

An article on Yahoo caught my attention today ... something Yahoo rarely does.

It was about rock stars "selling out" by allowing their songs and/or images to be used in commercials or in some other way degrading their music. A few of the culprits they named - Bob Seger, Pete Townshend, Bono, Axl Rose (ok .. I'm not so upset about that one) and, get this, John Lennon. John Lennon? Ok ... whatever.

Anyway, this has been long a topic of discussion in the music world.

I remember back in school when superstar violinist Gil Shaham decided to go on the Weather Channel and play Vivaldi's Four Seasons. Students at Juilliard were in an uproar - oh, to be young and idealistic. Bottom line, he had a recording to promote - and there were already many, many recordings of the Vivaldi out there. Whatcha gonna do? Well, in his case - his talent is so immense, he was able to come out the other side with his reputation intact. Thank goodness.

But, that was my first glimpse into the reality that it is the music business -- believe me, that is a hard lesson to learn.

Anyway, some Bon Jovi fans have been unhappy that Jon and Richie allowed the State of New Jersey to use "Who Says You Can't Go Home" as the music for a tourism ad and that there has been an onslaught of merchandise over the last couple of years - everything from the standard magnets and pins to wine, barware and a Christmas tree ornament. (For the record, the line of wines from Celebration Cellars is pretty good ... and the etched bottles are beautifully done ... c'mon you had to know I'd get the wine. But ... a trailer hitch? Not so sure about that one.)

Still and yet, you've gotta find a balance between keeping the fans happy, making a living and promoting the product -- umm...yes, its art, but its still a product. Ironically, a pianist friend and I were talking just the other day about the fact that Juilliard is, in all reality, a trade school. Wonder how the administration would feel about us saying that ...? P.S. Sometime soon I'll write a little about the bassoon ... since y'all are asking what the hell is that thing you play? ;-)

ANYWAY ... time to wrap this up. And what better way to wrap this up than with a picture of our boys "at work"?

It may be a job - but it looks like a damn great one.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

GIANTS Win the Division!

So, I joined a bunch of people downtown at the Mad Hatter Saloon to watch the Giants/Eagles game. It was a great venue and we all had a wonderful time ... well, except for the whole football game part. It was just painful ... Hixon should have caught that ball. Talk about shooting yourself in the leg ... sorry, that was bad. ;-)

BUT ... THANK YOU, PITTSBURGH (who would have ever thought I would say that?!) With the incredible come-from-behind win to beat Dallas, my beloved New York Football Giants win the division. Woo hoo!

And in celebration of the Steelers helping us out ... here's a nice picture of HRH (Jon Bon Jovi) in a Pittsburgh jersey. [This is from the Have A Nice Day summer stadium tour.]

P.S. And talking about surprise comeback victories ... hey Hath .. how 'bout them Patriots!?

New York vs Philadelphia

So, today is a the big game. The Giants can clinch the division with a win over the Eagles. (Sorry to my dear friends in Philadelphia - but remember, we still have a football championship to celebrate in February! GO SOUL!)

Speaking of the Soul ... nice how Jon incorporates his two teams in his attire ... LOL ... (and never misses the opportunity to do a little marketing...)

P.S. Now, Jon and Jaws, if you could please focus on getting Matt D'O back, we could all sleep easier at night. ;-)

In any case, I'm looking forward to the game today - and Jon, if you're not using your tickets, I can still get to the stadium ... hint hint hint.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Proof That Jon Bon Jovi is Just a Normal Guy ....

I usually do not post pictures of Jon's family, but this cracked me up. Does he not look like he's completely lost? And JUST like a normal guy to not ask for directions!

I guess I should give him the benefit of the doubt ... when you get South of Houston, directions
can get a little dicey. ;-)

P.S. Thanks Steffi!

Bill Belichick ... No BS ... and No Bully

See! I told you he's a nice guy. You can't fake a smile like that. (And you must have a sense of humor to wear that tie! Bill ... what the heck?!)

Say what you want about his press conferences - they actually make me laugh. "We're moving on. We're moving on..."

But, you had to know anyone that likes Bon Jovi songs that much could not be as negative and nasty as the media makes him out to be.

He takes his job very seriously - ain't nothing wrong with that. And he's extremely good at it - ain't nothing wrong with that either. And he's made mistakes - it happens to all of us.

I don't know why, but there's something endearing about Bill - and this is coming from a Giants fan. (Speaking of which ... Plaxico Burress ... not so endearing.)

So, anyway ... sorry, Bill, the cat is out of the bag ... and who says nice guys always finish last?

If you think I'm all alone in my assessment, read this:
Seattle Times article

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Just Because...

I had to post this picture from my friend Sandy in Germany... how can you not just love that face?!

I am in heaven ...

Today's lesson: The Joy of Peruvian Food

One of the best things about living in the "greatest city in the universe" (hey! its not just me ... I'm quoting HRH* here) is that you can find just about any cuisine your heart desires.

I was crushed ... and I mean CRUSHED when I found out my favorite Peruvian place had closed. (One of the downsides of NYC ... you find something you love ... there one day and gone the next.) BUT, today I found a new Peruvian place and now my ceviche-starved body is happy as a clam. YUM!!

And bonus, the waiter told me about two other places in the city to try as well. And, no, Samantha ... I did not try to pick up the waiter. (I dated a Peruvian for several years ... he was quite yummy too!)

So ... what is the picture above? Its a dish called "papa rellena" ... imagine mashed potatoes stuffed with a fantastic mixture of ground beef, red onions, hard-boiled egg, black olives and cilantro. Then, drop the potato concoction in the deep fryer for a few minutes ... that's papa rellena.

Why Peruvian food you ask?

Well, I had the pleasure of spending an extended period of time in Peru several years ago - where I met aforementioned yummy Peruvian (YP). Being a musician, I have been blessed with the opportunity to travel to all kinds of places ... and I was always of the mindset "have passport, will travel."

So, when a former colleague of mine asked me to go down to play in the Lima Philharmonic (Orquesta Filarmónica de Lima), I jumped at the opportunity. I absolutely fell in love with the country, the people, the food, the landscape (you've got rainforest, desert, mountains, AND the ocean), the artisans, the llama (yes, they do really spit! But, damn you can get a nice sweater out of 'em!)

Unfortunately, the relationship with YP didn't last, but my love for Peru did. I mean, seriously, look at this ....

Is that not just beautiful?!?!

* HRH - for those who aren't aware is .. His Royal Hotness .. or Jon Bon Jovi.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I'm in another one of those picture moods ...

Caption: "Now, what were the words to this song?"

"Hey God ... what the hell is going on?"

"TOUCH.....DOWN.....SOUL!" (if you have ever heard Ari Wolfe you know how to say this!)
(Happy camper!)

"Not a happy camper!"

I understand promoting the league ... but Jon ... a DALLAS jersey? Was that REALLY necessary?!