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28 March 2008

Def Leppard Rocked the House in Greensboro!

So, me and Doug and Crazy John went to the Def Leppard, STYX and REO Speedwagon concert last night.  I'm a member of the Def Leppard fan club so I bought us floor seats near the front (row 19).  The stage setup during the DL show included a catwalk and a round "outer stage" the came all the way out to about row 13-14.   They played a couple of slow songs in the middle of the concert and did them acoustic, and four of the band members (obviously not the drummer) came out to the catwalk stage.  I went to the restroom during the "slow" set =)

They played a lot of songs from High N Dry (1981) - Let It Go, High N Dry, Bringin' On The Heartbreak, Switch 625, and Mirror Mirror - probably the most well represented album along with Hysteria.  And of coruse they played stuff from Pyromania (Photograph, Rock of Ages), but for me the coolest thing was hearing a live version of the instrumental "Disintegrate" from 1999's Euphoria.

I was a Def Leppard fan in the 80s, of course.  Hysteria was released when I was 15, and spent two years on the billboard charts.  But I never saw Def Leppard back then, I didn't get out to many concerts at all, really.  But I've now seen them 3 out of the last 4 years - in 2005 with Bryan Adams, in 2006 with Journey, and this year with STYX and REO Speedwagon.  I actually had tickets to last year's Raleigh date with STYX and Foreigner but wasn't able to make it.  But this is a band that I'll probably go see every time they tour.  They really put on a great show, and they still know how to rock.

All three shows I've seen, they've ended by saying "Don't forget about us, and we won't forget about you."

This is me not forgetting!  See you in NC next summer!

Posted by rickroot at 6:15 AM | Link | 0 comments
26 March 2008

Brian Vander Ark Forums

If you've been reading my blog you know I'm an avid fan of Brian Vander Ark, former lead singer of The Verve Pipe and current solo artist.

I recently launched a web site for Brian Vander Ark Fans and, to be perfectly honest, I'm blogging about it to help search engine rankings. =) There are forums for the Verve Pipe, but they really suck. I thought we needed our own place to discuss Brian's olo career, and since he's released 6 albums now (3 studio, and 3 live), he deserves it.

So go check out BVAfans.com.

If you're not familiar with Brian, check out his myspace for audio samples, and his website.

Check out the video for "The Heart That Keeps You", a song from his 2006 album "Angel, Put Your Face On".

Do it for the music, man!

Posted by rickroot at 10:32 AM | Link | 0 comments
21 March 2008

Damn those UConn Huskies for MESSING UP MY BRACKET!

Not like I was doing all that well, I'm only at 15 out of 21  right now I think.  But I should be at 16 of 21.  Those durned Connecticut Huskies, faced with injury, got taken to overtime by 13th seeded San Diego and lost.

Of course, since I'd also picked #5 Drake over #12 Western Kentucky, I now have neither team in the round 2 game, so there's one completely hopeless game.

The good news is that, assuming #1 UCLA makes it past #9 Texas A&M, they will (in my opinion) be practically assured of a win over either #12 W. Kentucky or #13 San Diego, and I have UCLA going to the final four, along with all of the other #1s.  I know it's never happened, I just don't have the balls to pick any upsets this year.

Posted by rickroot at 4:18 PM | Link | 0 comments
18 March 2008

Weekend at the Wyndham Ocean Boulevard in North Myrtle Beach

So Adrienne and Emily and I, along with Adrienne's mom and step-dad, took a weekend trip to Myrtle Beach this weekend.  We used 66,000 of our annual timeshare points to stay in a 2 bedroom ocean view unit at the Wyndham Ocean Boulevard resort.

I've stayed at Ocean Boulevard before, with my sister, but not since it was completed.  It has four towers, three on the ocean and one across the street, along with 2 indoor and 2 (somewhat heated) outdoor pools, a (nicely) heated outdoor lazy river, and something in the neighborhood of 8 hot tubs scattered amongst the four towers.  Plus a game room with pool and pingpong tables, a computer lab, an ocean front "bar and grill", etc.  With a full kitchen and washer/dryer in the unit, it's a pretty sweet place.

Anyway, we arrived early Friday afternoon for our 2pm checkin, and since Adrienne was diagnosed with strep that morning, and Emily started complaining about her throat hurting on the way down, the very first thing we did was Adrienne took a nap and I took Emily to urgent care.  Great way to start a vacation!  Well, we got Emily on antibiotics too so the weekend went pretty good.  Jan and Bob arrived around 6:30pm and we all wandered down to Main Street in North Myrtle Beach - only 3-4 blocks from the resort - and had dinner at a seafood joint whose name I cannot remember.  It was pretty good though.  I was the only one that got seafood, and I got the soft shell crabs which were fantastic and apparently in season.  Biggest soft shells I'd ever seen!

Saturday morning, North Myrtle Beach celebrated St. Patrick's Day with a parade and a festival.  We walked up to Main Street again about a half hour before parade time and bought Emily a cool little duffle bag.  And she needed it too, because the parade was long and lots of the paraders were tossing out candy and beads.  Emily ended up with like 16 strands of green beads and a whole slew of candy.  As far as she was concerned, it was the best parade ever.

After the parade, we headed back to the resort for our vehcile, and drove up to Barefoot Landing (a few miles down US-17) to get a kite for Emily at Klig's Kites.  Klig's sells all kinds of kites, including some very expensive ones (like $300!) but we bought a nice little kite for Emily that was $25.  A lot more expensive than the $2.99 drug store kites, but flies a lot better and will probably last a lot longer too.

After shopping, we hit Joe's Crab Shack for lunch.  Nice place, good service, great food.  They "Pick Your Shrimp" special is a pretty good deal.  I had sunset glazed and malibu shrimp (5 of each) plus popcorn shrimp and a side of slaw for $11.99.  And it was all good.

Back to the condo for some kite flying, a little time in the ocean (BRR!), and a little more time in the lazy river before we headed out to Mutiny Bay Miniature Golf.  Emily has done mini golf before but never to real extravagant mini golf course, and this qualified.  We mini-golfed along the "rocky shores" of a pirate-infested "lagoon", and even witnessed an barrage of "cannon" shots between the pirate ship in the bay and the stone fortress around which we putted.  Emily was very impressed.

We followed that up with a light meal at Denny's (well, I had the french slam, but adrienne and her mom both had just soup).  Rushed back home just in time to get into the room before the nasty storms hit (including a tornado warning that was issued while we were eating dinner).

Sunday, we spent some more time in the indoor pool, and we tried to fly the kite but the wind was erratic and there were lots of downdrafts, making it dangerous to others for us to be out flying the kite.  We spent some time in the game room playing ping pong and had lunch at the pool bar before heading out to the NASCAR Speedpark, a go-kart racing facility.  Emily was only tall enough to go on "The Qualifier" track, which she did twice (at $3.23 each), and then we spent $5 in game tokens in the arcade.  We netted enough tickets for two tootsie roll pops and a "Magnetic Snakes and Ladders" game.  I guess $11 for an hour of entertainment for the 5 of us wasn't too bad (though the entertainment for the adults was watching Emily ride the go-karts).  She'd never been go-kart racing so she thought it was the coolest thing.

Jan and Bob left after that, and Adrienne took Emily down to the pool for a bit while I researched seafood restaurants.  We eventually settled on a place called The Sea Merchant which turned out to be pretty good and it was very close to the hotel (about 6 blocks down Hwy 17).  I had Grouper Parmesan, which was great.  Adrienne had the crabcakes, which were only disappointing when compared to the crab cakes we had at The Channel Marker in Atlantic Beach, NC.

Monday morning we checked out of the hotel and headed down Hwy 17 to go to Ripleys Aquarium.  It was kinda cool but very small.  We were in and out in about an hour.  Good thing the adult tickets were free, I don't think it would be worth $17.  The North Carolina Aquariums are just as nice - nicer - and cost a lot less.  Ripley's Aquarium is only 21,000 square feet, while the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores is 93,000 square feet, while the Georgia Aquarium (which I went to in February while on business in Atlanta) is over 550,000 square feet!).

Overall, a great time, even though the weather was a little on the chilly side - low 70s on Saturday, mid 60s and windy on Sunday), and I don't think it was even 50 degrees when we got to the aquarium on Monday around 9:30am!

Posted by rickroot at 10:03 AM | Link | 0 comments
03 March 2008

Home Projects

So we recently had Dalton Carpets in Raleigh replace the carpeting in our living room and sun room (aka TV room) - and Emily's bedroom.  Builder grade carpet isn't meant to last, and ours was in need of replacement when we moved in 2-1/2 years ago.  And after 2-1/2 years, it was so horrible even a professional cleaning did nothing for it.  Anyway, Dalton Carpets doesn't have a showroom or warehouse, they just come to your home with samples, and offer good pricing for installed carpeting.  The salesman who came to our house was very nice and professional, and once we told him what we had in mind he showed us some carpet options, and the carpet looks really really fantastic.  I love it.  The installers were very professional and quick.  I would definately recommend these folks, and we'll use them again when we recarpet the master bedroom and second bedroom.

Our next step, to prevent carpet clash on the second floor, is to install hardwood flooring in the landing, and we're going to hardwood the stairway.  I had home depot come out and measure and give a quote, but they total cost was like $2800 - $2100 of which was for the staircase.  And they were going to do the staircase in strip flooring.  I don't know about you, but I've never seen a stairway done with tongue-and-groove strip hardwood flooring.

Anyway, I ended up buying the materials for the landing (4 boxes of Bruce "plano plank" oak hardwood floors, some underlayment, and a few special order pieces) for about $380 plus I'll have to rent a flooring nailer.  And I called Stock Lumper Company in Apex - they sell pre-made, unfinished oak stair treads, so I'll get 14 of those for about $500 total.  Dad is going to stain them to match the flooring so that'll be nice.

Hopefully, the hardwood won't be too tough to install.  I think the stairway will actually be relatively easy, since we're just ripping off the carpet, replacing the original pine treads with the oak ones, and painting the risers white.

All told, it should cost us less than $1000.

Posted by rickroot at 12:12 PM | Link | 0 comments