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Update (May 2013)

posted May 3, 2013, 6:49 AM by Vu Nguyen
Setlist courtesy of Brian
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Johnny Marr
The first band that I fell for was The Smiths. By the time I discovered Morrissey (on the Johnny Carson show in 1991), The Smiths were long gone. When I said that I fell for the band, I really meant it …
Yeah, I know, I missed Marr at the Varsity Theater, but I think I got a better deal with a personal one-on-one with the legendary guitarist at Twin Town Guitars. An employee there (Andrew Bell) said that Marr stayed over three hours to sign and personally talk to everyone in line:

"He is that kind of person, and he did stay until everyone in line had a chance to ask questions, greet him and get a personalized autograph. He's a great, generous person. He stayed at Twin Town for over three hours greeting fans."

It did make me think that I went to see Johnny Marr + the Healers at First Avenue on Wednesday, May 7th, 2003. I still have a stolen poster, which lists a couple of key things about that show: (1) it was a 21-and-over gig, (2) $20 at 6pm, (3) DAMF booked and presented the show, (4) Drive 105 was promoting it, and (5) Paloalto was the opener. This was a decade ago, so I actually have a very poor memory of it. I remember I was in front, it wasn't that crowded and I did touch Johnny Marr's arms and guitar.

Special thanks to Brian who provided a photograph of the setlist from that night. Yes, no Smiths songs, which was disappointing, but hey, he threw in a Bob Dylan cover for "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right".

On another note (and I did verify this with Marr when I met him) that Johnny Marr wanted to recruit Ian Brown (Stone Roses) to sing for his pre-Smiths band called Freak Party. Obviously that all changed when The Nosebleeds' Morrissey became singer of Freak Party. This information was from STONE ROSES: WAR AND PEACE book from St Martin's Press. I will have a review of the book up very soon.

The weather here in Minneapolis blows. It is freezing and I think it even snow for a bit on Wednesday. I thought they said it was going to snow today (05/03)! Yes, we're talking May 2013. Will Spring ever arrive? I came out of hibernation earlier last month, but it looks like I might have to stay indoors for a bit longer.

I have a new camera. After rave reviews from Engadget (and other places), I have purchased the Sony NEX-3N. This is the perfect camera that I've been looking for: a small/compact camera that can produce DSLR-quality photographs. I did request a few recent shows to do some real-world testing: Twin Forks (previously known as Twin Falls) and Cloud Cult at First Avenue.

The former had terrible low-light (as usual for 7th Street!) I will try and see a show at Triple Rock - certainly the worst when it comes to bad lights.

For the price ($500) the NEX-3N is quite a bargain, considering its more expensive brother (NEX-5N) is double the cost but only offer slightly better options. The only downfall in this nearly perfect camera is its battery life. Shooting a regular show with turning on and off (for a total of on-time of about 15 minutes), will drain the battery to about 80%. Charging also seems to take forever. Otherwise, I am so impressed with the camera that I may invest in and get a 200mm e-mount lens. The kit lens only zooms in about 50mm.

This Saturday is known as Star Wars Day (May the 4th). It's also Free Comic Book Day, which usually falls after or near a release of a comic book movie. This year, it would seem that FCBD is following Iron Man 3, which comes out this Friday.

Although I thought the first Iron Man movie was alright, I wasn't that excited to see the sequel, and probably less than excited to see the upcoming movie. I'll probably pick up the Blu-Ray, but will probably skip the theatrical release.

Anyway, if you live near a comic book store, just show up on Saturday and get free comic books. Lists of free comics is available on www.freecomicbookday.com.

Some comics of interests:

  • VALIANT MASTERS SHOWCASE ED (mostly for Barry Windsor-Smith)

    Again, I love Star Trek. I own all the DVDs and didn't feel the need to upgrade. That is… until I finally experience the high-definition of STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION: THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS in theaters last week. I was so impressed that I picked up Season 3 on Blu-Ray with a $5 extra to grab The Best of Both Worlds on BD at Target.

    I have not watched everything, but a couple of notes: (1) Wesley Crusher has pimples, which I've never noticed before, (2) on HD, I also noticed seams in the costumes, (3) Everything looks so much better, especially the rich colors and extraordinary details, and (4) on a few episodes are audio commentaries. Overall, I love it; it's like the series again for the first time.

    Random note: I have some duplicate DVDs that I will likely take into Best Buy and convert them for $5 and buy Men in Black III Bluray Steelcase, which is on sale at the moment for $18. With $5 taken off, it'll be $13, which is a "steel".

    I picked up the Target Steelcase version of the new Tomb Raider game. I beat the game last night (with about 75% complete) in about a good 4 hours of playtime. I tried going back to do all the side quests to make it 100%, but quickly got bored of re-playing levels. What does this mean? Well, when you play it, it's like a sequential movie… when you get to the end, there's really no reason to go back and replay it again.

    Also, the game seems to be inspired by ABC's "Lost" and that movie "Descent" (especially when Lara Croft rises from a pool of blood).

    Anyway, as much as I love playing the game, I am regretting paying $60 to buy it new. It's definitely a rental game. I know there are online components to the game, but I have no desire to explore it… so my time with the game is at an end.

    You know that say, "you get what you pay for?" It's true.

    I was initially happy with the service, but after a few months of usage, I can safely say that Freedompop is one of the worst ISP I've ever dealt with. I think when I downgraded my service to its basic $10 a month, they started consistently disconnecting me from the internet. I have tried moving the modem closer to the windows with no change in service. I'm going to cancel my service this month and only keep its "free" service (for my Skype telephone).

    Since the service is so bad, I am currently shopping around for a more reliable internet service (again). I may eventually just give in and call Century Link for its DSL service.

    So the short answer is: avoid Freedompop.