Sunday, August 31, 2008

7 Plys Forever

I recently got around to hanging up some favorite show posters and skate deck in my garage. I always dug Giancarlo's artwork from the color choices the the style of drawing and am totally stoked to finally have all three hanging up. I picked up the skate deck at a basement show at the now defunct Pirate's Cove of the Lehigh Valley. The middle poster was in honor of the Rain on the Parade, Atari and Panic Attack reunion show in which Carpenter Ant also played and was at Pennskate in Whitehall I believe. The final poster all the way to the left was from Carpenter Ant's final show at Jan's Room that included Dentally Insane (ex-Atari), Exit Reflex and Middle America.

I'm into a ton of different kinds of music, but Carpenter Ant was special to me for so many reasons. I discovered them at a time where I was pretty much just listening to Lehigh Valley bands that were around when I was in high school, for nostalgia's sake. They clicked from the start and I realized that there were bands still worth checking out in the LV. Their influences were all over the place and could be heard directly and indirectly in their sound. You'd hear all kinds of stuff within songs: fast parts, mosh parts, heavy riffs...everything. And it worked. They'd cover Mouthpiece, Crud, I Hate You, the Ultimate Warriors even Nirvana when they played. There were so many good songs, so many anthems, that it didn't matter what they played when you saw them because their catalog was so deep and you'd just be hearing other songs you hadn't heard in a while. Ray (or Roy) was such a good front man and I loved that fact that here was someone my age, still doing it and still just as involved as any high school aged kid.

There aren't many bands that would make me drive three hours to go find some little place that I'd never been to before mostly by myself no less (all my friends graduated from punk), but Carpenter Ant was one of those bands. I remember driving up the Blue Route in March after an ice storm just to get to seem them play Globefest and it was totally worth it. Their final show was incredible and I loved the fact that they brought back Charlie, Chaos and Coach Heim for different songs. The set was packed with all kinds of favorites, including "Anthem 2", which I
was so psyched to hear. There are a lot of good bands coming out of the LV these days (middle america, exit reflex, tile, secret cutter, etc.), but Carpenter Ant will always be number one in my book. I can only hope that there will be a reunion show in the years to come.

Last Song at Jan's Room:

Globefest Openers:

Friday, August 29, 2008

Fired Up

Last night was the closing night of the Democratic National Convention in Denver and the night that Barack Obama was to speak. He gave an incredible speech that was motivational and centered on unifying the United States. Rather than try and explain it, just watch it:

In a lighter note, earlier in the coverage of the DNC, it looked as if MSNBC was providing some subliminal messaging during Chris Matthews comments. Note the right hand corner of the TV screen that I caught with my cell phone camera:

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Let Down

With July being such a good month for waves, August, typically a great month, has been a big let down so far. While there has been hints of swell here and there, for the most part the winds just haven't cooperated for that super session. The waves seemed to be building a bit with the incoming tide yesterday afternoon and the forecast was calling for waist to stomach high waves with some finally clean conditions. I was psyched to say the least to get some solid clean waves. Since I had to work later in the day I decided to hit Strathmere super early for what I hoped would be a fun session.

Dashboard rider cruising on the coastal highway.

Sunrise over the Atlantic. It's starting to feel like fall. The morning air temperature was cool and the summer people are starting to slowly filter back home leaving fewer people around the beach. Granted it was 6:30 in the morning too.

Barely thigh high on sets thanks to a deeper outgoing tide. It's hard to tell from the picture, but it was very clean further out, which made for some looooooong micro-rides. Unfortunately, I snapped the picture as the wave finished closing out, but you can see towards the left corner that there were some clean waves on the wave. As the tide headed out, things definitely shrank in size. A fun session, especially when you have the line-up to yourself, but not exactly the size I was expecting. I'm sure it will be fun once the tide turns around and is incoming this afternoon.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Demo Days

More and more bands are doing cassette releases these days and I'm not exactly sure why. Granted, there is something about a demo cassette as opposed to a CDR, but either way, I try and check out as many as I can. The first demo cassette that I ever got was from the band Aisle Nine, back in the mid nineties. It was a collection of rough songs and covers, mostly Descendents and Green Day as I remember. It was a great cassette, but much like most of my cassettes, I taped over it at some point. Not too smart seeing as I wish I still had that cassette today. Probably my favorite demo of all time was the Rancor demo that I picked up at the now-gone PJ Soundz in Emmaus. Somewhere along the lines, that too got lost only to be replaced by a CDR put out by Frank FOE a few years later. Above are some of my favorite demos with the exception of the Carpenter Ant cassette that is from a live show they did in Reading. Check out Dead Format record label for some great Lehigh Valley bands on cassette.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Summer Movie Guide

Part of my summer vacation ritual is to watch my favorite movie of all time at least a couple times a month. I think I'm up to at least six times and it gets better and better with each view. "Say Holmes, do you think you can tell me how to get to the expressway?"

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Surf Check

With school not starting for another week and a half, it would be great to be getting up and surfing every morning, except for one problem: there hasn't been any swell in weeks. The other morning looked to have a little something filled in but the wind was running too much down at 59th street, creating a pretty good current and not much shape on the faces of the waves. Took a drive further down to Strathmere to check another spot and it was a little better. I ended up paddling out and surfing for about an hour and a half by myself and even though the conditions weren't that memorable, I was glad to finally get out for a little. Found these poor guys turned up on the beach:

Of course there were waves this morning when I had to travel up to Rowan for a teacher inservice. Hopefully, some leftovers tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Golf Cart

My '96 Volkswagen Golf, dubbed the golf cart by some of my students a few years back. I've been driving this for over ten years and it has aged gracefully. There are so many custom features that have been added over the years. There is no back windsheild wiper because I snapped it off as I was scraping the ice off my car to go surf one January. Then there is the missing hubcap that I lost after blowing a tire at 5:00 am heading to the south end of Ocean City one morning last summer. Also included are a broken front grill from my wife backing into it as it sat in my driveway. Before that, the radio did not work, but after getting backed into, it started working again, which is a bonus. Most recently, the speedometer will occasionally not work so you can be driving down the road at a good clip and looking at the needle reading zero.

This picture was taken on one of the side streets in Strathmere at the end of June during the Bertha swell.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

1st World Problems

What do you do when you're over one hundred miles from the nearest breaking wave? Home in the Lehigh Valley, it was time to break out the skateboard and hit the streets. I didn't exactly bomb any hills with my old sector 9, but managed to cruise and carve a little bit in place of surfing. Despite being a longboard with a lot of flex, it was fun to get out and skate. Besides, it was flat back in Ocean City anyway.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Double Decker

I was able to head home with Maeve and visit my parents back in the Lehigh Valley for a few days. One must-stop every trip home is to Double Decker Records on Saint John Street in Allentown. It is seriously the best record store I have ever been in. On my last trip, not only did I score a ton of good records, I got to see a mint SSD "The Kids Will Have Their Say" record and had to put back at least ten records because I was already spending too much money. As I was leaving a bunch of Japanese record collectors were coming to dig through the stacks.

I've been hitting up DD ever since they were in the little place one block down the street. I've picked up so much good stuff there over the years and have regretted trading in some stuff for record money to buy new stuff. If you are ever in the area, definitely stop by and do some digging of your own.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Food Blog?

At the risk of this becoming a food blog, here's a shot of Maeve mowing through some corn on the cob. Despite the bored look on her face as she's eating, she really liked it. That does it for close-ups of Maeve eating for a while.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Banana Board

My new board sitting in the green grass. A 9'0 pintail created by local shaper Will Tucker who cranks out amazing board after amazing board. Looking forward to using this come fall.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Diving in Headfirst

Ice cream goes with summer like wax on a surfboard. Just offshore from Ocean City, Maeve dives headfirst into some soft-serve.