June 16th, 2008


USPS can blow me

Last week I bought a new headlight & fog light switch for my Expedition. I installed factory fog lights on the truck two years ago but the headlight switch that was in the truck didn't support fog lights, it was missing a necessary connection to the wiring harness. On a whim I checked eBay last week and found somebody selling the exact part I needed. I bid on and won the auction: $22, including shipping. Very fair price for something I would have paid $20 or so for at a pick-n-pull junkyard.

The seller sent me a USPS tracking number. Since Thursday the only thing it said was "Electronic Shipping Info Received June 11, 2008." That is until today, when magically two more lines were added: "Processed, June 15, 2008 8:48 PM, ELK GROVE VILLAGE, IL" and "Arrival at Unit, June 16, 2008 5:05 AM, BOLINGBROOK IL."

I know from e-mail communication with the seller that this switch was shipped from the seller's home in Charlotte, North Carolina. So how badly does your tracking system have to suck when an item with a tracking number sits at "information received" for 4 days and then suddenly has the first entry be "Processed ELK GROVE VILLAGE, ILLINOIS." How exactly did the item get from North Carolina to Illinois without you scanning that tracking number at least once on its way?

Seskata - Feren

Go forth and die

lady_curmudgeon and I just got back from the House of Blues in downtown Chicago, where we spent the last four hours or so enjoying the birthday gift she gave to herself... tickets to see her first ever metal show. It just so happens it was my first ever metal show, too.

We got in line at some time around 5:15 and doors were at 5:30. At first I was a bit uneasy as the line left the building, wrapped around and went down the block, with us finding the end somewhere over the Chicago river on Dearborn street. I thought it would take forever to get inside but we actually made good time. The security and admission folks clearly knew what they were doing and kept the line moving smoothly. I knew it was a Standing Room Only show but I didn't realize just how little seating there was going to be. Once we got up to the main stage floor I staked out a spot by the pillar, behind the only row of seats in the house, and that's where we stayed for the rest of the evening.

Opening the show was Soilent Green. I found them completely unremarkable, as did 'Mudgeon. Their lead vocalist couldn't decide what he wanted to do more -- swing his hair or play air guitar. Dude, you're the lead vocalist. Playing air guitar is beneath you, okay? Also, their sound tech needs to learn how to mix before he's allowed into the venue again. These guys tried but what they desperately needed was a stage presence. They were, well, boring.

Then came Chimaira. They were everything that Soilent Green wishes they could have been. They had orchestrated a fantastic light show and man did they make great use of it. They also had great mixing and an excellent stage presence that was both solid and confident. They did a fantastic job of engaging to the audience (Also, it didn't hurt that he insulted and riled the audience up -- good way to keep their attention). Discussing it with 'Mudgeon on the drive back I realized that part of why I enjoyed Chimaira so much was because their lead vocalist not only looked like Hank Rollins in build and ink, he acted a lot like him as well. It's hard to be bored around these folks and they certainly got the crowd ready for the headlining band.

After ten or fifteen minutes of tearing down Chimaira's gear, the stage was set and the house lights came down. And that's when I got my face rocked by none other than:
Dethklok emblem

That's right, we got to see Dethklok on the Dethtour. Prior to our arrival I had wondered how good a virtual band could be in person, and I got my answer: amazing. There was a giant projection screen behind the band that played the music videos for the songs they ran through, which nicely merged the virtual and real-life bands into a cohesive experience for the audience. They ran through pretty much the entire album, performing "Deththeme," "Birthday Dethday," "Awaken", "Bloodrocuted," "Thunderhorse," "Duncan Hills Coffee Jingle," "Murmaider," "Dethharmonic," "Briefcase Full of Guts," "Go Into the Water," "Castratikron," "Go Forth and Die" and "Hatredcopter." In between pairs of songs there were animated skits that were projected on the screen such as a brief "infomercial" where band mascot Facebones explained moshing. We also received entirely too much information about how Murderface goes to the bathroom. It was a riot, especially as the show drew to a close. The band went off stage and the projection screen had the standard animation convention of "glowing eyeballs in the dark" for each of the virtual band members, wherein they debated going out for an encore. Eventually the real band was drawn back on stage and they performed "Fansong."

'mudgeon bought us a pair of tour shirts featuring the band on the front and the Dethtour dateso n the back, as well as a pair of Duncan Hills Coffee bumper stickers. I'm sure once we have them affixed to the vehicles we'll get some rather odd looks because it's a pretty unique sticker, but what's life without some laughs?
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