Wednesday, August 30, 2006

practically joking

There’s really never a dull moment at the ballpark. For instance, here’s a photo I snapped of Albuquerque Isotopes outfielder Matt Cepicky ambushing catcher Nick Trzesniak with a jolt of ice water during batting practice Tuesday afternoon. Trzesniak would end up going 1 for 3 with a walk and an RBI during the game later that evening in which the Isotopes defeated the Nashville Sounds by a score of 7 to 2.

I enjoy the spirit Cepicky adds to the team chemistry. One of his game day routines is to bop around the Isotopes dugout immediately prior to the singing of the National Anthem placing smelling salts under the nose of anyone who fails to see him approaching… players, coaches, trainers, event staff, and yes, even camera operators. Matt always adds intriguing explanations for his actions- my favorite being, “This’ll help ya stay focused.”

I recently asked Matt what his plans for the off-season included. He replied that he would be undergoing knee surgery and rehab. No doubt Trzesniak will be spending his winter thinking of ways to get even with Cepicky for the water assault.

Friday, August 25, 2006

space junk 101

Did you feel the ground shaking along the Rio Grande Valley around 9:00 o’clock Thursday evening and wonder if the sky was falling, or perhaps that the region was experiencing an earthquake? If so, you weren’t alone. You needn’t waste time looking for answers at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Earthquake Hazards Program website as they offer no data or plausible explanation. Instead, continue reading right where you are to find out what happened.

Hundreds of people of all ages were present at the epicenter of the seismic event, standing, jumping and dancing in front of the stage in the Kiva Auditorium at the Albuquerque Convention Center as the 30-year-old punk-wave band DEVO performed live for the first time ever in the Duke City.

The memorable evening was opened with a short set by When in Rome, a band best know for their 1988 hit The Promise that was recently reborn when it was featured at the end of the film Napoleon Dynamite.

Following a brief intermission, the Psychedelic Furs marched onto the stage, opening with Love My Way. Richard Butler served as the grand marshal for the Furs hit parade that included Heartbreak Beat. Any student of 80s music would have assumed that the band would have performed Pretty in Pink before it was all said and done. Fear not… they closed their set with that number.

The remainder of the evening was pure DEVO from the lemon yellow drum set and the band’s tear-away chemical-protection suits to their cherry red plastic flower pot hats. Interestingly, when a band maintains a stage presence as gripping as DEVO’s, lighting technicians and smoke-machine operators can take a breather and enjoy the show along with everyone else. They simply aren’t needed.

A handful of obvious DEVOtees appeared to have been waiting a lifetime to see this particular concert. It seemed as if everyone lost control as the band unleashed a torrent of hit songs, including back to back to back to back to back to back to back to back performances of Girl U Want, Whip It, (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction, Uncontrollable Urge, Mongoloid, Blockhead and Jocko Homo. Undoubtedly, the regional power grid was strained as DEVO guitars, synthesizers and amplifiers greedily sucked electricity that was converted into waves of de-evolutionary messages that were sent crashing over the crowd with the force of a subliminal tsunami.

DEVO returned to the stage moments after attempting to close with a smashing rendition of Gates of Steel, and went on to rock the house with an energetic encore set that included Freedom of Choice, Wiggly World, Gut Feeling and Johnny B. Goode. For the finale, lead singer Mark Mothersbaugh donned a giant foam cowboy hat and a ridiculous Rollie Fingers mustache and bounced handfuls of nuclear green-colored super balls off the stage into the transfixed crowd. In short, it was an amazing show!

If you ever have an opportunity to see DEVO perform, even if it is another 30 years from now- jump on those tickets!

Later Spuds.