## \$20 – \$7 = \$15?

By:

The Dude on the Right

Quick, what’s my change if I bought \$7.00 worth of stuff and gave you \$20.00?
Did you say \$13.00? Congratulations! Did you say \$15.00? I highly doubt it. But
that’s what Skippy at the movie theater was going to give me as change, even
though he thought it seemed wrong, but that’s what his register said I should
get so there he stood with fifteen dollars as change in his hand. I nicely told
him he owed me thirteen bucks, and his supervisor came by, and still, Skippy
seemed confused. The supervisor looked at his screen, told Skippy he punched in
that I gave him twenty-two bucks, and yet Skippy still seemed confused. It is at
times like this that I worry about our future when Skippy is our future. Yup, he
was too stuck with listening to a computer instead of using what should be the
better computer stuck in his skull. Look, I have to admit that sometimes I am a
little too reliant on a
calculator to figure something out that I used to be
able to do in my head, and I have to look up to confirm things like figuring out
the
area of a circle (happily I still remember that Pi is about 3.14159, and on
a geek note, how geeky are the folks at

latest stock offering
, they are offering 14,159,265 shares. Look familiar? I found the correlation
at
this
blog
, and I’m sorry, I digress), but really, 20-7=15?  Here’s hoping
Skippy wants to be in a band and not an engineer.

Anyway, I was at the theater to see
"The Brothers Grimm" and if you are a
Monty Python fan, you’ll probably enjoy it.
If not, wait for a rental. I also
caught
"The 40 Year Old Virgin" earlier in the week and I have to say it was
very funny. There are some new movie previews posted, and I’m hoping to finish
up that back-log of preview postings in the next day or so and also catch
"The Aristocrats" since it’s now at a theater nearby rather than my having to take a
long drive into Chicago.

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

## No apologies, only excuses.

By:

The Dude on the Right

I
but you know what, I don’t apologize, I just have excuses. Excuse 1: In
preparation for my trip to the
old country
, alright, just
Ohio
, I spent way too many hours trying to get a wireless internet adapter
to work in my old laptop that would just keep crashing my laptop because my
laptop is too old and this adapter doesn’t work with lowly Windows ME. Sadly,
all of that time was wasted anyway because my brother still has his wireless hub
set at slow speed instead of fast speed anyway so my laptop card was fine
anyway. Excuse 2: In preparation for my trip to the old country, alright,
still just Ohio, I felt it necessary to upgrade
my virus software on my
laptop so when I check my e-mail I would be safe. Eventually I got it working,
but it’s really hard to do when you’re too stubborn to realize that the wireless
adapter in Excuse 1 was causing all of your problems and not the anti-virus
installation. Excuse 3:
The
Dude on the Left
and I went to see

George Thorogood and The Destroyers
on Wednesday night. The show was great,
but by the time I got back, all I wanted to do was quickly see if some of the
photos turned out and go to bed. Excuse 4: All packed up and ready to go,
I headed back to the old country, yes, still just Ohio, on Thursday, getting in
in time to go to bed. Excuse 5: After intending to start getting some
work done while at the old country, fine, Ohio, I was still struggling with my
laptop trying to connect to the home connection because I was too stubborn to
ditch my new wireless adapter in favor of my old adapter, and then finally, I
switched back to my old adapter when low-and-behold, all began working like it
should have in the first place. I’m such a dope.
Excuse
6:
I intended to write a blog while I was in Ohio, I mean, the old country,
when it occurred to me that I had left my
blogging software
passwords sitting on my desk in the
new country
, I mean
Illinois
, so the blogging update went out the window. And to top that off,
there, in my computer in the new country, was stored my movie preview template,
in any case, I never transferred it over to my laptop so I would have 90% of my
movie preview work done, all I would need to do was finish the preview portion
and I would be able to post a ton of them upon my return. Excuse 7:
Traveling back to the new country from the old country, alright, from Ohio to
Illinios,

nearing the Ohio/Indiana border
, I thought about writing a blog when I got
home, but well, didn’t, as doing laundry and just getting situated back at home
got in the way. Excuse 8: The Dude on the Left had an extra ticket to the
Cubs/Braves game Monday night, a game which sucked because the
Cubs
lost because they suck, and hopefully we can finally stick a fork in the Cubs’
chances for the postseason because they are done. Getting back late, I really
needed some sleep because I had some consulting to do today.

But now, I’m back! Yay!!! Next time I travel I hope to remember at least my blog
you I guess) to do some kind of update on the road, although, in all honesty,
the weekend Jimmy Buffett is playing at Wrigley Field over Labor Day, I have a
feeling I’ll have a lot more excuses why I didn’t get any updates during those
few days, and I also have to admit, liquor will probably be involved with at
least one, if not all of those excuses.

That’s it for this one!  I’m The
Dude on the Right!!  L8R!!!

## I Anoint Myself King of the Nation of Easily Amused!

By:

The Dude on the Right

I was hoping to see the movie
"Four Brothers"
today, but I became very long-winded as I was finishing up my review of
Green Day
from last week.  The reason I wanted to see "Four Brothers" was because
most people said it was good, and if so, I needed to show that some of my movie
reviewing is still believable because most people will quickly discredit me as I
have given
"Deuce Bigalow:  European Gigolo"
3 1/2 stars.  I have done so by
deeming myself King of the nation of Easily Amused.  My justification for 3
1/2 stars – They didn’t make European Gigolo to be anything more than easy jokes
and some gross-out stuff, and for that they succeeded.  Sure, there are
movies better at it, but I laughed at times, and that was all I wanted out of my
movie-going experience on Saturday afternoon.

So, new review-wise, we’ve got
the "Deuce Bigalow" and "Green Day" reviews.
The Dude on the Left and me are
supposed to be covering
George Thorogood
this week, so I’ve got that to look forward to, but I’ve also been working on a
bunch of movie previews with links and such to their sites, so those will start
getting posted today and tomorrow.  I’ve also got a backlog of some DVD’s
to revisit, and I forgot about my CD reviewing project, doing quick reviews of a
bunch of CD’s that I have.  I’ve got the quick reviews written, I just have
to get off my ass and get them posted, so those will probably filter in.

Hope
you all had a fun weekend.  Later this week I’m heading back home to the
Labor Day
weekend travel nightmare, that and the fact that I’ll be hanging at

Wrigley Field
when
Jimmy Buffett
comes to town next month.  More on that later.

Anyway,
hope you all had a nice weekend.

That’s it for this one!  I’m The Dude on
the Right!!  L8R!!!

## Green Day Rocked, and My Pictures Came Out All Right

By:

The Dude on the Right

This is a quick blog entry, but in case you cared, and you probably don’t in the end,
Green Day kicked ass,
although I have to admit that I did feel a little awkward in the audience, well
at least for the parents of the younger kids, when things got a little, hmm,
risqué, but that explanation will wait for the review.  Anyway, sitting in
the dude-mobile after the show, I scrolled through the photos on my new camera.
I figured I did pretty well for the first time out, although I probably should
have used my shorter lens, and as much as I forgot all of my rules of going to
the Allstate Arena, and was paranoid it would take me about an hour to get out
of the parking lot because I was parked in front of a light pole, low and behold
I forgot that teens know exactly how to get out of a parking lot, one in three
will be nice enough to let you into the exit line, and
Rosemont knows how to get
those lots cleared of the troublemakers that might be Green Day fans.

The
review will be coming in the next few days as Wimp finishes up his side and I
tighten up my comments, and I have to sort of figure out how to really handle
the photos I downloaded from my camera.  I did a quick shrinking of a
couple of them for this blog entry, but there are quite a few good ones I just
need to frame a little better and maybe sharpen the color balance.

It should be a busy weekend with "Deuce
Bigalow:  European Gigolo
" and other movies opening this weekend,
finishing up the Green Day review, and updating a bunch of movie previews.
I was actually looking forward to
Kelly Clarkson
clearance but that doesn’t look like it is going to happen as I write this.
Oh well, maybe next time.

That’s it for this one!  I’m  The Dude on the Right!!  L8R!!!

## Green Day and Prayers

By:

The Dude on the Right

I must say that I am both excited and a little nervous to cover
Green Day at the
Allstate Arena on
August 10th. I’m excited because as much as I used to enjoy Green Day and their
style of music, I am even more of a fan after seeing their performance on
Live 8. I was watching
the AOL feed of something going on somewhere else when they nicely put a note up
that Green Day was getting ready to go on stage in Germany. I quickly switched
to the feed from Germany to catch their performance, and they just totally
kicked ass. When I started a couple of weeks ago to get back into covering
concerts, I was more than pleased to see they were coming to town, and hopeful I
would get clearance. The review should be posted Friday or Saturday. But why am
I nervous? It’s my first photo shoot with my new camera. I’m all digital, baby,
and I’ve done my preliminary testing and playing with the damn thing, but
nothing is like being in the heat of a concert photo shoot to see if things work
out. The batteries are charged, the memory cards are empty and ready, I just
hope I don’t screw it up.

On a more heavy note, my prayers to the family of
Peter Jennings
who passed away from lung cancer the other day, and also to
Dana Reeve and
her family, as she announced today, after I heard on
Howard Stern that it
was going to be in The Enquirer, that she has been diagnosed with lung cancer.
I’ll also send a general prayer to all of those out there going through the same
type of thing because in ways I won’t give up here, I understand. The human body
is a strange being. For some people they are able to smoke all of their lives
and never have a problem, others get riddled with lung problems, and others who
may never really have smoked, they still get afflicted with the challenge of
cancer.

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

## I Guess Some Things Just Take Time

By The Dude on the Right
Usually I’m pretty write-ative, but tonight, this entry will be a little shorter than normal, at least that’s my train of thought right now. We’ll see how this ends up.
Anyway, it’s been a busy day, mostly playing with one of my new toys, my blogging software, trying to get the pages to look seamless with the rest of the web site. I did play slightly with my other toy, the new camera, but am figuring Monday and Tuesday will be more devoted to that one so that I am ready when the lights go down and I’m at the foot of the stage for Green Day on Wednesday night (that review coming later this week).
As far as the blogging software, let me tell you, that hasn’t been the easiest of things, especially since I rarely read the right documentation on new things, and with this Movable Type thing having many options to make things how you want, I also had to learn a few things, like dealing with a style/formatting file. The problem: After getting it to work exactly like I wanted, not realizing it was built into the program so when I rebuilt the blogging area it rebuilt based on its style file, because, well, I simply didn’t read that you need to change the file internally, not externally, so I got to start over again. Like a lot of my computer experiences, it’s been about trial and error, finding out why the errors are there, then trying again. I’m finally getting the hang of things, although one part of the commenting area still isn’t working but I actually used the Knowledge Base and know why it’s happening so I might have a fix on that. Ahh, Knowledge Bases and FAQs!
Hope you had an unbelievable weekend.
That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

## A Power Outage and I’m Worried About My Kids.

By:

The Dude on the Right

So I get back from seeing

"The Dukes of Hazzard,"
get near my garage door in the
dude-mobile, keep
pressing the button so that the door would magically open, and nothing happens.
Keep pressing. Nothing happens. Keep pressing. Nothing happens. Then my neighbor
yells across the way that the power is out. I hoped the battery was dead in the
little transmitter thingy, but fine, I can do some writing on my laptop, even
though I can’t connect to the internet, and then I remembered something I
haven’t done yet that I keep telling myself I’m going to do – get a battery
back-up power supply. No, not for my computer, I already have one for that. I’m
talking about getting one for my kids, I mean, my fish. It’s bad enough that the
temperature is rising, and Steve, Ashley, and Bill, well, they can deal with
that to a point, but the real problem is that the filters stop filtering, if it
was cold the heater stops heating (although I’ve read you shouldn’t really plug
one into a power supply), but now, especially with the filtering thing, bad
things are getting the chance to totally foul my fish tank, even to the point of
making it toxic enough to kill my kids. As of my writing this, the power’s been
out for about half an hour, but if it keeps going any longer I might have to
yank my computer power supply out of the wall and hope there’s some juice left
in its batteries to at least run my canister filter for awhile. Worst case
scenario, I’m off to my Home
Depot
to by a small portable generator and run some power cords to keep the
kids happy. Here’s hoping
ComEd
can get this taken care of quickly, because as quaint as a power
outing can be sometimes, on a hot August day, I just hope my kids can weather
the storm, and hopefully this time I have learned my lesson and will pick up
that battery backup for my kids.

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

Follow up note… Well, it turns out my UPS for my computer was pretty much
useless by the time I tried to see if it would power one of the filters, and
time was ticking by. So, for the next hour-ish, I kept calling the electric
folks. Low and behold, on my last call, I was told by the nice lady answering
the phone that her supervisor informed them that all of
Aurora was back up and
running. I nicely told her that maybe her supervisor would want to spend her
night at my place, and I’ll hang out at hers, since I’ll bet her air conditioner
was working. She nicely chuckled and said she would let her supervisor know
power hasn’t been restored to all of Aurora, and low and behold, 15 minutes
later the power kicked back in, so luckily, you have this blog entry to get you
into Sunday and so far the kids, I mean fish, seem okay.

## The Dude on the Right Has New Toys!

By:

The Dude on the Right

Sometimes I hate the internet, or maybe I can blame this blog thing I have
started, and this may be hard to explain, but let’s see if I can do it.

So the other night I got back to covering concerts and was slightly dismayed
at the fact that there I was in the dark ages, still using a camera that yes,
actually used film. All of the rest of the photographers had there nice digital
cameras, but not me. And still at that time, I thought unless I had a lot of
dough to invest, it wasn’t going to happen anytime soon. You see, the issue was
that years ago, and I’m talking like 20 years ago, I invested in the
Minolta system. They
were one of the firsts with auto-focus ability, although in those days it was
almost just as easy to manually focus to get the shot. Then I kept graduating to
a better camera body, but my old Minolta lenses still worked. Then I graduated
to a better Minolta (the Maxxum 700si) and some nice lenses. Then the digital
age began, my first seeing it at
Farm Aid back in who knows
when. Still out of my price range, I was still okay with my 700si. Then, a
little before I stopped covering concerts, the digital age really started to
take hold, except I read that Minolta had no inkling of making a digital SLR
like Canon and Nikon were doing. I resigned to the fact that if I was ever going
to convert to digital, it was going to take a larger than I wanted to investment
and just let it go, and as I stopped covering concerts, it really didn’t seem to
matter, anyway. Not paying attention to camera gear, I just let it go.

Then, the other day, as I wrote my blog after the

Neil Diamond
concert, I clicked over to the Minolta site. I had known that
they combined with Konica, but low and behold, there, on the starting page, was
a link to a Minolta digital SLR. I knew, from that point, that I was ruined,
especially after being upstaged at my Neil Diamond shoot. So, after much
reading, I took the plunge and got my new Minolta 7D. Had I never started this
blog thing, I would have never gone to the Minolta site, but now I’ve got a
really cool new toy, hoping that when I shoot Green Day next week that I don’t
totally regret the move and should have just stuck with my trusty 700si.

And to top my list of too many things to play with, I downloaded some real
blog software from
Moveable Type
and am seeing if it will be easier and cooler to use it rather
than my older cut and paste editing of this page. It has the cool stuff like
camera seems pretty cool, and the software is probably pretty simple to use if I
didn’t want the page to look at similar to this one, so we’ll see how things go.
So yea, great, I’ve got to learn how to use a kick-butt new camera and figure
out some new software, as well as finish some CD reviews, see "Dukes of Hazzard,"
and get a bunch of movie preview done. Such will be my weekend.

Have an unbelievable weekend.

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

## Neil Diamond Rocks, Ain’t No Surprise

By:

The Dude on the Right

It was a hot August night a couple of nights ago,
August 1st for that matter, and it marked the return of this Dude to the
concert reviewing scene.  Oddly enough I picked up where I left off
back in 2001, reviewing
Neil Diamond at the United Center
here in Chicago (okay, fine,
technically I reviewed
Neil in Cleveland back in 2001
, but I took the pictures at the
United Center).
This show was great, at least if you are a
Neil Diamond
fan.  I suppose if he’s not really your cup of tea, you would
wonder why in God’s name anyone would go and see him, but his legions of fans
span the age groups, and the fashion groups, and even though the dude is in his
60’s, Neil Diamond rocks, ain’t no surprise.

And so we are back on the concert scene.  Neil Diamond a couple of days ago,
Green Day next week,
and hopefully some Velvet Revolver, Kelly Clarkson, George Thorogood, Kenny
Chesney, and Motley Crue before month’s end.  As usual for us, we are back
trying to cover just about any genre under the sun.

But back to getting back to the concert scene.  For me, it was
exciting again.  I stopped covering concerts for a variety of
reasons.  Some of them were good, some of them were bad, some of them were
just lazy, but as I knelt there with my camera in hand, about 30 feet from the
stage, I really wondered if I could still handle concert photos.  Hell,
it’s been almost four years since I shot a show, and since that time a
photographer dude I know,
Barry
, had graduated from film to digital, complete with some giant lenses, and
there I was, with my old film driven
Minolta
and my trusty Sigma 70
– 210mm f2.8 lens, looking kinda inadequate compared to my buddy and the
other newspaper photo dudes.  Yet there I was, back again, and I
have to tell you, as the lights went down and the band came on the
stage, all of the photographer instincts came back.

I will admit that it wasn’t my best concert photo
shoot, and yes, as I scanned in my negatives into the scanner I
instantly realized some digital editing would be needed (mostly a little
sharpening), but for the most part, I am pleased with my work, although
I would have liked to have gotten more pictures of
the band and
back-up singers
because if you are in any way familiar with my photo
taking at concerts, I try to include everyone in the band.

I’ll end today’s blog with a quick shout-out to Sherry
for helping with the clearance for the show, and to Kathleen for
clearing out the dude blocking the isle and just her help.  The
plus for the day was when I got home and there was an e-mail in my
inbox.  I had clearance for Green Day, and for a year in which
myself and a couple of friends would like a do-over because it hasn’t
been the best of years for us so far, I got excited again, and realized
that I just don’t like going to see a concert, what I really love is
covering a concert.

That’s it for this one!  I’m The Dude on the Right!!  L8R!!!

## You Need to Check Out Google Moon!

By:

The Dude on the Right

their map service, at first I was like "What, another map service? Who
cares?" Then I messed around with it, and I’m sorry
Mapquest, you are
losing the battle in my book in the internet map wars. I will say that
right now the Mapquest folks seem to do a better job at giving
directions, but from the instant I was able to click and instantly drag
the Google map, I was converted because I’m usually pretty good at
figuring out my own directions. Sure, if I want a printed map that
unfolds and I can put in my car, you still can’t beat the folks at
Rand McNally,
but in all honesty, for my internet world, it’s too hard to spell.

So as much as I love
, then the folks at Google did something that really
brought a grin to my face: They went into outer space.

Well, they didn’t really go into outer space, but they got some
images from NASA of
the lunar surface (that’s the moon if you didn’t know), specifically
around the area of the

six lunar landings
. So like their normal map service, you can click
and drag around the moon, but just as important, you can get some great
detail of the surface of the moon. My recommendation for the day, go to
incrementally, zoom to the surface of the moon by clicking the "+"
button. Eventually get yourself to the closest resolution, and I can
pretty much guarantee you will be amused at the detail we have been able
to get of the lunar surface.

I did catch some movies over the weekend, so Sunday evening/Monday
morning comes reviews of "The Island," "Must Love Dogs," and "Stealth."
I also got copies of the new Michael Stanley and Cowboy Troy CD’s, so
those reviews should be posted sometime this week, as well as a
triumphant return to the concert scene with coverage of Neil Diamond in
Chicago. You can use those goofy "Subscribe" buttons at the top of the
page if you want to automatically be notified in your "My Yahoo," "Newsgator,"
or "My MSN" accounts, or updated in your favorite news reader. Thanks