It was my mom’s birthday, and I didn’t get a chance to e-announce it in any way, so . . . happy birthday, mom!

Even though I’m two full years into allergy treatments, this year’s crop o’ crap is wreaking havoc on my system.  I guess it’s not as bad as it could have been, but, man, this is pretty bad.  When you sit in a building all day and feel okay, then leave and are accosted by the wind, then feel horrible within 15 minutes – headache, achy teeth, sinus congestion, etc. – that’s really bad.  And, again, I’m being treated for this crap with shots designed to train my immune system to fight off the effects.  I can’t imagine how bad off I’d be without that, or my trusty “fexos” (Allegra generic.)

I spent Saturday watching the DVD that comes with Mastodon’s absolutely ruling album, Crack The Skye.  I declare it a MUST SEE for anyone interested in this album.  Do not be cheap and buy the regular edition.  I started watching it before we left for my mom’s birthday, thinking it must be 30 minutes long or so, then had to stop with what I assumed must be 10 minutes left.  Came home later that night and watched another 40 minutes . . . and that’s only the making-of portion, which is followed by a 30 minute track-by-track commentary by the band.  The whole thing is fascinating – humorous, interesting, intriguing, and informative.  Not only do you get to see the album come together, you see why, and with something as dense and weird as this album, it really helps.  What also helps is that, despite their heavy prog-rock leanings, especially here, these guys do not take themselves at all seriously.  They do, however, take their music very seriously, and the difference between a band that can’t separate themselves from their music and a band like this makes all the difference in the world when trying to swallow ridiculous concepts like those fueling this album.

Sunday night, another “nothing TV” night, was filled with Jeff Beck’s great new DVD Performing This Week Live At Ronnie Scott’s.  If you are at all a fan, this is also a must-see.  For a while, guitar-gods operated in dead-serious mode, where not a smile was to be cracked on stage because what they were doing was ART.  Well, not here.  The small stage was filled as much with equipment as it was with exuberant smiles, and it’s all the more fun to watch a great band because of it.  Also amazing was finally getting to see the amazingly young Tal Wilkenfeld, Beck’s 23 year old female bassist who can seriously rip it up.  I point out her gender for one reason: rarity.  Sorry ladies, but this is really unusual.  She’s a tiny, cute little thing, and it’s extremely unusual to find someone in this realm who can seriously hold court with guys like Jeff Beck and especially drummer Vinny Colaiuta.

The end is nigh for music and DVDs at BordersAs I mentioned about a year ago at the old site, Borders is doing away with CDs (and apparently DVDs, too,) and right now is “entertainment armageddon.”  The only upside to this is that good savings are to be had, but I’m sad because Borders had been one of my local stores in years with a reliably eclectic selection.  Not anymore.  (Sorry Chris.)

The music section was already obliterated.  Not much to be had. I found one CD, which was actually for Alissa, and decided to hold onto it for a small Easter gift, so no mentioning it here.  What was stunning was the number of absolutely brand new titles – I mean just-released titles, including the one I picked up.  Things that came out in the past couple of months or weeks when, surely, Borders main offices knew what was going on and knew the plan.  Why bother to stock new titles?  Why spend more money on new stock when you’re just going to fire-sale it shortly?  Or did they truly not know and this is indicative of the other rumors I’ve read about, that Borders itself is in deep, deep trouble and may be sold or file for bankruptcy?

Anyway, I finally picked up a replacement for my ridiculously “defective” Fargo which the equally ridiculously defective Circuit City wouldn’t do anything about last summer.  (Won’t miss you at all, Circuit City.  Good riddance.)  Also grabbed Pat Metheny’s The Way Up Live DVD, because that is just how I roll.  All for $22.

Hooray piracy!And finally, as a Pearl Jam fan, it’s hard not to feel slighted by the decision to include the famous Drop In The Park concert only in the super-expensive “super deluxe” package.  I understand including it on vinyl, but the included mp3 download . . . why couldn’t that have been included for everyone who bought at least the deluxe version?  Many of us didn’t want the box because we don’t have the means to spin vinyl and therefore 75% of the contents are pointless.  Luckily, others felt exactly the same way and “liberated” the mp3s that come with the vinyl for fans like me to hear.  And I thank them.  “Exclusivity” in 2009 is a concept for the birds, despite the many expensive sets that tout that word.  Hooray piracy!