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AndyO Blog

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Year in Review - 2007

I wanted to wish everyone a Happy New Year. I'm finally getting around to writing up my "Year in Review." I think this is only the second year I've done this, but it gives me a chance to look back at yesteryear.


The big news this year in the concert department was I got to see Rush and the Police. The former I've seen many times, but the latter was something I never thought would happen.

Fiction Plane and Fans: L to R: Dale, Pete Wilhoit, Seton Daunt, Joe Sumner, AndyO

The Police stopped by Seattle for two sold-out concerts on June 6 and 7. I went to both shows. The second one was by far the best. Plus the opening band became one of my new favorites, Fiction Plane, fronted by Sting's son, Joe Sumner. Read my full review of the two Police shows.

For Rush, I saw them on two different legs of their successful Snakes & Arrows tour. The first two shows were in Washington, one at the White River amphitheater and one at Clark County Amphitheater. I took my seven-year-old son to both (he fell asleep at the second show).

Then I did something a little crazy in September: I flew with my friend MonicaZ to Toronto to see Rush twice in their home city and also in the Canadian capital Ottawa. The last show in Toronto was perhaps the best Rush show I've ever seen. It was also great to travel through Toronto and around western New York for the first time.

Finally, I saw Porcupine Tree at a sold-out show at the Showbox in downtown Seattle. This is a band I'll continue to watch.

Chris Mess

The band I play with, Chris Mess, continued to play shows around Seattle. We did a particularly fun show at the Skylark on Halloween, where we played as Cheap Trick or Treat. Here are the shows we did this year:

  1. Halloween, Oct 31 - The Skylark with the following bands (read the official blog by Chris Mess)
    • 8pm Strange Jerome as Bob Dylan
    • 8pm Justin Phillips as John Lennon
    • 8pm Peter Karis as Jeff Buckley
    • 8pm Willow as Concrete Blonde
    • 9pm Speedmop as The Sonics
    • 9pm Aunt Jamama's Big Band Vigilantes as The Misfits
    • 9pm The Hot Rollers as Quiet Riot
    • 9pm Perish the Island (Luna Moth/Tableland members) as Angelo Badalamenti
    • 10pm Blue Light Curtain as The Velvet Underground
    • 10pm H is For Hellgate/Another Perfect Crime as Sleater-Kinney
  1. Thursday, 10/18/2007 - The Central, with the refreshingly insane 13th Grade.
  2. Thursday, 10/4/2007 - The Skylark, with the marvelously hard rocking Megasapien and Key Note Speaker.
  3. Thursday, 5/31/2007 - The Rendezvous Jewelbox Theater, with H is for Hellgate. A STIFF LICKS show, an event for Seattle's True Independent Film Festival (STIFF). Performance went down while the film "Repo Man" ran in back of us. Read my blog entry about this show.
  4. Monday, 2/12/2007 - The Funhouse, with Thankless Dogs and DJ Deutschermeister (AKA Herbie/Roman from The Greatest Hits).
  5. Thursday, 2/1/2007 - Cafe Venus and the Mars Bar, a NadaMucho.com show with Supernals and The Diets. NizTV also filmed a video of us there..
  6. Friday, 1/12/2007 - The Skylark (West Seattle), with Never Quiet, Never Still and Seeking Sanity.

Chris and I have recently recorded a bunch of new songs that you can listen to on my Chris Mess page.

My new favorite local band is Megasapien, with whom we played at the Skylark. Keep an eye on these guys.


This year, as I've already mentioned in the Concerts section, I made it to the East Coast to see Rush. As part of that trip, I saw Niagara Falls, Toronto, the outskirts of Ottawa, Buffalo, NY, and the amazing countryside between Ottawa and Toronto. You can read my entire travel blog here.

I also made an annual trips with my family to Manzanita and Lake Chelan, two of my favorite places.


The year before the presidential election has proved to be contentious. I've seen a few of the candidates in person, who have stopped at my company. So far, the most impressive was Hillary Clinton (read my blog entry about Hillary here). Bill Richardson, Governor of New Mexico, was also a knowledgeable speaker and a good candidate. But, as Governor Richardson himself acknowledged, he's not quite the rock stars as Clinton or Obama.

On the Republican side, I saw Rudy Guiliani, who disappointed and annoyed me. Guiliani started off by telling his audience that the country is going in the right direction. So, if you like what GW has done for America, vote for Mr. Guiliani. You'll get more of the same.

At the time of this writing (Jan 11, 2008), he hasn't fared too well in the caucuses in Iowa and New Hampshire, which isn't surprising.

Rudy Guiliani

In addition, I saw one of Hillary's top advisors, Mark Penn, speak. He was talking about his new book Microtrends, which is all about how small groups of people can add up to be a significant voice (or vote, if you're Hillary). Mr. Penn came up with the now-famous group "soccer moms."

I also got a chance to see Michael Beschloss, presidential historian and TV commentator. I had read his book The Conquerors, and I bought his new book, Presidential Courage. The first chapter about George Washington is amazing.

On the local side of politics, I had a chance to see Governor Chris Gregoire in a small group setting. Diminutive in size, she is a powerful, passionate speaker whose command of the facts is startling. She seemed to know just about everything going on in Washington State. Like Hillary, Governor Gregoire doesn't always come across well on TV, which is one of the reasons I think she had problems against Dino Rossi in 2004, who is much smoother in debates. Rossi is running again this year on the Republican ticket, but I don't think he'll fare as well now that Gregoire has shown what she can do as Governor. 


From what I've been reading, 2007 is being regarded as a stellar year for cinema. Of all the films I've seen (and I don't get to see a lot in the theater, since I have two kids), here are the ones I enjoyed the most, in order of their box office rank:

  • Shrek the Third
  • Transformers
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  • I Am Legend
  • 300
  • Ratatouille
  • Knocked Up
  • Live Free or Die Hard
  • American Gangster
  • Superbad
  • Ocean's Thirteen
  • Bridge to Tarabithia
  • Disturbia
  • Surf's Up
  • Juno
  • Charlie Wilson's War
  • 3:10 to Yuma
  • Zodiac
  • The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep
  • Becoming Jane
  • Eastern Promises

If I had to pick 5 that I thought were the best of the best, they would be:

  • Juno
  • American Gangster
  • Knocked Up
  • 3:10 to Yuma
  • Zodiac

Other movies from 2007 that I want to see (any of which could knock movies out of my Top 5):

  • The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
  • There Will Be Blood
  • No Country for Old Men
  • Persepolis
  • No End in Sight
  • Once
  • The Bourne Ultimatum
  • The Host
  • In the Shadow of the Moon
  • Atonement
  • The Great Debaters
  • Michael Clayton
  • Across the Universe
  • Sweeney Todd
  • Before the Devil Knows Your Dead
  • The Kite Runner
  • Away from Her
  • Into the Wild
  • I'm Not There
  • In the Valley of Elah
  • Rendition
  • Romance and Cigarettes
  • Starting Out in Evening
  • Talk to Me


posted by AndyO @ 7:38 PM   0 comments links to this post

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Year in Review - 2006

I know, it's almost February, but I wanted to wish everyone a Happy New Year. Also, I wanted to write about a few important things that happened in the past year. So, here goes my year in review...


My paternal grandma passed away in November. She was 91 and lived a full life. I realize only after she's gone that she was one of those people who quietly made a difference in the world.

We also came pretty close to losing my maternal grandma after a terrible fall, but somehow she pulled through.

It always takes these kinds of events to help you realize what's really important in life.

The weather in Seattle

We had some wicked weather in Seattle in 2006. We had storms in November and December that caused major problems. The last storm that hit us in December, the worst windstorm in a decade, bordered on a disaster. Here are some statistics I found on the web about these two storms:

December 14-15 storm

  • One million people around Puget Sound were without power at one time or another.
  • Wind speeds gusted to 113 mph near Mt. Rainier, and 69 mph at Sea-Tac airport.
  • There were 8 storm-related deaths, and 7 people died of carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • 100 people developed carbon monoxide symptoms.
  • Cost to restore power: $6.5 million

November storms

  • A windstorm knocked out power for 120,000 people.
  • Heavy rains brought the rivers to record levels and literally stranded people in Carnation and Fall City (about 30 minutes outside Seattle).
  • In late November, a snowstorm covered many of the roads with ice for a few days (pretty rare in Seattle). This storm caused 60,000 PUD customers to lose power. Restoring power cost $6.2 million.

Chris Mess

In February, the band in which I play drums, Chris Mess, started playing concerts around Seattle. We also got some airplay on KEXP. Here's a list of the shows we played, as well as my blogs about some of the shows.

We also recorded a few new songs. You can listen to them on this page:

Chris Mess MySpace page


People I saw or met

John Kerry (and Theresa Heinz-Kerry) -- He came across much different in person. He was more casual, more down-to-earth. But he was still complaining about losing to Bush in the last election. I agree with him that he should have won, but I think the real leaders get over that stuff and get on with things (look at Al Gore).

Madelaine Albright -- A very thoughtful, intelligent person. She had a lot to say about Iraq and the current administration.

Tim Russert -- Great speaker, great new book, "Wisdom of Our Fathers: Lessons and Letters from Daughters and Sons." I gave it to my father for Father's Day.

Karl Rove -- He came across much worse in person. I've never seen a more arrogant, condescending man in my life. Oh, and he talked about how great we were doing in Iraq. I guess he was lying, since the President has since come out and talked about our mistakes.

Ian Bremmer, author of The J Curve: A New Way to Understand Why Nations Rise and Fall -- An important book that everyone should read.

Freeman Dyson, George Dyson -- George introduced his father, who is one of the pre-eminent Physicists of the 20th Century. Freeman went on to speak about Biotechnnology. The content of this lecture was amazing -- all about how biology is the new physics -- how people will be playing around with Blogs I should have posted.

Matt Chamberlain -- I took a private lesson with Matt at Donn Bennett drum studios. This prompted me to start regular lessons at The Seattle Drum School to work on the Moeller technique, among other things.

The Democrats took back the House and Senate

No matter which side of the aisle you prefer, the Dems taking back the House and Senate was BIG news. A majority of Americans had finally grown tired of the way the White House and the Republican House and Senate were handling the war and other things. For the first time in many years, I finally felt in synch with the country around me.

Web 2.0

A lot has already been written about Web 2.0. The term was coined in 2004 by O'Reilly Media. Here's one definition I found on Wikipedia: "... a perceived or proposed second generation of Internet-based services -- such as social networking sites, wikis, communication tools, and folksonomies -- that emphasize online collaboration and sharing among users." So, Web 2.0 is really the convergence of all these things, including blogs, video-sharing sites like YouTube, picture-sharing sites like Flickr.

Because this convergence was felt in so many ways in 2006, Time Magazine gave its Person of the Year to "You." But if you read through this, they were really talking about all the people utilizing the power of the web.


posted by AndyO @ 7:42 PM   0 comments links to this post