Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Pearl Jam Ten LP (1991)

I can’t believe it was 20 years ago (8/27/91) that Pearl Jam released Ten. I remember hearing Alive on WAAF my junior year in high school and thinking it was “pretty good”. It certainly sounded different to me, but I wasn’t ready to spend my Mini Farms money on a copy just yet.

When I saw the video for Even Flow, I was blown away. This band loved to play, and were not happy with the world. Add Eddie’s climbing, hanging, and falling into the crowd to that and it was easy to take notice.

In the summer of 1992, I was in the middle of chemotherapy treatments for my brain tumor. My older brother let me borrow his Discman for my overnight hospital stays, and Ten was in the pile of discs he gave me to listen to. It was the perfect album to help me visualize while I received my VP16, carboplatin, and bleomycin through my IV. I bought the Ten tape after that summer, and it quickly became one of my all-time favorites (I got ths copy online in 2006). It helped me get through cancer and helped turn me into a lifelong fan of the band.

In the twenty years since Ten was released, I have bought every Pearl Jam album and gone to many shows. I think seeing the 20th anniversary movie (Pearl Jam 20) will be pretty emotional for me, but I’m really looking forward to it…

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Cover of The Guardian, Adam McQuaid Stanley Cup Celebration (8/29/11)

I’m really glad I got to be a part of this and am so happy for Adam, his family, Cornwall, and PEI.

Here’s the online article and, in case you missed it, my YouTube video of the event.

Way to go, Adam!

Monday, August 29, 2011

My Older Sister, Brother, and Younger Brother on Big Stone Farm Rock, PEI

When I think of PEI, I think of my family. I think of my grandparents and the long trip up every summer. I think of this big rock and how huge it seemed. I think of the smell of the dewy grass when I’d run over to see what my grandmother was making for breakfast. I think of my grandfather sitting in his chair. I think of the beach and Rainbow Valley. I think of wiffle ball with my brothers and Scott. I think of the summers my aunt, uncle, and cousins were up there at the same time. I think of relaxation. I think of the ferry rides and the bridge. I think of the Island hockey players. I think of the racetrack and getting fresh cut fries on the Cavendish boardwalk. I think of how endless the stars seem. I think of Celtic music, Fiddlers’ Sons, and Cynthia MacLeod. I think of driving up the lane before I had a license. I think of not letting brain cancer get in the way of making the trip. I think of deep-sea fishing and Cow’s ice cream. I think of visiting the farm and Hughes trailer. I think of when the only way of communication was CB radio. I think of how I didn’t appreciate The Island’s beauty as much when I was younger. I think of East Point, Dalvay, and The Dunes. I think of how The Island makes it easy for me to let go. I think of stories, memories, and laughs. Mostly, I think of how one of the biggest reasons why I love PEI so much is because I have awesome people in my life to share it with…

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Home Team Pass from Adam McQuaid (2/11/11)

One quick call to my “connection”, and Adam got this pass for me back in February. Even though the B’s lost to the Wings that night, it was pretty awesome getting this pass at will call.

A couple of months ago, my boss asked me when I wanted to take my vacation this summer. I told her I wouldn’t know until they came up with the Stanley Cup schedule, because I knew I wanted to be in PEI when Adam had his day.

Here’s my video of the parade and Adam’s speech along with a few pictures. Really glad I made it up here to see all of this…

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Adam McQuaid Contract Extension Article from Boston Globe (7/15/11)

Driving through Cornwall, PEI earlier today, I saw between 5 and 10 signs congratulating hometown hero Adam McQuaid on his recent role in the Boston Bruins Stanley Cup victory (Oh, you didn’t hear? The Bruins won The Cup. I will never get tired of saying it, writing it, or watching it). It was pretty awesome and I can’t imagine what it’s like for Adam to see them.

Tomorrow, I get to be at the PEI/Cornwall Cup celebration. Looking forward to that, and looking forward to seeing Adam McQuaid in a Bruins uniform in the next few years, and hopefully more!

(Here’s the online version of this article)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Picture of North Street Bridge in Upton, MA (A. Underwood, 2006)

When I was a special ed teacher five years ago, my friend gave me a bunch of pictures he had taken for a class. I thought they would make great “good work” rewards for my students, and the kids loved them. This one was my favorite, so it went up on the wall in my classroom instead of being a potential reward.

I’m sure many people from The ‘Boro have driven across this bridge. If you keep driving on Ruggles Street towards Upton, you’ll cross it and go over the Mass Pike. If you’ve driven on the Mass Pike between Worcester and Boston, chances are you’ve driven under it.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Miss Saigon Ticket (8/2/97)

In the summer of 1997, I was working at JKST Summer Camps (I guess they’ve changed their name since) on the grounds of Haverford College. It was an enrichment camp, so there were actual “classes” for the campers to take. I was teaching psychology as well as dream analysis (no idea about that, they just gave me a book to go by). One of the funniest memories of that summer actually happened in dream analysis. I had the students write down what their ideal dream would be and one of them wrote, “All I’m going to say is that it would involve a goat and one of the Golden Girls”.

Another part of the enrichment was taking trips to New York, Washington DC, and nearby Philadelphia. I went on a day trip to New York, and Miss Saigon was part of that. To date, the only Broadway show I’ve seen. I still prefer going to my sister’s shows. More on the summer of ’97 later…

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Catholic Free Press Article about Skating for Hope (7/29/11)

If you were looking for another sign of the oncoming apocalypse, this article will help you out. Not only would I have never predicted being interviewed by the Catholic Free Pressfor a story, I certainly wouldn’t have thought it would be the headline with my picture right next to it. But it happened…

Like I told my cousin Katie, I’m just glad he didn’t ask me any questions about my opinion of the Catholic Church. I made sure to tell him up front that I was an altar boy for 10 years and went to Catholic High School and Boston College (I “did the whole program” as Mike Birbiglia says).

But other than a few numerical mistakes (and for some reason not mentioning BC gradJamie O’Leary), I think this is a great article about Skating for Hope and certainly helped out the cause. Thanks CFP, and great picture by Jess!

Here’s the: Online article

Monday, August 22, 2011

Free Incubus Tickets (9/9/11)

These tickets are worth over $100, but today I got them for free. All I had to do was donate some blood at the WAAF / Red Cross blood drive.

I know some people (including WAAF DJ Greg Hill – I gave him crap when I saw him eating the post-donation snacks without making a donation!) cringe at the thought of needles and blood, but donating is a simple way everyone can help someone in need. And it gets easier every time you do it.

If you’ve never donated, all you have to do is go the Red Cross website, sign up, and make an appointment. On September 11th, they are having a Day of Remembrance Blood Drive at Fenway Park, which I went to last year.

Looking forward to seeing Incubus on the 9th and hearing them play this:

Thanks, Red Cross and WAAF!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Robot Chicken Star Wars Episode III DVD, Robot Chicken Star Wars DVD, Family Guy Blue Harvest DVD

Whether it’s the 15 Star Wars related t-shirts I wore, old toys, Star Wars scans, or these DVDs; I don’t try to hide my love of Star Wars.

Luckily, Seth Green and Seth MacFarlane remind me that I’m not the only one…and the Force is strong with both of them.

If you’re a Star Wars fans and haven’t seen the Robot Chicken and Family Guy spoofs, definitely check them out.

Even though I think the RC Episode III wasn’t as funny as Episode II or the original RCSW, it’s still hilarious.

And I would say Blue Harvest was the best Family Guy Star Wars, followed by the Empire and Jedi spoofs (see my Family Guy Star Wars t-shirts here and here).

What I like about Robot Chicken and Family Guy is that they make fun of everyone, including themselves. No one is safe; even favorite movies set a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Despicable Me Ticket (8/20/10)

Even though the ticket I bought a year ago today was printed for The Expendables, I really went to see Despicable Me with my “Little Brother”.

We started hanging out in May of last year, and went to a lot of movies last summer. He had only been to the movies a handful of times his entire life, so I wanted to change that.

We went to the movies a lot, got ice cream, played video games, and went skating, bowling, and arcading. It was a lot of fun, and I like to think that I was a positive influence on him.

Our fun continued into the fall and winter and then one week in December, I called his mother to finalize plans. Someone else answered the phone, and told me his mother was in jail. I immediately called the Big Brothers and Big Sisters Office, and they tried to keep contact with the family with little success.

By Christmas, they had moved away and all I had was an address. I sent him a Christmas package that was returned because it didn’t have an apartment number on it. Another BBBS volunteer who was working with one of my “Little’s” siblings told me she wasn’t given any apartment number and the mother’s cell phone had been turned off.

I never heard from them again, and was never able to send him his Christmas package. It was tough to not be able to say goodbye in any way. BBBS asked me if they could match me with another “Little”, but I guess I wasn’t ready. Maybe it’s time…

Friday, August 19, 2011

Funny People Ticket (8/5/09)

Like in real life, Funny People shows that cancer plus laughter is a great combination. I really enjoyed seeing this movie with my friend Cailin, and I'm looking forward to 50/50 as well.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Hope Lodge Weekend Manager Saves a Life! (Worcester Telegram Article, 7/30/11)

I have a lot of heroes. Jon Stewart and Denis Leary come to mind immediately. Cam Neely, Eddie Vedder, Matt Groening, and Seth McFarlane make my list, too. There is also Michael J. Fox, Howard Stern, Oprah Winfrey, Extreme, Mike McCready, Tim Thomas, Adam McQuaid, Conan O’Brien, and Mike Birbiglia.

But these are people I have never met or only met briefly. Although they have helped me strive to be a better person, they have not shaped my life as close to the heroes that I know – Luckily, I have a lot of these heroes as well.

At the top of this list is my family: My parents, siblings, aunts and uncle, cousins, nephews, niece, and in-laws. They have supported me through think and thin and have shown me what unconditional love is. Many of my friends have been there for me through my toughest times as well. My “best buds” Andy, Glen, Matt, Patrick, Carl, and Scott always make me feel lucky knowing I have them in my corner. I also have cancer-related heroes: Justin Horton, Danny Manning, Greg Montalbano, and all of the Hope Lodge guests fall here.

There are also groups of people who are my heroes: Doctors, nurses, firefighters, teachers, and people in the armed forces. They all work at difficult jobs and help people every day.

Tonight, I found out one of the Hope Lodge weekend managers acted very heroic recently. As you can see in the article below (or online version here), Steve helped save someone’s life last month. When he’s not saving lives or helping Hope Lodge guests, Steve works with special ed students that have severe emotional and behavioral issues. Like all of the heroes I listed above, the world would be a better place if there were more people like Steve in it.

I’ve written about it before, but I wish the news had more stories like this one instead of those filled with violence and sex. I’m sure in reality the good stories outnumber the bad ones, but I think until people stop watching the news as it is, they won’t change what is reported.

Thank you to Steve and all of my heroes for inspiring me…

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Inside Job DVD

I knew Inside Job was going to anger me, but I wanted to watch it. I had an idea what made all the banks collapse back in 2008, but this movie does a really great job explaining it through interviews, graphs, and statistics. Not surprisingly, it really all comes down to greed. The mega-rich wanted to get richer and the gap between the rich and the poor got even bigger. To make it even worse, those that were responsible for the collapse got rewarded. Not a pick-me-up kind of flick, but definitely exposes a huge problem to the system of the “American Dream”.

I only see two ways this problem can be resolved: One, more super-rich people can start thinking and acting like Warren Buffett (see his Giving Pledge and recent article here). Two, the 98% (49 out of 50) of Americans that make less than $250,000 will stage a revolution against the top 2% of the country (I think we could take ‘em).

I’m not sure what the future holds, but I’m hoping it includes more people with jobs, homes, and feelings of empowerment.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Rest of My College Door Stuff (Leary, Star Wars, Coke, Parental Advisory, Letterman, Cheers, Gaston, Extreme, Red Sox, MST3K, Jack Nicholson)

In addition to all this other stuff, this scan completes all of the things that were up on my college door during my freshman and sophomore years.

Denis Leary was my hero then, and most likely always will be – just as Star Wars will be my favorite movie.

Coke was my favorite drink back then, but I’d have to say that’s been replaced by Powerade Zero Grape (which is made by Coke).

I guess the parental advisory sticker was a warning to people who entered that they would probably be hearing swears coming from me or a CD I was playing.

Even though I don’t watch Letterman and Cheers as much as I did back then, they still remain at the top of my all-time TV favorites list.

I wasn’t a big fan of Beauty and the Beast, but I think I wanted to be more like the manly, “bad boy” Gaston. Speaking of Beauty and the Beast, this video is hilarious.

Part of my lifelong plan is to keep buying tickets to see Extreme and the Red Sox as long as both groups are together.

If you’ve never seen Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K), I highly recommend checking it out.

And Jack is just Jack – although I don’t think you should lie to anyone.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Quotes from My College Door (1992-1994)

Along with Clavin and Hobbes, Deep Thoughts, The Far Side, Eddie Vedder, and Cam Neely; I had these quotes up on my college room door. Not sure if Aerosmith came up with that quote, but that’s where I heard it. Enjoy…

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Ivy and Bobby's Celebration Invite (8/13/11)

I really can’t say it enough. The only that really matters in life is the people you have in yours. Although I try to live my life not needing reminders of this, whenever I hang out with my family it is reinforced. Last night was one of those times, and fitting way for Ivy and Bobby to share their marriage with Westborough. There was family, relatives, in-laws, friends, acquaintances I hadn’t seen in years, and people I had never met. There was a lot of laughing, storytelling, hugs, great food, and fun. And there were definitely enough McGraths there to play wiffle…

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Wiffle Ball Rules and Letter

Summer is my least favorite season. There’s no hockey, I get sunburnt easily, and the humid weather doesn’t mix well with my Crohn’s. There are a few things that help me get through the warm extreme of New England weather. When I’m not escaping to PEI or in A/C, I like to play wiffle ball.

I’ve been playing wiffle ball ever since I can remember, and I don’t ever see that stopping. Whether I am playing wiffle with my family, my friends Glen and Carl, or in a tournament; I am always having fun.

My car always has a bat, balls, and chair (umpire) in it to make sure a game is only one pop of my trunk away. After a year of wear and tear, I needed to order replacement equipment from the official Wiffle Ball Online Store. Above are the rules and letter than came along with the bat and dozen balls I ordered. Thanks for making summer more enjoyable, Wiffle!

You can also check out:

Official Wiffle Site

Online Wiffle Rules

And, here are my friend Glen making a sweet catch last year and coverage of the Wiffle Fest help in Burlington, VT every year (I had to skip this year because it was on the same day as the Bruins parade):

Friday, August 12, 2011

Picture with Jani Lane (December, 1989)

In December of 1989, my sister Carolyn helped my friend Mike and me on a simple mission: Meet Motley Crue.

We set out to the Sheraton Hotel, across the street from Lincoln Plaza in Worcester, because that’s where most of the bands stayed at when they played at The Centrum.

Vince, Nikki, Tommy, and Mick never came out, but Jani Lane did (Warrant was the opening act for Motley’s Dr. Feelgood Tour).

Even though it appeared he had just crawled out of bed, he was really nice to us. He posed for pictures, gave autographs, and talked to everyone that was there right up until his tour manager told him it was time to go.

Luckily, I came equipped with my Levi’s winter jacket, RIP t-shirt, and Polaroid camera to capture it all. I wasn’t a huge Warrant fan when I woke up that morning, but when you meet a rock star and they take the time to actually talk to you and don’t leave until everyone gets a signature/picture (see also Tom Keifer), it’s hard not to become a bigger fan.

I ended up meeting Nikki Sixx at a book signing this past May, and that was pretty thrilling. But, it was controlled and a quick, 15-second, “Hi, nice to meet you”, and walking away before you can really talk meeting – I was also 37.

When I met Jani, I was 15 years old and it was more like “hanging out” than waiting for a 15-second “hi and goodbye”. It was also a time when Warrant videos were getting high rotation on MTV, and he signed with a “69” which I thought was hilarious. We may have not met The Crue that day, but we definitely went to the concert happy.

Rest in Peace, Jani. You may be gone, but your songs will certainly live on and make all the hair metalheads of my generation feel young every time they hear them. Thanks for making me a fan almost 22 years ago…

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Skating for Hope Promo Cards

It was February of 2009 when I wrote down in my journal the idea to skate 24 hours for Hope Lodge (you can see the scan of that entry and how my idea was made into reality here).

Even though the initial idea was just for me to skate, Skating for Hope ballooned into a much bigger event – one I certainly needed help with. Like they had been doing my whole life (brain cancer comes to mind), my family and friends rallied around me in support and helped with all of the non-skating responsibilities needed to pull it off.

We had to organize food, raffle items, hockey players, volunteers, announcements, the website, special guests, music, and other things I’m sure I can’t think of. The Skating for Hope committee had the responsibility of making sure all of these ran smoothly during the event.

Even though skating and playing in three hockey games for 24 hours straight may seem difficult, I think I had the easiest job of anyone that was working at Skating for Hope – I was having fun the whole time.

To me, Skating for Hope was a perfect melding of two dreams. One dream of mine is to do whatever I can to help Hope Lodge. The second is to have my own hockey rink. Well, I did have my own hockey rink for a day and I used it to do the things I love: help cancer patients, skate, and play hockey.

There are so many people to thank for helping me make Skating for Hope happen, I’m sure I will forget someone. My family and friends are a constant reminder of the fact that the most important thing in life is the people you have in yours – I am able to do what I do because of the support of my family and friends. The Skating for Hope Committee (which was mostly my family), Jess, Nick and the FMC employees, Skating for Hope volunteers, Danny Manning, Jr., Greg Montalbano, Justin Horton, the BC/BU hockey alum, the 501st Star Wars people, the Sharks, the Bruins, Worcester Magazine, The Worcester Telegram, people who donated raffle items, The Catholic Free Press, WHS and SJ Alum, all the skaters, and everyone who made a donation all contributed into making the first Skating for Hope a success – close to $15,000 was raised.

We had a post-SFH meeting today, and I shared with the group what part of my plan is for the future Skating for Hope events. I will continue skating/playing hockey for the full 24-hours until $1,000,000 has been raised for Hope Lodge. If we double the amount each year, that should take less than 10 – definitely doable.

I scanned these things because I finally put all of the pictures and videos together and posted the “Skating for Hope Short Film” here. I hope you enjoy and keep in mind there are a couple of parts that I’d call “PG-13”.

Thanks to everyone for helping out!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Dave's Daily T-shirts Card (2010)

Some people don’t know this, but Skating for Hope wouldn’t have been possible without my t-shirts. In 2010, I wore a different t-shirt each day and blogged about them at I took donations for them at, and by the end of February this year, I had raised enough money to rent the rink for the 24-hours of Skating for Hope. Thanks to Jess for making me these cards last year! Should have the 30-minute SFH video done by tomorrow…

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Pictures with Bret Michaels and Rikki Rocket (1999)

I know, you’re jealous…

Before I got these sweet Poison After Show Passes in 2000 and 2001, I met (thanks to my sister Carolyn) Bret and Rikki after a show in 1999. Even though the poster I’m holding says “Poison 2000”, I know this is from ’99 because I had them sign the poster to the special ed students I was teaching that summer. I wore my Subrosa t-shirt to follow the unwritten rule that you shouldn’t wear the t-shirt of the band you’re seeing (or a Baseball Hall of Fame shirt, for that matter). It was a fun show and a great time meeting Bret and Rikki…thanks, Ca!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Notes with Skating for Hope Donations

I’m not sure if I’ll be able to thank every person who contributed to Skating for Hope’s success, but tonight I’d like to thank everyone who has sent checks to Hope Lodge...thank you!

These are a few of the notes that came with the checks, and they make smile a lot (especially the “hope you beat Matt” reference to the SJ-WHS game).

The typed note (which I got today) reminded me of one reason why I wanted to make Skating for Hope a reality and what helped me get through the 24 hours. In addition to doing whatever I could to help Hope Lodge, I wanted to tell my diseases to “f- off” and that they couldn’t stop me from reaching my goal. I will always have brain cancer and Crohn’s Disease as parts of my medical background, but I will always use them as motivators rather than roadblocks…

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Rise of the Planet of the Apes Ticket (8/5/11)

So, there was no Queensryche show this weekend, but Carl and I stopped off at the movie theatre after turning around on our way to Hampton Beach and checked out the latest Planet of the Apes movie.

I don’t remember the original POTA movie at all, but did like the 2001 remake and enjoyed watching reruns of the TV show.

Like many sci-fi movies I’ve seen, Rise of the Planet of the Apes had a central message: If you try to be like God, BAD things will happen. The movie ended with a glimpse into what was coming, but it left me wanting to see more of the struggle over who wins control of the planet...the perfect way to setup the next movie.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Tickets to Extreme (8/7/09, 8/8/09)

I was planning that today's blog would be a review of my first Queensryche show, but both last night's show at Hampton Beach and tonight's show at the House of Blues wee cancelled due to an undisclosed ailment in singer Geoff Tate. So, I can't compare the live acts between Extreme and Queensryche...dammit.
I went to the Hampton Beach Extreme show 2 years ago with my friend Sherry, and the next night in Boston I went with my friend Patrick. The cool thing about the Boston show was that it was recorded for a live DVD, Take Us Alive.
Looks like I'll have to wait until October to share my experience seeing "The Ryche"...

Friday, August 5, 2011

Autographed Extreme CD

Tonight, I will be going to my first Queensryche show. They are my friend Carl’s favorite band, and we have long argued over who is better, Queensryche or Extreme. So, I thought this would be a good scan for today. I had Gary and Nuno sign this after they played live on WAAF back in 1990, when the station was in Worcester. My brother got Pat Badger’s autograph for me sometime after WAAF had moved to Westboro. I just found out the singer of Queensryche, Geoff Tate, is appearing tomorrow in Westboro at Julio’s Liquors. Maybe Carl will be able to get something signed too. More on the Extreme/Queensryche debate tomorrow…

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Scout Trooper Card (with video from Skating for Hope)

One of the first groups I invited to Skating for Hope was the Alderaan Base, a.k.a. 501st New England. They came, and the response was wonderful. Darth Vader came out of the locker room flanked by a storm trooper and scout trooper and in about 3 seconds all the kids surrounded them. The scout trooper was an even bigger hit when he laced ‘em up and took a few laps with the kids. He also took some spills, but kept on going. Check it out here. Talk about being a REAL trooper…

Thank you to all the Star Wars troops that came out to Skating for Hope!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Cinderella Ticket for Tonight

I know you’re jealous.

See my Cinderella T-shirt from last year’s blog.

And here’s the Cinderella website.

Off to meet up with Carl and Scott, somebody save me…

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Paul Stewart Autographed Picture for Hope Lodge (7/30/11)

After reffing the 1:00 BC Alum game at Skating for Hope and talking to kids about his cancer experience / cancer prevention, “Stewy” left this picture that is now framed and in the living room of Hope Lodge…Thanks, Stewy!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Eddie Vedder Ticket and Program (8/1/08)

Three years ago I was with my friends Glen and Sherry and we were all enjoying Eddie Vedder supporting his album, the Into the Wild soundtrack. If you haven’t seen the movie or listened to the album, I highly recommend both. Don’t worry, you can actually understand Eddie most of the time.