Melted Banana Hand – Rocking out with Rock Band

Rock BandWhen Rock Band came out a few weeks ago I was excited to try it out. Luckily my good friend Brian bought it and invited me to try it out. Ever since we’ve been meeting once a week as Melted Banana Hand. My impressions?

It’s more of a game than any of the Guitar Hero’s. Rather than a playing a list of songs and then being done, the idea is that you tour as a band. You will end up playing the same songs more than once but that’s ok because of how it’s done. Instead of finishing a song, your objectives are finishing a set list or finishing a venue. Because of the structure of the game it is also able to incorporate downloaded songs into the game itself rather than just adding it to a list of playable songs in quick play mode like in Guitar Hero.

The Guitar is only O-K. It looks great and I love the addition of the lower fret buttons I just wish they were used more. The game doesn’t force you to use them it simply increases the bonus you get when applicable. It would add even more depth to the game if it were to force you to use the lower frets during solos.

Solos are new to the game. For guitar this simply means added points and most likely faster sections with more notes. For drums this means you can play anything you’d like, which means a lot of fun. For vocals you can say anything you’d like. The solos in the game create a new and very dynamic musical environment.

The drums are impossibly hard. The guitar in Guitar Hero wasn’t easy to begin with but with some practice it got much better and was completely playable on hard. The drums on Rock Band are a completely different story. It’s hard on easy and insanely impossible on medium. Anything beyond that is just crazy talk.

Melted Banana Hand is still meeting once a week and the vocals are always up for grabs considering my friend Brian and I can’t at all. If you’re interested just let me know and I’m sure we can find a spot for you.

Jeffrey Mullin

My niece’s brother, Jeffrey Mullin, was recently shot and killed in Rochester NY. It’s always extremely sad when someone so young passes away but when it’s from such a violent act it hits twice as deep. Unfortunately Rochester is one of the most violent cities in America and we live and work right smack dab in the middle of it. People here often dismiss the murders in Rochester to the gangs and somehow believe it doesn’t happen to good citizens. Try telling that to Cassandra, my niece. Somehow I think you will come away with a different opinion.

It’s time to wake up Rochester. We need more police presence and we need better schools. According to the 2006 census there’s roughly 200,000 people living in the city of Rochester. There were 54 Murders here in 2005 and 50 so far in 2007. That’s roughly 1 in every 3700 people. Put another way, thats almost 27 people for every 100,000. That’s almost four times the national average (which is only 7)!

The Democrat and Chronicle has a piece entitled Not Forgotten where they list each of this year’s murders and have short slide shows dedicated to them. I think this is important. I think people forget that these murders are more than just statistics and that every one of the people lost was important to someone.

I copied Jeff’s slide show for my niece and I thought I’d share it with everyone, so they could learn a little bit about Jeff instead of hearing about number 50.

I’ve also uploaded the original in case anyone wanted a copy to share.

Mike Merryfield the Comedian

Stop it or I’ll give you a knockin’ ullllllright?

We saw Mike Merryfield at Comix Cafe last weekend and he was one of the funniest comedians we’ve seen at Comix. His style of humor reminded me a lot of Brian Regan my favorite comedian of all time. I found one of his recorded shows on his website and I’ve included it below for your listening pleasure.

[audio:http://aldrichfamily.org/wp-content/uploads/2007/12/mikemerryfield.mp3%5DHe’s also available on youtube as MikeMerryField and I’ve included his best video below.

Spring Lake Park

Denver at Spring Lake ParkA few weeks ago I discovered an excellent new park only a few miles from our house. Spring Lake Park is not a dog park but it certainly seems like one. I love exploring new places to take our canine friends as I get sick of walking the canal path every day. Our first trip to Spring Lake Park gave us an unexpected gift. Dogs dogs and more dogs.

As it turns out other locals take their dogs there to run and play. And all off their leash. This couldn’t come at a better time as I’ve been trying to find a place closer to home than my parents to let them run.

At first glance the park is relatively small. The real gem, the place where the dogs run and play free is in the back. After you park your car you have to walk back along a gated roadway until you get to the second field.
We’ve now been to the park 6 times in the past 3 weeks and we plan on going every time we get a chance. If you have a dog and live in the area I would highly recommend it. Letting them run and play with other dogs is great (for them and you).