Tag Archives: ABBAMAIL

My First Official ABBA T-Shirts

ABBA T-shirtsI just purchased my very first “official” ABBA T-Shirts. Sure I’ve had a couple of t-shirts promoting the ABBAMAIL website I used to write columns for and have a couple of unofficial shirts here and there, but now I have legitimate and real ABBA T-shirts that even have official ABBA tags in the collar. How cool is that?

I ordered the shirts from ABBA’s official website at ABBAsite.com and the webshop there is really a specialty shop with fulfillment handled by a great Swedish music retailer, Bengans.se. I’ve ordered tons of music from them over the years and they’re a great shop. So acting as ABBA’s official store, they have in addition to the ability to purchase music CDs and DVDs, they have some merchandise. They’ve had merchandise in their webshop for a couple of years now, but I’ve never ordered any because let’s face it, they didn’t make T-shirts in my size. Well that was before I started losing weight with Jorge Cruise’s Belly Fat Cure program.

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Arrival Brings A Touch Of Sweden To The San Diego County Fair

Arrival at the San Diego County FairI think in large part due to the phenomenal success of “Mamma Mia! The Movie” last summer which was released shortly after last year’s San Diego County Fair concluded, the organizers of the San Diego County Fair thought it fitting to bring in an ABBA tribute band as a headlining act for the 2009 San Diego County Fair at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Fortunately the organizers picked what I consider to be the world’s best ABBA tribute band out there. That tribute band is Arrival, who like ABBA, also originate from Sweden and the show Arrival is touring under is called “The Music Of ABBA”.

Headed by Vicky Zetterberg (who portrays Anni-Frid “Frida” Lyngstad) and joined by Jenny Gustafsson (who portrays Agnetha Fältskog), Arrival brought a wonderful touch of Sweden to San Diego, not once, but twice with two shows on July 2, 2009. The afternoon show began at 2pm and while the program states the afternoon concerts are hour long shows, Arrival played for a full two hours bringing a complete ABBA show to those down at the fair early enough to catch the afternoon show. I was personally fighting with traffic and the whole mess with parking so I didn’t make it to the Heineken Grandstand Stage until 2:30pm but I did get there. Arrival were performing “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)” as I arrived.

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Rifftrax – Mystery Science Theater 3000 With Modern Movies

I was never much a fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000 (or MST3K as it’s known by its fans), because I just didn’t want to suffer through really old movies. However, I loved the concept behind the idea, where basically an additional added commentary or making up some added dialogue to scenes in movies could make for a fun evening. However, for a relatively low budget comedy show that relies on movies to make the effect work, the only way it could be achieved was through licensing very cheap movies, hence the reliance on older than dirt, long forgotten movies no one could give a rats ass about.

The comedy writing team behind Mystery Science Theatre 3000 consisting of Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy, and Bill Corbett, have reformed and now thanks to the Internet, are now no longer limited to shitty old movies with dirt cheap licensing fees. They can now put their attention on big budget Hollywood epics that recently got released on DVD, or really, the types of movies you’re more likely to want to watch anyway.

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Wow, $1.32 For A One Hour Call From The USA To Australia


With the closure of ABBAMAIL, I decided to give former ABBAMAIL list and site owner, Graeme Read, a call. In the past when I’ve called him, I’ve used pre-paid calling cards to get phone rates as low as 11 cents a minute, which isn’t too bad from the United States to Australia. This time I decided to give Skype a shot, which was promising a rate of 2.1 cents per minute to Australian land line numbers for routing the call over the Internet. And the slightly more than an hour that I spoke with Graeme, only cost $1.32.

As technology advances, it gets to be quite amazing how things change. Had I have used a pre-paid calling card, at the previously great rate of 11 cents a minute, the call would have cost approximately, $7 between the connection fee and the time of the call. This was literally a savings of approximately 80%. Had I made the call directly on my cell phone without using Skype, the call would have cost $70 at 69 cents per minute, bring the Skype call a savings of 98%.

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ABBAMAIL Closes Down After Nearly 12 Years

It was a bit of bittersweet sad news today when Graeme Read and Grant Whittingham decided to shut down both ABBAMAIL.com and the ABBAMAIL mailing list which has been a big part of my life for almost 12 years now. The closing was just under three months shy of ABBAMAIL’s 12th birthday.

ABBAMAIL wasn’t so much just a bunch of ABBA fans as it was a living, breathing community. While in the late 1990’s, a lot of online fan communities consisted of lists, fairly impersonal message boards, and fairly simple webpages, I personally was a member of a quite a number of them for various hobbies and interests. And it seemed without fail that as soon as the subjects of the list seemed to disappear off the pop culture radar, so did the people in these communities and many of them fade out and disappeared. ABBAMAIL was different.

Unlike any other forum I had been a part of from the same era, ABBAMAIL was quite a unique beast. A lot of that is due to the community’s founders, Graeme Read and Grant Whittingham, who fostered a true sense of community, simply being an ABBA fan was something all of us on the list had in common, but for Graeme and Grant that simply wasn’t enough. Members of the list were expected to introduce themselves and share that person behind behind the letters that make up our names.

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Arrival Brings The Best ABBA Tribute Show To Anaheim

Ryan Cameron Meets Arrival in Anaheim, October 12, 2008On October 12, 2008, I had the opportunity to catch Arrival for the second time when they were performing at The Grove, in Anaheim. This time it was Arrival without the Austin Symphony Orchestra like the week before.

Prior to the show I met up with Los Angeles area ABBA fans, Rod, Fiona, and Pepe. We all met up before hand at the Virgin Megastore, nearby at The Block shopping center. It seemed to be an ideal meeting place with a few options to pick for dinner. We ended up getting a table at the TGI Friday’s restaurant that was in the outer rim of the mall parking lot.

By the time we made it over to the venue we had a small line to deal with at the box office for the will call tickets. The line was being held up by some guy who bought the premium tickets which included a dinner before the show, but he didn’t know it included the dinner and was trying unsuccessfully to get a credit back due to his inability to show up on time for the dinner. In the process of his arguing with the lady in the will call booth, he caused a lot of people behind him, including us, to miss the opening song. It was a good way through “Hey, Hey, Helen” before we were finally in the building and shown to our seats. Surprisingly the seating in the venue was very reminiscent of Las Vegas style showroom seating with tables basically designed for dining, but really lousy for looking at the stage. Despite the shortcoming of the venue layout, we weren’t there for that, we were there to see Arrival!

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Go See Arrival – The Best ABBA Tribute Band Ever

Arrival is an ABBA Tribute Band that originates from Sweden. They are currently touring the US in a show entitled “The Music of ABBA Featuring Arrival” and I just had the pleasure of seeing them Saturday night in Austin, Texas where they performed with the Austin Symphony Orchestra. And Arrival were absolutely amazing. They definitely earn the title of best ABBA tribute band in the world that my friends at the headquarters of ABBAMAIL.com have bestowed upon this tribute band.

I was so moved by their performance that I opted to write about their show for my October column for ABBAMAIL.com and if you want to read a more in depth review of my experience, click here to read my ABBAMAIL column. If you want just a nutshell version, just keep reading here.

While there are many ABBA tribute bands out there, the one thing you’re guaranteed is a chance to see a bunch of people dress up in costumes and perform a concert of ABBA songs. However, the quality of that experience varies greatly. There are some very good ABBA tribute bands (such as Arrival and Waterloo) and some very bad ABBA tribute bands (such as Björn Again).

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Star Trek: The Experience in Las Vegas Closes

After a little more than a decade, Star Trek: The Experience at the Las Vegas Hilton shuts it’s doors. The closure comes as contract renewal talks between Paramount/CBS, Cedar Fair, and Colony Capital stalled. The main hold out was Colony Capital who owns the Las Vegas Hilton, who bought the Hilton from Caesars Entertainment (formerly Park Place Entertainment at the time Star Trek: The Experience opened) didn’t like the deal where Star Trek: The Experience was like a retailer just renting space, and not sharing in the revenue generated from the attraction. Cedar Fair, the company that bought the operations of the attraction from Paramount Parks and Paramount/CBS who owns the Star Trek franchise weren’t able to secure a renewal of the contract and as such has decided to close Star Trek: The Experience.

The last day of operations for Star Trek: The Experience was September 1, 2008 and concluded the business day with a decommissioning ceremony normally only afforded to the decommissioning of naval vessels. Star Trek gets a lot of it’s lore from naval tradition except instead of sailing the waters, its the stars. Despite the fact the current contract doesn’t expire until the end of the year, the decision to close on September 1st, is to allow Cedar Fair the time necessary to return all the Star Trek property back to Paramount and gut the complex to hand it over to Colony Capital as empty space.

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Bling! It by Vertus is Awesome For eBay


Transform Product Shots!
I’ve recently been trying out new software by Vertus called “Bling! It” which is a simple program that removes backgrounds from photos and allows you to replace the backgrounds to jazz up the photos for things like improving eBay auctions to profile pictures.

Granted, I am a user of Corel’s Paint Shop Pro and could literally do all this with the software I already have, but Bling! It is so quick and easy to use, and it automatically makes the output files the perfect size for putting up online that it’s a big saver of time that I could be done with a picture and on to the next one before I’ve finished removing the background in Paint Shop Pro. Don’t get me wrong, I love Paint Shop Pro, but generally when I’m looking to sell some of my stuff on eBay, I’m doing a batch of items at once and I don’t need such a robust program to do the images for my eBay auctions. The time savings I get by using Bling! It, translate into the ability to put up more items on eBay in less time and as they say time is money.

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