Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Time That is Mine

I have a love/hate relationship with my morning commute.  There's definitely a bit of hate because it means that I'm up early in the morning and am on my way to a possibly stressful day at the office.  However, my morning commute is my only time where I can sit in one place and just think.  That's where the love comes in.  I can reminisce about the past, get lost in the present or look forward to the future.  I can write blog posts. I can write songs in my head.  Hell, I can just stare blankly out the window and NOT think at all!   That's the beauty of the morning commute.  It's my time.  Hmm..I like the sound of that..."myyyy" time.

Here are some tidbits that actually have run through my twisted brain during this glorious time:
  • Why am I feeling an uncontrollable urge to keep checking my Blackberry every 2 min?  It's only 8:30am!  How many emails could I possibly get at this time anyway?  I swear, I think my fingers just know to check my email without me even being aware.  I wonder if my fingers are communicating with their other "finger" friends through email.  'Cause they're certainly checking it on a much more frequent basis than my brain can keep up with.  Look at those fingers right now...they're just typing away. About what?  To whom?  I'm really not quite sure, but I do know that those little guys are workin' real hard.
    • Why can one person get a ticket driving in his or her car for not wearing a seat belt, but 50 people on a bus are not required to wear one at all?  In fact, I don't see any seat belts around here at all.  Even stranger than that, it's not against the law to stand up while on the bus either.
    • Hmm...when the Lincoln Tunnel was built, there must've been one hell of a sale on yellow tile! Some tile store owner out there was like, "Jackpot! Best. Customer. Ever."  He's probably retired on an exotic island somewhere now.
    • Why does that guy behind me think he needs to SCREAM into his cell phone for the other person to hear him.  "SCRAMBLED, MOM!  I said I had SCRAMBLED EGGS FOR BREAKFAST!!"  I can't think of a time when it would be necessary to scream about eggs...ever.  Well, perhaps if it was something more like:  "WATCH OUT! YOU'RE ABOUT TO BE ATTACKED BY A GIANT EGG!!"
    • Why does that guy look SO happy to be getting on this bus?  Why does he have to make us grumpy morning people, who are dreading the work day, look so negative?!  How could anyone board a bus with a smile that big?  It just seems wrong. In order for us to feel like we're all in this together, we need to be quiet and unfriendly.  It's in the rule booklet.  Read it.
    • Does the girl across from me think I'm crazy because I'm playing air drums with my iPod as one of my drum sticks?  It's quite a shame that she can't hear the music and is therefore unable to recognize and applaud my superb rhythmic skills.  To her, I probably look like I'm having some sort of seizure.  But to me, it just feels so right. 
    •  Stepping off the bus now.  "Myyyy" time is officially over.
        Hey, there's always the evening commute!  Always something to look forward to.

          Tuesday, October 27, 2009

          Brain of a Fish Video Pick: Hot Video from Muse

          Here's a video from a great band called Muse. They've been around since the mid-90's and have been extremely popular in the UK. In fact, just yesterday, they received the top prize at Britain's Q Awards..."The Best Act In the World Today" Award!  While they've been relatively unknown in the U.S, they've started to make their mark in the U.S. with their latest album, The Resistance.  This mark has been big enough that they are currently on the road as openers for none other than U2.  Check out this video for their single, Uprising. You'll hear some obvious influences, such as Radiohead and Depeche Mode.

          Monday, October 26, 2009

          A Cheap Shot It's Not

          Here's a question… Why does every electronic item that I buy become outdated what seems like moments after I make the purchase? Digital cameras, for example. Why do these digital camera models have to be released literally by the megapixel? We consumers have to keep shelling out more cash if we want the latest and greatest.

          My first digital camera purchase was quite a few years ago. At the time, I thought it was the coolest thing ever and….it was only 1.3 megapixels! I even thought the picture quality was fantastic. But c'mon, are you going to tell me that when Canon released this camera, they were oblivious to the fact that they had the ability to make one with a higher number of megapixels?

          Are we supposed to believe that one day after they released this 1.3 megapixel version, it just occurred to them that they could go a tiny, tiny bit higher? "Hey Bob, know how we just released that 1.3 megapixel camera? Well, I was thinking, uhh..I might be able to figure out how to make one with 2.0 megapixels. Just a thought." And perhaps each year it occurred to them that they could do just a little bit better? Unlikely, I guess.

          Maybe the entire electronics industry is comprised of a bunch of slackers that are major underachievers. "Hmmm..Guys, I'm a little hungover today,. I know we're supposed to manufacture that 12 megapixel camera today and all…but, I'm totally beat. Let's just do one with 3 megapixels, ship 'em out, and we'll call it a day. We'll pick it up again tomorrow." Possible scenario? Maybe. Eh, probably not. Ugh, I just did some internet surfing for digital cameras and they're selling 12 megapixel cameras that are
          cheaper than my 1.3!


          Image supplied by 

          Thursday, October 22, 2009

          Spoil the Party!

          Sure I may be a Democrat and an Obama supporter, but that doesn't mean that I think that every Republican idea has no merit. Or for that matter, it doesn't mean that I support every Democratic idea either. And I'm sure that, way deep down inside, there are more than a few Republicans who agree with certain policies and beliefs set forth by a Democratic administration.

          It's a shame that if we want to back a mainstream contender for a government position, we are forced to label ourselves one of two major parties. However, bi-partisan politics seem to do more harm than good. It serves to divide us into two sides, who are always throwing punches at one another. Are U.S. citizens really born as a Republican or Democrat anyway? We all just conform to this system that's already in place. In many cases, we simply take on whichever political views are held by our parents.

          How can everything be so black and white though? The two-party system might make sense if there were only one issue, nice as that would be, it's certainly not the case. Isn't it possible that someone can have a more liberal view on health care, but a more conservative view on foreign policy, for example? Perhaps someone supports a woman's right to choose, but opposes stem-cell research. Obviously, there are so many possible examples of these mixtures of beliefs and viewpoints, which do exist among us. The lines often get blurred to the point that some politicians even become party-switchers. Take NYC's Mayor Bloomberg, for example. He's swung his way across party lines as a Democrat, a Republican, and now an Independent. Senator Arlen Specter recently made his move from Republican to Democrat, too.

          Why do we have to create rivalries among us? Why do we have to have two sides that essentially ridicule one another? Our two-party system only creates animosity, anger, and hatred. Why do we have to have red states and blue states? Let's make them all purple. Let's not worry about Democratic and Republican ideals, but instead about each of our own ideals as human beings.

          My proposal? How about a no-party system where we simply judge candidates based on their character, intelligence, values, ideas, beliefs, experience, and proposed policies? Two candidates with a vast array of ideas on a number of policies. Majority vote wins.

          We, as U.S. citizens, would be much more likely to cast our vote for someone simply because he or she represents our stance on at least a majority of issues that are important to us. Someone who has the qualities that we think is necessary with which to govern. No need for labels. Labels never did us any good in high school. Why would it do us any good in politics?

          Image supplied by 

          Wednesday, October 21, 2009

          Brain of a Fish Video Pick: Hot Video from Silversun Pickups

          Here's my video pick from a unique band that's been gaining tons of popularity with their most recent album release, Swoon. I was fortunate enough to see them play a few tunes live recently. Silversun Pickups are a great combination of hard-hitting beats, smooth vocals, and top-notch musicianship. Here is their latest video, Substitution.

          Tuesday, October 20, 2009

          Sunday Night-ification

          Sunday nights, for most people, are typically a drag because they signify one thing…the return to work the next morning! There is one glimmer of hope that actually can change that perception, however…and that's a good TV show! Back in the day, HBO's Sunday night lineup of "The Sopranos" followed by "Six Feet Under" made me actually long for Sunday nights! (well, almost.)

          Unfortunately, ever since the finales of those top-notch dramas, Sunday night quality took a major downturn for me. I found myself resorting to other activities like...aimlessly surfing the internet, watching random home improvement shows that made me stress about repairs in my house, and occasionally...dare I say it...reading a book!

          Sure there are some network shows that can occasionally seem entertaining at times such as "Desperate Housewives" and "Brothers and Sisters". However, no matter how involved you get in the show, the commercials always give you that chance to think about your life again...which is exactly what you are trying to avoid. There is something about these premium subscription channels' no-commercial shows. They have the ability to fully draw you in and to free your mind from pre-work jitters (a major added bonus). These shows are a league above network TV shows, quality-wise.

          Last year, a friend had suggested that I check out "Californication". My wife and I spent this past summer catching up on the first 2 seasons on DVD so we'd be ready for Season 3, which premiered a few weeks ago. Voila...Sunday night once again has meaning! David Duchovny's portrayal of sex-obsessed writer, Hank Moody, is fantastic. His character is raunchy, sometimes annoying, yet brilliant and funny. And occasionally, there will even be evidence that he actually has a sensitive side. He displays this mostly hidden side when he's with his daughter, Becca…another captivating character, played quirkily and masterfully by Madeleine Martin. However dysfunctional this father-daughter relationship is, it's filled with love and gives the show the heart that it needs. It sure isn't a kid-friendly show though. Crude language, nudity, and sex scenes are aplenty!

          This season is proving to be as great as the last two... and it's filled with guest actors including Kathleen Turner and Rick Springfield.

          Perfectly cast, intelligently written, and quite hilarious, "Californication" has again made me look forward to my Sunday nights! Phew!

          Monday, October 19, 2009

          Mitch Was A Hed of The Rest

          Every now and then, when I'm on my way to work and listening to my iPod in "shuffle" mode, Mitch Hedberg, one of my all-time favorite comedians, comes on. My commute is instantly improved. My fellow commuters most certainly wonder why I suddenly look so happy. Unfortunately, Mitch died way too soon....back in 2005. However, he will always continue to make me laugh.

          Below, I've listed 20 of my favorite Mitch jokes. Also, below that, watch a hilarious Mitch performance from when he was on Letterman.

          1. I used to do drugs. I still do, but I used to, too.
          2. Last week I helped my friend stay put. It's a lot easier than helping him move. I just went over to his house and made sure that he did not start to load shit into a truck.
          3. I'm against picketing, but I don't know how to show it.
          4. I haven't slept for ten days, because that would be too long.
          5. My fake plants died because I did not pretend to water them.
          6. I don't have any children but if I had a baby I would have to name I'd buy a "baby naming book". Or I would invite somebody over who had a cast on.
          7. I had a parrot. The parrot talked, but it did not say "I'm hungry," so it died.
          8. Sometimes in the middle of the night, I think of something that's funny, then I go get a pen and I write it down. Or if the pen's too far away, I have to convince myself that what I thought of ain't funny.
          9. You know, I'm sick of following my dreams, man. I'm just going to ask where they're going and hook up with 'em later.
          10. A burrito is a sleeping bag for ground beef.
          11. I went to a record store, they said they specialized in hard-to-find records. NOTHING WAS ALPHABETIZED!
          12. If you drink O'Douls, you don't drink. But if you drink 20 O'Douls in a half hour, then you're a fucking non-alcoholic. Non-alcoholism is a problem too. And there are symptoms, like when you fall down, does it always hurt?
          13. I angered the clerk in a clothing shop today. She asked me what size I was and I said actual, because I am not to scale.
          14. I like rice. Rice is great when you're hungry and you want 2,000 of something.
          15. I saw a commercial on late night TV, it said, "Forget everything you know about slipcovers." So I did. And it was a load off my mind. Then, the commercial tried to sell me slipcovers, and I didn't know what the hell they were.
          16. I love my fed-ex guy cause he's a drug dealer and he don't even know it...and he's always on time.
          17. I find a duck's opinion of me is very much influenced by whether or not I have bread.
          18. I have a vest. If I had my arms cut off, it would be a jacket.
          19. If you have dentures, don't use artificial sweetener, 'cause you'll get a fake cavity.
          20. Is a hippopotamus a hippopotamus or just a really cool opotamous?

          Sunday, October 18, 2009

          Juneau That Ain't Right

          Interesting...Sarah Palin steps down as Alaskan Governor in July. Then, in October, CNN reports that Alaska is catching up to the rest of the country on recession. Wow, did Palin actually have a good economic effect on the state? And without her, Alaska is on an economic downturn? Hmm...naaahhh!

          Thursday, October 15, 2009

          Driving the Point

          I'm a big fan of driving safety. I always buckle my seatbelt, I make sure to turn on my signal before every turn, and I do my best to obey the speed limit.

          Driving laws, for the most part, are logical and instated to protect all of us who are on the road. There is one law, however, whose logic I question...the Cell Phone Driving Law that many states are enforcing. An officer is authorized to pull over and ticket a driver who is using a handheld cell phone while driving...even if that was his or her only offense. Don't get me wrong, obviously this law was put into place to prevent accidents from occurring..which I am all for. Although, when you view this from a somewhat different angle, it may become one of those things that make you go "Hmmmmm".

          Case in point: I don't recall there being a law that prohibits eating a sandwich while driving. Quite a few times in my road travels, I've grabbed myself a burger or a hero sandwich at a rest stop. In effort to keep my travel time short, I've opted to eat while driving. I admit it may not have been the wisest thing to do...eating a sandwich while gripping my drink between my thighs, and still making sure to maintain the appropriate amount of pressure on the gas pedal with my foot. Probably a bit dangerous. I wouldn't be surprised if accidents have happened for this very reason. In fact, in my opinion, this is much more dangerous than driving while holding a cell phone to your ear. However, I don't believe a policeman would pull you over simply for eating a sandwich while driving. I don't know of an existing No Cold Cuts While Driving Law.

          The argument could go on and on with additional examples that support this point. Other scenarios...changing the radio station, smoking, having an argument with a passenger, reading directions...all potentially deadly activities if done while driving. Shaving...I don't recall there being a No Shaving While Driving Law. I do, however, imagine that to be a risky action. What about clipping your toenails while driving? Brushing your teeth while driving? Milking a cow while driving? OK, I'll stop. (I'll stop typing them, but I won't stop thinking of them:))

          Long story short, I simply believe that someone should be pulled over and given a ticket only if he or she breaks any traffic laws and/or drives erratically...not for holding a phone to his or her ear. Agree? What was that?? Did I hear a hmmmm??

          Leno at Ten-O

          Jay Leno at 10pm ET, huh?? Well, I may not be the first to say it, but…..brilliant move, NBC! I'm getting used to this early, late-night talk show thing.
          Finally, we've challenged the standards we've accepted for so long. Does a late-night talk show really have to be that late at night anyway? The definition of late-night is surely subjective. Is it not?
          Those of us who wake up in the wee hours of the morning (thankfully not me, of course. I'm just trying to represent!), may have a different idea of what late-night is. 10pm is certainly "late-night" to much of the working world. Sure, some of us may have those fancy DVR-thingamajiggies, which make airtime irrelevant (Not me . I'm just saying…some people do have 'em.) However, late-night talk shows are best viewed late at night…or at least extra-late evening…in order to achieve it's full entertainment value. Maybe things seem funnier when you're sleepier. And now, 10pm is the new 11:35pm!

          Would I have preferred that it was Letterman or Conan who switched to 10pm instead of Leno? Yeah, probably. However, I can at least get a good dose of comedy and celebs as I'm drifting off to sleep.
          Perhaps we can get SNL to change to Wednesdays at 9pm! That'd be more convenient, no? WNL? Hmmm..while they're at it, maybe they can move some of those morning shows that I always miss when I'm at work to the early evening! "Early Evening with Regis and Kelly!"?? Hmmm…maybe not...but something to think about. Alright,'s dinner time. I'm going to go make myself some bacon and eggs.

          Tuesday, October 13, 2009


          For the past few years, I have been what some might call an active Facebook user. Facebook, however, is not quite as simple as it may seem. It's a way of life. In fact, it's an all-consuming social networking tool that ensures that you are not able to pay attention to truly important areas of your life such as family, friends, work, and finances. Who needs those anyway? Am I right? Am I right?
          Like most longtime users, I have been through most of the typical Facebook phases. Hmmm...actually, I wonder if they really are typical? Well, anyway, just in case it is, let this not only be a recollection of my past couple of years, but let it serve as a warning to the younger generation. Beware, this could happen to you, too! Here is the whirlwind that I went through.

          Facebook User Phases:

          Initial Curiosity Phase: What is this new "social networking" site that's all the rage ? Is it safe to use? What does it even do? Eh, whatever. I'll give it a try…but I'm not going to care about it too much. I'm not really "into" social networking. I actually think it's a bit stupid.
          Apprehensive Setup Phase: Hmm..what photo should I post for my profile pic? Oh wait...maybe it's not cool to even post a profile pic at all. Maybe I should just keep myself mysterious? Eh, what the hell. You only live once. So, do I use a picture that I took with my webcam or would that make me look creepy? If I fill out all of my info and interests will I come across as a loser because I'm spending too much time on this? Is it even safe to add my contact info? Will I be murdered for doing this? Do I even want to be doing this at all? I want my old life back!
          Extreme Fascination Phase: Hot damn..this is AMAZING! I can't believe my camp friends are all on this! It's been like 25 years! Whoa, my ex-girlfriend gained a ton of weight! Ha! I can't believe I am in communication with my Kindergarten friends. I've only dreamed of this! It's like all the past has become the present! I can resume friendship with everyone who ever meant anything to me! I can send messages, write on walls, post photos, and even take quizzes! Best. Site. Ever!
          Daily Status Update and Commenting Phase: Good morning everyone, here's my witty status update. I wonder if everyone knew they were song lyrics. Aren't I funny? This is awesome. What if I just put a period after "is". How awesome would that be?! I got 11 comments today...just on one status update! Best. Day. Ever! I can be in a constant conversation with everyone I know. I don't even need to speak to anyone anymore! Wait…is that good? Oh cool, I can even update my status using my Blackberry! 24/7, Baby!

          Massive Photo Upload Phase: We just came back from our summer vacation. Now, do I post all 63 pics or just a few select ones? Hmm..ok, all 63. Hey, why isn't anyone commenting on them? Maybe I didn't do it right. Did they not see them? Ugh..I bet they don't like them! Damn, I should not have worn that dorky Hawaiian shirt. I look ridiculous. Why would I post that? Can I take these down??? Someone please help me take these down!!
          Realization-of-Excess Phase: Uh...ummm...ok. How did I get 500 friends? Do I even know 500 people? Do 500 people really even know me? Did I really need to tell Hank the mailman that I use Facebook? I couldn't not accept his friend request! He might do something bad to my mail!Oh man, I just spent the past 3 hours looking at pictures from someone's wedding who I don't even know. Why am I such a stalker? Why has my productivity gone down at work so much?
          Ease-off Phase: OK, this is out of control. I need to get my life in order. My family needs me. I need to keep my job. Breathe. Only 1 status update per day....2 at most! Breathe.

          Return-to-Normalcy Phase: OK, phew. See, I don't even update my status every day....and I'm still alive! Wonder what my friends are up to though.

, what's this "Twitter" thing that everyone's talking about these days?

          True Healthcare Reform Might Take a.....Weil?

          Not sure how many of you caught Larry King's interview with Dr. Andrew Weil, renowned pioneer of Integrative Medicine, from last month. If you haven't seen it, it's worth checking out.

          Dr. Weil, in my opinion, is the only one who truly has the right idea about healthcare reform. In his interview with Larry King, his dialogue allows the viewer to step away from the media-favored angles on this topic and to consider a different school-of-thought. While the focus of political discussions has primarily been on reducing costs and expanding coverage, there has been very little discussion on making America a healthier nation, as Weil points out. His take on the current system is that we don't have a "healthcare" system. Instead, we have a "disease management" system. Focusing on prevention would drive down the costs and make us a healthier nation.

          A few of his standout viewpoints are:

          • Banning consumer advertising of pharmaceutical products
          • Educating children on healthier lifestyles
          • Encouraging doctors to sit down with patients to discuss preventive measures and ways to live a healthier lifestyle.
          • Making healthy food more affordable.
          Dr. Weil believes that medicine should be a bit more focused on dietary changes, exercise, mind-body techniques, and herbs. I found it particularly thought-provoking when Weil asserted that when at a doctor visit, a patient would not think it was a "legitimate medical transaction" if he or she didn't receive a prescription. It certainly makes you think, doesn't it? Check it out.

          Monday, October 12, 2009

          Brain of a Fish Video Pick: Hot Video from DCFC

          Here's a video from a band that's been growing on me lately...Death Cab for Cutie. The song is called Grapevine Fires,from their latest release, Narrow Stairs.A creative video by a band whose popularity is rapidly growing...and for a good reason. Check them out! Enjoy!

          Sunday, October 11, 2009

          Yes, he can…and he is...and he will.

          President Barack ObamaSure, one can make the argument that it might have been given to him a tad on the early side, but hey, they're going to give the Nobel Peace Prize to someone! Who deserves it more than President Barack Obama? Even if Obama is not your cup of tea, how about a little pride for the fact that our President has been awarded this prestigious prize?

          President Obama may have a lot more to prove to the American people. He may need some more time to finish what he's begun. However, that's just it…he has indeed begun. He's begun to pry open international doors that have been sealed shut for decades...Cuba, Egypt, and the entire Muslim community, to mention a few. Obama has reached out his hand of peace in effort to show the world that America is ready to start anew….regardless of history. His rare combination of practicality and idealism will hopefully allow America to have the international presence that it is meant to have. So, I ask the naysayers again, who deserves it more than President Barack Obama?

          Sand…a safe haven?

          sandCan sand make the world a safer place? It just may be the case.

          When we're set up for a day at the beach, and we suddenly get the urge to go for a swim in the ocean…or to simply take a stroll, we oddly have no problem parting from our bags, pocketbooks, wallets, keys, chairs, toys…you name it! The thought would never occur to us to worry that someone may steal our belongings. In fact, while we're at it, we may even go back to the beach house for a few hours, take a nap…while our hard-earned precious items remain nestled in the sand, blocks away. Then, we finally make our way back to the beach and magically, everything remains exactly where we left it! In this day and age?? Impossible! We did, however, take that extra precaution of throwing a towel over the extra-important items…because, no thief would EVER know to look under a towel..especially a towel that has strangely taken on the shape of a women's purse.

          Anyway, it's a bit ironic (don't ya think?) Every other day, we're making sure our doors are locked, our keys and wallets are deeply tucked into our pockets, etc….but strangely enough, not at the beach. It's got to be the power of sand!

          I'm thinking about spreading sand across all of the rooms in my house. That way, if a burglar ever enters the house, he'll see the sand and say "Damn! They have sand! I'll have to find another house to steal from!" After all, they know the rules!

          Image supplied by

          Saturday, October 10, 2009

          Hips Don't Lie!

          The Mother HipsAs my friends and family already know, my favorite band is called The Mother Hips. The blurry photo to the left was taken from my phone last April when they played The Mercury Lounge, in NYC. Anyway, they're a band from Chico, California that came onto the scene with a big splash back in 1991 with their debut release, Back to the Grotto. After their sophomore release, Part Timer Goes Full, they were unfortunately dropped from their record label. However, that didn't stop them. With their growing fan base, they continued to release albums on indie labels and by themselves. They were first labeled as a hippy-ish "jam" band in the genre of Phish, for example. However, they went on to prove those labelers wrong. Each of their albums has a distinct sound that borrows from a variety of genres. While "Back to the Grotto" was in fact a "jam" band sound, Later Days sounded like a raw rock band, but with a heavily peppered country sound. With Green Hills of Earth and Kiss the Crystal Flake, the Hips began experimenting with different sounds, in somewhat of a psychedelic fashion..however, laden with perfected harmonies that are very reminiscient of the Beach Boys.

          The Hips are about to release their latest album, Pacific Dust, which, after streaming some samples, sounds as if they've successfully melded all of the sounds from their previous releases and have created a brand new sound. The album is available for pre-order here: You can also stream a few sample tracks from the new album here.
          It officially will be released on 10/27.

          They have only recently, in the past few years, begun to place shows on the East Coast. Their almost cult-ish fanbase is primarily on the West Coast, but has been rapidly expanding. Lucky for us, they will be playing 2 shows at Joe's Pub in NYC on 11/17 and 11/18!

          Now go place your order for Pacific Dust! If you're a true music fan, you won't regret it. These guys will blow your mind.
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