Friday, August 29, 2008

Today I highlight another cool band to emerge from the moss strewn streets of Seattle. Throw Me The Statue (TMTS among avid fans) is the band product of Scott Reitherman. In 2004, he began self-releasng lo-fi indie pop music on his own label, Baskerville Hill. Reitherman as a talented musician utilized synthesized instruments to create his unique sounds. His arsenal of instuments including drum machines and glockenspiels were aided by friends including Casey Foubert of Pedro the Lion. Reitherman included Aaron Goldman, Jarred Grimes, and Charlie Smith in early 2007 to form the band as currently performing. Their debut album, Moonbeams, was released on the Baskerville Hill label. As their popularity increased, signing to a full-time label was necessary. The band chose Secretly Canadian to re-release their first album in 2008. Check out some of their tracks on my playlist below. The band is currently on tour in venues across the United States. Look here for dates near you and other info about the band. Happy listening.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Have you got a minute?

Time is a powerful thing. It has the ability to change. Seeds germinate and grow and their fruits ripen and rot by time. Landscapes convert from desert to paradise to wasteland all under time’s watchful gaze. Powerful men and women are brought to fruition and then reduced to dirt. No force in the universe can overcome it and no one can cheat it. We all live and die by the calendar. It’s what we do between ‘start’ and ‘finish’ that adds meaning. The effects of time can be unexpected. It is difficult to predict length of life or time of death. Yet, time can heal wounds and hearts that words and medicine cannot. But sometimes time doesn’t heal, no, not at all. Horace understood this and added the following phrase to his historic collection of poems Odes ‘…carpe diem quam minimum credula postero’[1], meaning seize the day, trusting as little as possible in the future. Remember yesterday, plan for tomorrow, but LIVE today.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Does your personality grow in a garden?

If you could be any vegetable, which would you chose? This is one of those questions meant as an ice breaker on the first day of school in junior high, or at a trinket sales convention in Vegas. Most people would say something to the effect of “a potato ‘cause I like fries” or something else requiring little thought other than what am I going to eat for lunch today. Truly, I have to admit that when posed with those types of questions my first reaction is that I don’t want to play. Perhaps this is because I am a cynic or just done with the lame get-to-know-you games of yesteryears. But what would I really prefer to be, if I had to, of course. I think that it comes down to the habanero pepper and the lima bean.

The habanero pepper is a beautiful thing to behold. Its smooth orange surface is almost mesmerizing. You see it in the produce section of your favorite grocer and are immediately drawn to it. Only a few vegetables have that type of power to attract attention by simply being. Of course, only those with a resilient palate buy them because they definitely deliver a kick to the taste buds. They are not for those with low tolerance to heat or a predisposition to heartburn. Known as one of the ‘hottest’ peppers, the habanero is part of an elite class of vegetables that not many can reach but all aspire to, almost to the point of taboo. The habanero also resembles a miniature pumpkin. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays (it must come from being a child of the Devil) and most things related to it are first-rate by my tally. So it is therefore a favorite simply by being.

The lima bean is a bit of an enigma. It is not attractive by any means. It actually is one
of the least desirable beans by sight. Its pale green color is reminiscent of putrid milk or the vomit of one who dined on peas and spinach. Its taste is not particularly likeable either. It has a distinct flavor that is not easily forgotten. However, in the hands of a capable cook, it has the power to transform dishes by complimenting spices and flavors that other members of the bean family cannot begin to imagine that they could fulfill. The plant that it grows upon is resilient and resistant to many would be destroyers. Above all, the lima bean is a polarizer. You don’t find many people who are indifferent to them. Most people have a certain opinion of either yes or no as to their like of the neglected vegetable otherwise known as the lima bean.

So, it’s a toss up. I really don’t know. But I do know that I will never walk through the produce department again without thinking ‘Who are all of these vegetables?'

Monday, August 18, 2008

A teenage misnomer, but funny just the same

So, for all my sexually active readers I finally have a post! I told you that it was coming (no pun intended). We've all heard (maybe some even experienced) about the guys who use the line that they are 'going to explode' if they don't Get It On. Personally, I know how they feel but don't know where the 'blue ball' terminology came from, or how it even translates. Well, I now have the answer! I would like to take credit for this discovery, but it was not me. Dr. Jeffrey Kaufman (they're all doctors, didn't you know?), President of the American Association of Clinical Urologists had something to say about this. Take a read.

'Infamously, a man can experience dull pain in the pelvis when a sexual act is cut short prior to climax. The condition known medically as pelvic venous engorgement: “As the male body prepares for orgasm, one of the physiologic parameters is the increase of blood flow in the pelvis. When you’re stimulated to the point that you should be reaching orgasm—and, for whatever reason, you’re prevented from reaching it—there is pelvic engorgement of the blood vessels in the pelvis.”
That fullness in the veins leads to the ache. Contrary to what one may have guessed based on a schoolyard education, the pain doesn’t result from backed-up seminal fluid in the testicles (in fact, the testes are responsible for only about 1 percent of the ejaculate’s makeup). So why would testes in such a state be referred to as “blue” in the vernacular? Maybe they’re just sad.'

For all the dudes out there, Don't Be Sad.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Elixir of Life

You ever wonder what it would taste like if you took a handful of fresh green grass, put it into your mouth, and began to chew? And not quickly like you were trying to just get it down, but slowly, savoring the essence of the grass? Well, I can’t say that I have ever really wondered about that or ever even wanted to try it. But I can imagine it.

You see, I’m a big fan of green tea. It’s great! Green tea originated in China and has become associated with many of the cultures in Asia. Green tea is different from black tea in that it comes solely from the leaves of Camellia sinensis, which have undergone minimal oxidation during processing. In contrast, black tea is stronger in flavor and caffeine due to its higher oxidation level. The oxidation process usually occurs in a temperature and humidity controlled environment. This is actually referred to as ‘fermentation’, although nothing actually ferments. The quality of the final tea product dictates the extent of oxidation that is required. As mentioned above, since green tea does not go through the fermentation process it has a milder flavor and a lower caffeine content (approx. 1/3 that of a similar volume of coffee). Consequently, the flavor is more delicate and usually will not retain its potency beyond one year, whereas black tea will retain its potency for several years.

My apologies, I digress. Anyway, green tea is high in antioxidants (good for you) and is believed to help lower your chances of heart disease and developing certain types of cancer [1]. Did you know that in China and Japan alone over 30 different types of green tea are commercially produced? Amazing! So, you know I like green tea. Well, I must have had a lower tier tea today. The hotel that I’m staying at (name removed to protect the ignorant) had green tea bags available at breakfast. In anticipation, I placed the bag into a cup and submerged it with a steaming mixer. After a few minutes of steeping, I took my first sip. WO! Not a good first impression. I finished the cup just the same. But I believe that I now have a better appreciation for ‘good’ green tea and how it would taste to steep a large handful of grass in a cup of water and drink it for refreshment. I’ll leave the grass to the cows.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

First Class or Media Mail?

From the first time that I heard Ben Gibbard’s vocals on The Postal Service's “Such Great Heights”, I was entranced. However, it was only recently that I was able to put two and two together. Ben Gibbard is also the lead vocal for Death Cab for Cutie. It is no surprise that I also am a Death Cab fan. However, I have to attribute my knowledge of their existence to my wife; she has a brilliant musical mind. At first taste, I was addicted. As with any artist, Postal Service is not without their skeletons.

In 2004, the United States Postal Service sent the band a cease and desist letter, citing its trademark on the phrase "postal service". After negotiations, the USPS relented, allowing the band use of the trademark in exchange for promotional efforts on behalf of the USPS and a performance at its annual National Executive Conference. Additionally, the USPS website sells the band's CDs. In 2007, "Such Great Heights" appeared in the background of the "Whiteboard" advertising campaign for one of the federal establishment's private competitors, the United Parcel Service.

In January 2006, Josh Melnick and Xander Charity, who had produced the "Such Great Heights" music video, created a commercial for Apple Computer (now Apple Inc.) and Intel using similar footage. While strikingly similar to the music video, the commercial did not contain imagery of the band or a recording of its music. On January 19, 2006, Gibbard stated on the band's website, "It has recently come to our attention that Apple Computers' new television commercial for the Intel chip features a shot-for-shot recreation of our video for 'Such Great Heights' made by the same filmmakers responsible for the original. We did not approve this commercialization and are extremely disappointed with both parties that this was executed without our consultation or consent." The band did not take legal action against Apple or the filmmakers.

This band is just another prime example of artistic talent that not only is U.S. originated, but straight from the heart of Seattle.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Blood, Sex, Rock 'n Roll

So a big couple of days! First let me start with my little girl. Yesterday was her first day of kindergarten. Now, let me tell you that she loves school. No, really! This is her third year in some sort of formal schooling. Granted the other two were forms of preschool, but none the less she craves knowledge. She loves to find out how things work and of course why. She also has a passion for wanting to experience different things. I believe this comes from her mom. My wife is an exciting person to be around. She always has a different take on people, events, and life in general. It is one of the things that I love about her, and my little girl too. So, she had a full-day of kindergarten and was totally cool about it! I do have to admit that from what my wife tells me, she was a little stressed out about the whole change in routine. But she took it like a rock star. Cute, organized (again thanks to my wife), and energetic. I'm glad that you loved your first day, sweetie. I hope that you have many more just like it. Daddy.

Now, to the blood. So my sensitive readers may want to look away for a moment. But I guess since you are reading this that won't really help. Oh well. So I am in Los Alamos, NM this week. For those who aren't familiar it is where the first atomic bomb was designed and built. Yeah, it's that cool and scary. The national laboratories are still functioning, but no longer open to the public for tours. Not since 9/11. The elevation here is above 7500 ft! So today, I'm at work and feel a little light-headed after lunch. I head for the washroom. No kidding, as soon as I opened the door I had a gushing bleeding nose! Not just a dribble, drop, or run but all out gushing. Immediately, the sleeve and front of my dress shirt were spotted with the marks of life. It didn't stop either. I went through probably half a roll of toilet paper. You ever had a bleeding wound or nose that didn't seem to stop in a timely manner and you think to yourself 'I'm going to bleed to death'? Well, this wasn't one of those moments. But it did bleed for a while. Once I had it under control, I had to wash my shirt. Fortunately, no one noticed that my shirt was significantly wet when I reentered the room. But would they really notice, even if I wasn't wearing pants? I don't think so. The funny thing about blood, at least mine, is the smell. It almost has an iron smell to it. You know, the smell of like light rust. The same smell you sense if you suck on a penny. Not that I've done that, but that's what I hear. Don't bleed if you don't have to.

Now for the sex. Yes, I know that you have been reading this whole post waiting for this moment. What juicy detail is he going to write about? A recent fling, incident, or mishap? No. Sorry, no sex here. But it worked so nice into the title that I couldn't just leave it out. Don't be disappointed. Maybe next time.