Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Went to the Better Than Ezra show last night with my beautiful wife. It was a blast! Seriously better than I could have expected. The band was electric; they played a great set, sounded amazing live, and entertained us beyond just the music. I have to admit that it was probably one of the most fun concerts that I have ever attended. We definitely will be looking for them the next time they come around.

Their opening band Sherwood was just as good, in a lesser known kind of way. I had never heard of them, but was impressed by their songs, lyrics, and overall performance. I’ve added a couple of their songs that I like below. Take a listen and let me know what you think. I don’t know why these guys aren’t better known.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Fresh Blood

It’s been more than a year since our neighbors left. They went under a cloud of drug suspicion, rattle snake hoarding, mistreating rottweilers, and general lack of concern for their children’s well being. The home was trashed and foreclosed. Two investors and another foreclosure later, we have new neighbors.

It will be good to have someone next door. They seem like nice people from the brief meeting we had. Unfortunately, they’ve already had a mishap. While waiting to close on their house, they began moving stuff in but only into the garage. Someone had access to the realtor’s cipher lock on the door. They got into the garage and took a dish washer, and new washer and dryer. We met them as they came over to ask if we had seen anything that day; not exactly ideal circumstances under which you want to meet someone.

It’s good to see some real estate activity in our area; even if there is another at least two vacant homes on our street. Maybe the economy will pick up quickly and people will once again begin their pilgrimage to the valley of the sun; or not.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Private Male Behavior

Being a guy and using public bathrooms from time to time, I consider myself ‘well-exposed’ in terms of what does and can go on in there. Male behavior in the restroom is interesting to observe. And I’m not talking about actual defecation or urination techniques, but rather everything else.

Granted, the majority of people don’t particularly like public bathrooms and probably try to spend as little time there as possible but they are a necessary evil. We are intelligent human beings and in an attempt to maintain a civilized society they serve an irreplaceable role.

To the actual behaviors: first, there is no talking in the restroom; it’s just an unwritten rule that must be followed. Some men like to camp out in the stalls as if it were their personal happy place. I can understand where this may be one of the few places they can avoid phone calls, emails, and people dropping into their offices. But this is all negated once I begin hearing texting or even talking (yes, it does happen and I can only imagine what the person on the other end of the line must be thinking). There are those who feel that the restroom is a place to forget all socially accepted norms; they spit in the sinks and urinals, fart loudly, and pick and blow their noses in plain sight. Lastly are those who want their presence to be known. They make loud noises (all kinds, use your imagination), place their hands on the wall above the urinal as if to support themselves in the labor that is peeing, slap themselves, grunt self-gratifying bits to themselves (oh yeah!, all right!, and the like), and spend an abnormally long time in front of the mirror so as to create a jam in hand washing traffic.

I’ve always found myself interested in why people do what they do, which is probably why my wife gives me a hard time about stalking our street activities. Perhaps I should have pursued sociology, but for now just doing what I do and paying attention to what goes on around me will have to suffice.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Green Gold Deep In The Ground

I like pickles. I like them sweet, dill, small, large, sliced, and whole (but mostly sweet). I don’t know when my love affair actually began. Pickles were always a thing in my house growing up. This is a little odd as we never had much money and pickles are for the most part a standalone condiment. That aside, there they were in the fridge. I remember sneaking the sweet ones when I thought that no one else was looking. They always seemed a little like dessert, probably due to their high sugar content, kind of like sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving.

Now as an adult, I get to choose if I want pickles, what kind, and of course when. It is fun to see how excited even my kids get when sweet pickles are mentioned. It must just be in their blood. But one thing I never did understand: why are sweet pickles made of smaller cucumbers and dill pickles of the larger ones? I guess it’s just another mystery in the mysterious world of condiments.

Friday, September 11, 2009

New York, New York

On this anniversary of most tragic days, I feel compelled to write something if even only for my personal benefit. I remember as a kid hearing my parents talk about the day that JFK was assassinated. I wondered at the clarity of their memories. They could recall where they were; what they were doing; and my mom even what she was wearing. I thought it cool (if that’s possible) that an event could trigger such strong remembrance in someone.

Horrible things happen every day. People die in horrendous ways and under indescribable circumstances. But somehow there is insulation in not knowing the details of each occurrence. That security blanket of ignorance was ripped from me on the morning of September 11, 2001. I recall driving to work (as I normally did) listening to the morning show on my favorite local radio station. They were talking about a plane crash into a building in New York City. At first, I disregarded their comments as they were prone to creating skits for shock and awe. Then my cell phone rang; it was my wife.

The day was spent watching television. Like a fresh addict, my appetite for more was insatiable; channel to channel looking for another picture, eye witness account, or explanation. Denial swept in. This couldn’t actually be happening; in America! 3,000 people died and another 6,000 were injured. I feel for those who died. My prayers go out to the families who lost loved ones. I can’t begin to imagine what that is like. I guess now it’s my turn to share those memories with my own kids.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Get your plaid and Dr. Martens on!

Why did popular Ska music have to come and leave so fast? It almost seems as if the whole genre experienced a one-hit-wonder like rise to fame. Don’t get me wrong, I know that those bands were out there long before becoming ‘radio worthy’ and continue making music today. But most people don’t get exposed to music that either isn’t on the radio or in iTunes top lists. This style of music is the perfect fusion of reggae beats with rock/punk guitar riffs and vocals.

I still remember hearing songs from the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Aquabats, Stretch, and Reel Big Fish for the first time. The music was just fun. The beats were addictive in a Mocha Frappuccino sort of way; and you have to love a band that can successfully incorporate horns into their compositions. So, if you are looking for a feel good just plain fun pick-me-up, have a listen to a couple of my favorites below.