Thursday, April 26, 2007


i managed to get last saturday's episode of "Save My Bath" in digital form. a few nights ago, i edited it heavily, cutting out almost everything not pertaining to the glass studio i work in, the piece we made for the show or my ground breaking performance. it clocks in at about 4 minutes without all the fluff. i edited this, set up a youtube account and uploaded it myself but since i don't officially own the rights, it may get yanked eventually.

so, here it is..."with a modern twist":

Friday, April 20, 2007


this Saturday (a.k.a. tomorrow, a.k.a. April 21st), i'll be on television. i created a simple stained glass overlay window for the show "Save My Bath" on HGTV - a bathroom remodeling, "reality" program.

this will be my third piece featured on the show. the difference this time around is that for this episode, the host (Krista Watterworth) and homeowner toured our studio for their on-location segment. they sat in the gallery and reviewed designs, chose colors and picked textures. then, they came back into the studio to see the magic happen. the reality of reality t.v. is that they gave me the design about 6 weeks earlier, the designer chose the colors and textures about a month earlier and the piece i was working on while they filmed was a phony. i finished the real one about 2 weeks prior. if they show it, the piece i'm working on is considerably smaller than the one they actually installed (remember this little tidbit to impressed your friends and family with your acute sense of observation). even my fabrication methods and techniques were bogus to make it appear more exciting for the American public, because for me, America comes first. first and foremost, I am a patriot.

anyway, i was asked to stand in the background and "reality act" like i was working. shortly after the lights went on and the cameras started rolling, without warning me in advance, Krista turned and started talking to me. if this makes it to the air, expect a lot of umm's, shaky hands and a general sense of surprised panic on my part. this was actually all part of my acting technique. first and foremost, i am a thespian. my character was heavily inspired by the work of D.J. Qualls and Rob Schneider- both undisputed masters of their art.

i expect an Emmy out of this.

it airs only once on Saturday April 21, at 1:00 PM eastern time on HGTV.

SIDE NOTE: i knew they were coming a couple weeks in advance and allowed a little bit of a beard to grow in. my intention was to shave lightning bolts on each side, from ear to chin. since i thought i'd only be background scenery, i thought it would be funny, because, first and foremost, i am a comedian. when the time came, i lathered up, applied mach 3 to cheek, but balked, fearing a beastly elephant man-esque, razor burned face. this little back story should explain my grizzly appearance as well as why my beard is asymmetric.

SIDE NOTE 2: in the event that all the footage that i appeared in was chopped during editing, its fairly safe to assume that my star power out shined that of the host and upon realizing that she simply couldn't compete with this fresh faced up-and-comer, demanded it's removal.

Sunday, April 15, 2007


i'm a fan of vitamin water. its tasty, refreshing and full of vitamins and minerals, and as we all know, vitamins and minerals are delicious.

today, while running around, i stopped at a convenience store and purchased a flavor i had never seen before. its called XXX. acai, blueberry and pomegranate. the three x's refer to the triple antioxidant power contained within.

this and the general public's recent raving over antioxidants made me think of free radicals since these are what antioxidants are removing from our bodies.

free radical doesn't sound bad to me. freedom is great and radical is, obviously, radical. its so radical, in fact, i named my pet mouse Rad when i was 9 years old. on a similar note, antioxidants are supposed to be good for us, but its anti oxidants. against oxidants. that sounds a lot like oxygen to me and i've been under the impression that oxygen is something sort of important for my much appreciated respiratory system. so oxidants sound good to me, too. why do i want anti-oxidants? and if they changed the name to something more accurate, like anti-radical or anti-free, i'd be even more confused. i'm anti-anti-oxidant. give me a heaping bowl of oxidants and i'll be the most radical dude in the free world.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


***back to back rants. my apologies. i sent someone a message which became a spout off on this topic, leading to my realization that i've got a lot more to say about it. i've been rocking a lot of new music lately and am always checking out the quality flicks that breeze through my local cineplexes. i keep intending to write up some reviews, but either get distracted, or revert to some other topic half way through, deleting what i'd started. consider this a disclaimer.

and now, back to our regularly scheduled programming...

self-checkout lanes have been popping up everywhere over the past few years. maybe this is isolated to my neck of the woods. if that's the case, to explain, its basically a line without a cashier. you scan it yourself. you bag it yourself. you tear your own receipt. simple enough, right? these self-checkouts are featured predominantly in grocery stores. every grocery store i go to has at least four of them. lately, i've been seeing them in retail stores like target and wal-mart. everyone's got self-checkout fever! come bask in the glorious convenience of technology. the idea is to speed up the payment and receiving process. we've all finished our food shopping only to find a mere 2 lanes open, each with a dozen full carts in waiting. with self checkout, four lanes can run with only one supervising employee.

my friend refuses to use them. he feels that these machines are outsourcing jobs from america's able bodied youth. while i agree, i'm not as strict with my principles. plus, in rebuttal, these machines don't build and maintain themselves...and i don't know of anyone who achieved their childhood dreams by climbing the grocery store corporate ladder.

my problem isn't actually the machines, its the people using them. some individuals turn the speed and convenience into stagnation and confusion. as a result, i've developed new stereotypes to increase my chances of avoiding deadlocked checkout traffic.

the vegetable eaters:
broccoli. carrots. belgian endive. none of these come with scan-able bar codes. instead, you have to set it on the scanner to be weighed, then either type in its designated 4 digit number or find it in a huge, slow loading produce picture library. sometimes its not even in the library. they could put the number in, if they knew that were an option, but most don't. the number is usually found on the little stickers on apples, oranges, peppers, etc., but not on loose wet vegetables like spinach, cabbage, herbs, and so on. if you're really observant, steer clear of any line with cabbage buyers.

the elderly:
two reasons, really, and i'm going to use the word "tend" a lot. old people tend to be set in their ways. they tend to continue to operate with there outdated technologies and comfortable familiar ways. in my grandparents minds, why have a DVD player if there's a working VCR? why worry about a CD player if the radio works fine? most old people tend to have no reason for owning a computer, and therefore tend to see no reason to learn how to use one (i spent an hour last week explaining how to use the computer at the library to find a book. in thanks, the old lady gave me a peppermint. score!). when faced with a scanner, a bagging system with a scale and a touch screen, expect bewilderment... and reason two. wheelchairs, walkers and canes should set off the warning lights. its a hands on process, folks, and these accessories can and will become quite inhibitive.

the cash carriers:
we've all been faced with a vending machine or change machine that just wouldn't accept our mangled bills. these same dollar takers are used in most self-checkout lanes. if that's all they have or if they're stubborn enough, you'll likely stand there scoffing as mr. or mrs. moneybags repeated forces their cash in, the machine sucks it up, then spits it out. repeat. repeat. repeat.

the over zealous:
some people can't move fast enough. in most cases that's fantastic, but this isn't one of them. say your buying peanut butter, jelly and a loaf of bread. you scan the 16 oz. jar of peanut butter. beep beep. "place in bagging area" appears on the screen. what they don't tell you is that the bagging area has a scale under it to prevent stealing. you have to wait a couple seconds for the scale to register that you just put something weighing 16 oz. in the bag, compare it to what was scanned and approve it. if you jump the proverbial gun, scanning and bagging the jelly before these few seconds have elapsed, it freezes until the clerk comes to void it. this happens A LOT so its likely that this could take a minute as the clerk is likely helping someone else who did the same thing.

so...the safest bets? 18 - 30 year olds. these people are the most technologically savvy this nation's got. they are the cell phone yakking, video game playing, myspace socializing, text message typing, debit card swiping generation. they all have computers. they also tend to shop light. college kids rarely buy more than 10 items at once. also, the younger they are, the more likely they've recently had a job doing just this.

Sunday, April 8, 2007


i resisted cell phones for a long time. i was one of the last of my friends to get one. i didn't like the idea of being considered "always available". sometimes, i just like to be by myself. also, i had seen how people's manners suffered as a result of the convenience of cellular technology. more than once i've seen two people, sitting in a decent restaurant enjoying a nice meal together, while one of them chats on a phone.

some people are really obnoxious on the phone. they talk extra loud. and there is always someone talking somewhere, on a phone, wherever you go. silence has lost its value, along with the time spent with others.

my compromise to myself was i'd only get a cell phone if it was my only phone. while working in the restaurant industry, i decided it was time. it was hard for me to ever connect with people otherwise, since my hours became opposite to the rest of the world. still, i treated it as i treat any telephone. i take calls, for the most part, in private. unless its an emergency scenario, i don't abandon the company of my friends at a ring.

i think society is distancing itself from itself. with cell phones, and myspace, text messaging and email. we get further and further away from each other. hiding in bubbles and space between.

i'm getting away from the point i wanted to address. how did the walkie talkie phone feature become so popular? is it that people were paranoid that the general public didn't believe they were actually talking to another person? its bad enough that i always half to overhear half conversations every place i go. now i get to hear the other side, connected with obnoxious beeps, fuzz, static and squawk. with these walkie talkie things, people speak up into the phone that's now away from the mouth, oblivious to anyone other than themselves.

now, honestly, i love having a cell phone. its nice to call someone up when your not at home, get help when you're lost, be reached when your away. its a wonderful convenient technology. but maybe this convenient technology (isn't all technology these days about convenience?) is making us all walk through life in isolation. blocking the sounds of the world out with ipods. disregarding genuine connection for banal chit chat.

simply speaking, don't forget the rest of the world.

Sunday, April 1, 2007


anyone who knows me, follows my adventures in blogging or has had any conversation about music with me in the past few months knows how much i've gotten into Menomena recently. i only first heard them about 6 months ago, at the suggestion of my friend Rob. at that point, they'd only put out one album proper, but it was enough for me to eagerly await their second, Friend & Foe, which was released this past january. i posted a review of said album here.

Rob and i snagged tickets for their friday performance at Johnny Brenda's in Fishtown - Philadelphia's new bohemia. fortunately, my boy acted early enough as the show sold out at least a week prior. we got there circa an hour early and ordered a few beers. i'm a fan a Johnny Brenda's. the crowds are always mellow as hipsters always say excuse me when they bump into you. additionally, they seem to repeatedly secure the performances of many quality indie bands who come through town as well as some of Philadelphia's finest local talent. the venue is quite intimate. if you can see the stage, even from the balcony, you can't be more than 20 feet from it.

the opening band was Montreal's Land Of Talk (Field Music was also scheduled but apparently dropped out of the tour). i've only heard of them from a few places, but always in a favorable light. i wasn't disappointed. they were a three piece, drum set front and center with the bassist on one flank and the female lead singer/guitarist on the other. she sang in a sweet tone (though a little mumbled), even when she got more aggressive. accompanying and complimenting were some heavier and nicely executed beats and a series of driving bass lines. she had a nice voice, balancing between PJ Harvey angst and Chan Marshall sweetness. good energy with some rawness on the guitar. it was fun. i would've picked up their EP, Applause Cheer Boo Hiss, if i'd had more cash on me. they said they're in the mixing process of their first album so maybe i'll get a hold of that when the time comes around.

in the 20 or 30 minutes that followed their departure, we weaseled our way closer to the stage. we managed to get about 2 people deep from the front and staked our claim. from there on out, we took turns with runs for drinks.

after setting the stage, Menomena erupted through the room with "The Pelican". with all the mania of Animal, drummer Danny Seim pounded his drum kit mercilessly with his giant arms (after the show, i realized he literally towered over me and my 6'3" frame). he truly was relentless. even more impressive was that i had assumed that some of the complex drumming was produced electronically. Seim proved me so very wrong. its hard not to swagger a little with drumming that intense. apparently, impossible for me. for the most part, other than vocal harmonizing and a couple songs as lead vocalist, his role was that of the drummer and i've seen few fill the shoes better. Justin Harris and Brent Knopf, on the other hand, wore many hats. they all took turns singing. Knopf spent his time behind a keyboard, a laptop, a glockenspiel and a pair of microphones, all while strapped to a guitar. Harris began almost every jam with a different instrument in ready, be it bass, guitar, alto saxophone or tenor sax. in nearly every song, Harris and Knopf switched between what they had available to them. honestly, i didn't think a trio could pull off the density of the tunes found on their albums live, at least not without the aid of any recorded loops or studio trickery. once again, i was proved so very wrong. i've seen few bands that were as unified in their collaboration. while one dropped his guitar for a saxophone, the other would take over without pause of lull. during "Weird", Harris alternated between the mic and the sax while stomping a deep bass mantra on some sort of keyboard at his feet, Knopf repeatedly jumped back and forth between the keyboard and fretboard while belting out harmony, before concluding it all with the xylophone twinkling on the glockenspiel. and all the while, Seim, in perfect head bobbing form, murdered the drum kit. it truly was astounding. they ended their set with "Rotten Hell". the studio version showcases the assistance of a choir. as no choir was in tow friday night, they brought the singer and bassist from Land Of Talk back on stage. they shared the amplified bell of the alto sax. after the melodic chaos of the crescendo, they stepped off stage and through the back door .

a couple minutes later, Menomena returned and performed a single encore (something i've never seen any band do at Johnny Brenda's). they chose "Monkey's Back", Knopf's loudest and most emotionally fervent vocal contribution to their first album, I Am The Fun Blame Monster. the song starts off distant and haunting, only to built into a wall of sound capable of crushing any man, even one the size of Danny Seim.