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The Cody Blog: October 2005

Friday, October 28, 2005

New Music Friday (October 28, 2005)

Today's featured band is Black Mountain. It's 1970s classic rock for the 21st century.

Best songs on the album are in the first half, including "Modern Music", the Deep Purple-esque "Druganaut", and my favorite "Don't Run Our Hearts Around". The last half sounds sorta' lazy, as if they neeeded to get the album filled up.

Regardless, you can hear the potential and soul in the band. Great jams.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Who Won the GE Capital Fall Classic?

Check this out:

Who Won the GE Capital Fall Classic?

With the White Sox winning their first World Series championship since 1917, we had six participants who picked each series correctly. Our first and second place winners tied for the closest guess to the total number of runs scored in the series (they guessed 29, the actual total was 34). Our champion came closer to guessing the World Series batting average of Series MVP Jermaine Dye.

Our winner is Cody Willard, a hedge fund manager and blogger from NY, who is also a commentator for RealMoney.com, TheStreet.com and CNBC. Robertbel was a close second, with RayRay3000 third, followed by jimmy, jryan and bruninoch. All six had 100% of their picks correct. Each of our 25 winners will be contacted later today by email.To find where you placed in the standings, you need not log on. Simply go to 'reports' on the contest home page and check alphabetical standings. Congratulations to the White Sox and to all our winners.

Next ChallengeOur next InterNotes contest will be the Protective Life College Bowl Challenge to be announced in mid-December. Weekly InterNotes Update subscribers will be notified when the contest is live.GE Capital and InterNotes.com thank you for your participation in this year's Fall Classic. Standings

Our Winner's BlogOur first place winner, Cody Willard, is a hedge fund manager, blogger, and commentator on several sites. Cody finished first out of 2028 players, so his stock picks might be worth following. Here's the link to his site: Cody

Pretty funny, in that I haven't watched a game of baseball (other than at the stadium) in like, oh say, 20 years. LOL

Better to be lucky....

Meirs Out, Net In

Got this email from a friend this morning. He's being funny, but I do think it was partly the outrage and disbelief of the public (politician credit grabbing notwithstanding), as voiced in the blogosphere, that was a the single most important factor in getting this crony to give up.

08:55 Miers withdraws Supreme Court nomination - WSJ Online - Cites withering criticism in The Cody Blog

Let's hope they find someone qualified, friend of the powers-that-be or not.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Backstage Flu, or, Better than Avian

I rarely get sick, but about three years ago, I realized this is how it always works for me and sickness. I'll feel achey and walk around with a cough or a headache for a couple days. I'll drink lots of water. I'll think that I must be sore from working out. And then if I'd had more than a couple drinks at some point recently, I'll wonder if I'm hungover or something. And then finally, I'll come to the shocking realization that I'm just "sick".

So I've had a slight headache and felt achey since Sunday morning. I'd played hard tennis on Saturday (did I mention I took up tennis this summer and have been playing like a madman?) and some friends and I had taken a friend out for his birthday and I'd had a couple beers with dinner and then a one or two afterward on Saturday night. And so I've been ignoring these aches and pains. Got up this morning at 3:30 am and worked til 6:30, then played a tennis match and then came back to work. And have been feeling horrible.

And I just realized 10 minutes ago --- I'm sick!

Here's my theory on how it happened. Friday night I'd gone to Tracy Chapman's fantastic concert at the Hammerstein with her manager and agent. We'd gone backstage to hang out for a while, and she'd hesitated to shake our hands (and give her peeps hugs) cuz she said she was sick. So we didn't touch, you know?

But then she graciously told the Hammerstein people that anybody was welcome to come back and chat with her and like 15 people came up there and all started shaking her hand, and then our hands.

And I think that's my story of how Tracy Chapman inadvertantly got me sick.

So today's Random Tuesday Review is simply of Evian water. I'd ordered a couple cases of 1L bottles from Fresh Direct. I like that size, cuz it forces me to drink lots of water as I don't like to not finish the bottle when I open it. And Evian's good even though it's Naive spelled backwards. Not as good as, say, Fiji water, but I'm not that picky. Better than Poland Spring, though I usually just buy that brand. Evian 1L bottles get a Cody Rating of 7.

And with that, I'm gonna go drink more fluids and stare at my quote screen again.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Benanke vs. Meirs, or, Surely There's A Strategy to The Stupid Meirs Nomination

You just have to wonder -- what exactly were Bush and his advisors thinking when they chose to appoint his mind-blowingly underqualified and obviously over-cronyized friend Meirs to the Supreme Court? I mean, they were already down to their last political capital points (it was my roommate and teammate Marlow White who coined the phrase "cool points" when I once tripped on the side walk and fell, tearing my jeans --- "Cody, you just lost all your cool points." Ah, digression). And they spent them and went in debt for this stupid appointment. I'm not going very far out on a limb in saying that there's no way in hell this Meirs person gets approved. And rightly so. What a joke.

Meanwhile, Bernanke will work. You do realize that there are people out there similarly qualified for the Supreme Court the way he is for the Fed.

You guys know I have zero tolerance for the entrenched socialist parties we call the Democrats and Republicans --- but I do sometimes respect the politically motivated strategies of those sold out parties for accomplishing what the evildoers who run them set out to do. I can't for the life of me figure out what Bush and his other cronies were trying to accomplish with this Meirs debacle. Surely they knew what a poor choice she was and how it would be perceived. Any theories on why they chose to nominate her? And don't tell me that they actually thought she was the right person for the job. She's not.

Friday, October 21, 2005

New Music Friday (October 21, 2005)

I had a different band in mind for this week's New Music Friday, but a friend of mine from Rolling Stone ping'd me yesterday with tickets for Death Cab for Cutie, and the concert was pretty darn good. I've known this band cursorily for years, so I don't think they really qualify as "new", but all well.

The only problem with DCC is that most of their songs feel like they never go to the "chorus". I mean, I like the hooks and the riffs and the melodies in the songs, but they just never really completely satisfy me. There's not enough (or any at all) long held notes to set off the chorus in almost all of the songs I've ever heard by them.

Regardless, I do like their music, and I really liked the band live and the lead singer's talking be
between songs was sweet and sounded sincere, so that was cool too.

My favorite song is this first one off their new album, Plans. The song is called Marching Band of Manhattan. The biggest song off the album is Soul Meets Body, and it's a good one too. Finally, don't miss The Sound of the Setting from an album in 2003.

PS. I'll post another "real" Cody Jam soon.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Back to School, or, Weiners in My Ramen and Plasma in My TV

Last night I was a guest at a financial class of my friend, Scott Rothbort, who's a professor (and a Wall Street man too) at Seton Hall. I have to say that it was a great experience for one reason in particular -- perspective.

I'd flown to NYC the day I finished my last class at UNM. And I'm not sure I've been on a college campus since (not for sport events either, in case you were wondering -- I don't watch college sports because I have fundamental objections to the exploitation of athletes and waste/use of tax dollars that the NCAA perpetuates).

So last night I drove out to South Orange, NJ. And as I drove onto the campus, I was transported back to my days in college. There was a kid on a bike riding along the sidewalk as I pulled into the security gate. Bikes were always my primary mode of transportation when I was in college (heck, I still ride around in NYC all the time today, including on Monday when I was working from home and I rode down to Wall Street for a meeting with TheStreet.com, then to midtown for a meeting with my accountant... but I digress). So I immediately recalled that feeling of riding around the campus.

And then the whole atmosphere and aura of the campus was anachronistic. I think I've enjoyed most chapters of my life -- even those that were unpleasant I wouldn't want to change. College is no different. I was a hoopster on the team at both Blinn College and as a walk on at UNM, and I had a lot of fun playing hoops, meeting women, riding my bike around, hanging out, playing guitar, listening to music, writing, traveling with the team, raising hell around my coaches -- I mean, college certainly wasn't without heartache (had tumultuous relationships... imagine that!) and heartbreak (never did break out to become the big time hoopster I always wanted to be, perhaps because of one too many shattered ankles), and catharsis (such as embracing a moral code far different than what I'd been raised to believe in), but I pushed it and had a darn great experience.

Spending time on the Seton Hall campus took me back to that time and place. In the classroom, the time transport was furthered. Somehow as one of the kids (kids?! What am I, old, now?!), asked me some questions about using book value as a metric in valuing stocks (I think book value only matters in extreme cases), I was reminded of eating Ramen for dinner and being happy that I had some weiners to cut up into it. Why that memory popped up right then, I'm not sure. But then we immediately got into a discussion about Sony, and I brought up flat panel TVs. And that led to Scott mentioning Panasonic, and I thought to myself -- wow, here I am remembering cutting up carrorts and hot dogs into my 20 cent soup while I'm talkin about how I just bought a 42" Panasonic plasma television. What a strange segue, and one with so much contrast (hey, remember the "contrast" dial on the old TV sets?).

Anyway, it was pretty intense to be in an environment that I've been away from for so long. I've been back home to Ruidoso, New Mexico several times since I left so I'm not sure I get the same shock of change that I got last night. This going back to a college thing really tripped me out.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Random Review Tuesday (October 18, 2005)

New feature for the site -- every Tuesday I'll review a random product, service, restaurant or what not that I'm using. Today's review: The Bose QuietComfort 2 Noise Cancelling Headphones.

Back in June, I started recording music again after a several year long hiatus. I needed a good set of headphones and the woman I was dating at the time had commented that she was going to buy herself the Bose QC2s for when she traveled. So on a Saturday afternoon from the beach (ah, the wonders of technology), after coming across their ad in the NYTimes Magazine, I called Bose and ordered a pair for me and for her.

She got hers first as I had Bose overnight them to her since she was about to come to NYC from her home in LA on Tuesday. Her review was pretty straightforward: "They're great!"

I've been using the headphones when I record and mix my music, and with my iPod when I travel and sometimes when I walk around the city.

The quality of the sound out of the QC2s is phenomonal. I can hear all kinds of intracies in my music as I layer multiple tracks on top of themselves. In fact, the quality of the sound is so high that I can hear the difference in the high quality, high capacity AAIF tracks that my music program originally creates versus the lower quality, compressed MP3 tracks that I convert the tracks into for ease of use.

They're also comfortable enough that I can wear them for hours on end as I re-re-re-record and re-re-re-remix my music.

I also like the way that the cord is detachable. I often catch the cord on my equipment or on the armrest on the plane and it simply pulls right out without doing any damage.

One problem I do have with the headset is that, because they're "active" in that they are battery operated, I sometimes hear a buzz in them when I sit near a bunch of electrical equipment. Though it's rather minor, that's irritating.

Also, the noise cancellation feature itself is not that great. I used to have some Sony Noise Cancellation headphones that were better at cancelling out the white noise of planes and the noise of traffic, etc. They do a great job of cancelling out the sounds when you're listening to music, but when watching a plane movie, you can hear the hum of the engine and people talking and coughing around you.

The only other problem is the size of the headset. It's just big by design and it's not easy to walk around the city with them on.

Overall though, I think my ex's sentiment sums it up rather nicely: "They're great!". I give them a Cody Rating of 6 out of 10.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Feelings, Analysis, and Facts

Now they come, and they want answers,
I find I forgot that I had some questions -- The Cody Show

As much as I write, and with as many unconventional views and about as many topics as I cover between this blog, RealMoney.com, VON Magazine and the other outlets -- I expose a whole lot of my innermost thoughts, feelings, and analysis from all kinds of fronts.

Depending on the topic, I might have extremely strong opinions -- heck, sometimes I'll consider my unconventional take on something as "fact", such as that socialism is, by its nature, based on violence.

Other times especially on this blog, I'm just thinking or feeling outloud. When I write that I feel like I needed to bleed to rebuild my assets to be able to even try to be in a healthy relationship, I'm just feeling outloud. And when I write about striving/wondering for warriorship, I'm thinking outloud, questioning how I'd fit in during another time in another place. I simply wonder how my character and my essence would carry at other points of time on this planet and so I wrote about it.

I bring all this up, because I get really upset by some of the feedback I get sometimes from my posts. Starting just about at the time that a reader posted in the comments section that "you deserved to have your throat cut", I think I started getting more sensitive about the negative feedback.

Nobody forces me to write about what this one particular guy, who has come to live in NYC by himself from a tiny town in NM, is feeling and viewing his personal life. Sometimes I think I maybe should just stick to the politics and social commentary on the blog.

But I used to find expressing my feelings on here to be therapeutic. Similarly, lately, I've noticed that I haven't been making many jokes in my commentary on here (or on RealMoney lately either for that matter). And I consciously have been writing a lot about my emotions on here lately, almost as a matter of overcompensating for wanting to stop writing about my emotions.

It's impossible for my mood not to come out in my writings. At one point this summer, I had some flashbacks to some things I'd been pretending that I hadn't seen on 9/11. For a while every time I tried to sleep, my mind would be barraged by memories of seeing civilians coming to horrific ends. I spent a lot of energy this summer dealing with these issues. My writing has been obviously colored by some of those emotions. But writing about some of the feelings ancillary to the emotions that the flashbacks brought out was, for a time, helpful to my psyche.

But lately, I'm just sick of being bashed for my feelings. I like arguing about stocks, markets, politics, and what not -- and I welcome the discussions that my often upopular stance on those topics brings out. But when I open up and wonder about whether my actions on 9/11 were warrior-like or not, and I get attacked for that writing -- well, it's just demoralizing and depressing.

And for the record, I'm just thinking and feeling outloud here about thinking and feeling outloud here.

Friday, October 14, 2005

New Music Friday (October 14, 2005)

I'm going to start highlighting a new band that I'm jamming to each Friday. Check out this band called Kasabian. Out of the UK, they're starting to catch some momentum. I love the distorted bassline that opens up "Club Foot". And the rhythmic chanting rap of "L.S.F." just draws the listener in.

Rock and roll, baby.

And here's yet another song from my "band", The Cody Show. The art for this one is in the post from last week.

Click here to download "Trouble's My Friend".

Trouble's My Friend (The Cody Show)
Lyrics --
All I ever wanted
was my freedom.
Time and trouble have always been my friend.
Trouble’s my friend.
It’s been this way for years, as I ride this trail of tears.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Hangin' With KISS

People keep asking me if that's "really" Gene Simmons with me in that pic to the right. Indeed it is. I'm good buds with their agent. My man, Mitch, rocks and he's hooked me up with some great tickets, but nothing will ever quite touch the experience of hangin' with KISS.

Back when my best friend from childhood, Neil Patrick Harris, and I were kids, we used to fantasize with our older brothers about being KISS. Matter of fact, I was Gene Simmons for Halloween more than once. And the reason I play a Les Paul? Ace Frehley. My brother and I were obsessed with KISS for a few years, much to my parents' chagrin. I even remember discussing my favorite KISS song at the time ("You got nothin' to lose") with Misty Coors. Truth be told, I sorta' diefied the band.

Anyway, a year or so ago, I showed up at MSG with my best friend from high school, Robert Sayner, and another good friend of mine, and we picked up these tickets that Mitch has set up for us. We had seats A1-A3 --- the very front row for KISS!

I mean, when Gene blew his fire, we could feel it. When the explosions rocked the building on "Rock n Roll All Night", we almost got singed. I mean, it was so close and so cool. Peter Cris even gave the other friend who was with us a rose as he sang "Beth", practically to her. My ears rang for days afterward (probably cuz I took out the earplugs for "God of Thunder!").

Afterward we got to go backstage and hang in the dressing room. It was pretty fun, as it was just the five or six of us and we drank a beer and chatted with Gene and Paul. At one point, some editors from Rolling Stone came in. Apparently, RS had given KISS' latest concert a bad review because it was too similar to past shows. Paul was pissed and told them, "We're out there entertaining people and doing a great job, selling out arenas. People love our show. You know, criticizing our concert is like criticizing Christmas. It's pretty similar every year. What, you guys don't like Christmas!"

What a great line! I like Christmas. And I do like KISS' concerts too!

Here's another pic --- Gene's copping a feel in this one. As Mitch once said to me: "Everyone needs on their desk a picture of themselves with grown men with make up. Helps when you're meeting with new clients. "

Editing Out My Missing Misty Coors

Sigh. The best thing about blogging is that there's no filter between what I write and what you read. I just wrote this for another outlet and they pulled the funny part:

The Nasdaq is down nearly 7% since I wrote that. 7% in a month is what I’d call a crush (though not as big a crush as the one I had on Misty Coors when I was six. And yes, that was her real name!).

Misty was such a cutie. She'd run around in a dress and cowboy boots. My neighbor, Craig Sears, who is one year my senior, told me that cowboy boots and dresses didn't go together. I didn't care. Still like that look, as a matter of fact.

She moved to another town when I was eight and I never saw her again. Wonder whatever happened to Misty Coors. Somehow I don't think googling that name will help me track her down.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Fonzie and the Jumping of the Sharks

This one's old, but it's hilarious, and if you haven't ever looked at it, check it out.


It's named after the Happy Days episode where Fonzi jumps over some sharks. (Why does it seem like I remember seeing that one and thinking how cool it was?)

Monday, October 10, 2005

The Fletrosexual -- Taking Metrosexuality to the Next Level

Was talking with some people here visiting from Austin, Texas over the weekend. My buddy was making fun of a friend of his who apparently takes his metrosexuality very seriously with mani- and pedi- (almost typed medi- and pani-, which would have very different meanings) cures on a weekly basis and so on and so forth.

Anyway, my buddy says, "This guy ain't just a metrosexual. No, he's a flaming metrosexual -- he's a fletrosexual!"

Not that there's anything wrong with being a fletrosexual, of course, as Seinfeld would say.

But I think that's a darn funny phrase -- and one that should become a standard. Probably has the potential for more legs and mainstream acceptance than the one I created on the hoops court last spring before I retired from basketball entirely.

Friday, October 07, 2005

New Music Friday (October 6, 2005)

Another Cody Jam from my "band", The Cody Show. Click here to download the song.

(Not Gonna) Hurt You -- The Cody Show
Hey now.
Hurt you.
Gonna hurt you.

Not gonna hurt you.
Not gonna hurt you.

They all say, “Not gonna hurt you.”

Hey now, don’t be afraid now.
They all say, “Not gonna hurt you.”

Hey now, be afraid now.
Because they all say, "Not gonna hurt you."
They're gonna' hurt you.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Done with Sheryl Crow

I think it started when I saw Sheryl Crow at some charity concert event at Carnegie Hall back in 2000 or so. That was the beginning of the end. She got up there and said a bunch of stuff about women empowerment and staying true to oneself and having self-respect and not giving in to pig men and stuff like that. I'm down with all that stuff, sure. Patti Smith even got up there and sang about "Power to the people." Carnegie was rockin'.

And then all of a sudden, Sheryl was sleeping with Kid Rock. Now, I'm certainly down with the Kid -- he's a true rock star. I mean, he loves himself some girls -- lots of girls! -- and he parties and he's true to rock stardom. And I'm cool with most anybody who seems "true" to their moral code (given that their moral code follows some basic premises such as not being violent and what not...yea, yeah).

And while I guess it's none of my business who she sleeps with, it just confuses me that she is the one who chose to throw here morals out there for me to ponder and now I am pondering them. I guess I never understood why Sheryl was sleeping with this guy who so blatantly is all about partying and womanizing and everything. Again, I don't think I'd have a problem with it if Sheryl hadn't been so didactic about women empowerment and all that at Carnegie, but as it is, it all seemed rather hypocritcal. Sleep with whomever you want and all that, but don't go around preaching stuff you don't live. I guess that was strike one.

I love covers of great songs by great artists, so I was excited to download Sheryl's cover of GnR's "Sweet Child o' Mine" when I found it on iTunes last year. But, man did she destroy that song. The part of the tune that made Guns and Roses' version so greatwas the lead guitar riff from Slash. Sheryl and Rick Rubin just put on the chords and the melody without it. And it sucks.

Strike two.

And now, alas, the Dell commercial and her new video. Have you seen these two abominations? Her video is almost weirdly cheesy -- almost as if she meant for it be, but it's not satirical enough to know for sure -- especially the part when she's sitting on the cloud or something. I really do sorta' cringe in embarrassment for her on that part. And then the Dell commercial where she walks around in front of some piece of junk PC she's hawking. It's not exactly a smart move for her branding-wise. I'm being nice and throwing those two together as one pitch and calling strike three.

Finally, I know we're all supposed to always enshine Mr. Lance Armstrong. And, sure, I admire the guy tremendously. But enough already. Maybe it's that I find the Kid Rock to Lance Armstrong thing just too polarizing to get over. Whatever. Lance drops a few notches in my book for this pending marriage to this waffling sell out who once was an incredibly admirable, perservering artist.

I'm done with Sheryl.

Tune in tomorrow, I'll post another one of my own songs and am re-introducing The Cody News with a barrage of hard news hits.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Interviewing Yourself, or Dreaming of Interviewing Others

I got home last night at midnight, after having played tennis at 6:30am, worked 11 hours, met with a friend from Rolling Stone mag for beers, and then had dinner with some marketing execs and some finance people. I was beat and I crashed into bed and went blacked out for several hours. I woke up this morning at 4:30am, dreaming of sitting in a crowded swimming pool where I was interviewing a bunch of random people.

My first boss on Wall Street was a 73 year old Hungarian. When he came in to interview me he sat down and looked at me and said, "Okay, Co-dee. I hov on-lee two questions. Ze first vwon ees very simple: Vwot are your zree best qualities?"

I answered: "I'm smart. I work hard. I strive to be objective."

He says, "Okay. Fine. Zis question ees much more dee-ficult to answer: Vwot are your zree worst qualities?"

To this day I think about that question in my life. If I work to address what I think are my three worst qualities, I'll constantly improve myself.

My answer at the time was: "I have a temper. No matter how hard I try I still care what other people think of me. I'm terribly homesick and I'm scared that I won't make it in NYC."

As readers already know, he hired me on the spot. Eventually, I came to really understand why he only had to ask me two questions. 15 months after he'd hired me, I was his first ever partner, and I'd conduct those interviews for him. Maybe only 1 in 10 people can answer that second question with three real negatives. Most people love to do this whole, ,"Well, I work so hard and focus on things so much that I sometimes miss the big picture." The point of the question is certainly not to see if a person can make a positive a negative. The point is to see if the person can be self-analytical and reflective.

As yet a another aside (I do overuse the "asides", but all well -- It's my blog.), I think the reason I often dream about interviews is because on September 11, 2001, after making it up to a friend's apartment on the Upper West side and realizing that the US wasn't at war (yet), I'd gone to the Red Cross to donate blood.

They were turning people away at that point because there were so many of us there. But as we walked off, I heard someone asking people if they had any experience interviewing candidates for whatever job. I told them I did, and so they took me into a giant room.

I was handed a stack of about 50 applications from people who were volunteering to be counselors. I spent a half hour or so reading through the applications when, for the fourth time, a certified Red Cross counselor came by and stressed how important it was for me to do a good job screening because "anybody down there near ground zero is really going to need help".

It finally dawned on me --- holy shit, I'm one of those people.

I told the dude that, and he was like, "Go to a friend's house. Get out of the city. Go rest and take care of yourself." So I did.

But I know to this day that I've got some craziness in my head around that day and all that I did and saw. And so I dream about 9/11 stuff probably too much. This dream from last night about interviewing people in a swimming pool -- I'll take it, as it's a hell of a lot better than some of the bad ones that creep in some nights.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The Cody Show: TradeMark Me Album Art

So as you might have noticed from the most recent "Real Cody Jam" post, I've taken to doing some album art for the music and lyrics. I'm calling the album "TradeMark Me":

These songs have been published on this blog before, but here's the artwork for each of them:

Drink the Water (click here to download this song if you haven't already).
Lonely's So Lovely (click
here to download this song if you haven't already).

So They Come After Me (click here to download this song if you haven't already).

Up and Up (click here to download this song if you haven't already).
Out of Nothing (click
here to download this song if you haven't already).

Monday, October 03, 2005

Learning to Appreciate and Learning to Loathe Various Arts

Some arts require education to be fully appreciated. Some arts are better appreciated with ignorance.

I've written how I've come to love playing and writing music in the last decade. It's made me listen to music better and I appreciate music more today than I did 15 years ago. All the nuances and beats and layers and what not --- I love it when I'll be, say walking down the street, and I'll stop in my tracks having noticed something for the first time about a song that I've heard 300 times in my life.

Had that experience yesterday with "If You Could Read my Mind" by Gordon Lightfoot. That song has long been one of my favorites, despite how it always takes me back to cleaning cages at my dad's vet clinic back when I was a little kid. Yesterday it came up on the shuffle of my iPod photo (I'd let my Nano's batteries run down over the weekend) as I walked through the park on my way next to my apartment. I had my Bose noise reduction headphones on and I noticed that there are like four or five accoustic guitars layered on top of each other (either that or that is some unbelievable guitaring going on in there).

Anyway, I only started noticing that stuff after I'd started playing, writing and recording music. Many things in life require work and education to really appreciate them fully.

Movies, TV shows and plays are not in that category.

I dated an actress for a few months late last year. The experience was mostly a positive one, as she was sweet and beautiful and so on. (She plays the stripper in The Big Bad Swim and is the Chase girl in this series of commercials.)

She'd recently graduated from Julliard and her agent was constantly sending her out to all these endless auditions. So in our time of hanging out she'd ask me to read scripts with her. To be sure, I very much enjoyed reading those scripts. I took a lot of them and would read through the whole thing to get a feel for what scripts look like.

And, to be frank, I really enjoyed acting like an actor when I'd read the other side of her dialogues. I have only a small arsenal of accents, none of which I do well. I can do some Eastern Indian, American Indian, and basketball ghetto and southern/Texan --- learned the first one after watching "Short Circuit" as a kid, the second one from having so many Apache friends and the third from spending those countless hours on the hoops court all over the southwest and midwest and the final one from having so many friends from Texas. So I wouldn't pretend to try to do accents in our read throughs. But I would do my best job of pretending to act.

Anyway, a couple days after reading a script for "Law & Order" and some mindless CBS sitcom before she went on an audition for them, I happened to catch an episode of L&O and also an epidsode of the sitcom (I have no idea what it was called or even if it's still on the air). I'd seen my first episode of L&O a couple years ago and found that I enjoyed the show. It's mindless enough that you don't have to think, but it's not so stupidly formulaic like most of Hollywood's products are that you end up angry and insulted by the end of it.

So after having read through an L&O script I found my mind seeing the script and not the show. I'd see the instructions for the actor and the dialogue in quotes in my head. And I'd think --- If I were playing that criminal, I'd have done that differently! And oh man, to this day, when I watch shows, commercials, just about anything, I end up seeing the damn scripts in my head. And I don't like it.

Finally, I've been getting to be good friends with a director guy who does commercials and videos and stuff. He told me about how some of his musician friends have shot their own videos. And, as a lot of readers have emailed me asking about music videos and I'm always interested in learning -- I bought myself this tiny little camcorder last week.

I've been shooting footage and even spent a couple sleepless nights this weekend editing a first video (it's BAD -- and I mean, so bad it's funny, but not in a good way -- funny, clown funny, if you will with a nod to Pesci). And now when I watch videos and when I'm looking around at the world, my mind is trying to get its arms (which begs the question: does my head have its own arms?) around how that reality would be conveyed on film. So will this new experience ruin the watching of film for me even worse?