Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday Five: 80s Songs I Will Always Listen To

My boyfriend and I play a game: I either send him a photo of the display on my satellite radio or he texts me lyrics from the cheesiest 80s songs that come up in the rotation. But some of them are more than just photo- or quote-worthy. Some have to be sung, at the top of my lungs, all the way through.

There is shame here, I just want you to know. (Please note: I have left out 80s metal/hair bands here. That will someday need a post of its own.)

1. Africa by Toto: Hurry boy, she's waiting there for youuuuuuu.... I LOVE this song. The only part of the song that bugs me is when he shoe-horns Serengeti into the lyric. Other than that, I'm agreeing, "Yes! Hurry off that plane! GO!" And I want someone to profess that it's "gonna take a lot to drag me away from you." I mean, seriously. A lot is like... a lot.

2. Electric Avenue by Eddie Grant: Find me ONE person who doesn't immediate start to bop their shoulders and snap along with this song. We all immediately become Caribbean when we hear it. An den we take it highah... 
[SIDEBAR: Skindred, a ragga metal band as they dub themselves (combo of rock, reggae, and metal) does an awesome cover of this song. Get thee to YouTube.]

3. Safety Dance by Men Without Hats: Aside from the absolute hilarity of this video, this song is an earworm. It will get stuck in your head until Eddie Grant comes along and kicks that midget's little dancing ass out. This song also holds a special place in my heart. I think of my brother Tommy every time I hear it because he was in a harcore band and they were going to cover this song. I still wish they had. It would've been awesome.

4. Total Eclipse of the Heart by Bonnie Tyler: Once again, if you can keep the video out of your head, this song is just... come on. The pain, the urgency... the giant hair... When she rasps out "I REALLY NEED YOU TONIGHT!" It's just... magic. Bonnie Tyler totally sang like she was going to die right after the song. She's like the grandmother to Michael Bolton. And Nickelback. 

5. How Soon Is Now? by the Smiths: Ok, this one is legit. There's nothing cheesy about this song, in my opinion, and it's been covered a gazillion times, but only well by a few artists (Paradise Lost comes to mind with their crunchy, gothy version). It propels me back to the days of Tequila Joe's (a rock club I frequented when my liver and I were younger and more resilient), and it's just an awesome tune. I'm not gonna defend it. You know I'm right. Volume knob goes way up when this one comes on.

So, tell me... when you were rockin a skinny tie, neon jelly bracelets, 42 gallons of Aqua Net, and possibly zipping around in, or wishing you had an Iroq-Z or a Firebird, what were YOUR favorite songs? Now this isn't a request for just cheesy 80's songs. I have a phone full of photos of those. I'm talking your absolute, still love to this day songs. CONFESS! And happy Friday!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday Five: Little Things that Make Big Impacts on Your Day

I woke up this morning, not to the sound of the alarm, but to "OH SHIT!!!" My BF's alarm did not go off at 5am, as it is supposed to. He woke up at 7:20 am, when he is already supposed to be at work, and I am usually leaving the house. Hence, a morning of chaos and rushing around... And so, while I sit here on hold for 25 minutes with the IRS, I started thinking about the little things that can rattle your day in a major way.

1. Oversleeping: As the afore-mentioned scenario indicates, oversleeping will eff up your entire day, even if it's by 20 minutes. In our case, it was 2 hours. So yeah, major jacking up of my morning. It will even screw up my food schedule.

2. Running out of hot water: Even if it's for the last 30 seconds of my shower, ending it with cold water is a one-ticket to Grumpsville. Have this happen in, say, February, and everyone better get the hell out of my way for the rest of the day.

3. No-reason traffic: Traffic is annoying no matter what. But when it's due to an accident or construction, it's somehow more tolerable than traffic that seems to have no explanation. Just... traffic. This is infuriating. A close second: rubbernecking traffic.

4. Wardrobe inventory error: Sometimes, when I am laying in bed at night, I think about what I might wear the next day. In my head, I pair the items together, am satisified with the idea, and look forward to a seamless morning. Until I wake up and realize that blouse is crumpled up at the bottom of the laundry basket, or those pants are at the dry cleaners. This usually happens when there's no suitable backup. Commence wardrobe crisis.

5. Universally bad timing in the gym: There are days when the flow of my workout will be completely disrupted the entire time because of other people. It is not intentional on their part, it's just the timing. For example, If I want to get on the fly machine,but someone is on it, I'll go to do, say, bicep curls, but I go over to the free weight rack, and all the weights are either taken or missing, so then I'll go to do something else, and there will be another problem... choppy workout = grumpypants. This also somehow seems to coincide with the days when my iPod picks the crappiest songs to shuffle.

What are the things that will set you up for a day of total mood-ruining?

Hope you all had a more pleasant start to your day. Happy Friday!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Friday Five: Reasons Why My Dog Is Better than a Kid

My mother's final defense on why she will never have a dog is that "dogs are like toddlers who never grow up." While that may be true to some degree, I really got to thinking about that comparison. I present to you reasons why a dog (and my Mojo, in particular) is better than a kid. 

1. General care: The base goal with a baby and a puppy are the same: keep him/her alive. Only, with a dog, it goes basically like this:

When the dog has to go to the bathroom, you open the back door. The dog poops or pees outside. No diapers, no potty seat, no baby wipes. 2 a.m., puppy has to tinkle? Throw him in the backyard. End goal: teach the dog not to crap on your carpet (ok, maybe this applies to kids, too).

My dog gets fed twice a day. I throw food in a bowl, which then goes on the floor. If any food spills onto the floor, I encourage my dog to eat it. He eats the same exact thing every day, doesn't complain, acts like it's the greatest meal ever. So not only is it easy, there's appreciation involved. When's the last time your toddler thanked you for the organic chicken paste and pureed peas?

Bath time can be a messy chore. Thankfully I only have to do it once every month or two. Given the previous discussion on bathroom and food habits of a kid, this is not recommended for your child. Plus, smelly kids don't have friends, but smelly dogs, on the other hand...

2. Hobbies/social life: Mojo will  never want to play the tuba, or take ballet lessons (though, if I could teach him to play the tuba, I'd be writing this from a beach in Maui, and it'd be "Five Reasons Why Maui Is Way Better than Wherever You Are). He's never going to whine when I tell him it's time to go home. At BEST, a dog version of a social life is a trip to the dog park. And Mojo has never thrown his body on the floor and howled when I said it was time to go home. I will never have to cart him around to 12 different sporting events. There will be no roller skating 10th birthday party.

3. Moral fiber: At no point will I lie awake at night, worrying about whether or not I am raising a well-rounded, morally sound, socially profitable being. Parents worry about that stuff, particularly with teenagers. I am 100% positive that I do not have to worry that my dog will wind up in Juvie for being a delinquent. I don't have to worry about him getting some nice young girl pregnant, driving drunk, trying drugs, crashing my car. Nor do I have to worry about molding him into a fine young adult through...

4. Education: It cost something like $4 million to send a kid to college these days. There's SAT prep, constant push to maintain good grades so Junior can get into a great school. Then there's housing, and an extra year or two when Junior goes from wanting to be a lawyer to wanting to be a chef to wanting to be a scuba instructor... It's all very overwhelming. Mojo's education consists of four or five tricks, not chewing on or destroying anything in the house with his teeth (or his pee), and not chomping down on another living creature. All for the cost of a couple of bags of training treats. You do the math.

5. Lack of speech: If there's one thing kids do, especially small ones, it's that they talk. INCESSANTLY. REPETITIVELY. "Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Mom! Mom! Mommy!" And they can scream at decibel levels that their superior canine counterparts can hear seven blocks away.

Mojo makes anywhere from 4 to 6 different noises. But for the most part, he doesn't make any sound. It takes him about a year to make as much noise as the average toddler makes in a day. Plus, the shock collar (oh, shut up, it's totally safe and I don't even have to turn it on anymore) keeps any incessant barking to a minimum. Put a "bark control" collar on your toddler and see what happens to you.

This face will never scream, "I hate you!"
and then storm off and slam a bedroom door.

Now, tell me I don't have a point.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." ~ Ferris Bueller

Thanks to a thought-provoking Facebook status, I invited Tom to guest spot on Constructive Compulsion. Please spend a little time with his thoughts... I think he'll get you thinking about quite a few things.

OMG. Can it actually be true? Am I dreaming? That’s it, it’s all dream. I will just pinch myself and wake up and think, Man how I wish that dream would come true... No, people this is not a dream,  but reality in itself. I actually have my big break. I’m guest blogging on Constructive Compulsion.

All joking aside, Nikki saw my recent post on Facebook and replied to it with the words, “Do I see a guest blog spot on Constructive Compulsion? So I replied to her via text:

10/16/2011 9:11 AM (text in reply to my Facebook status that Nikki replied to. So it’s my reply to her reply, get it? Got it? Good.)

Me (you know the guy with the big break to guest blog): Guest blog spot?

Nikki: Write :-)

Me:  Why you say that?

Nikki: Because this video clearly provoked thought. I think you could explore this question a lot further.

So the initial thought runs through my head: Is this how she is when she’s in “Professor” mode? Ha, run off thought for maybe a future blog—Nikki: mild mannered book editor by day, super powered English Professor by night). Well for whatever reason she had to spark this blog out of me is her own and only hers to know. Who am I to question such higher thought processes? And now we come to the point where I stop gloating about how I get to guest blog and you don’t.

The whole reason for this blog is because of the death of Steve Jobs. Anderson Cooper had a segment on Steve Jobs referring to his Commencement address to the Stanford class of 2005. Steve had three stories that day. His first story was about connecting the dots, the second about love and loss, and the third about death. It was his third story about death that was featured on Anderson Cooper’s show.

Here is the clip from Anderson Cooper -

This is the prepared text of the Commencement address delivered by Steve Jobs -

My Facebook status read as: Usually my posts relate to my sense of humor. Possibly offending somebody, making somebody chuckle or just creating that “why the heck did I just waste my time reading his post” feeling. A few times I’ve been serious and emotional and have actually had the occasional OMG my post was “liked” a bajillion times. Well this time I will fall into the 90% category of all Facebook status updates (see link - ) . This was passed on from a co-worker and it really brought me to think, am I living my life to the best of my ability?

I bet many of those college graduates walked away thinking, “Ah, he’s just saying that ‘cause he was sick at one point, thinking he was going to die. I have more than enough time to enjoy my life and be carefree.” Well, maybe I’m just talking about how I would have been at that age. As they say, the thirties are the new twenties. And it’s just now at my age (with just a few more years to go till I’m forty) that I’m actually looking at life completely differently than I used to. For the first time just the other day I was thinking about my own age and thought, Damn, I’m going to be forty soon, I’m getting old. How much more time will I have to be able to do what I want to do? To be able to tell my children what they need to hear from me? To look at all the people in my life that I love and let them know exactly how they fit in my heart? When will I actually take the time to figure out who, what, where, when and how? My thoughts flood my mind. So I sit back and tell myself, relax, sort through them and prioritize. Tackle one thought, one emotion at a time. But how? How do you decide what to do first? Oh the pressure of being an adult, a parent, a Father, a son, a brother, a boyfriend, a friend.

Well I hope that those college grads walked away the way I would have walked away after hearing this speech: time to enjoy my life and be carefree. Steve could not have said it any better than he did. He referenced in his speech The Whole Earth Catalog. I have not heard of this publication before nor will I be running out to my nearest library (who am I kidding this is the 21st century—logging onto to purchase it). What I will take from it are the words: “Stay hungry. Stay foolish”.

Steve Jobs unfortunately was not able to beat cancer. Fortunately, I’m in good health, at least to my knowledge. I’ve done much the same as Steve has, when hearing myself say “No” for too many days in a row. I’ve taken the initiative to make a change in my life. Have they always been the down the right path? Well this question will have to be possibly answered in another blog. Sometimes those “No” days run into weeks, possibly months, but hopefully not years. Here I am, in my late 30s, looking at changing my career. Way too many “No” days have passed.

Truly there is no person more important in your life than yourself. My recent philosophy has been, “If you can’t make yourself happy, how can you make somebody else happy?” It’s been working for me. I’m headed in the direction that I want to be. The whole purpose of my Facebook status was really just to get whomever decided to read it to engage in a little self-reflection. We go on everyday doing what we do, for whatever reason. The majority of us don’t think about what Steve was saying in his speech. I’m one of the majority. I’m guilty of going through life one day at a time mainly in reaction mode. 5:00 AM alarm goes off, 6:00 AM start my commute, 7:00 AM start my work day, 4:00 PM work day ends. It’s unfortunate that I have only a few hours a day to adjust how my life is going and where it is headed. The majority is making sure that I get paid, to pay for my living expenses. Take a second and reflect on your day. Are you making sure you’re living each day as if it was you’re last? As we all know, nobody can tell when the last day will come.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

"Let's not be narrow, nasty, and negative." ~T. S. Eliot

There is something in the air today.

It's something sharp and nasty, needling at our ribs and nerves... we are on edge and sluggish. And we don't know why.

Phenomena like this fascinates me. Rather than dwell too much in my own nastiness, I'm trying to think about possible explanations for global crankiness. Weather? Atmospheric elements? It's been raining for over a week in New Jersey, so maybe that has something to do with it. It isn't a full moon. We have another week.

If the idea that our energy reverberates throughout our atmosphere and is "contagious" so to speak, that only explains half the problem. How is it that everyone woke up in a lousy mood today? What transpired overnight to dawn a nasty day? I have no personal point of origin. I slept well. I worked out yesterday, and felt great. My evening class went well. I had a relatively pleasant morning.

And then I stepped outside, got in my car, and drove intotraffic jams, honking horns, accidents, lots of swirly blue and red lights. People driving like total maniacs. The second I got into work, there were problems, nasty authors, frustrated coworkers... Everyone is just downright angry today. And we're all asking, "What IS it today?!"

Perhaps we are all at some sort of turning point, some large, some small. Maybe many of us are in some area of transit, of shift, and it's getting uncomfortable. The seasons are shifting, and I know many people whose lives are also shifting. Perhaps we're uncomfortable. If our environment feels unstable we are going to react and fight the instability, which can create tension. Many people are expressing a desire to be left alone today. Perhaps this is why. We're all in some sort of flux.

I can't come up with anything else. And even if I did, I still want to kick today in the face.