#1036: Sleeping My Day Away

A sequel to #1029:  Lick It Up (In Bed)

RECORD STORE TALES #1036: Sleeping My Day Away

Insomnia ain’t no joke!  As a long time sufferer (since childhood), I have continually sought new ways to fall asleep.  Last time we checked in, I was looking at using my laptop and a small pair of laptop speakers to play music and rock myself to sleep.  I have since revised the setup and experimented some more, with promising results.  Here’s the scoop.

The idea of keeping my laptop near my bed, next to my alarm clock and night-time drinks, was not ideal.  I’ve spilled plenty of night-time drinks so the laptop was not going to suffice as a long term solution for music in the bedroom.  I’m sure kids today have more efficient ways of playing their music wherever they want, but I also require certain minimum levels of quality.  Gotta have stereo, not a single speaker, for one.  The sound quality has to be slightly better than my buzzy, bass-free laptop speakers.  And I have to be able to play my own music, because Spotify doesn’t have what I want.

I looked around for my old Sony mp3 player, but I couldn’t get it to charge.  I had a second Sony too, but it appears to be lost.  So, my parents bought me a new mp3 player for Christmas.  Yes, they still make them!  It’s an off-brand player called a “AiMoonsa”.  The Amazon writeup said it has an “HD” speaker built in.  I don’t know about “HD”, but it doesn’t sound too terrible.  It does violate my stereo rule.  Gotta have stereo.  Of course, stereo is available through the headphone jack.  What’s nice about this player compared to the old Sony is that it has a removable 64 gig SD card.  Easy to swap in and out, and upgrade if desired.  I find swapping just as easy.  I’ll always put my old Kiss albums on my mp3 player, and the rest of the space can be taken up by other favourite bands and new musical purchases.  The only thing about this player is the controls are a little clunky, and it doesn’t display cover art like the Sony did.  But I also only need it to do the bare minimum of work.  That being, playing mp3 files over a pair of speakers while I try to get to sleep.

I needed new speakers, so I ordered the standard Amazon computer speakers, the Amazon Basics USB speakers for $24 bucks.  This is actually my third pair.  I have a set at the lake and you’d be surprised how far you can hear the music up there.  I also have a set at work.  This third set is for the bedroom.

I needed a power source for the speakers, so I grabbed an extension cord and one of those USB cube charges.  A bit jerry-rigged, but it works.

I loaded up the mp3 player with the aforementioned music, including my entire D-A-D collection as gifted to me by Thor.  Lemme tell something people:  D-A-D is a band with a deep, rich discography of awesome tunes!  Latter day stuff like “Empty Head”, “Something Good”, and “Everything Glows” are great tunes!  I put on the D-A-D compilation Good Clean Family Entertainment You Can Trust, and had a Christmas holiday nap.  And yes, “Sleeping My Day Away” was indeed the first track.

It was perfect!  The music sounded good enough (certainly better than when I used to fall asleep to music on cassette in the 80s).  The D-A-D did the trick, as tune after tune rocked me to sleep.  I fell asleep mid-way through the disc and stayed that way for a couple hours.

Now, who’s to say that I wouldn’t have fallen asleep that day even without the music?  It was a good nap though, and I enjoyed falling asleep that way, like I used to.  Jen came in to nap too, and whaddaya know?  Now she’s a D-A-D fan.

Mr. and Mrs. LeBrain fully endorse D-A-D.  Now go get some!


2 years later: “LeBrain’s Covid-19 Message”

This did not age well. The comment about hoarding toilet paper is funny. I remember my dad didn’t like this video. He found it too “angry”. It did start the whole “VoiVod!” thing with Rob Daniels though! This is just after lockdown began, but before the LeBrain Train launched. Interesting from a certain point of view. Where’s that Queen shirt now? Can’t find it anywhere!

Originally posted March 18 2020.

#899: Gathering

RECORD STORE TALES #899:  Gathering

It was a beautiful day today.  In the afternoon I got the ol’ laptop dusted off, and brought it out onto the patio to listen to some tunes and watch some YouTube.  The laptop is at least a decade old, probably older, and has served me well as my travelling machine.  Today, it could barely do two things at once.  Obviously it will not serve me well for live streaming this summer at the lake.  It did a stand-up job last year, with Streamyard and video editing.  This year it simply will not cut the tomatoes so I pulled the trigger on a new HP.  I didn’t want to go down in screen size so I ordered a 17.3″.  I always get nervous when buying a new computer, and I’ve never bought HP before.  I’m excited though.  Whatever happens, it cannot be worse than a decade-old Acer.  It could be here as early as Tuesday.  Wish me luck — this summer’s future LeBrain Train episodes will depend on this laptop!  Meanwhile the old one will be brought to Sausagefest — if there will be such a thing this summer.

The laptop is delivering by Purolator, which is totally safe.  Amazon unfortunately is not.  Their couriers leave the parcel at the door and that’s that.  Because there is so much theft of Amazon parcels in these parts, for the last six months or so, I have been having everything sent to my mom and dad’s address.  I am still working from the office and they are home all the time.  Jen has appointments that usually has her out of the house when Amazon come knocking.  As a result, I have to pick up my parcels from them about once a week.  And, according to Ontario’s current regulations, having an outdoor socially distanced visit with them is currently illegal.

“Hey, would you guys like to come out back for an illegal visit?” asked my mom.

“Sure,” I shrugged.

We’ve all been vaccinated with the first shot and are at 50% immunity.  We distanced.  Well, my dad got a little close as he sometimes does.  But it was nice.  Something almost normal.  I would like to go down into the basement and look for some of my old sketches from when I was a kid, but we aren’t taking any chances.  We stayed out.  Doug Ford can suck it.

Ironically, one of the things I was picking up was a cheap pair of computer speakers.  Every time Doug Ford goes live on TV to open his big mouth, I can’t hear him.  It’s too quiet.  Annoying.  So I ordered some cheap Amazon branded speakers so I can actually listen next time he opens his big yap.  And they’re my speakers, so if I want to use them for my new laptop, I’m good there too.

Some music also arrived.  We will be interviewing Paul Laine soon on the LeBrain Train, so I grabbed his Zokusho album by the Defiants.  Looking forward to that.  In a previous order, I received Long Distance Voyager by the Moody Blues.  Uncle Meat told us that it was his dad’s favourite album, and he would love if we listened to it or even reviewed it.  So I listened to it, loved it, and ordered a CD so I can listen properly for review.  I’m happy to do that for him.

I have also completed my set of Whitesnakes Red, White & Blue trilogy.  In hand are the recent compilation CDs The Rock Album, The Love Album, and The Blues Album.  All tracks have been remixed and updated, while unreleased songs are also included.  John Snow over at 2loud2oldmusic did a fantastic job of reviewing them all.  The Blues Album came from Encore while the other two are Amazons.

We talked current events, we talked family matters, we had a few laughs.  All is well, more or less.  This is the first pandemic for everyone present.  In the five stages of grieving, I think my mom is at the anger stage.  Last week on the phone, when I told her that us visiting would be against the rules, she said “I don’t give a damn about the rules!”  I don’t know the last time I heard her that angry!  Let’s face it, we the people of Ontario have been getting jerked around.  She has a lot to be mad about.  I love my mom.

My dad, on the other hand, decided to watch a documentary about Ozzy Osbourne on A&E.  Excitedly, he told me all about his history with Black Sabbath and as a solo artist.  “He had a lot of success on his own, when no one thought he would!” he explained to me.  But it wasn’t easy for the Ozzman either.  My dad told me all about Ozzy’s son Jack, and the role that Sharon played in his success.  It was one of those moments you cherish.  I love my dad.

My mom also loved The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, which concluded on Friday.  We talked about Sam and the new Captain America.  To my dad, there is only one Captain America and it’s not Sam Wilson or Steve Rogers.  It’s someone I’ve never heard of — Grant Gardner, district attorney and the 1944 version of Cap that he grew up with.  He has no interest in the new Cap, while my mom was really drawn into the storyline.  Hopefully next time we visit illegally, my mom will have seen Captain America: The Winter Soldier which I told her to watch next.

I realize I have incriminated myself and my family with this story, and to that I say:  oh well.  We were safe and respectful of common sense.   When this pandemic eventually ends — and history has shown that eventually it will — I will have these chapters as a document of the weirdest times of our lives.  And that has more value than a fine.


#897: Spam


Making a long-ish story short(er):  before launching this site in 2012, I was an active reviewer on Amazon.  On a good day I could finish two or three.  Those reviews became the bulk of content when I launched my own site.  I must have written so many that I ended up on the Amazon Canada “Hall of Fame”.

From my Amazon profile, you can get to this site. I figured, “Hey, if somebody liked my reviews enough to click my name, then maybe they’ll like the ones I have on my site even better”.

It took me a little while to put two and two together, but a year or so ago, I started getting bombarded with emails asking me to do Amazon reviews.  The emails would come through the contact page here.  The requests would be for USB cables, lights, HDMI cables, you name it.  Anything but music.

The first few requests were vague.  “Would you like to write some Amazon reviews and get the product for free?”  I would respond, “Sure, I am looking to review the new Metallica album,” and that would be it.  I wouldn’t hear back.  They clearly didn’t check to see what kinds of products I was reviewing, which were almost exclusively CDs and DVDs.  They just saw “Hall of Fame” and jumped.

Some of the requests were more detailed — like a form letter.  I would have to buy the selected product myself, but after posting the review, they would refund the money and I keep the product.  Some of the emails specified a “positive” review.

I don’t need extra clutter, and am generally uncomfortable writing reviews on request like that.  I know a lot of those products and I would be writing a negative review on some of the USB cables and lights.  The whole thing seemed kind of shaky to me.

The requests kept rolling in, so I put a disclaimer up on the contact form on this site:  “no Amazon review requests”.  And the request emails immediately stopped…

…Only to continue on my Instagram and Facebook pages.  I have to admit the first one to come in on Instagram surprised me.  (Nothing on Facebook surprises me.)  An Instagram one really bugged me by calling me “dear” repeatedly.  I blocked that one, and then suddenly mysteriously was contacted on Facebook by a  seller who called me “dear”.  Persistence like that only earns the Instablock.

The last request was for an electric toothbrush review.  Eventually I figured out that I needed to put the disclaimer directly on my Amazon profile — “no review requests please”.  That was a couple months ago and I haven’t had a single request since!

This message came in at 1:57 AM!


One small victory against spam.  Then again, maybe I really blew it.  Maybe I could have had the best USB cables and lights.  My teeth could have been whiter and shinier than ever!  I don’t know anyone who’s gone for one of those review deals, so if you have any insight or feedback, let me know.

Just don’t ask me to review your damned electric toothbrush!

Adventures in Epilepsy – Live LeBrain Train with Guests

Episode 30 – Adventures in Epilepsy

A few technical difficulties with the Facebook feed, but a good show all around.  A more personal show this time, if you ever wanted to know how epilepsy can change lives, then you’ll want to check this one out.  No more concerts, no more movie theaters — such is the new reality that my wife lives in.

But we did more than just talk about epilepsy, much more in fact.  Unboxings, books, and guests — it’s all below.

The live stream feed is much choppier on Facebook so I encourage everyone to watch on Youtube from now on.  The Youtube feed was solid.   People on Facebook were reporting freezing video, so in an effort to fix that, I stopped the feed and started over.  That’s why there are two Youtube videos below.

  • I started with some cool unboxings — Japanese imports and vinyl.  Go to 0:05:10 of the first video to see some metal goodies and rarities.
  • For the start of the epilepsy show, go to 0:18:25 of the first video.  It continues at 0:07:15 of the second video.
  • Old pal and author Aaron Lebold came on to talk about his own history with epilepsy, and his new book Genocide at 0:41:15 of the second video.
  • Kevin Simister aka Buried On Mars stopped in at 1:06:35 of the second video to talk about crappy Amazon shipping and to do a CD unboxing.
  • And finally Rob Daniels came in at 1:20:45 of the second video to hang out, talk music, and his own show Visions in Sound.  He has lots of fun planned for October!

Thanks for watching the LeBrain Train episode 30!

First video – start of show

Second video – continuation and conclusion

#839: Stop Thief!

GETTING MORE TALE #839: Stop Thief!

I’ve only been a victim of theft a couple times, but both times it felt like such a violation.  My car was broken into about 20 years ago, and my old Discman was swiped, along with my CD of Kettle of Fish by Fish.  I always hoped the thieves learned to like some good music because of me, but in reality they probably ejected the disc from a moving vehicle.

I’ve worried about mail theft over the years, but never failed to get a refund if a parcel didn’t show up.  It’s trickier now in the days of Amazon.  They have their own delivery drivers, and when they drop a box on your porch, they take a picture of it and call it “delivered”.  There is nothing to protect you if someone grabs it after the driver is gone.  Amazon won’t refund it.  You’d think paying for Amazon Prime delivery would offer you some protection, but it does not.  You’re actually better off having something sent in the mail.

I ordered a parcel from Amazon recently, and it was stolen right from my door.  Our condo has a controlled front entrance, but anybody can get in if they wait for someone to open the door for them.  My theory is that this is what happened.  Perhaps the Amazon driver was delivering a package, was buzzed in, and let someone else in with them.  Typically an Amazon driver will be delivering to multiple residents in one trip, and only one has to buzz them in.

Nobody was home at that time, so the driver left the parcel at my door, and took a picture of it.  That’s all they have to do.  I’ve never had a parcel stolen from my door, until this week.

When Amazon showed my parcel as “delivered”, with that nice little photo attached, I knew someone had snatched it while we were out.  Jen began making phone calls to get security footage reviewed, and then suddenly she received a call from the police!

Whoever stole my parcel ditched it, unopened, in a park nearby.  Someone else found it and called the police, who returned it to us!

I am comforted by the fact that the bad person who stole my parcel was balanced out by a good person who also could have stolen it, but didn’t.  They did the right thing and because of them, I have my Captain America action figures.

Captain America figures?  Is that what all this fuss is about?

I ordered Cap & Peggy Carter, Captain Marvel, and Ghost & Luis.  I’d been looking forward to them all weekend.  But that turned to pure anger when I thought they had been stolen right from my door.  The violation made me furious but when the police returned it, I was so grateful. Thank you Waterloo Regional Police Service.

There are lots of other people who live in this building, and any one of them could have lost a delivery too.  Highly unlikely that it was just me.  I understand they caught the thief so I hope all my neighbours can sleep better tonight.  I feel better now.


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Enjoy the video, and for those who also enjoy the live streams, your feedback is requested!

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Sunday Chuckle: Mandalorian…WTF?

If you happen to find a 6″ Mandalorian Black Series action figure, snag it — those things are going for crazy money in resale.  As of this writing, is asking $80 for one (ridiculous).

I continued scrolling, looking for a better deal.  What I found was…chuckle-worthy.

Mandalorian Handjob by “Harlotte Sometimes” is available to read, but only on Kindle!

“Fapper Oden Zero sets off on his first Galactic adventure. From his home planet in the Gamma System, the young man sees opportunity; Coruscant and the Core Worlds promise riches for the quick and the clever when the Republic finally falls.  Oden signs on with a freighter. One last night of freedom tempts him. ‘Who is that innocent, sexy, seductive blonde?’ he asks. ‘Did she really just wink at me?'”

It turns out that Harlotte Sometimes is a prolific author with 16 titles under their belt.  These include Bachelor in Space and Hard For Hillary.

I’ve only dipped a toe into reading fan fiction, and never the naughty kind.  Maybe I’m missing out.  For those with a pantsuit fetish, I recommend Hard For Hillary.  If you’re more into tall, dark, and heavily armoured, maybe Mandalorian Handjob is for you!