Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Not Mr. Big, But Close

I often suffer from bouts of mission nostalgia. No, not memories of missionary work itself--heaven's no--but thoughts of the Dutch experience--locations, foods, customs. And music most of all.

I'd always had a dormant love for teeny bopper techno, and when I found myself in Europe, it was like Pandora's box had burst open. The other day, a song crept into my mind that I heard constantly in the Netherlands around the turn of the millenium.

I could remember the tune and what I thought were the words, but not the artist. I kept googling and googling to track it down, but no luck. When I hummed the lyrics,"All I really want's to be with you/Deep inside your heart you feel it too," they fit perfectly, but really belonged to that Mr. Big song.

Eventually, through the miracle of miracles, I was able to remember that it was actually "All I really want is one more day/To make you change your mind and want to stay." Pretty close. From there I found "All I Really Want" by Kim Lukas. And it was just as good as I remembered.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

How Could You Be So Heartless?

My work has an on-site gym. On the days where I can summon the motivation, I head down there during my lunch break. While making it there is all about getting my fitness on, once I'm there all energy is spent trying to get control of the TV by the elliptical machines.

By default, folks generally tend leave the TV on Fox. Around lunch time that means hours of Judge Judy. The only thing worse is local news lunch programming, which is also a favorite around the gym.

While it's fun for everyone to be miserable together (I refuse to believe that people change the station to Judge Judy because they like it, it's just to be polite or something), I figure at least one person should be able to enjoy television--and I prefer that person to be me.

So when I get a hold of the remote, the suckers around me are subjected to reruns of The Hills, Celebrity Rehab, The Princess Bride, and Malcolm in the Middle, to name a few. My co-worker-outters try to pretend that they don't want to watch these shows, but I see them sneaking glances and even occassional smiles.

Yesterday I was watching Kanye West's video for Heartless on Fuse. (Excellent song, excellent video, btw.) An old guy got on the elliptical next to me, looked at the screen and said, "Cartoons. Cool." Yup, cartoons.

Watching the video reinforced my rave review of 808s & Heartbreak. Just keeps getting better. And the Jetsons artwork in the video is awesome. Love it.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Review: Akon Freedom


I've been mentally searching my record collection for precedence of liking an artist like Akon. I generally steer clear of R&B and I'm certainly not a huge supporter of 35-year-olds freakdancing underage girls (or Tara Reid) onstage. But there's something about Akon. I've tried to ignore the temptations, but I just can't help loving this record.

It's easy to get sucked in by a catchy single. "Freedom," however, cranks out hit after hit. The album starts off with the excellent "Right Now (Na Na Na)," before launching directly into the mid-tempo "Beautiful," featuring the silky vocals of Colby O'Donis and Kardinal Offishall. Oh, but it doesn't stop there. "Keep You Much Longer" is yet another dance floor anthem. By this point in the album, I want nothing more than to make lots of money and find eternal love in the back of a club.

"Freedom" has all the obligatory guest appearances--T-Pain, Young Jeezy, Wyclef Jean--but Akon proves he's plenty capable of being the main attraction. He's becoming the king of laid-back cool, effortless laying down millions of great love songs. Makes me want to get my freak on.

For fans of: Chris Brown, T-Pain
Rating: 4 of 4 (That's right, all 4)

Akon on Last.Fm

Thursday, January 22, 2009

This...Does...Not...Compute (In a Robot Voice)

Maybe Paige and I have been listening to too much electronic music lately. Yesterday Traci put clips in Paige's hair and said, "Paige, you look so cute. Just like Snow Princess Dora." Paige replied, "Not like a princess, like a 'puter." Meaning a computer. My daughter thinks she looks like a computer.

The computer is all she thinks about these days, thanks to her introduction to the games on the Playhouse Disney site. She says "I wanna, wanna, wanna, wanna, wanna, wanna, wanna, wanna, wanna, wanna, play gamesssssss!" about 100 times a day. I'm getting really good at Ooh & Ahh's Coco Nutty Bowling.

I feel fine about Paige being a computer. It's handy, I guess. Paige established long ago that Curtis, however, is not a computer. She's decided he's a potato.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Record Review: Fall Out Boy Folie a Deux

Fall Out Boy
Folie a Deux

What do you do when you’re the moment’s biggest name in rock ’n’ roll? Whatever you want, of course. But rather than Motley Crue-esque debauchery, Fall Out Boy opt for Sgt. Pepper-like overindulgence. There is not a thread of cohesion to be found on "Folie a Deux." The record jumps from Memphis Soul ("I Don’t Care") to piano balladry ("What a Catch, Donnie") without warning or apology. And, as if there weren’t enough going on already, pointless cameos from Elvis Costello, Debbie Harry, The Academy Is, and Gym Class Heroes are crammed into the remaining crevices.

Not surprisingly, the band is at its best when it sticks to its strengths. "The (Shipped) Gold Standard" and "(Coffee’s For Closers)" are great, mid-tempo emo tracks. And, whether or not you think he is a complete wanker, Pete Wentz is still a great lyricist. Though he’s always been a pro at irony, the hints of sincerity are most effective. On "Gold Standard" he writes "You can only blame your problems on the world for so long/Before it all becomes the same old song."

"Folie a Deux" may be completely overblown, but at least it errs on the side of levity. Rather than getting dragged down by the sorrow or dramatics of their peers, FOB is clearly having a good time. But why? Patrick Stump sings it best on the album opener, "No one wants to hear you sing about tragedy."

20-Year-Old Book Review

Was it Jim Gaffigan who made the joke about renting a movie that's six years old and then wanting to talk about with his friends, even though they all saw it six years ago? That's how I felt recently when I read 1986's "Goodbye, I Love You" at Traci's recommendation.

If you haven't read it, the subheading may give a bit of the plot away--"Good-Bye, I Love You: A True Story of a Wife, Her Homosexual Husband, and a Love That Transcended Tragedy."

Here's how the conversation goes with my buddies at work:

Spencer: I'm reading about this book called "Goodbye, I Love You." Have you read it?
Tim: Yes.
Brian: No, what's it about?
Tim: This Mormon lady marries a gay guy and she wants him to be un-gay, but then he dies of AIDS.
Spencer: Arrrrggggh! He dies of AIDS? I'm only on chapter six!
Tim: Oops. Spoiler Alert.
Brian: How old is this book?
Spencer: 20 years.
Brian: Not exactly a real spoiler.

In a way it was good that Tim dropped the bomb. I had been reading and thinking, "I wonder how this lady can say all these things about her husband. I wonder what he thinks about this." Obviously he thinks, "Being dead sure is sweet."

So at this point I guess I should apologize for spoiling it for you as well, as I'm sure the book was at the top of your "To Read" list.

Pet Sounds

For some reason, it made me sad to see that after my last post about potty training Paige, the auto-generated ads on my site were for "housebreaking your pet in a week." That said, the, er, housebreaking has been improving.

Heard it on the TV

If you're like me and only listen to songs featured on commercials, you'll be pleased to know that you can download the remake of Somebody's Watching Me for free on Geico's website. Those googly eyes are so creepy.

Rockwell vs. Mysto and Pizzi - Somebody's Watching Me"

Coming to Getchoo

From high centered, to frog hopping, to full-on crawl machine. One day Curtis was air-swimming, the next day he was crawling straight for every electrical cord in the house (and promptly putting them in his mouth). He couldn't be happier.

Speaking of putting stuff in his mouth, apparently he swallowed a bingo marker while playing with his cousins the other day. We're still watching for it to reappear. I'll spare you further details on what that means.

Paige is not pleased with Curtis's new found mobility. The second he starts moving toward her (or rather her toys)--even when he's clear on the other side of the room--she yells, "Dad! Curty's coming to get me! No, Curty! Don't get me!" I don't blame her for being a bit scared. He is bigger than her.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Yet Another Thing They Don't Tell You About Parenthood

I never realized how hard potty training a kid would be. Not to go into too many details, but I've sure spent a lot time hanging out in the bathroom waiting for "it" to happen.

After all sorts of attempts and approaches, we finally pulled out the little DVD player and let Paige sit on the toilet with the thing on her lap. Incredibly sanitary, I know. So she spent an hour an a half watching a movie, and I sat on the tub with the computer on my lap. What a way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Slowly, we're making progress. Fortunately, we've ditched the DVD player for books. However, she loves to read her Dora's Halloween book, which, even when she's not reading it, causes her to lose concentration on the task at hand and stand up and shout "Happy Halloween!" Arrgh.

Thanks, Sub Prime Mortgage Induced Recession

Just got my quarterly retirement statement. Lost another 10%. Sweet.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The Woes of the 20+ Pound Boy

All this kid wants is to crawl. The problem is that his belly is so big that when he gets on all fours, he gets high centered. He keeps moving his arms and legs, but they're not on the ground so he just ends up air-swimming.