Saturday, July 24, 2010

Little Geniuses



Our little reading and spelling wiz, Paige, has recently decided to turn her attention to mathematics.

Tonight in the car she said, "Dad, can you asks me some maths?"

"Sure. What's one plus four?"

Curtis, never one to be left out of the loop, starts spouting out random numbers and then says "Dad, it's my turn."

"Okay Curtis, what's one plus two?"


There you have it.

Friday, July 23, 2010

O (Nu Metal) Pioneers

It's nearly midnight on Pioneer Day Eve. Seems like a perfect time to recommend some Deftones.

Here are a couple of impressive tracks from their new record, "Diamond Eyes." (Feel free to check out my review here.)

Diamond Eyes. (How can you not love that awesome part in the chorus where it goes all low and de-tuned.)

Rocket Skates. Pure metal mayhem. (Warning: skews a bit mature.)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Punk Rock Dad?

Sometimes kids put a real cramp in your county library swagger.

The Ever Prudent Four-Year-Old

I couldn't have been more excited about the new (used) guitar that arrived in the mail today. Until I talked to Captain Bringdown Paige, that is.

At first, she was very supportive. ("Wow, that's a nice guitar, Dad. Dad, that sure is a cooooool guitar, Dad.")

But then her fiscal responsibility kicked in.

"Why did you buy that new guitar, Dad?"

"Uh, I needed a new guitar, I guess."

"You already have two guitars. Did they break and that's why you need a new guitar?"

"Well, uh, er. What's that up there? The Goodyear Blimp?!" [Followed by the sound of me sneaking out the window, peeling out of the garage, and hopping a plane to lack-of-accountabilityville.]

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Teenage Bottlerocket, Streetlight, and a Bunch of CDs

Kids aren't stinkier these days. I think it's just that teenager odors are less appealing to me as I grow older. Go figure.

I made it to two sweaty concerts in two sweaty SLC weeks, dragging my friend Kaleb to Streetlight Manifesto and Brett to Teenage Bottlerocket. Both were good, but seeing TBR for the first time was especially fun (though I can't underestimate the coolness of hearing Tomas Kalnoky sing "Dear Sergio" for the first time, more than a decade after I first met the song).

I've been writing about Streetlight for years, but if you like Ramones-esque pop punk, you better check out TBR.

Here are my reviews from the shows:

Teenage Bottlerocket
(And here's an interview with TBR)
Streetlight Manifesto

And here's some CD reviews for you:

Eminem - Recovery
LCD Soundsystem - This is Happening
Hole - Nobody's Daughter
Tony Sly - 12 Song Program
Band of Horses - Infinite Arms
Stone Temple Pilots - Stone Temple Pilots
Crime in Stereo - I was Trying to Describe You to Someone
Titus Andronicus - The Monitor
David Bazan - Live at Electrical Audio
Minus the Bear - Omni
The Hold Steady - Heaven is Whenever

A Legitimate Journalist? Who, Me?

Luckily, I'm one of those vain, techie nerds who has a Google alert set up for my own name. Otherwise, I probably wouldn't have seen that I accidentally wrote an article for the Salt Lake Tribune.

My friend Chris recently finished writing his first graphic novel. (Something I am very, very jealous of.) So I interviewed him about it for IN. The next thing I knew, the Trib, who owns IN, picked it up.

I was pretty excited to see it online and quickly looked to see if it was in print as well. (Now that I'm a big-deal PR guy, I actually have a subscription to the paper. Blecch.) I couldn't find it, so I'm guessing it was just internet filler.

Nevertheless, I was pretty excited to get my first major newspaper byline and I'm happy that Chris is getting a little extra coverage about his quite-excellent novel Pocket Hole.

Check out the Pocket Hole blog here.

Paige On Religion

Paige: I'd rather be watching YouTube

I think I've already written about how Paige despises Family Home Evening. Here are a few more religious gems she's thrown out there lately:

"I'm scared of ghosts. Even Holy Ghosts."

"Jesus is not allowed!"

"Don't let Heavenly Father take my stuff."

And today, I asked her what she learned about in primary.

"I don't remember."

Did you have a lesson about Jesus? About sharing? About Joseph Smith?

"It was as about leprosy."

Friday, July 16, 2010

Dirt & Water

It's amazing--with all the of the electronics and treats and distractions necessary for us to complete an hour-and-a-half drive without the kids killing each other or driving us crazy--how a pile of dirt, some rocks, and water to throw them in, can keep kids entertained.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

God & Dutch Soccer

Former Dutch Missionaries Unite!

We all know that The Big Guy Upstairs didn't bless any of us with a lot of baptisms over there in the Lowlands. But I'm sure he didn't ignore all those prayers. The way I see it, he was just saving 'em up for us and planning to let us cash them out this Sunday at kick off time.

Nou jongens, laten wij bidden.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Joseph Smith, The Sphinx

Years after first hearing about it, I finally made it the very strange Gilgal Gardens in Salt Lake. Traci and I spent a warm, 8th anniversary evening wandering through therandom religious imagery and rocks carved with Bible quotes and LDS hymns.

I still need to finish the virtual tour, so I can figure out what I was actually seeing but I'd definitely recommend checking it out.

(No Interview With) Streetlight Manifesto

A couple of years ago, I had a chance to do an interview with one of my fav bands, Streetlight Manifesto. It was one of the most enjoyable interviews I've ever done and, as such, I was going to write a detailed blog about it. But with details, comes my desire to avoid them. The band rarely does interviews, which made the experience even more memorable for me.

They're playing here again tomorrow night and their publicist reached out to me about covering the show. I was stoked about the opportunity to interview with them again, but alas, I was told they're not doing interviews. (Instead I'll be reviewing the concert.)

I decided to write a show preview anyway. Here's a little trip down one of my many musical memory lanes.

(Forever indebted to Ty's A&R work in discovering Catch 22.)

Streetlight Manifesto - Everything Went Numb (YouTube)

Streetlight Manifesto
July 7, 2010
In The Venue

Everyone has at least one "record that changed my life." I've certainly got a bunch of 'em but there's only one that almost changed my life.

I was 18 when I first heard Catch 22's "Keasbey Nights." From the opening notes of "Dear Sergio," I was hooked -- the rapid-fire vocals, the tight horn section, and the bulletproof vest-related singalongs were perfect. Absolutely perfect.

Promptly after releasing the record, singer/guitarist/songwriter Tomas Kalnoky decided to leave the band. Catch 22 soldiered on without him and, before heading out on their first national tour, they posted a message on their website that they were looking for a new singer, guitarist, and trombone player. (Had I been better at any of those positions, I definitely would have applied.)

By the time the Catch 22 made it to their Salt Lake City show in the basement of the now-defunct Club DV8, the band had filled all of its empty slots. After they burned through their set, I stole a chance to grab an interview with the band (my very first interview) for the Utah State University school paper.

I asked them something along the lines of "So you've got a bunch of new guys in the band now, eh?"

"Yeah, but we're still looking for someone to drive the van. You got a license?"

I did have a license. And summer was right around the corner, so I wouldn't miss a lot of school. And maybe if the guitar player got sick I could fill in, and maybe if the singer ... and ... and ... and...

I was still thinking of my reply long after the van took off without me. And I kept thinking about it for the next two years. Every time I was questioning my life path, I'd ask myself, "Why am I doing this? I could be a greasy roadie right now."

Though their follow up to "Keasbey" was OK, Catch 22 just wasn't the same without Kalnoky. By their third record, I had lost faith in the band.

And then it happened. After years of silence, Kalnoky re-emerged with Bandits of the Acoustic Revolution and then Streetlight Manifesto. The records picked up right where "Keasbey" left off. I couldn't have been happier.

But then I was.

In 2008, I had the chance to spend a half hour or so on the phone with Kalnoky. We chatted about the rift with Catch 22 (now mended), his aversion to doing interviews (preferring to let the music speak for itself), and the band's upcoming plans (a goal to release eight albums of cover songs between Streetlight and the Acoustic Bandits).

As an added bonus, I was invited to hang out with the band in the tour bus before their show at the Avalon. The guys couldn't have been more friendly. But as I was taking in the moment, I couldn't help but glance at the driver's seat a time or two. I had just one thought.

I could be driving this bus.

The Orange Crush

Great voetballers, horrible singers. Hup, Holland, Hup!

I don't know why I keep trying. I DVR the Holland games and then act like I'm going to be able to go all day without hearing about the result. It's never worked.

It didn't work the first game of the Cup, when I walked over to my friend Brian and he greeted me with, "Hey, how 'bout that Nederland victory."

It didn't work against Brazil when every one of my friends texted me congratulations.

It didn't work today when I avoided all human contact, internet surfing, and text message receiving. I made it all the way to 4:30 when my very sports-averse cubicle neighbor leaned over to me and said, "Hey, are you excited that your team won?"

Well, I am now.


I have been hesitant to call this "Holland's year," for fear of getting my feelings hurt. But we're now just one game away. One 90-minute match.

And no one's going to spoil the ending for me. Sunday afternoon, I'll be watching the game live. Fantastisch!

(Feel free to stop by my house to watch it with me. Don't forget to wear your orange.)