Sunday, January 30, 2011

Father Knows Best

I'm in the men's restroom when I hear this exchange between a dad about my age and his five-year-old son.

"Dad, do I need to wash my hands?"

"No, just don't touch anything."

"I didn't. I only touched myself."

(If I was giving a really dramatic church talk, this story would end with "And that boy was me." But it's not, so it doesn't.)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Let's Get This Party Started

Before Traci left for work on Monday night she suggested to the rest of us have a pajama party and watch a movie. The kids were quick to get into costume. Right before we started the movie, however, Paige had a different idea."Let's have a dance party, instead."

Curtis, without hesitating even a second, pulled his down pants and, in diapered booty, declared, "Let's dance."

Where did this kid come from?

Friday, January 28, 2011

For the Record

Let it be written that on this, the twenty-eighth day of January in the year two thousand eleven, that I, Spencer Sutherland, came to the realization that the lyrics of the 1989 dance hit "Pump Up the Jam" do not say:

"I want a place to play
Get your booty on the bus tonight."

Thanks to the lyrics scrawling along the bottom of the Just Dance screen on the Wii, I now know that the words are actually:

"I want a place to say
Get your booty on the floor tonight."

That makes so much more sense. I can remember all the way back to 1991, doing the running man to that song in James Diamant's bedroom, and thinking "get your booty on the bus tonight" was so weird.

But here we are, 20 years later, and it's all so clear. So much wasted time. 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Pedro the Lion: A Mind of Her Own

I have so many favorite Pedro the Lion/David Bazan songs that I almost forget about this one.

Corruption and Christianity never made such an awesome team. Could the ending of this song be any more intense?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Some Music: Robyn, Rihanna, Say Hi

Robyn - Body Talk I looked into Robyn after several of my Kylie Minogue-loving friends raved about her. For me, she's no Kylie, but there's some pretty enjoyable dancehall diva stuff here. (Check out Dancing on My Own.)

Rihanna - Loud I love Rihanna.I just wish she could put together a full album. There's 3-4 good tracks here. Which is I guess really all that I need for my iPod.

Say Hi - 'Um, Uh Oh' Say Hi has put out a million albums. Generally, I only like about half the songs, but put all those records together, and you've got a great band.  There's stuff I here I really like, but the jury is still out on what I think of it as a whole. Sounds like they've been listening to lots of Arcade Fire. (Check out Dots On Maps.)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I love finding Curtis' little surprises. Like this old cell phone in the dishwasher.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

MLK jr

I came home from work last night to the best surprise ever. An invitation, from a very excited 5-year-old girl, to a Martin Luther King, Jr. party. Now I'd never been invited to such a party, so I was curious to see what it would entail. The answer? Pure awesomeness.

First there were heart-shaped princess paper plates. Then there were little paper fish cups, the kind you use to rinse and spit and the dentist's office. And after dinner, there were heart-shaped sugar cookies that Grandma had dropped off for some reason.

Oh, but the party didn't end there.

"Let's play some Martin Luther King party games," Paige recommended.

Well, neither of us could think of a more MLK party-esque game than hide-and-seek.

And there was more.

The grand finale was a Martin Luther King parade. I wasn't the only invited to the party. In addition to Curtis and Traci, Strawberry Shortcake, Minnie Mouse, three My Little Ponies, and about a half dozen other toys were on the guestlist.

Each of these guests were in the parade, sitting on various "floats," made out of tupperware, magazines, or toy baby strollers. Curtis was even allowed to include his backhoe and race cars in the procession (he kept getting in trouble for sitting on the parade, but that's what little brothers do).

Before bed, Paige volunteered to say the prayer--something that she always refuses. "Thank you that we could have such a good Martin Luther King party that I planned and that I was such a good host." Nice. Way to butter up the Big Guy (or make him jealous that he wasn't invited).

Best MLK Jr. Day ever.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Oh Thank Heaven for 7-Eleven

It was a two-fer. After I washed the car, I just had to hop over the little cement barrier and I could return my DVD to the Redbox at the 7-Eleven.

The hopping was easy enough. It was the landing that was problematic. One second I was upright and the next I was in a painful lump on +++the icy parking lot, feeling both stupid and incredibly sore.

Walking back to my family, who was waiting in the van at the car wash, I was happy I was still in one piece. But more than anything, I was grateful that I was able to get back up. I don't know if I could handle the embarrassment of being found crumpled up in the parking lot, clutching a Step Up 3 disc to my chest.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

In Music, Recently

Here is what's been in my headphones lately. (Click the links for full reviews)

The Black Pacific, The Black Pacific Former Pennywise singer's new band. Better than anything Pennywise has done in the 2000s. Highly recommended. (I'd also recommend his book Punk Rock Dad.)

Styrofoam, Disco Synthesizers & Daily Tranquilizers I loved Styrofoam's early, lo-fi stuff. This full-band style doesn't work for me.

Good Charlotte, Cardiology I only listened to this because of Chris Wilson. It was as pedestrian as I had expected.  

I also did my first band interview in a long time. Here's my article about Peter Wolf Crier. If you like the somber indie folk (Blind Pilot, AA Bondy, Chris Walla, etc.), it's worth checking out. Check out some videos:

Hard As Nails -

Down Down Down -

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sometimes I Miss The OC

When I'm going through my withdrawals, there's only one thing that can cheer me up. This Simpsons parody. (Video starts after advertisement.)

Remember, Knott's Berry Farm can be a dangerous place. 

Friday, January 07, 2011

Five Second Rule

At the grocery store this afternoon. Curtis finds an unidentified fishy cracker on the floor. He quickly picks it up and shoves it in his mouth.

"Curtis!" I shout. "Get that out of your mouth."

He reluctantly takes it out and throws in on the ground.

Paige, never one to let a perfectly good treat go to waste, picks up the discarded cracker and moves to put it into her mouth...

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Remember Christmas?

I do. Vaguely.

I took about 20 minutes of video throughout the day. Then I tested out the Flip camera's "magic movie" button that puts all the clips together, taking its own directorial liberties. The result? Four minutes of present after present being opened. Which, I guess, was mostly what happened.

I can't imagine this being incredibly interesting to you, but if you like cute tearing wrapping paper...

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Review: Ke$ha Cannibal

Ke-dollarsign-ha is the source of much contention--nay, hatred--at my work. Nevertheless, it is my job as a professional music critic (a job for which I get paid tons of money, believe me) to review even the albums of the most frowned upon artists. Enter Ke$ha.

With “Cannibal,” Ke$ha pulls a page from the Lady GaGa book, tacking a mini-LP onto her mega hit debut album “Animal.” Smart move. Not only does this allow her to strike while the grime is hot, but it also gives her the freedom to pump out more of the same tunes, without having to worry about silly things like growing as an artist or even facing the fears of a sophomore slump.

In a whirlwind 27 minutes, Ke$ha successfully amplifies her trash-to-riches persona. The valley-girl rhymes remain as wrinkled as last night’s clothes (“Me and all my friends, we don’t buy bottles, we bring ‘em/We take the drinks from the tables when you get up and leave ‘em”) and the choruses are bigger than ever.

Though she acknowledges her newfound success (“Now that I’m famous, you’re up my anus”), she has no plans of changing her lifestyle (“Dirt and glitter cover the floor/We’re pretty and sick/We’re young and we’re bored”). And why would she? That’s what made her famous. (“I know I’m the new **** on the block/I’ve been through my sketchy phases/Been broke, been a **** waitress/But I’m not now, guess it worked out.”)

Ke$ha understands her niche in the pop world. She doesn’t have Rihanna’s voice, Lady Gaga’s creativity, or even Katy Perry’s big rack. So she’s got to stick to her strength--being the girl passed out on your floor, who, by the way, just happens to be packing enormous hits.

Her songs may be obnoxious but they are also incredibly catchy. All those memorable hooks, combined with the throbbing beats, basically demand spontaneous, uncontrollable dancing. Combine club anthems like “We R Who We R” and “Blow” with a few I’m-not-always-a-party-girl confessions (“The Harold Song,” “C U Next Tuesday”) and you’ve got an EP that can stand toe to toe with the debut release.

If Ke$ha keeps pounding out these hits, she may have to add a few more dollar signs to the middle of her name.

Monday, January 03, 2011

A Letter of Gratitude

To Whoever Was Responsible for the Songlist of Just Dance For Kids:

Thank you for thinking of 30-year-old dads with a penchant for 1990s Swedish pop when you included "Beautiful Life" by Ace of Base on your video game.



Sunday, January 02, 2011


Traci: Paige, let's make a card for Great Grandma to tell her thank you for the nice Christmas present that she bought you.

Paige: Can't we just send her a text message?

Saturday, January 01, 2011

The Return of the Librarian

Back in the day (after much coercion), Traci would write book reviews for the Manifesto. Though she now withholds her literary opinions from me--and thus you as well--she's sharing them with Murray Library patrons.

Here are a few of her recent reviews on

Chains and Forge – Laurie Halse Anderson
Strength in What Remains – Tracy Kidder
29 by Adena Halpern