Friday, January 27, 2012

Princess Paige and Evil Curtis...on Broadway

I just finished my performance in the play "Princess Paige and the Evil Curtis."

The plot of Paige's play followed the title pretty closely. "Once upon a time, there was a beautiful girl, the most beautiful girl in the world," said the narrator/lead actress. "Her name was Princess Paige."

At that point, the Evil Curtis (the role he was born to play) enters the scene, (wearing his self-chosen costume--his Halloween skeleton shirt and his swimming suit) to wreak havoc on the tranquility of this imaginary world.

Luckily, Super Spencer was there (in his Paige-chosen costume--a blanket for a cape and a golf visor that makes him look "handsome") to save the day.

After MANY similar acts, Paige is finally saved. Then we get to start it all over again if Paige notices that Traci wasn't paying complete attention.

And they all lived happily ever after.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Rock Band

So, I still play in a band. Johnny Tightlips still gathers in my basement once a week to hammer out some punk rock songs. After six years and millions of unsuccessfully attempts, we've finally given up on the idea of recording an album in my basement.

We've been spending our Saturdays at Danny's cousin Tom's house, laying down tracks and being inspired by the Slayer and Metallica flags on the wall. The guitars, bass, and drums have been tracked for four songs, now Aaron and I just have to add our lovely vocals. For the time being, we're doing four songs (we'll do another three if Tom is willing), and they should be done in a week or two.

That means we'll be teenage heartthrobs in about a month. Watch out, Bieber. We're coming for you.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

This Week's Music: Dan Andriano, Owl City, Letting Up

The title is a bit misleading. By "This Week," I mean I found this post from months ago in my drafts folder.

Dan Andriano in the Emergency Room
Hurricane Season

Dan Andriano has always been Alkaline Trio’s softie. But on his first full-length solo release, he’s a full-on teddy bear. And that suits him just fine. Andriano sticks to the catchy hooks he’s perfected through his years with AK3, but the music--driven by acoustic guitars and piano fluorishes--is a good fit for the tales of heartbreak. The lyrics are lonely (“I’m a mess, I’m a ghost who overslept on Halloween”), but the tunes are so upbeat that it’s hard not to clap your hands and sing along. With “Hurricane Season,” Andriano delivers a mature record (but not too grown up for his punk following), that doesn’t sound like it was made for your mom.

For fans of: Alkaline Trio, Dashboard Confessional
Rating: 3. 5 of 4

Owl City
All Things Bright and Beautiful

Success is always accompanied by some backlash. With his 2009 hit “Fireflies,”  Owl City’s Adam Young made million of fans. But there were also plenty of detractors accusing him of being nothing more than a mainstream version of The Postal Service. Both camps will feel the same after hearing “All Things Bright and Beautiful.” Young’s top-notch (and still Postal Service-inspired) production skills still rise to the top and every electronic bleep and bloop finds the perfect home. His lyrics, however, have become intolerably sugary, as he floats through skies that are filled with rockets, dreams, and girls he’s too shy to talk to. (The worst offense comes in the line “If the green left the grass on the other side/I would make like a tree and leave.”) It must be wonderful to live in Young’s world, where things are sunny all the time. His overly happy songs, however, would benefit from a little bit of rain now and then.

For fans of: LIGHTS, The Postal Service
Rating: 2.5 of 4

Letting Up Despite Great Faults
Paper Crush

Michael Lee, the man behind Letting Up Despite Great Faults, has a penchant for heartfelt, shoegazing electronic pop. On his third release, that infrastructure remains in tact, but the accessories have changed. The EP opens up with guitars leading the way (an approach that is used again nicely on “Teenage Tide”) before being tempered by the usual atmospheric synths. Lee wisely lets his own vocals take a backseat and they add to the layers of longing (for what, it’s hard to tell, given the unintelligible lyrics). On “I Feel You Happen,” Lee lets go entirely, creating a raucous noise fest worthy of My Bloody Valentine. Not one to let emotion get the best of him, he reigns the energy back in for the closer, the bouncy and beautiful almost-instrumental “Aurora.”

For fans of: The Album Leaf, The One Am Radio
Rating: 3.5 of 4

Boy Logic

When I wrote about Paige heading out into the cold, cold world, my friend RB, who has four little boys, commented about the differences between our worlds. (Girls sound much different. Recently rehashed at our house when Noah body slammed Calvin: "uggg get off me! You smell like poop and jelly!")

Luckily, I've got two boys so I could have this experience trying to get all the kids into the minivan.

TATE (in his car seat on the kitchen): Waaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!

PAIGE (running up the stairs to tattle): Dad, Curtis punched Tate!

ME (frustrated as usual): That's it, Curtis. You're going in time out.

CURTIS (bawling): I don't want to go to time out.

ME (after his three-minute sentence had been served): Curtis, do you know why you had to go in time out? You punched your baby brother. We don't punch babies, Curtis.

CURTIS (now wailing): Yes, yes we do, dad. We do punch babies. We do!

Paige Rampages On

I guess Traci's not the only feeling the wrath of Princess Paige. Tonight She told me if I didn't give her a treat she was going to "banish" me.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Trouble with Raising a Princess

I was at work when I got this call from Traci.

Traci: I was trying to comb Paige's hair [this is a daily, horrible struggle], when she said this to me. "Mom, you're being so cruel to me. You're just as cruel as Rapunzel's mom on Tangled."

Either I married a wicked witch or Paige is watching too many Disney movies.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Baby When the Lights Go Out

Yet another traumatic experience for the Sutherland children. It happened while I was trying to get everyone ready for bed. I was in the laundry room searching for Tate's pajamas when the power went out. Tate was crawling around in the adjacent family room, Curtis was up in the kitchen, and Paige was in the bathroom.

When it went black, it went pitch black. My first thought was, "Oh crap, I've lost Tate." Luckily, he managed to find me and about two seconds later he was pulling himself up on my leg. Curtis wasn't hard to find as immediately started screaming hysterically. Paige was surprisingly calm in the darkened bathroom upstairs.

Even with flashlights in hand, Curtis continued to freak out. Paige calmly explained to him that "monsters don't exist and when you think you see them, it's really just the shadow of a regular object." (Thanks, TV.) But he would not be consoled. "Turn the light on, Dad. Turn it onnnnnn!"

Luckily, the lights came on a minute or two later. Curtis calmed down pretty quickly but then Paige decided to change her story.

"I was wrong, Dad. There were monsters downstairs. They do exist." I would normally indulge her in such a conversation but Curtis was standing there and getting upset again. "There's no monsters, Paige! They don't exist!" he countered.

"Curtis, Paige is just pretending," I assured him. "Monsters aren't real."

Then Paige kicked into overdrive. "Yes, they do, Dad. They do. Why won't anyone believe me? This is horrible. My spirit feels horrible." (Thanks, church.)

That's when I looked at Tate and silently thanked him for not being able to speak.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Spinner Becomes the Next Jimmer

Jimmer Fredette's sister lives in our neighborhood. While I was watching a Kings game on TV, I said to Curtis, "Do you see that guy? That's your buddy Jason's uncle. He's a professional basketball player."

Paige, never willing to be left out of a conversation, replied, "Dad, you like to play basketball. Maybe if you keep practicing, you can be a professional basketball player."

Hear that, Jimmer? You better watch your back.

Monday, January 09, 2012

The First Kiss

When Paige's first boyfriend was eaten by wolves, I was hoping that she was done with boys forever. No such luck.

We were in the car the other day when she said to me, "You'll never believe what happened at school."

"Oh, yeah," I replied, only kind of paying attention.

"Deacon kissed me!"

"WHAT?!!!!!!!!!!!" I was now paying full attention.

"He kissed me."

"Why did he kiss you?"

"Because he loves me soooo much."

I tried to keep it cool. I didn't want to let her know that I was rattled.

"So, did he kiss you on your cheek?"

"No, on my lips."


A few days later, I decided to bring it up again.

"Paige, you shouldn't let boys kiss you. Only dad."

"Why?" she asked.

"Because boys are gross and toot and stuff."

"And say naughty words," she added.

"Yeah. So if Deacon tries to kiss you again, you just say, 'No way, Deacon. You're gross.'"

She seemed to be okay with that. I'll take that as a verbal contract that is valid until her wedding day.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Ooh, She's a Little Runaway

My ward started holding a "how to raise your kids" class during Sunday School. This is a good thing for a guy like me who has no idea how to raise kids.

The timing of the lesson on "life stages" couldn't have come at a better time. Learning that around age 6, kids start threatening to run away made me feel a little bit better about the day I'd had before.

The Day Before...

Christmas decorations are just too tempting. I asked Paige (repeatedly) to leave the little porcelain nativity scene on the shelf, but she just couldn't help herself. Within two seconds of touching it, she had dropped and broken poor, unsuspecting Mary.

Before I even said anything to her, she looked at me and said sternly, "Dad, I'm not in trouble," She then stamped her and declared, "I'm out of here!"

More silence from me as she put on her coat.

"I'm going out in the cold," she said, in most dramatic fashion.

Curtis and I watched out the window as my six-year-old left to face the cruel world.

About a minute later, she came back. "Dad, I'm not coming back until you apologize to me."

"Paige, I'm sorry that I got upset with you. But I really need me you to listen to me when I ask you not to do things."

"Daaaad. I'm leaving. I'll come back when you give me a real apology." And off she went again.

I imagine this would have gone on all day, but I had leverage on my side.

"Paige, you're welcome to stay out there, but if we're going to be on time to your friend's birthday party, you're going to have to come back in."

Reluctantly, she gave in.

By the time she came home from her birthday party, filled with sugar and armed with a gift bag full of princess trinkets, all was forgiven.