Saturday, September 29, 2007

September Consumption


The National - Alligator
Get Up Kids - Guilt Show
The Chinkees - Searching for a Better Future
Mum - Summer Make Good
Hot Hot Heat - Happiness Ltd
Kanye West - Graduation
50 Cent - Curtis
Up Up Down Down Left Right BA - Worst Band Name Ever

Thursday, September 27, 2007

They Made Frogs Smoke Til They Exploded

Múm - "They Made Frogs Smoke Til They Exploded" [MP3]

Here's a strange musical tip from my friend John. It's your run-of-the-mill ambient Icelandic 8-bit rock combined with some fairly disturbing imagery. It's a great pick me up when you're working at Insurance on a Thursday.

Functioning Shower?!

I tried my luck with the work showers again this morning. Hot water! Hooray! I never wanted to get back out. But it sounds like there's a chance I may actually be able to start showering at home again.

The home warranty repair man is at our house right now. He said that the water heater was not the problem, but some archaic valves in the shower. ("I thought I'd never see one of these again.") He was able to track down the part and is now making the reparation.

Could it really be? A functioning shower with water pressure and hot water for the Sutherlands? Cross your fingers.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Still Deaf

So I went to "real" doctor. He looked in my ear and said with congratulations, "That's the worst ear infection I've seen in a long time." So I guess the week of antibiotics didn't do much. Now I'm on a different prescription. I asked him when I was going to be able to hear again and he said it might be two more weeks. While I was sitting in the waiting room the nurse was standing in doorway saying something over and over. I finally looked at her at said, "Are you saying Spencer?" She was. I guess I'm deafer than I thought.

Morning Whine

I've been having a rough go of it lately. The house - the new house is a never-ending torment, the most annoying of which being the lack of water pressure in the showers. We're talking a drizzle here. Shampoo in, no problem. Shampoo rinsed back out, better stick your head in the sink.

We finally got the pressure problem fixed and thought life was great - until we turned the shower from cold to hot. Back to the drizzle. So now we're waiting to (hopefully) get the water heater replaced, which is under our home warranty.

Since it is gone from summer to winter here in the past three days, the cold shower in the morning is quite unbearable. Today I decided I would just go to work early and shower in the locker room. There's never a shortage of hot water there. Until today. I stepped in, got 30 seconds of hot water and then coldsville. Oh, the irony. I could've had a cold shower at home and avoided the awkwardness of seeing my coworkers naked.

After a week of antibiotics, I'm still deaf in my right ear. I feel like an old man because I have to ask people to talk into my good ear and lean in real close. I think eventually Traci is going to stop talking to me completely to avoid my incessant "Huh?"s. I've given in and made an appointment with my "real" (see also full price) doctor for later today. We'll see if he can fix me.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Jonny Wix & The Ear Explosions

A couple of years ago, my friend Jonny Wicks told me the following story (I'm sure the facts aren't exactly right, but here's how I remember it):

He was in a hotel with his wife in Cincinnati while they were scouting colleges. He said his ear started hurting incredibly bad and there was nothing he could do to ease the pain. Because he didn't have health insurance, he decided to just tough it out.

The only thing that made him feel better was standing in a hot shower, so he basically spent the whole night under the water. And that's when he heard the pop. He said a small piece of skin shot out of his eardrum, releasing all of the pressure in his ear as well as a steady stream of blood. He finally gave in and he and his wife headed to the emergency room.

I've had a cold for the past week. It started as a nasty sore throat, moved on to sinus congestion and, two days ago, moved into my ear. Because I didn't want to pay my doctor $75 to tell me that it would go away on its own, I tried to just ignore it.

By Monday night, it was hurting me so bad that I figured I had to go to the doctor. So around midnight, I decided to go to InstaCare. I looked up the phone number online and saw that they closed at 10 p.m. (Which I should have known, since I am the one who maintains the InstaCare info on SelectHealth's website. Duh.) So I looked for other options. I couldn't find anything that was still open. Traci recommended going to the nighttime place she had taken Paige last year, but couldn't remember the name. So at 12:45 a.m. I got in my car and drove to Murray - only to find that the place had closed. I came back home, couldn't sleep, and watched Prison Break and The Royal Tenenbaums. I fell asleep around 4 a.m.

I went to the doctor in the next morning - the ExpressCare in the Smiths. The pregnant, Asian nurse didn't speak great English, but she was very nice. The examination went along just fine, until she looked in my ear. "This is very, very bad. Your eardrum not supposed to look like that. Almost ruptured." She told me the thing was going to explode at any moment. She warned me not to blow my nose and certainly not to take a shower. Thoughts of Wicks went reeling through my mind.

So I've been taking my antibiotics and I still feel like crap. Two of my three sisters have told me their horror stories of the earache that would never go away, but I am crossing my fingers that I feel better by tomorrow - and that my ear doesn't blow up.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Honey Baby

Today Paige started called me "honey." Now if she's looking for me I'll hear "Daddy? Honey?"

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Jamboree Music Festival

Traci and I spent 8 1/2 hours watching 4 hours of music at the Jamboree Music Festival at Thanksgiving Point on Saturday. Some thoughts:

The Aquabats

Lap steel guitar is the new Moog, which was the new horn section, which was the new - I don't know - three-headed guitar monster. By the time we had sat through three alt-country bands (Piebald, Limbeck, Cub Country), I couldn't believe how excited I was to see the Aquabats take the stage.

I know I just dissed them, but they really put on a good show. I solved the mystery of what they do with the old songs now that they've dropped the horn section from the payroll. For the most part, they just power through the ska songs, just using the keyboard. But on a few songs, such as Super Rad, the keyboard player just busted out his sax-a-ma-phone and handled the brass parts himself. Pretty impressive.

The So-Cal superheroes were up to their usual antics. They led the crowd an oath, declaring this the best day ever and renaming Thanksgiving Point "High Five City." This resulted in two pilgram-costumed men (the founders of Thanksgiving point, of course) coming on stage to challenge the name change. After an exciting battle, the Aquabats were victorious.

The Aquabats were also the only band of the day to get the entire crowd on its feet. No one wants to miss two six-year-old crowd members have a crowd-surfing race will sitting on blow-up swimming pool dragons.

The music wasn't half-bad either. I am really starting to dig on their latest album - the Aquabats vs. punk rock, plus Reel Big Fish-style vocal harmonies - "Charge!" More than anything, it was nice to hear something upbeat after all of the sullen acts that proceeded it.

The Format

The chance to see The Format was the motivating factor for getting the Jamboree tickets. This was the first time either of us had seen them and I wasn't really sure what to expect. Their album Dog Problems has been on constant rotation in my car for about a year. I was skeptical that they would be able to recreate the very orchestral sound of the record live, but was pleasantly surprised. The two man studio band becomes a six piece live band, with - at any given point - three keyboards, three guitars, a saxophone and a fugelhorn. The poor Thanksgiving Point soundguy couldn't keep up with all of that, but I could imagine how all those things were supposed to sound.

The Jamboree was The Format's last performance of a monster 55-date tour. After a year-and-a-half of nonstop touring, they were heading home to Arizona to write a new record. The band looked pretty road ragged, but sounded tight. I was surprised by the even distribution of songs of both of their two albums. I doubt all of the teens and pre-teens screaming for them had heard much of the material from Interventions and Lullabies, but what do I know? I didn't realize every little girl in Utah County loves The Format.

The forty-minute set was 20 minutes too short. I would have liked to hear Dog Problems in its entirety, or at least been able to choose which songs they played off of it. (We didn't get "Time Bomb" or "Inches and Falling.")

Toad the Wet Sprocket

Basically sucked. Fear is a great record. I had my mind made up that they were going to show up and say, "We're just going to Fear straight through." Not so. There was one of Glen Philips' solo songs. A couple of songs sung by the guitar player (Does he sing?) and a bunch of songs I didn't recognize. Not wanting to feel out of place with all the lap steel, I guess, they invited a friend up to play slide guitar for a few of their songs.

Philips seemed to be resentful toward the teenage crowd. ("This next song is dedicated to your parents, since most of you were probably in the womb when it was popular.") As far as can remember, Toad broke up because they hated each other. Now that they're back together for financial reasons, and it still seems like they don't really like sharing a stage. It felt like a band who was refusing to just play the nostalgic hits, but who didn't have enough chemistry to move forward with compelling new material.

We were thoroughly unimpressed.

Dashboard Confessional

After sitting in the same location for nine hours, the 45 minute wait between Toad and Dashboard was unbearable. Not because of anticipation, but because of frustration. Even though we spent a day away from our child, the parenting responsibilities couldn't be pushed aside. Dashboard didn't go on until almost 10:30 (the show was supposed to end at 10:45). We were only able to see three songs, before it was time to make it home in time to apologize for far overstaying our babysitting welcome. Those three songs, however, were filled with plenty of crowd singer/swooning. Part of the long set up time included the roadies putting up big wooden boxes on either side of the mic stand so Chris Carabba could stand high above the crowd and mouth the words while the adoring girls screeched them back at him.

In the End

The show itself was underwhelming, but it was a beautiful day to sit in the sun and listen to music. More than anything, it was a chance to spend 10 hours of alone time (alone meaning hanging out with 3,000 people and not with our kid) with Traci.

Matthew Myrup Loses Kid

Spartan alum Matthew Myrup lost his kid in the Uintahs. But he got him back, so that's a good thing.

Here's the story.


I think kids (or at least little girls) are born knowing how to talk on a phone. We gave Paige a little red old school telephone rattle when she was really little and even though we have never had a phone that looks that, she somehow knew that she should hold it up to her ear.

Now whenever she gets her hands on a phone (or anything that looks like a phone), she'll put it to the side of her head and say, "Hu-loh." Then she'll babble some stuff and say "Bye," and put the phone down on her leg.

I've noticed lately Paige doesn't even have to have a phone to talk on one. If I just hold my hand up to my ear say "Hu-loh," she will immediately do the same.

Yesterday I was giving her a bath and she really cracked me up. She found the little plastic cover to one of Traci's razors and put it up to ear, "Hu-loh." It made me think of that part in Zoolander when Derek gets the call on his tiny cell phone and answers, "God?"

I unsucessfuly tried to find the clip on YouTube. Fortunately, I did find Traci's favorite part, the gas fight.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Johnny Acousticlips

The Johnny Tightlips debut CD, that I have been procrastinating about for the past year plus, is now on hold until I get enough of the new house unpacked that I can start recording again. In the meantime, Aaron and I recorded acoustic versions of a few of our songs. We sat in my concrete, unfinished - and thus acoustically outstanding, basement and recorded mic-less into an MP3 recorder. You can find "Airport Song" and "Heart on Fire" over at the JTL website.

New Music

New songs and artists are now up on the Manifesto Radio (on the right hand side of the screen). More thoughts to follow...

The Return of the Aquabats

At this very moment, I have not one, not two, but four Aquabats CDs in my car...and I don't even like the Aquabats! Traci and I are going to the Jamboree Music Festival this weekend because we we want to see (in this order) The Format, Toad the Wet Sprocket and Dashboard Confessional. Despite the fact that they don't fit in at all musically, the Aquabats are also on the bill. That's what happens at Utah County shows - there's always room for the Aquabats.

I haven't listened to the Aquabats since 1997, but I figured I'd give 'em another spin to see if maybe they sounded better to me now. So I went to the library and checked out all four of their albums. Within about 15 seconds I was thrust back to high school, crammed into Colin Lewis' mom's minivan (Colin was wearing his Bat Cadet costume) going to see the Aquabats. By 20 seconds in, I realized that I didn't like the Aquabats then and I still don't like them now.

I loved third wave ska. I still think that Catch 22's Keasbey Nights is one of the best albums of all time and periodically I have to listen to The Hippos. However, the whole genre was tainted by two problems: childish lyrics and horrible vocalists. I can handle stupid lyrics, no biggie. But bad lyrics combined with bad singers is too much. I guess if I had ever been really into comic books or dungeons and dragons it would be more fun for me. I've never liked They Might Be Giants or Devo and I don't like the Aquabats.

I am curious as to why on their latest record, the Aquabats have ditched their horn section. It made sense that in 1999, as third wave was ebbing, they moved away from straight ska to Oingo Boingo-style rock. But it's strange that now that they have found a new generation of high school ska fans, they would shift to a leaner sound. Maybe it costs too much to tour with such a large troupe.

So in just a few days, I will close my eyes, skank to the Aquabats, and pretend I'm in high school again.