Saturday, November 24, 2007

Something for Those Quiet Moments: Ruminations on Missionary Music

After the Utes gave up a 40 yard pass on 4th and 18 I needed some cheering up. I found some solace in downloading some new music - The Hippos' self-titled, The Rentals EP and two Get Up Kids albums. The irony being that I don't think there is any group that makes me feel more sad than the Get Up Kids.

As the stream of consciousness continues, I am thinking about the contraband music I listened to on my mission. There was a Virgin Records by our apartment in The Hague (I'd never seen a Virgin Records before) that had a big going out of business sale. Even though we weren't allowed to listen to music, I thought it a shame to pass up such great blowout prices. I picked up a copy of "Something to Write Home About" by the Get Up Kids, even though I'd never heard the band. The artwork, the name of the band, and the name of the album were so awesome that I couldn't pass it by. Like a good boy, I refrained from listening to it until I got back to America.

I would say, all things considered, I was pretty good at abiding by the no music rule. However, here were a few that slipped by the goalie:

Something for those Quiet Moments Mixtape

What a funny mission memory. I was at a zone conference in my first area. I'd only been in Holland a few weeks. I was happy to learn their was a fellow punk rocker in my zone, Elder Josh Ligairi. (Ligairi somehow managed to keep his tongue ring a secret his entire mission. He even created a new way of laughing that kept his tongue hidden. Huh, huh, huh, huh.)

I was in the church bathroom when Ligairi approached me. He slipped me a cassette tape and then disappeared. I shut the stall door and inspected the booty. It was a mixtape titled Something for Those Quiet Moments. Ligairi had included hits by all of the punk rock legends - NOFX, Bad Religion, Millencolin, MXPX. I put the tape into the pocket of my suit and went back to the conference. I felt like I was walking around with a dimebag of marijuana.

Many months later I finally listened to the tape. I think I only listened to it once or twice, but the memory of Ligairi sneaking it to me was priceless.

Ace of Base and the 5BX

Even though he's not a Mormon, my friend Rhett was super supportive of my mission. One day, a couple of months into my mission, I got a package from him. It was an Ace of Base cd. Because my friends always teased me about liking the Swedish dance quartet, I was always too embarassed to buy any of their music. Rhett included a note with the CD: "I saw this in the $1 bin and thought of you."

The CD made its appearance 18 months later when I was introduced to the 5BX workout program. My friend Jonny Wix discovered a photocopied workout program in his missionary apartment called the 5BX (a cool, hip way of saying 5 Basic Exercises). Since we had all grown fat from eating french fries with mayonnaise for every meal, I asked him to send a copy to me and my housemates down in Antwerp, Belgium. Every night we'd do our exercise routine, which included some move where you lay on the floor and pretend to be a fish or something. The best part was that we all agreed we could only work out properly if we had some great work out tunes. Enter Ace of Base. Beautiful Life, Lucky Love, Never Gonna Say I'm Sorry, man, those are awesome songs. The rest of the album sucks, but those tracks were perfect for the 5BX.
The list goes on, but time runs short. Many great songs trapped in the time warp of '99-'01, but I guess it I'll have to save that for the next time I'm depressed about sports. There's a story about Enya and other New Age hits, a bad run in with Tom Jones' "Sex Bomb" and many, many more. I'd really like to write a book about my mission, but Traci ensures me no one would want to read it.

The Kooks - All That She Wants [MP3]
Ace of Base - The Sign [MP3]

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Two Years of This Kid

Today our little monkey turns two. Here's Paige through the ages:

Fresh out of the womb [Post 1 | Post 2 |

One year birthday party [Post 1 | Post 2 |

Halloween 2007

November 2007

Even after two years, we still like her.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

New Streetlight

Streetlight Manifesto just released their first-ever video - "We Will Fall Together" from their forthcoming album. I pre-ordered it and if all goes well it will be in my mailbox when I get home from work today. I've basically been waiting four years for this record to come out. Can't wait.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sunday Afternoon

Paige is looking happy in her church dress, but that's only because we're home from church.


So I went to the iFly Utah center on Friday. I had big plans of posting the video, but it wasn't that great. I wasn't really that great either. (I was certainly nothing like the promo video.)

Here's how it works. After watching a short instructional video, you get two one-minute sessions in the air tube with a flight instructor. The wind blows 160 mph and if you do things right, you'll hover anywhere from four to six feet above the ground. If you don't position your body right (like me), you spend most of the time being repositioned by the instructor and bumping into the walls.

While it was definitely a noteworthy experience to be pummeled by 100 mile winds, it wasn't really what I expected. I thought it would be more like the weightless feeling of riding a rollercoaster or bungee jumping. It just seemed like a lot of hard work.

At least I looked really good in my jumpsuit.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Get Your Wind Tunnel On!

Tomorrow afternoon I will be going to iFly in Ogden. I'm taking my camcorder. Hopefully I don't return with a video of me peeing my pants.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Thanks, Japan!

I was listening to the new Britney Spears CD on my way to work the other day (because that's just how I roll). I browsed through the liner notes and couldn't find one song that she actually wrote or even co-wrote. Though I have no way of knowing this, I would imagine that someone calls her up in the morning and says "Hey Britney, it's time to record an album." She rolls out of bed and drags herself to the studio where someone hands her the lyrics, teaching her the tune, and tells her how to sing it. She lays down the track. They auto-tune it and voila! a new Britney record.

It seems weird for a musician to be so disconnected or uninvolved with her own music. Its one thing to sing someone else's lyrics about universal topics like love or the dance floor, but it seems strange to have someone hand you the words you're supposed to be thinking. (i.e. "I’m Mrs. ‘Most likely to get on the TV for slippin’ on the streets/When getting the groceries, no, for real") Weird. It's also gross when mother of two sings "I just wanna take it off, I just wanna take it off." Leave it on, please!

All of this brings me to my experience with Japan. I ran into the myspace page of a Japanese artist called Alone Together the other day. I was interested in the piano protege vs. spastic japanitechno vibe but much more intrigued by this statement:

My wish is to have many people in the world listen to my music.
If you need my CD, please send an E-mail to myspace email or my hotmail.
I send CD for you.
A money is not necessary.
(If you write your address on an E-mail, I send a CD for you soon.)

So I sent my address. Just a couple of days later I got a package from Japan (the cardboard CD sleeve is shown above) with a personal note from Yuki himself. It's cool to see a guy who's willing to shell out shipping costs to anywhere in the world just so people will check out his tunes.

Yuki is a very talented artist. However, the EP felt the musical equivalent of those Japanese cartoons that give American kids seizures. I'd like to give it a few more spins, but I think I might turn into an epileptic. That said, I can't get enough of the opening track, Human Beings. Very Awesome.

So, Britney Spears, if you don't get your act together and work a little harder, this is going to be the new face of American pop music.

Human Beings [MP3]

Blah, Blah, Blah, and So Forth

The way Paige repeats words back to us makes me really wonder how we must sound to her. Most sentences start with a lot of unintelligible sounds and end with the one word we understand. Example: Garble, garble, noise, sound, "chair." That means either she's now sitting in the chair you just vacated (her favorite game) or she wants you to sit by her on the chair. Maybe that's why this video of this kid saying the blessing on the food is so incredibly funny to me. [Thanks, Brian.]

T-Shirt Hell

Traci and I have been in our new house for 4 months and we've probably only unpacked 3/4ths of our boxes. (Those boxes have just moved from the garage to the basement. We're not what you'd call, uh, "organized.") Realizing that I have more crap that any sane person would need, I'm trying to get rid of unneeded items.

I started going through my clothes last night. I have so many clothes. And it's not like I have good taste or anything, so it's just piles and piles of band t-shirts and ugly Old Navy jeans. (The fact that I refuse to try clothes on also results in a lot of items briefly worn and then shoved in drawers or closets.) I got rid of a few garbages worth of stuff and made another bag of band t-shirts that I don't wear anymore that I can't bear to get rid of.

My mom said that Danny Ulrich's mom is taking all of her kids high school sports t-shirts and sewing them into a quilt. My first response was "time to let go of high school sports." But then I quickly realized that would idea be great for a guy who can't let go of the memories of concerts and bands he liked in high school. So the big bag of t-shirts is going to my mom's where I need to trick her into helping me make a quilt. It will be the coolest rock 'n roll quilt ever.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Don't I Know You From Somewhere?

At the Jamboree Music Festival:

Traci and I were sitting on our blanket watching the boringness when a middle-aged lesbian sitting behind us as gets my attention:

MAL: You look really familiar. Are you on the news?

Me: Um, no. Not that I know of. (I decided not to recount the one time I hung out with Shelly Osterloh. Here and here.)

MAL: Oh, well, where are you from?

Me: [Skipping through all of the 'where could I know you from's] Where do you do your banking?

MAL: Uh, America First.

Me: I worked at Cyprus Credit Union for five years and usually that's where people know me from.

MAL: Oh, I have an account there. That must be it.

Me: Yep, that must be it.

I wonder how often news anchors are approached and asked if they are bank tellers.


The day after I got home from my mission I was I was meeting some friends at Temple Square. (Talk about nerdy and predictable for a returned missionary.) I could see two girls looking at each other and giggling.

Were they checking me out? Doubtful, I thought. As if on a bet, one of them approached me.

"Uh, hi, are you, uh, Lance Bass?"

"Sorry to disappoint you ladies, but you've got the wrong guy."

I wonder if people ever ask Lance Bass if he is the purveyor of the Sutherland Manifesto.

TV: Spencer vs. Traci

Shows that Spencer likes that Traci doesn't:

-Prison Break
-Gossip Girl

Shows Traci likes that Spencer doesn't:

-Scrubs (I even hate the theme song)
-Girls Next Door
-America's Top Model (Urge to kill Tyra Banks. Growing. Growing.)

Lame things currently on our DVR:

Legally Blonde the Musical (Traci)
High School Musical 2 (Traci)
Mad Hot Ballroom (Traci)
Gridiron Gang (Spencer)*
Step Up (Spencer)*

*I haven't watched either of these yet and I know Traci won't watch them with me. If anyone wants to come over, let me know.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

New Tracks on the Manifesto Radio

For a music snob such as myself, it was a bit embarrassing standing at the check out stand at the county library holding both a Sum 41 cd and a New Found Glory album. I don't know what inspired me to listen to NFG as I dismissed them immediately after I first heard them back in '01, but I wanted to hear Coming Home. I'm glad I did. I haven't stopped listening to it in a week, despite the worst lyric in the history of time. "You smell how angels oughta smell." Awful.

I've posted some new songs on the Manifesto radio (on the right side of the blog). I also love the new Motion City Soundtrack album, but that could change with more listens. For the time being, I think it's the best of their three releases. The new Iron & Wine will probably end up on my best of 2007 list.

Paigey Monkey

Couldn't have asked for a better Halloween. We were very worried that Paige wasn't going to wear her costume again (last year she was in her lady bug costume for about 2 seconds. To justify the purchase, we had my mother work a lady bug role into her version of the nativity) because she ripped it off the first time I tried to get it on her. But after she saw her best friend/nemesis cousin Ryan in his costume, she decided she could wear hers.

She chased her cousins from door to door during her first trick or treating experience. She would knock on the door (she only knocks once, despite always saying "knock, knock") and then with a bit of prompting say "tricktreat."

She loved carrying around her little pumpkin candy bucket. We eventually had to come back home when the bucket became too heavy for her to carry. She refused to let me hold it, so she switched to holding it with two hands, but then she'd fall over when she started running.

When we got back to my sister's house Paige would help answer the door when trick or treaters came by and greeted each one with "Hi guys."

Best. Halloween. Ever.

Circle, Square, Fruit Salad

In addition to loving animals, Paige also loves shapes. She can identify a circle, square, triangle, diamond, star, rectangle (pronounced 'rectal') and her favorite shape - oval. But for whatever reason, when she sees a crescent she says, "fruit salad!" Every time. And not just with actually toy shapes. She'll see a moon shape on a blanket or something and immediately say "fruit salad." And because she watches so much Wiggles, she'll often follow "fruit salad" up with "yummy! yummy!"