Wednesday, December 30, 2009

You can tell Paige has boy cousins...

"Dad, Great Grandma gave me a treat!"

"What was it?"

"A light saber."

That seemed like a strange present for an 85 year old lady to give a little girl. Then I saw the candy on the counter.

"Do you mean a lifesaver?"

"Yeah, a light saber."

Top Nine of '09

Here are some of my fav discs from the last year of the decade:

1. Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix.
The perfect mix of jangly guitars, fuzzy synths, and lo-fi grandeur. Just keeps getting better with repeated spins.

Phoenix - “1901″ [MP3]

2. Weezer - Raditude.
Weezer's best record since The Green Album. Perfectly poppy, with just enough punch.

Weezer- If You're Wondering if I Want You To

3. Matt & Kim - Grand. Rock 'n roll's smiliest couple grins from ear to ear as they pound their drums and keyboards. All attempts to refuse dancing are futile.

4. David Bazan - Curse Your Branches.
Former Pedro the Lion breaks up with God. Satan rewards him with the most compelling lyrics of his career.

5. Silversun Pickups - Swoon
. Everyone compares them to early '90s Smashing Pumpkins. I don't see the problem. Who didn't love Smashing Pumpkins back then?

6. Teenage Bottlerocket - They Came from the Shadows.
This Wyoming trio makes punk rock fun again, a la The Vandals, Screeching Weasel, or The Queers.

7. Telekinesis - Telekinesis!
This is the kind of indie rock that car commercials can't get enough of--oft soft, oft rockin', always about to be heartbroken.

Telekinesis - "Coast Of Carolina" [MP3]

8. Lily Allen - It's Not Me, It's You.
Ms. Allen is a spoiled brat celebrity, so much that's almost impossible to resist.

9. Dan Deacon- Bromst. This frenetic noise jumble may drive you batty, but if you can survive the insanity, it's a great ride.

And the Next Best Nine...

10. Say Hi - Oohs & Aahs
11. Strung Out - Agents of the Underground
12. Passion Pit - Manners
13. Left Alone - Left Alone
14. Iron & Wine - Around the Well
15. Bon Iver - Blood Bank
16. Banner Pilot - Collapser
17. Jimmy Eat World - Clarity Live
18. Prodigy - Invaders Must Die

Monday, December 28, 2009

Best of The Decade Coming Soon

I'm putting together a little Best of the 2000s list for IN. I figured I'd include 10 or maybe 20 of my favorite records of the decade. I wasn't too worried about choosing the "best" music, just the stuff that's meant the most to me. As I started browsing through my iTunes, the list quickly ballooned to over 50--and that was with me being picky. Anyhoo, I have to take a second to think through how I want to present it, but it should be ready soon. I think I'd forgotten how many albums I've fallen in love with in the past 10 years.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Nursery Blues

Why do I have the only kid in nursery who has to stand on his head during singing time and lead all the other kids to a head-standing revolution?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

How I Saved Christmas. Again?!

So, last year I saved Christmas. Unfortunately, the Christmas spirit didn't stick and, other than the neighbors across the street, we were the only ones in our circle to put up Christmas lights this year. However, there is one Christmas miracle worth noting.

For whatever reason, my parents bought all of us matching snowmen this year. Paige was, of course, ecstatic about this and asked me every day when I was going to put it up. I procrastinated and procrastinated until I was hammering in the last peg while the blizzard was approaching.

It didn't seem like it should be so complicated, but as the temperature dropped I was still fumbling with the cords and cursing at the pegs as two of them broke during assembly. Paige, my valiant helper, stood next to me the whole time, incessantly asking, "Is it ready, Dad? No, what about now? How 'bout now?"

Finally, the big moment came. I turned on the fan and watched the old guy inflate. It was to be so magnificent. But something wasn't quite right.

He was more of a hunchback than a proud snowman. Then he was leaning over. And then he tipped over completely.

The snow came and our little friend was soon buried under six inches of snow.

"Where's our snowman, Dad?" Paige asked everyday.

"He's just sleeping. Face down. Under a pile of snow."

I was beaten.

Or so it seemed.

With just a week until Christmas, I found my resolve. I dug old Frosty back up. (Putting a hole in his back in the process. But that's what duct tape is for.) After more hammering and a bit more cursing, the snowman was standing tall and proud.

Paige was pleased.

I was vindicated.

I saved Christmas. Again.

What Child is This?

Paige and I have been musical buddies for some time now. But Curtis, that's a different story. Last night I turned on the Nirvana Live at Reading DVD. He looked at it for a second and I could tell he was getting a little uneasy. He looked at me, looked at the TV, and then back to me again.


It's hard to resist those big eyes and that little voice.

We said goodbye to Kurt, Dave, and Chris and turned on Elmo.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Curtis Loves Christmas

Curtis clearly loved meeting Santa for the first time.

Christmas Music for Those Who Hate Christmas

If you cringe at the thought of going out in public during the holidays -- not because you hate throngs of people, just the horrible Christmas music -- I have good news. There is some holiday music out there that doesn't suck. It truly is a Christmas miracle!

Christmas Remixed:1 and 2 - Various Artists. Old classics by crooners like Andy Williams, Bing Crosby, and Dean Martin get remix treatment from Dan The Automator and friends. It doesn't take long for these old tunes to get old-school funky.

The OC Mix 3: Have a Very Merry Chrismukkah. Not only does this record include the best Christmas song of the past decade--"The Christmas Song" by The Raveonettes--it also proves that Wham's "Last Christmas" stops sucking when it's performed by Jimmy Eat World.

Maybe This Christmas: Volumes 1 - 3. The biggest indie stars of the mid-2000s--Death Cab, Coldplay, Pedro the Lion, and more--share their take on both traditional and original Christmas tunes. The auto-tune on Copeland's "Do You Hear What I Hear" sounded absolutely groundbreaking in 2004.

Songs for Christmas - Sufjan Stevens. This five-disc box set began as a yearly mixtape for Stevens' friends. Filled with both classics and his own songs, Sufjan's acoustic guitar, banjo, and sometimes full orchestra, make this an indie Christmas classic.

Oi to The World - The Vandals. Don't worry, Christmas haters. With hits like "A Gun for Christmas" and "Hang Myself from a Tree," The Vandals make sure that everyone has something to sing about during the holidays.

Like Father Like Son

Curtis takes after his old man. He's standing in front of the sink with his toothbrush in one hand and a potato chip in the other.

Monday, December 21, 2009

I'm in Love with Rihanna + This Week's Album Reviews

I'm in love with Rihanna (though I don't really like the new bowl cut she's rockin'). Not only is she gorgeous, but I can't get enough of her voice. Her chorus on Jay-Z's Run This Town is the best part of his new album and I still want to stand under her umbrella-ella-ella-ay.

I checked out her new album this week. It's okay-good, but after getting beat up by Chris Brown, she's more interested in making fight music than mega hits. Can't say I blame her.

Rihanna - Rated R
Miike Snow - Miike Snow
NOFX - Cokie the Clown

Friday, December 11, 2009

Dag Sinterklaasje, Dag, Dag Zwarte Piet

Every year I say I'm going to celebrate Sinterklaas, but then I end up being too lazy to actually do anything about it. But not this year. Sinterklaas officially made his first trip to the Sutherland home.

Sinterklaas is the Dutch precursor to our beloved Santa Claus. (Note: all of these details are likely incorrect, as I don't really know what I'm talking about.) He comes on a boat to Holland from Spain in early December with his little helper Zwarte Piet and then on December 5 he visits everyone's house, bringing presents for good little boys and girls.

What makes Sinterklaas better than Santa Claus is that instead of just giving naughty kids a lump of coal, Zwarte Piet smacks the bad kids with his chimney brush, shoves them in a bag and takes them away to Spain. (Which doesn't seem like such a bad thing in the middle of the winter.)

Anyhoo, though our festivities were meager, we managed to cobble together a few Dutch traditions for the big day.

Oh, the Oliebol

On Friday night, Traci found a recipe for oliebollen (direct translation: oil balls), a Dutch treat that's only available during holiday season. It's just a giant hunk of dough, fried up and dipped in powdered sugar.

We were wise to do our Fry Daddy-ing in the garage, as it certainly stunk up the joint. It was well worth it. Dee-licious.

Our Wooden-less Shoes

Little Dutch boys and girls put their wooden shoes by the chimney before they go to bed. Sinterklaas then comes down said chimney and fills the shoes with treats.

We have neither chimney nor wooden shoes in our home, but we did stick our Vans by the front door. We left some carrots and celery in Paige's shoes as a gift for Sinterklaas's horse. Paige found this strange, but participated nevertheless. She also wrote a brief, but poignant letter to the Sint (kort maar krachtig, hoor).

"Dear Santa. Love Paige."

Succes! Het is Gelukt!

Though we certainly didn't adhere to strict Sinterklass protocol, the Big Guy found still managed to find us. Come morning time, he had taken the vegetables for his horse and left a poem (in our handwriting) and a chocolate letter for each of the kids.

Paige seemed pleased that Sinterklaas had been to our house. Curtis was happy to walk around the house with a giant letter "C" hanging out of his mouth. I was happy that we now have a new family tradition for the 5th of December.

Piep, piep, hoera!

My Streaming Heart is Broken

Stupid Myspace ruins everything. I headed over to my fav music streaming site to post some tunes on the blog when I noticed something different. It wasn't there anymore. Instead, I was redirected to crappy Myspace. Apparently, Myspace has purchased imeem and is in the process of wrecking it.

So I'm now searching for a new streaming solution. is okay but I like to listen by album. Any suggestions?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Johnny Tightlips Receives Rave Review

We had band practice tonight for the first time in at least a month. (While I waited for Danny and Aaron to arrive, Curtis happily pounded away at the drums. He was very upset when the dudes showed up and I had to kick him out of the band. )

It felt good to pound through the setlist again. And we didn't sound quite as rusty as we'd expected. After we finished up, I asked Paige for some unbiased feedback.

"Paige, how did band practice sound tonight?"

She looked at me and then paused as she thought for a second, choosing her words carefully.

"Pretty cool."

Best. Compliment. Ever.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

More Record Reviews - Letting Up, Dashboard, Joshua James

Sooner or later I'll get back to blogging. Until then, here's this week's record reviews:

Letting Up Despite Great Faults - S/T (Highly recommended)
Dashboard Confessional - Alter the Ending
Joshua James - Build Me This

Letting Up - In Steps [MP3]

Monday, December 07, 2009

Thursday, December 03, 2009

The Charmer

We're watching our friends' two little girls. Curtis is impressing them with his fake burps. He's a real ladies' man.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Teaching the Law of Tithing to a Nine-Year-Old Girl

Missionary: So it says in this scripture that God will open up the windows of heavens to us. How many blessings do you think that is?
Kid: Uh, a crapload?
Missionary: That's right. A crapload.

Enter: Crap Bag

A few years ago, my sister always referred to her house as "crap bag." This was curious given that she has a nice house. Now I understand. Her kids were the same age then that mine are now. The constant cleaning that is instantly destroyed could not be more frustrating. It takes more than an hour to put things together before we go to bed and 5 minutes to destroy everything when they wake up. I live in crap bag.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Turkey Trot

While I'm waiting for the opportunity to get fat, Traci is running a 5k. You go, girl.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Thanksgiving Miracle

How's this for a faith promoting story. Nine years ago, I was living in Antwerp, Belgium, preaching the Good Word.

My companion and I shared an apartment with two other missionaries. There were four sister missionaries serving in the city as well. Our very nice ward mission leader (much nicer than me, the lousy ward mission leader), knowing what Thanksgiving means to a bunch of American kids far from home, invited us to his house for a full Thanksgiving dinner.

Folks in Antwerp rarely fed us, not to mention full American dinners. So we couldn't have been more excited. I was so excited, in fact, that I totally spaced the standing dinner appointment that we had every Thursday.

I hated to call and cancel, as the couple were so nice to us. But we couldn't miss our Thanksgiving dinner, right? I made the call.

"Hi, uh, about this Thursday night..."

"Oh, Elder, Thursday night is going to be great. I'm preparing you an extra special meal."

Extra special? She fed us the same thing every week--one full rotisserie chicken for each of us, complemented by a plate of french fries. (Belgians eat french fries with every thing, thus making it the best country in the world.) What could be more special than that?

I chickened out. And then I lied.

"Oh, great. I just wanted to see if we could bump our dinner up an hour. We've got a teaching appointment at six." We never had teaching appointments.

"Sure, no problem."

Big problem. She fed us enough food to kill us. How could we possible eat one ginormous dinner and then go straight to an even bigger dinner?

I prayed.

So what does God do to lying missionaries?

We ate the chicken. We ate the french fries. It was delicious. We drove to dinner number two.

And here's when the miracle happened.

We were right on time for the dinner. But we were the only ones. When I asked our hosts if they had heard anything from the other missionaries they told us there was a tram strike. Having to take the bus would make them at least an hour late.

Just enough time to digest and prepare for second dinner.

Prayers are answered.

A Thanksgiving Miracle.

Monday, November 23, 2009

In this week in In This Week

Here's what I had to say to my hanging-around-bus-stops-and-looking-for-something-free-to-read audience this week:

Feature: Christmas Gifts for Music Lovers
Review: Fanfarlo - Reservoir (Recommended)
Review: Megadeth - Endgame
Review: Why? - Eskimo Snow (Recommended)

These Hands - Why

Friday, November 20, 2009

Review: Weezer Raditude

So here's the deal. Ever since Pinkerton (or maybe The Green Album) every Weezer fan has asked, "When is the good Weezer coming back?" After three straight sub-par releases, you'd think we'd just give up. Oh, no. We always just think it's going to be the next one.
But it happened. Despite its unfortunate name (coined by Dwight from The Office. Really.), Raditude is really good.

Over the years, I've spent more than a healthy amount of time trying to figure out exactly what it was on those first two albums that's Weezer's been missing since. The easy target is always the lyrics. Sure, Pinkerton had plenty of awesomely introspective moments, but really Rivers Cuomo has always written boppy, non-serious tunes.

The bigger problem has been the music. The Green Album was solid start to finish. But it was like Cuomo had taken all the heart out of the songs. Just simple, straight forward chords, and catchy choruses. But no personality. Nothing that made the songs uniquely Weezer. It's gotten worse ever since.

The Blue Album
had its harmonica ("In the Garage"), finger picking ("Surf Wax America"), and best-basslines-ever ("Only in Dreams)." Pinkerton was all over the place. Crazy guitar solos, moog, "El Scorcho." It was perfect. (And, more importantly, is just as good today.)

Raditude is still a far cry from their first two records, but the songs are really solid. (The only dud is the bunch is "In the Mall.") They do a great job of mixing things up--hip hop, Bollywood, The Cars--even if they're all just standard pop songs.

So, the old days are gone. But Good songs are good songs. Weezer fans have stuck around because all of their records have at least had a few of 'em. Fortunately, we finally got record full of 'em. Hooray.

Weezer - The Prettiest Girl in the Whole World [MP3]

Recent Bookworm-isms

I am certainly no Traci The Librarian, but I've been quite the little reader lately. I offer my recent reading list as a help to those who are looking for something to read, but who know absolutely no one who reads books, and therefore, have no choice but to trust my horrible taste in literature.

Longshot by Lance Allred
The subtitle (The Adventures of a Deaf Fundamentalist Mormon Kid and His Journey to the NBA) pretty much says it all. If you are curious about polygamy, college basketball and/or the horrible, horrible way Rick Majerus treated his players, you should find this pretty interesting. I'd highly recommend this one.

Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby
I've read much of Nick Hornby's stuff and this pretty much falls in the middle. The story keeps you interested throughout, but doesn't really have much of a payoff. I don't regret reading this, but wouldn't have been sad had I missed it. (I highly recommend his young adult novel "Slam!" Think "Juno" from George Michael's perspective.)

Punk Rock Dad by Jim Lindberg
is the (up until a few months ago) lead singer of Pennywise. So of course I needed to check it out. Not extremely well written, not always interesting, but as opposed to Juliet, Naked, really comes through in the end. You can help but feel for a guy when he gets recognized by a checker at the grocery store, only to have a basket full of tampons, men's hair die, and enemas in his hand. Fatherhood (and adulthood in general) can be hopelessly uncool.

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
The Lost Symbol is exactly the same as the DaVinci Code, which was the same as Angels & Demons, etc., etc. But why mess with a winning formula? The only surprise was that I spent a chunk of the book wondering if Dan Brown is actually gay, given his extremely detailed description of the antagonist's physical appearance and showering routines.

Eating the Dinosaur by Chuck Klosterman
I spent the first chapter thinking this was going to be the first Klosterman book I didn't like. Fortunately, he quickly turned things around. A great collection of random essays on Kurt Cobain vs. David Koresh, The Unabomber, and why Weezer fans hate all new Weezer albums, it was like this book was written just for me. So if you're me, you'll love this one.

Lil Wayne Can be My Sugar Daddy

A few months ago, I jokingly asked if I was gay for Lil Wayne. Though I believe the answer was "no," I may reconsider.

I was reading an article about Rivers Cuomo in Rolling Stone today that mentioned Weezy's verse on Weezer's song "Can't Stop Partyin.'" Apparently, Wayne's standard rate for a song cameo is $75,000. That's almost $10,000 for each bar. I think I'm in love.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Politely Asked to Leave

Our little Tinkerbell turned four yesterday. She's not only been counting down the days until her birthday, but also informing us of all the things she'll be able to do when she's older.

"When I'm five, I'll cut Curtis's hair with those clippers."

"When I'm seven, I'll put lots of salt on your salad."

"When I'm 16, I'll drive that car."

"When I'm 20, I'll eat my beans."

But as a four-year-old, she's already becoming pretty independent. Yesterday, I went up to her room to play with her new Animal Hospital with her. After a few minutes she asked me, "Dad, is your tummy a little hungry?"

"Um, I don't think so. Is your tummy a little hungry?"

"No, my tummy's not hungry."

I noticed she'd just been holding her toys the whole time I'd been in the room with her. "Do you want me to go downstairs so you can play by yourself?"

"Uh. Yeah."

We've had three good years together. Now she's done with me.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Her Name is Jonas

Paige and I have listened to the new Weezer album about a thousand times. I just walked by the bathroom and I heard a little voice singing "I can't stop partyin' partyin.'" Rivers Cuomo would be so proud.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Disappearance of Simon Snake and the Return of Marvin Mouse

If there's one thing I'm good at, it's being manly. A few weeks ago, I went out into the front yard to turn off the sprinklers for the year. I opened up the box and was a bit shocked to see a snake curled up around the valve. I may have released a little squeak, but I think I kept my cool pretty well. (It was just a little garter snake, but still.)

So what did I do in this situation? Well, the manly thing, of course. I went in and told Traci.

"What are you going to do?" she asked.

"Ah, I'll just give him some time."

We went out and ran some errands and then I checked on him when we got back. He was still on the valve, though he'd uncurled a bit. I decided to give him some more time.

A few hours later, he was gone. I closed the valve as quickly as I could, in case he decided to reappear and attack me. Traci came out to check on me and said, "I want to see him...AHHH! I'm stepping on him!"

As startled as Traci, little snakey slithered off into the leaf-filled lawn.
Traci thought she saw a mouse in the garage a few weeks ago. I told her she was seeing things. When she found the mouse pooh everywhere, I was slightly more convinced.

Yesterday, she came running into the house. "The mouse is in the garbage can in the garage!" By the time I got out there to look, he was gone.

"He was standing right there on top of those bags!" To make sure he wasn't hiding, I took the can out of the garage and dumped it on the driveway. Sure enough, a cute, beady-eyed little guy shot forth and ran across the front lawn. See you around, Mr. Mouse.

I guess we were better friends than I thought. I just went to get something out of the garage. I heard some rustling, looked in the garbage can, and once again saw my little friend. I had no problem shooing him on his way yesterday, but today, in the blowing snow, I had some second thoughts.

Should I let him stay in the garbage can? Should I find him a cage and let him live in Paige's room? Should I smack him with a shovel?

I once again dumped the garbage can on the driveway and let him run off into my backyard. I'm sure I'll be seeing him again.

Friday, November 13, 2009

May I Recommend...Fanfarlo

These guys are playing in Salt Lake tomorrow. If you're looking for something to occupy a Saturday night, I recommend checking them out. (You can read my not-really-that interesting interview with drummer Amos Memon here.)

Their debut release, "Reservoir," is on my list of favorite new albums. It sounds like they heard Arcade Fire's "Funeral" and immediately decided to start a band. If you love the parade of instruments--mandolin, saw, viola, clarinet--and the not-so-great-on-purpose indie singing, you'll enjoy this one. Plus, the band wears suspenders and is very British-looking.

Take a listen here -

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Daddy-Daughter Rock 'n Roll

Best. Musical. Experience. Ever.

To get a little natural reverb on the vocals, I moved my recording stuff into our bathroom for an afternoon. I'd been in there about two seconds before my curious little fans were knocking on the door to see what I was up to.

I could see that Paige was very concerned. She doesn't like things to be out of place and she's currently not a fan of microphones. She immediately said, "No, dad. That's very much too loud."

I explained that it would actually be really quiet, because we'd just hear the microphone through the headphones. Slowly, she eased back into the room and eventually she put on her pair of headphones. She watched as I started recording some vocals.

I could see in the mirror that she was starting to bop her head along to the beat. Next thing I knew, she was singing along (making up her own words and melody). When I played back the recording, I noticed a little angelic voice singing backup. I couldn't have been more pleased. I'll guess she'll be getting publishing rights now.

Breaking Up with the Hills

She did it. She actually did it. After threatening during every episode of five straight seasons, Traci has officially cut The Hills out of her life. I am now a lone man, watching it all on my own.

Of course, I had my doubts about the post-Lauren Conrad Hills. But I've been pleasantly surprised.

Less Lauren = more Audrina, Lo, and Stephanie Pratt, which is bad. There is also some intense boringness with Heidi and Spencer (though his cowboy hat could have its own show, costarring Charlie's mustache).

Kristin Cavallari is a million times more entertaining than LC, there's more room for Brody to start girl fights and conveniently walk away, and Justin Bobby gets to have lots of different hairdos. I'm content.

But Traci has moved on. One can only hope that our television paths will cross again.

The Dora Dog is Back

After a trip through the dishwasher, he's back in action. Curtis had thrown it in the toilet. His aim was even more impressive, given Paige was sitting on it at the time.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Family Pictures

My friend Brian was nice enough to take some pictures of my family last weekend. Here's how Curtis felt about it.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Stickin' it to Chastity

So after much reworking, I got my lesson all ready and catered to an adult audience. I walked into the classroom and one of my class members said, "This is my 16-year-old sister. She's visiting today." D'oh!

So I went to Plan B, Aaron's made-for-seminary approach:

"You could always put a piece of candy in your mouth and then spit it on the ground and say 'Who wants it now?!'"

No. I didn't. I actually don't really remember what I rambled on about. But nobody got up and left class early, or worse, asked me where babies come from. So I guess it was okay. The real test now is whether they come back to class next week.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Remember When I Got $2 Haircuts at SLCC?

When I worked at SLCC, my office was right below the cosmetology department. When I'd walk out to my car there would always been a bunch of girls walking around with their bag full of heads. When one fell out of the bag it was always a little creepy.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Gettin' Down With the Law of Chastity

I have to teach the dreaded Law of Chastity lesson in Gospel Principles class on Sunday. The last time I had to teach this lesson was to the Young Men just after Paige was born. Here's how I decided to teach it.

I asked them all how much money they made at their little after-school jobs. Then I told them how much we paid in medical bills for Paige's arrival. I then divided that amount by their minimum wage earnings and told them how many hours they'd have to work to pay for a kid. And then, if they weren't scared enough, I told them about what witnessing childbirth was really like. Are you ready to be a dad? If not, no sex. I think I scared them straight.

But I'm teaching this lesson to grownups. How do you scare grownups?

Blog Wankery

I spend entirely too much time messing around with this stupid blog--changing settings, adding pointless crap, etc. A few weeks ago, I took a bunch of time to add the little Twitter widget to the right sidebar. The thought was that I could have a place for Manifesto readers to see the dumb status updates that I put on Twitter and Facebook. Then I realized it was just posting my same blog posts. Blarg! (Or, as Paige would say, Darg!) So I've wasted some time getting it fixed. (If you're reading this in Google Reader, you can add to your feed. If you dare. Ah, wah, hah, hah.)

I'm still not sure why I blog. I believe it's always had something to do with keeping a journal-ish story of my life. But I doubt that when I'm 80 I'm really going to care to read all of my old record reviews. So the little Twitter feed will allow me to post links and songs and generally unimportant stuff that I likely won't feel bad if I don't print off and shove in a book for posterity's sake. And it will allow me a place to write Traci's snarky comments as we watch The Hills together (though, since the laptop is breathing its last breath, I don't know that I'll generally be typing while watching TV. Oh, the humanity.)

So, anyhoo, on the banality.

New Reviews: Tegan & Sara, Avett Brothers, Steady Machete

Tegan & Sara - Sainthood
The Avett Brothers - I and Love and You
Steady Machete - Riots

The Avett Brothers played Letterman the day we were there.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

It's 1994 Again!

I went to Best Buy tonight and bought NEW music by both Nirvana and Weezer. Suddenly, I'm back in junior high again. I love this crazy time warp.

Thanks, Charlie & Lola

Paige is now speaking to us in a British accent. "Mum, would you like some tea and a biscuit?" Charming.

Monday, November 02, 2009

David Bazan and Say Hi

David Bazan

Tonight's show was amazing. But, believe it or not, the best moment was performed by neither of these bands. The highlight came from the high school kid standing in front of me with the big, boofy 'fro.

During David Bazan's customary Q&A session, the kid raised his hand and shouted to David, "Do you have a beard for your name? I mean, do you have a name for your beard?" Obviously embarrassed, he turned to his friend and said, "Oh, man. Memory FAIL!"

Thank you, failblog, for your contribution to pop culture.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Who Wore it Better?

Today it was Curtis's turn to wear Paige's old monkey costume. Who looked better? You make the call.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I Do Not Often Get Flipped Off...

...But there have been times. The most memorable experience was certainly at my bachelor party when Jason Cruz, lead singer of Strung Out, flipped me off from the stage. (I know he was flipping me off because, for some reason, there were literally only a dozen people at the show.) Though I don't particularly like being flipped off, in punk rock terms, it's kind of like a compliment.

I had the chance to do an interview with Jason last week. I didn't ask him why he flipped me off seven years ago. My guess is that he's flipped off enough people in his lifetime that he probably doesn't remember that particular one-finger salute.

It was cool to talk to him. You can tell by his lyrics and stage persona that he's no cuddly bear, but he was certainly nice and thoughtful in his responses. I could tell from the conversation that he is 100% emotionally invested in his songs, which I think is pretty admirable after playing in the same band for two decades.

I'm pretty excited to see the show tomorrow night, as I haven't seen the band live since the day I was flipped off.

You can read my Strung Out article here.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Paige's Rock 'n Roll Heart

Lately Paige has been noticing her heartbeat, or heartbeep, as she calls it. Yesterday, after running around the living room she said, "Dad, listen to my heartbeep!"

I went over to her and put my ear up to her chest. "Wow, that's loud. It sounds like a kick drum!"

"No, dad. It's not a kick drum. It's a guitar."

Paige. My own little Joan Jett.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Good Kind of Snow

As predicted, the snow is falling in Salt Lake City today. I'm trying to cheer myself up with this ditty by a happier kind of Snow.

Miike Snow - Animal

And if that one doesn't do the trick, this one is sure to make you feel better.

Snow - Informer

Monday, October 26, 2009

Big moment. David Bazan interview on Wed. He's near the top of my interview wish list.

Song of the Day: God Made the Automobile

Apparently, the beautiful fall weather is going to give way to winter tomorrow. This Iron & Wine song seemed like a fitting piece for the season.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Little Kitchen

Paige and I are playing "Little Kitchen." She's making me ketchup-milk. It's disgusting, even in pretend.

Pre Kids

Paige and I were having some bonding time, sitting at the computer looking through Traci's Facebook pics. We came across this one. I was amazed by:
  1. The fact that it's now been five years since I've been to Holland.
  2. There was a time when Traci and I could go on a 10-day vacation and only have to ask our family to pick up our mail.
I've been trying to figure out a way to take the family to Holland for a month next summer. But after flying to California with one kid last year, 12+ hours of travel seems next to impossible.

Sleepy Kids

Random thoughts from the New York trip.

It was tough four us to leave the kids for four days, but it was party time for them--two days at each grandma's. But I do believe that it threw their internal clocks off a bit.

On Sunday evening, Traci called her mom to check up on everyone. It was around 6 o'clock, Utah time. Traci's mom said, "Does Paige ever take naps in the afternoon?"

"Not really."

"Oh, well she just fell asleep on the kitchen table while we were eating dinner. Do you think she's down for the night?"

"Uh, no."


Curtis was also a bit worn out. The day after we got back, Traci sent me this picture. In the middle of playing, he just ran out of juice.

Having fun all the time is a lot of work.

And here's the other kid.

Curtis says, "Stop hassling me, Dad."

Thursday, October 22, 2009

CD Reviews: Tiesto, Paramore

Tiesto - Kaleidoscope
Paramore - Brand New Eyes

Recent Twittering

  1. And you forgot to cross your fingers. Rob Zombie just got rescheduled...AGAIN.
  2. Listening to the Phoenix remix album. It's reminding me how perfect the original is.
  3. After three failed attempts, cross your fingers that I'm really talking to Rob Zombie in 10 minutes.
  4. I've got nothing but nice tings to say about Cincinnati.
  5. I want to hate the new #BrandNew but I just can't do it.
  6. @MIkeDoughtyYeah Here's my review of the new record.
  7. @strungoutmusic. Here's my review of the new record. Love it.
  8. @Maeband. Here's my preview of your upcoming Salt Lake City show.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Almost There

I made it through the work part of my work trip. Now it's just 8 hours of travel back home.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Hello Carson Palmer. Hello Chad Ochocinco

I went to my first regular season NFL game today. (I went to a Cleveland Browns preseason game in 1992. It was cool; Huey Lewis and the news played a concert at the end.) Our work hosts hooked us up with tickets to see the Bengals play the Houston Texans. They even gave Kaleb and I each a Bengals jersey. I felt like a true fan, decked out in my Chad Ochocinco jersey.

I was very excited to go. I figured that we’d be way up in the nose bleeds, but I was cool with that, given that it would likely be my only chance to get to an NFL game. Nope, we had fourth row seats, right on the 50 yard line. Amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever even been that close for a Utes game.

I had a great time. Our hosts had said, “The game’s get pretty cra-zay.” This was not the case; probably because the Bengals didn’t play very well and probably the expensive seat folks aren’t as rowdy as the upper deck crowd. It was just a laid-back, sunny day at the football game.

Bengals game.

50 yard line. 4th row. You can't see it, but I'm wearing my new Chad Ochocinco jersey.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

First Night in the ‘Nati

Wicks' Sweet Ride

I love the ‘Nati. I spent five hours this afternoon seeing the sights with Wix. I’m not really sure what all I saw, but it was a great time. After visiting the Wicks home, we checked out the old railroad station-turned-museum, drove around the University of Cincinnati, and drove through the poor parts of town and the rich parts of town. (Of course we drove around in Wix's 1954 Chevy Pickup. The highlight was when the hood flew up.) We stopped at the Skyline Diner to eat the famous Cincinnati chili and bought some CDs at Shake It, the best record store in town (despite kind of a lame name).

We headed across the Roebling Bridge, the precursor to the Brooklyn Bridge, to Kentucky. We walked across the Purple People’s Bridge, saw a memorial for the guy who invented the Tommy Gun, watched a lot of middle-aged women go to a witch party, ate some great ice cream with some nuns, stopped into a Hot Topic, and spent the 30 seconds before closing in a cathedral built as a Notre Dame replica.

A ghostly me from the Kentucky side of the river.

What else is there left to see? And I’ve still got two days here!

Back to Eastern Daylight Time

Downtown Cincinnati

Just three weeks after making it to the East Coast for my first time, I’m back in a foreign time zone. My friend Kaleb was nice enough to drag me along on a work thing, so I’ll be spending the weekend here in Cincinnati.

Our eight-hour journey began when Kaleb picked me up at 4:30 this morning. It has included:
  1. A trip on a teeny Air Canada plane (and you know how I feel about Canada), where Kaleb and I were asked to move from our first row seats to fill in some empty spots in the back during takeoff because the plane was “a little front heavy.”

  2. A three-hour layover in Denver, where we passed the time watching some episodes of Arrested Development on the laptop.

  3. Two-and-a-half relatively uneventfully hours from Denver to the Cincinnati airport.

  4. A taxi ride from the airport in Kentucky to the hotel in downtown Cincinnati, one of only three taxi rides I can remember taking in my entire life. (The driver texted the whole time.)

  5. I’m now hanging out at the hotel, waiting for my friend Wix, who is now a Cincinnati native, to come pick me up. I have absolutely no idea what tonight has in store.

Travel Woes

I like to think that I like traveling. I have always thought that if I were wealthy, I would rather spend money traveling than on an extravagant house or car. But I’m not so sure.

I’m both happy and grateful that I’ve been able to do a little bit of traveling for my job. Growing up, the Sutherlands never vacationed beyond driving distance, save one flight to L.A. So I’m trying to take advantage of the chance to see some places I otherwise wouldn’t.

But I start missing my family even before I leave. The days leading up to the departure are spent feeling guilty for leaving Traci on her own and it makes me feel sad to say goodbye to the kiddos.

And then there’s the fact that I find everything about airports incredibly stressful. It drives me crazy that after packing everything up so nicely, everything has to come right back out again when you hit the security line.

Once I get to wherever I’m going, I spend the majority of the time worrying about how to get from A to B and back again. Maybe I don’t think traveling is that fun after all. I guess I’ll buy a big house.


Who knew there was a 4 in the morning? Heading out to catch a flight to Cincinnati. Gotta make it to Denver first. Hope I see John Elway.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Future of All My Musical Ventures

I'm quitting Johnny Tightlips immediately to pursue a career only using the Stylophone Beatbox.

Thanks, Matthew Brown.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Everything's Coming Up Millhouse

Went to the gym at lunch today and what was on TV? (Well, what did I find on Soap Net?) The OC. And not just any episode, the series finale. I choked back the tears as Seth and Summer tied the knot while I ran on the treadmill. Best day at the gym ever.

Thursday Afternoon Mixtape

Here are some selections from stuff I've been reviewing lately: Brand New, Mike Doughty, fun., Imogen Heap, Lymbyc Systym, David Bazan.

Manifesto 10.15.09

Let me know if you like any of it.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Pose-Off

So here's the deal with Traci and bodybuilding. Traci's little brother is always up to one scheme or another. His latest venture is the one that makes the most sense--trying to get his own personal training/nutrition counseling business off the ground. So it made sense that he was working out a lot more and paying extra attention to his diet. I was, however, a little surprised when he said he was training to compete in the Mr. Utah bodybuilding competition.

So he's been doing all of the crazy things that one does to get their body down to 3 percent body fat and ready to strut around in a blue, crushed velvet speedo. A few examples:

Having a personal spray-tan technician come to the house to spray him down in his shower.

Making me spend two hours taking all the swears out of an Eminem song so he could pose (not dance, like I kept saying) to it.

And saying things like this. "Duh, mom. Of course I can't have a diet coke. I'm on so many fat burners that if I add any more caffeine to my body my head would explode."

I've got to hand it to him. He stuck to his insane diet, dropped 20+ pounds, lost a bunch of inches, gained a ton of muscle, and competed. He ended up taking first place in one competition and second in the other.

Traci was a supportive sister and went with her parents to ALL FOUR HOURS of the competition. She kept sending me texts with messages like "So. Much. Posing." By the time she got home, she'd seen every muscle (and body part) imaginable and has now decided that she, too is going to become a bodybuilder.

Unfortunately, no pictures of her brother because Traci kept taking pictures by using the video feature on her phone. Whoops.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Traci's New Friends

While I was home with the kids last night, these are the folks Traci was hanging out with:

Jay Cutler

Heather Armbrust

It's a wonder she came back home at all.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Where is My Wife?

It's Saturday night and all is quiet. The kids are in bed. I'm in my comfy pants. But where is dear Traci? She's been at a men's bodybuilding competition for the last four hours. Will she ever come back home?

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Call Me Sporty Spice

Played more sports today than I have in years. First a game of kick ball and then some touch football. It was more fun than I thought it would be, but now every inch of my body hurts. How old am I? 50?

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

NYC Day Four: Going Home

We couldn't have asked for a better trip and that was thanks entirely to our wonderful hosts--letting us sleep on their floor, eat their food, talk their ears off, ask them 10 million questions.

As if they hadn't done enough, here was their last act of kindness before we left. Knowing that we'd be pressed for time to get from The Late Show to our flight, Noah offered to bring our luggage from his work (where we'd dropped it off in the morning) to the subway stop outside the Ed Sullivan Theater. When I asked him how he'd drag both of our suitcases across town he said, "Oh, I'll just make my coworker help me. He owes me." The coworker would then stay on the platform with the luggage and Noah would come up and find us.

When we got out of the theater, I had a text that said, "I had to come alone, meet me in the subway." Noah had lugged all of our stuff--up and down a million stairs--by himself, just to save us a little bit of headache.

I'd like to say that this was because Noah likes us so incredibly much (which, of course, is a true statement) but the reality is that he would do this for anyone, simply because he's a great guy.

So we met him in the subway. He gave us both a big hug, got us on the train, and sent us on our way to the airport.

The End. Almost.

I was feeling pretty confident that we were going to make our flight. All we had to do was to make it to the Air Train, and then to our terminal. Fortunately, we were on a new train, one with an electronic board that showed the stops. I noticed that our stop wasn't on the board. I knew we were on the E Train like we were supposed to be. But for some reason it seemed to following the F route. This train would not get us to the airport. Uh, panic time.

Against all of my instincts, I asked for help. Random lady across from us was nice enough to get us off at the right stop to transfer to another E. We made it the Air Train. We made it to the terminal. We made it to our flight. (And then we sat on the tarmac for an hour for whatever reason. Oh well.)

JetBlue is nice because every chair has its own TV. The TVs have regular cable, which is great because I could spend most of the flight watching Monday Night Football. I was also able to watch the episode of Dave Letterman I had just witnessed live a few hours earlier. Surreal. But just as funny as I had remembered the first time I watched it.

We were on our way home. Certainly excited to see the sleeping kids (we didn't get home until after midnight) but already sad to say goodbye to the City.

Wonderful trip.