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.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Sunday Night Special

My arm has now been in the toilet twice tonight, once to retrieve a bouncy ball, once to retrieve Donald Duck. Thank you, Curtis.

NYC Day Four: Yom Kippur at David Letterman

Monday in the city was the final sprint on our four day whirlwind. We headed to Midtown to drop our luggage off at Noah and Allison's work and then went across the street to Rockefeller Center. Rather than stand in the megaline at the Empire State building, we took in a similar view from Top of the Rock. (Well worth the $20/person ticket.)

We then clocked in the only real shopping of the entire trip, about an hour at H&M. Traci was satisfied.

Armed with a couple of bags of clothes, we headed toward The Late Show. We stopped at the Stagecoach Deli, just around the corner from the Ed Sullivan Theater. We got two lousy half sandwiches, two Cokes, and some ornery service for $30. Boo.

We checked in at Letterman (stood in line for a few minutes, got our tickets, stood in line a few more minutes, and were then told to come back in an hour.) We went to Times Square to kill some time and were pleased to find that we were right in the middle of Turkish Days.

Back at the Late Show, we again stood in line out on the sidewalk while the interns worked to get us excited and ready to unleash riotous laughter and the hint of any joke. ("If a guest says something that you think might be funny, pretend it's the funniest thing you've ever heard." I feel bad for the audience who laughed a few days later when Dave made his unfunny announcement.)

I loved everything about Letterman. Once escorted into the much-smaller-than-I-expected Ed Sullivan Theater, we were warmed up by pre-show comedian, the Late Show Band (minus Paul Shaffer, who was celebrating Yom Kippur), and and this old school clip of Dave Letterman working at Taco Bell.

Right before the taping began, Dave came out for about two minutes to chat with the crowd. The show took off from there, running like a well-oiled machine. I laughed from start to finish (Traci told me to not laugh too much as "She wanted to watch the show, not be on the show." I refrained from doing anything stupid, for which Traci was grateful), from the opening monologue, through the not-so-interesting guests (Felicity Huffman, Dr. Oz). As avid fans of The Hills, Traci and I were super excited about Brody Jenner reading the Top 10 list.

I even loved the Avett Brother's performance, and I am now in love with the title song from their new album. (As they started playing, with their banjo, cello, and cowboy getup, Traci turned to me and said, dejected, "This is what music sounds like now, huh?")

Just over an hour after the taping began, we were back on the street, pleased with the experience but a bit sad that it was time to go back home...

Saturday, October 03, 2009

NYC Day Three: Sabbath in the City

On Sunday we were back on our own again. To make it to our matinee of Traci's beloved "Bye Bye Birdie," we wouldn't be able to go to the Riley's ward in Harlem. Instead, we went to a ward at the Manhattan Temple. So we headed to the subway on a rainy Sunday morning.

Despite being in New York, and despite being inside of a temple, church was just church. Same fold-up chairs in the overflow section and same Mighty Lite tables propped up against the back wall. The biggest difference was that we were free to watch people wrestle with their kids rather than wrestle with our own. After the meeting, we changed our clothes and snuck back out into the city.

Everyone asked where we ate while we were in New York. Well, the Sutherlands just aren't culinary experts. Case in point: between church and "Bye Bye Birdie" we stopped at the McDonald's in Times Square.

Our first Broadway play was no disappointment. Traci squealed in delight as she saw her high school theater days come to life on the big stage. I perked up momentarily when sassy Gina Gershon was in a negligee for a split second. We both got a kick out of Uncle Jesse's (aka John Stamos) squeaky voice and flubbed lines.

After the show we met up with the Rileys for a Sunday afternoon stroll through Central Park. As the Rileys took us off the beaten path and through the misty foliage, it was more like we were wandering through the forests of "The Princess Bride" than walking through the middle of the city.

Back outside of the park, we walked around the Upper West Side, past the Guggenheim, The Met, and all throughout Gossip Girl territory. (You can actually pay to go on a Gossip Girl bus tour. Traci says she would have been game had we been staying a few more days.)

The rest of the evening was spent having dinner and conversation with the Rileys. Not a bad way to end a Sunday.

NYC Day Two: These Boots Were Made for Walking

Of our four quick days of vacation, day two was our favorite. After treating us to homemade crepes, Noah and Allison took us all the way down to Brooklyn. We briefly walked around the "Art Under the Bridge" exhibit (where we learned that a chubby naked lady sitting in a see-through tent is art) and then across the bridge itself. Though it took some concentration to not get run over by cyclists or run into the back of tourist groups, the views from the bridge were awesome.

From there, Noah and Allison thoughtfully toured us through the lower half of Manhattan; Allison handled the navigation while Noah wowed us with all of the factoids he's gathered from his "Skyscrapers" coffee table book.

We wandered through Tribeca, Little Italy, and Chinatown. After a stop for lunch (Sal's Pizza in Little Italy), we continued through SoHo, Washington Square Park (where I tried to join the hackeysack team), and the West Village (I think).

It was nice to get away from Midtown's mass of people and see the parts of the city where it would actually be cool to live. We can't thank Noah and Allison enough for showing us all the places we would have missed had we been on our own.

Our favorite spot was High Line Park, an old elevated train line that was recently converted into a urban, hipster paradise park.

At the end of the line, the park drops down into an amphitheater of big steps, where you can seat in front of a Plexiglas window overlooking the street below. Now that's art.

We made it all the way to the Flat Iron Building before the Sutherland's feet gave out. We gave in and took the subway to Times Square where we viewed a real architectural feat, the combination of devil's food cake and cheesecake (Traci's dream come true) at Junior's.

From there, we headed back to Harlem. We stopped by the Seinfeld cafe and then headed to the beloved H&M. (It was quite a contrast to be on the hip hop streets of Harlem one second and in the gay disco of H&M the next. And to make things even better, of course the elders were there, looking for new scarves.)

By the time we made it back to Casa de Riley, we were exhausted from the day's awesomeness.