Friday, December 31, 2010

Shopping at the pretend grocery store at the West Valley Rec Center.

Best Music of 2010

As is always the case, I find an album that I get excited to put atop my Best Of list, only to discover that it was released the previous year. So, before I start, let me give a little shout out to the 2009's "Weathervanes" by Freelance Whales, the album that I loved the most in 2010.

And now back to the list for this year, though I'm sure I left some things out.


Best repeat listen 
Tokyo Police Club - Champ
Long a fan of Tokyo Police Club, I was disappointed with the almost childlike feel of their new record. But when I saw them perform the material live, my mind was instantly changed. I have been singing "Favourite Colour" ever since.
Favourite Colour

Best 32 minutes of getting yelled at
The Thermals - Personal Life 
Shouty and brash, the best albums by The Thermals always feel like a pummeling. The band has smoothed out some of the edges over the years but "Personal Life" still operates in verbal attack mode.
Never Listen to Me

Best invitation to the dance floor
Taio Cruz  - Rokstarr
Taio Cruz may need some spelling lessons, but he's teaches the class on getting the party started. "Rokstarr" is textbook good times -- big beats, bigger hits, and an ultra-trashy duet with ultra-trashy Ke-dollarsign-ha.

Best turning of that frown upside down
Rogue Wave - Permalight
Rogue Wave is usually so delightfully melancholy. "Permalight" shows the band is just as impressive when they channel their efforts into upbeat, danceable indie rock. 
Solitary Gun

Best solo album that sounds like a full-band album
Brandon Flowers - Flamingo
It's a bit softer and a bit twangier than a Killers album, but Brandon Flowers brings the same knack for high drama and catchy hooks to his debut solo release. 

Best local band hitting the big time
Neon Trees - Habits
It's great to have known them as a local band, but it's even more exciting to see our very own Neon Trees hit the big time, with huge singles "Animal" and "1983." 

Best hip-hop crossover
B.o.B. - The Adventures of Bobby Ray
Mr. Ray is just as comfortable gettin' down and dirty with rap heavy hitters like T.I. and Lupe Fiasco as he is singing with Paramore's Hayley Williams or Weezer's Rivers Cuomo. 
Magic (feat. Rivers Cuomo)

Best getting back to basics
Alkaline Trio - This Addiction

This may not be the best record Alkaline Trio has put out in the last few years, but it's nice to hear them strip some of the goth away from their once-raw sound.
American Scream 

Honorable Mentions

Motion City Soundtrack - My Dinosaur Life
Streetlight Manifesto - 99 Songs of a Revolution: Vol. I
The National - High Violet
Matt & Kim - Sidewalks
Jimmy Eat World - Invented
Gaslight Anthem - American Slang
Four Year Strong - Enemy of the World
Deftones - Diamond Eyes
Bad Religion - The Dissent of Man
Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
Apache, The - Apache, The 


Best thing to come out of Utah County
Drew Danburry - Goodnight Dannii
The curiously titled "Nirvana, by Kurt Cobain" is not about Nirvana or Kurt Cobain. But both the band and the deceased icon should be pleased to be connected to such a beautifully sad song about giving your love to music and not getting any in return.
Nirvana, by Kurt Cobain

Best use of a Rihanna hook
Eminem Love the Way You Lie
Rihanna is the best part of any song. She's even better when she's teamed up with the only artist in a more dysfunctional relationship than herself. (Second best use of a Rihanna hook; Kanye West, "All of the Lights.")
All the Lights

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Ah, the Google Search

Of course, one of the best reasons to have a blog is Google Analytics. What's more fun than seeing reports of where your visitors are coming from and what they're searching for?

For years, the search that brings the most folks to the Manifesto is some variant of "Shauna Thomas Fox 13." (It's usually something like "Shauna Thomas Nude," "Shauna Thomas Softcore," etc.) Clearly there are still a lot of people interested in the former morning reporter's role as "Party Girl #3" in Bikini Hotel. (See the original post here.)

But I just ran across another search tonight that's waaaay on the other end of the spectrum - "law of chastity gospel principles lesson." I'd forgotten about this post called "Gettin' Down with the Law of Chastity." I hope the poor Googler didn't go then on to read my next post called "Stickin' It to Chastity" where I offered up this gem:

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

I don't think the lesson would have gone over real well.

Though I am flattered that my post shows up on the same page as links to, LDS Living, and the School of Abraham, it's kind of a buyer beware situation. Sorry, internet.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

In Order: Nirvana Albums

At age 12, my musical world was forever shaped by Mr. Cobain. Though I don't spend a lot of time listening to Nirvana these days (though I did recently commission Ty to get me a bunch of the Outcesticide bootlegs--thanks, Ty), I still happily get sucked in to reading every Kurt Cobain book that gets published.

As an aside, if you haven't checked it out, I'd highly recommend the documentary About a Son. After watching it, I finally let go of my Courtney-killed-Kurt beliefs. And it made me incredibly sad. ["An intimate and moving meditation on the late musician and artist Kurt Cobain, based on more than 25 hours of previously unheard audiotaped interviews conducted with Cobain by noted music journalist Michael Azerrad for his book Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana."]

At any rate, here's how I would rank Nirvana's proper releases:

In Utero

I would rank the live stuff thusly:

MTV Unplugged in New York
From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah
Live at Reading

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

So What? I'm Still I'm Rockstar.

Paige used to tell me that she wanted to be an astronaut when she grew up. Now she says she wants to be a singer. Women. Always changing their minds.

Seeing that she refuses to let me even take her picture, I had to be super sneaky with the video camera to capture this performance of her reworking of "So What?" by Pink.

I must admit, she's not kidding when she declares, "I've got my rock moves."

Monday, December 27, 2010

Reviews: Kanye West, Kid Cudi

I was very much looking forward to Kanye's Beautiful, Dark, Twisted Fantasy, thinking it would be his greatest masterpiece (though it would be hard to beat 808s, which I found amazing). Alas, it was not nearly as dark or twisted as I had hoped for. For all of the work he put into it, much of the record falls flat for me. (Read my full review here). Nevertheless, there are definitely some moments of awesomeness.

Make sure to check out All of the Lights (feat. Rihanna) and Runaway.

I also gave a listen to the new record by Kanye's protege Kid Cudi. After a great debut, Man on the Moon II is a real drag. There was very little that I loved here (see full review) but I do like the moody title track Mr. Rager.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Weezer - Jamie

I was more interested in watching the Weezer show than recording it, but when they busted out Jamie (one of three b-sides including You Gave Your Love to Me Softly and Susanne) and Rivers came into the crowd right in front of us, I figured I best get out my Flip camera. Here's a few seconds of the song.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Sometimes your bathroom sink is filled with monster trucks.

In Order: Weezer

I've obvs. been thinking a lot about Weezer lately. Here's how I'd rank their albums (best on top):

Pinkerton (1996)
Blue Album (1994)
Green Album (2001)
Raditude (2009)
Make Believe (2005)
Red Album (2008)
Hurley (2010)
Maladroit (2002)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Best Part of Coming Home from Vacation

I tucked Paige into bed my first night back from New York. I heard her softly say, "This is best day ever."

"Why is this such a good day?" I asked.

"Because you're home from your vacation."

Melts a dad's heart (not unlike a blue sucker).

In Order: Television Comedy

Of shows I currently watch on TV, I would rank them thusly, in terms of funniness:

1. Modern Family
2. 30 Rock
3. The Office

Keep in mind, we're talking this very moment, not historically or collectively.

Strangely, the order changes when I rate on the order in which I enjoy the shows:

1. Modern Family
2. The Office
3. 30 Rock

Comedies (excluding The Simpsons) have a short life-span. Generally, by the third season, most of the good stuff has already been squeezed out. Hence, the perfectness of Arrested Development.

*As an aside, I really tried to like Community, giving it a shot for almost the entire first season. Just can't get into it. I love The Soup. I loved the episode with Vaughan, the boyfriend with small nipples. I even like the girl who plays Annie (mostly because I like her as Trudy on Mad Men). But all the parts just don't form a whole for me. There, I said it.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

In Order: Cake

If I were to rank Cake album's in order of how much I like them (favs on top), I'd have to say:

Fashion Nugget (1996)
Motorcade of Generosity (1994)
Comfort Eagle (2001)
Prolonging the Magic (1998)
Pressure Chief (2004)

Cake is a band I like, but not one I spend a ton of time thinking about. As I look over their discography, I'm reminded that other than the solid-throughout Fashion Nugget, the makeup of most Cake albums is half great songs, half so-so songs.

Nevertheless, I anxiously await the arrival of Showroom of Compassion next month.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Ice, Ice Baby

I think I overestimated how good of an ice skater I was 8 years ago--the last time I wore a pair of skates, or 20 years ago when I took lessons at Murray Park.

I struggled just to stay upright at Central Park, but it was still a great time. And talk about a magical afternoon. I witnessed both a marriage proposal and an 8-year-old's birthday party.

I have no photos of these events, due the no-cameras-on-the-ice policy. Ty may have some. He got busted not once but twice for exposing his contraband picture machine. It's a miracle he didn't get us kicked out of the rink (or New York City itself).

Memories Make Me Want to Go Back There

The Weezer show was everything I could have hoped for. Sooo good. They started off with a "time machine" set--rockin' hits from each of their albums, starting with "Memories" and working their way back chronologically. (Standouts were the three b-sides You Gave You Love to Me Softly, Susanne, Jamie.)

Pt. I was high energy and fun--Rivers running around in the crowd, etc.--followed by an intermission, where long-time manager Karl showed a slideshow of band memories (awesome).

Pt. II was all business.

They played Pinkerton in it's entirety, without saying a word. It was straight-forward, note-for-note, and perfect. Every song was amazing and, just like the record, got even better at the end.

When they reached Butterfly, I still wanted more but knew there was nothing left. Rivers apologized. In song. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorrr-er-y."

And then to walk out of the club after an amazing show and into the lights of Time Square? Pretty amazing.

(Best. Christmas present. Ever. Thank you, dear wife.)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

I just paid for a coat check for the first time in my life. This concert better be good.
I'm on my way to 1996. I hope it's as good as I remember.
I am about to pay 21 dollars to ice skate in Central Park.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Office...Live

After Tim and I spent the afternoon shopping, Ty arrived from PA. We met up with Ty's buddy and Noah for dinner and then went to a comedy show at the Upright Citizens Brigade. We were pleased to see that Gabe from The Office was part of the improv team. He's a lot funnier and swearier in person.

Let's Hear It For New York

We were on the subway from the airport and of course the first song we heard was "Empire State of Mind."

The second subway train we rode had some sort of vomit on the floor.

Let's hear for New York, New York.

No Sleep Til Brooklyn

I cannot sleep on airplanes. It is 2 in the morning, I have watched two hours of Mad Men and still nothing. Oh, so tired.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Feels Like Christmas Eve

Traci bought me the best Christmas gift of all time - tickets to see Weezer in New York. And this isn't any just any Weezer show. They are playing Pinkerton in it's entirety. Could I ask for anything more? I don't believe so.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Hey Josh McDaniels, I Feel Ya

Much like the ailing Denver Broncos, I was not able turn the season around this week. I am now 1-13.

Q&A with Santa Claus

Old Saint Nick made a guest appearance again this year at the Primary Christmas party. In the past, Paige has wanted nothing to do with the guy (other than freely accepting his gifts, of course).

This is the first year that Paige has gone to the party unattended, so when I picked her up, I was curious to see how it went. I was able to gather that she did, in fact, sit on Santa's lap and that she asked for a Tinkerbell doll. But I didn't get this part of the story, which was delivered to Traci by one of the other moms.

Apparently, when she got on his lap, she put Santa on the hot seat.

"I just have one question," she said. "Why are elves invisible?"

Santa didn't address the why as much as the how.

"They wear invisibility belts."

Paige was content with the answer.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Song of the Day: The Kooks - Sway

Generally, not a fan of whiny British voices. But the Kooks have got everything I need. Seriously, so good.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Music Reviews: Matt & Kim, Weezer

Matt Kim - Sidewalks

Matt & Kim, aka the happiest couple in rock ’n’ roll, have always loved to get down. At the end of each show, they ditch their punk rock keyboards and drums, turn on the drum machine, and come out in the crowd to get the dance party started. “Sidewalks” is like the soundtrack for the afterparty. The record, the duo’s third, was made for the club. The hooks are as catchy as ever, but this time around, the usual bare-bones arrangements have been injected with a heavy dose of production — most notably huge hip-hop beats. There a bunch of great songs here (“Block After Block,” “Cameras,” “Red Paint,” “Wires”), but the record’s glossy sheen smooths out many of the wrinkles that make this band so fun to listen to. These songs will likely play better live, when they’re stripped down to the simple keyboards and drums that have induced booty-shaking for the past half decade.

Rating: 3 of 4

Weezer - Death to False Metal

You best watch your step or you’ll trip over a new Weezer album —the band has put out four in the past three years. “Death to False Metal” is a collection of newly recorded, old material. With any b-sides disc, you expect a few things: One or two good songs, some OK stuff, and a few weird ones. Probably the biggest disappointment with “False Metal” is the lack of the last category. The record begins with two catchy toe-tappers (“Turning Up the Radio,” “I Don’t Want Your Loving”) before falling into the formulaic mediocrity that has plagued each of Weezer’s past few records. It would be nice to hear some grand gestures, even if they were great disasters —just to know the band is still trying. Unfortunately, the only deviations from the norm are the slightly nu metal “Everyone,” the trudging cover of Toni Braxton’s “Unbreak My Heart” and the spacey “Autopilot.” Still, there are a few rough gems (check out the moody “Trampoline”) and, for a b-sides album, that’s all you can really ask for.

Rating: 2.5 of 4

Thursday, December 09, 2010

"You're Just Not Good at Fake Sports"

That's what my friend (and Fantasy Football league commissioner) Kaleb told me when I when I dropped to 0-8 this season. I thought the ninth week would be my week. It wasn't. Or maybe week 10 or 11. They weren't.

13 was, in fact, my lucky number. I am now 1-12-0.

What a turnaround! And I made it without having to fire my coach mid-season (though I hope it works for my beloved Broncos).

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Internet Counseling

There's not a whole lot of sibling love at the Sutherland home right now. It's to the point where I was just thinking I should look to the internet for help--maybe Google something like "fighting kids help." But then I was wondering if I'd get a bunch of pages helping me fight kids. (A skill I may need, if I can't get things worked out between Paige and Curtis. Curtis can already take me down, if I'm not watching.)

The Triumphant Return of Max Power

Baby number 3.
I tried to convince Traci not to find out if it was another Paige or another Curtis.
She agreed to the plan.
But I knew she's never go through with it.
Ultra sound.
"Yes, of course, we'd like to know what kind it is."
Another Max Power.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Letter to the Big Man

Dear Santa,

Here is what I want for Christmas. I want a new DS because we don’t have a DS yet. Some paper because we don’t have any paper to use. I want the Sorry game. And for Christmas I want a Tangled movie. You are good at giving presents to every kid who is good. Giving presents to the kids who are good is your job.



Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Do I Love America? Do I Love Barack Obama? Do I Love Chia Pets? You Betcha.

I do love America. And this may be the best commercial in the history of liberty and justice.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I am Mitchell, the Gay Guy from Modern Family

Apparently, we share the same brain. And use it to plot the death of the Dora the Explorer.

MITCHELL [on being a stay-at-home dad]: I am losing my mind. As much as I love Lily, which is more than life itself, I am not cut out to be a stay-at-home dad. But, you know, it’s Cameron’s turn. It’s Cameron’s turn to be out in the world. Interacting with other grown-ups while I get to stay at home and plot the death of Dora the Explorer…. [Under his breath] I’d fill her backpack with bricks and throw her in the Candy Cane River.

Friday, November 26, 2010

What Do They Say? The Best Things in Life are Something, Something...

For all of the joys of Disneyland, the kids had just as much fun--if not more--during our visit to Laguna Beach. (I, however, was disappointed that I saw characters absolutely no characters from my any of the seasons of Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County. Kristen? LC? Talon? Where are you? )

This was the first time either of our kids had seen the ocean. They both loved it. Curtis was content to spend his time away from the water, busy with his shovel and bucket. But with the help of her cousin, Paige was more brave. The girls would wait at the edge of the tide until the water hit their toes and then run off in a cloud of squeals.

One time, they underestimated the water a bit and Paige went down. She hopped up quickly and made her way straight to us.

"I fell in the water and it almost washed me away."

"I know, I saw."

"Are you happy that it didn't wash me away?"

"Yes, very happy."

"I'm happy that it didn't wash me away, too."


Thursday, November 25, 2010

As Far As Thanksgiving Mornings Go

This one has been pretty good. I listened to both Plans and Transatlanticism by Death Cab while I did a puzzle with Paige and then tore through Teenage Bottlerocket's They Came From the Shadows. Now if I could just find some turkey...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

If You Like Jimmy Eat World

If you're locked in your house thanks to a Salt Lake City blizzard, I've got something to cheer you up. I ran into this YouTube playlist tonight of Jimmy Eat World b-sides. You know it's good because it's called Jimmy Eats World. Who knew the band had so many great rarities?

This Week's Music: Sujfan, Bruno Mars, No Age

Sufjan Stevens, The Age of Adz -- I generally like about half of every Sufjan album (the soft, less annoying stuff). This one was far too complicated for me. 

Bruno Mars, Doo-wops and Hooligans -- Bruno Mars is getting lots of pop praise. I didn't love it. 

No Age, Everything In Between -- If you like the catchy surf punk, drenching in layers of noise (which I do), you should enjoy this. (They also get points for the best artwork and packaging I've seen in a long time.)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Disneyland: Day 2 & Beyond

I spoke too soon. My review of Day 1 would have been drastically different had I written my post at 4:30 a.m.--the time that Curtis finally went to sleep. There was rustling and rolling and fighting and screaming and kicking and lots of chocolate milk and endless begging to please just go to sleep. So much fun at Disneyland, even before we ever made it to the front gate.

With all of the Curtis trials, we didn't have any time to worry about Paige. We had planned out the first morning in the park to include all of the least scary things--the little train, the Story Book boat, etc.--so Curtis wouldn't freak out (a lesson learned from our last trip with Paige). This meant separating from my sisters and their older kids. This also meant that Paige spent the first three hours complaining that she wanted to be with the rest of the group.

After a trip to It's a Small World and two rides on the Goofy rollercoaster, Paige proclaimed, "I'm not mad anymore." And from there on, she had a great trip. And why not? She was able to celebrate her fifth birthday not once, but thrice ("I'll have a California Adventure birthday...and a beach birthday...and a Disneyland birthday.").

For the most part, Curtis was better than we could have hoped for. He spent a good deal of time feeling indifferent, but he loved Small World, the Teacups, and the Nemo ride--oh, and lying in the middle of the walkways, driving his monster trucks on the ground.

After the first night, sleeping got better and the only other disastrous moment was the 45 continuous minutes that he screamed on the flight home. (My apologies to everyone on that flight.)

And now for the pictures...


This face says he is either about to, or just finished, doing something evil.

Cousin Meagan was the best part of Paige's trip.

The sunglasses twins loved Dumbo.

Curtis was a little less sure.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Disneyland: Day 1

The Lego store was the highlight of Downtown Disney

We survived Day 1 of the Disneyland adventure. My biggest fear was that Curtis would go berserk on the airplane. Other than some minor fighting, we made it successfully from the SLC to the LGB. It was once we were California that Curtis decided to scream bloody murder--all the airport to the hotel. 


Paige: [from the bathroom] Dad, I only have three SweetTarts left.

Me: Okay, I'll have one and you can have the rest.

Paige: [comes down to the kitchen and hands me one] Okay, but I haven't washed my hands yet.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Bad Religion - The Dissent of Man

I doubt many of you will be interested in my incredibly long review of Bad Religion's millionth album, "The Dissent of Man." So I'll save you a bit of time.

The band changes up their style a little bit. When it works, it really works. I'd recommend checking out these tunes:

Only Rain

However, much of the album falls short.

Okay, let's do this thing.

Bad Religion took a risk. Once. The year was 1983. After the brilliantly scathing debut, "How Could Hell Be Any Worse?" the band of teenage punks tried something different -- they put out an EP called "Into the Unknown." With all of its keyboards and reverb, the EP sounds like Bad Religion trying to score a "Tron" sequel. The detour was short lived. By 1985, they were back to their signature sound and they haven't looked back since.

Twenty-five years later, the godfathers of SoCal punk are shaking things up again, albeit on a much smaller scale. "The Dissent of Man" shows Bad Religion doing something very unfamilar -- looking inward. The usual lyrics about politics and (the lack of) God, give way to something much more personal. New words appear, like "loneliness," "hurt," and -- if you can believe it -- "love."

The band also expands the sonic palette. As usual, guitarist and songwriter Brett Gurewitz delivers plenty of militant, "Recipe for Hate"-era riffs ("Meeting of the Minds"). But this time around, he also allows his folk/country side to a sneak into the mix ("Cyanide"). 

It's clear that the focus of "Dissent" is on crafting songs, rather than just making statements. That's all fine and good in theory, but does it make for a good Bad Religion record?

Sort of.

The record feels divided between the new, introspective tunes and the usual cerebral preaching. The best moments come from the former. "The Wrong Way Kids" manages to both reminisce on younger days and recognize the failings of adulthood ("The kids today are gone away petitioning the dust/With nobody to look up to because they're looking up to us.") "Turn Your Back on Me" is a heartfelt look at love lost. And "Only Rain" may be the best in the band's long list of songs about faith and God ("Rain fell like judgment across my windowpane/Said it fell like judgment, but it was only rain.")

Much of the rest feels like filler, or at least shows less conviction. "Someone to Believe" works well in the Bad Religion formula -- lightning-fast verses and harmony-filled choruses -- but others with the same pattern fall short ("The Day the Earth Stalled," "Ad Hominem"). The worst offender is "The Resist Stance" where the band completely phones in a call to anti-authoritarian arms. 

Even with its weaknesses, "The Dissent of Man" is an important release for fans who have stuck with the band for the past three decades. It shows the band is willing to test its limits, if only just a little.    

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Scariest Place on Earth

Kids are supposed to love Disneyland, right? We're heading there in a few days and we've been leveraging it for months. It's like a second Christmas. "Paige, if you don't eat your dinner, we won't go to Disneyland." Fantastic.

But it doesn't work on Curtis. The boy--who is deathly scared of everything--constantly tells me he doesn't want to go to Disneyland.

From Sunday morning:

Me: Come on, Curtis. We need to get ready for church.
Curtis: No. I don't WAN. GO. CHURCH.
Me: [Feeling the same, but still trying to distract him] This time next week, we're going to be in Disneyland!
Curtis: I don't wan go Disneyland. I WAN. GO. CHURCH!

Wow. That was unexpected--a kid choosing to go to church over Disneyland. Maybe this will give some spiritual balance to our family, given that Paige is always worried that Heavenly Father is trying to steal her stuff.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Things are NOT okay at preschool

He's back. That's right, Hunter.

It turns out, he wasn't stolen by wild animals or eaten by ravenous wolves. He was, in fact, in Hawaii with this family.

Welcome back, Hunter. You better watch your back, little man.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

More Birds, More Bees (Less Insects)

I was right all along. Preschool is an evil place. More lessons on growing up:

Part I

Paige: I have so many best friends at school.
Me: That's great. Who are your best friends?
Paige: Shaelee and Riley and Kylie and Alana.
Me: Wow. That is a lot of best friends.
Paige: And I have one boyfriend.
Me: You do? Who is your boyfriend?
Paige: Hunter.
Me: Hunter, huh? Well, what's a boyfriend?
Paige: Hunter's my boyfriend.
Me: Why is Hunter your boyfriend?
Paige: Because Hunter wanted a girlfriend.

Oh, this little Hunter better watch out when he meets his girlfriend's dad.

Pt. II

I didn't need to snuff out Hunter. It looks like life did that for me.

Paige: Hunter wasn't at school today.
Me: Oh, he wasn't?
Paige: No. Maybe he had a cold.

[Two days later.]

Paige: Hunter wasn't at school again.
Me: Really, what happened to him?
Paige: Maybe he was taken away. By animals.

Yes, uh, animals. See you around, Hunter.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Mo' Zoo Fun

Couldn't have asked for a better day.

At the Zoo

Taking advantage of a 70 degree November day.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Anarchy Evolution

Traci asked me to pick up a book that she had on hold at the library. I browsed until I found our last name.

"Anarchy Evolution?" Wow. Traci's into some cool stuff lately, I thought. Usually, she's either reading stuff about women's rights in the Middle East or romance novels set in the Victorian era.

I looked a little closer. Oh, wait. It was my hold. Bummer about Traci. But cool that Greg Graffin's [singer of Bad Religion] new book finally arrived.

I'm sure Traci will want to borrow it when I'm done.

Friday, October 29, 2010

I'm Ron Burgundy?

Stay classy, Planet Earth.

Every year I say I'm going to wear a Halloween costume to work. And then I, of course, decide I don't want to take the time to actually plan or execute anything. Fortunately Tim, or Brick Tamland as it were, decided we all dress up together and pay homage to our favorite movie, Anchorman.

Everyone knows that the best scene of the movie is when all the different stations get together and have their street fight. [Let's go over the groundrules. Rule number 1: No touching of the hair or face... AND THAT'S IT!]  We figured it would be fitting to use each character's weapon of choice as a prop. 

With a bit of tinfoil, Tim easily refashioned a pitchfork into a trident and Kaleb had no trouble getting Brian Fantana's sword. Josh Burgundy didn't have a couch leg or bedpost or whatever handy, so he settled for a billy club. I thought any local Halloween shop would have the brass knuckles I needed, but alas, no.

Me, to stereotypical girl-who-works-at-Halloween-store: Do you have brass knuckles?

Girl: I'm assuming you mean fake brass knuckles. Because you know brass knuckles are illegal in Utah. [I didn't know that and actually found it a little odd that she did.] Please tell me you mean fake brass knuckles.

At this point, I was pretty sure I had stumbled into a Halloween store that was just a front for illegal brass knuckles. What was I supposed to do now? Was this a situation where I was supposed to say, "Yeah, they're totally illegal, wink wink. I suuure wouldn't know where to look if I was trying to find some."

Instead, I just reponded, "Yeah, I think fake brass knuckles will work just fine."

Girl: Well, we don't have any.

Hmm. Okay. 

Josh noticed that they did sell a nice five-finger "PIMP" ring. He said I could just scrape off the "pimp" and make my own brass knuckles. Ingenious, yes. But who wants to spoil a perfectly good pimp ring? I settled for good ol' fashioned tinfoil and let the viewing public fill in the blanks.

Kaleb was grossed out when he discovered his fake mustache was made with real hair and quite upset when he found it didn't come with any glue or tape. Being the MacGyver that he is, he made it work with a generous application of glue stick to his upper lip. (But paid the price upon removal.)

Jessie woke up sick and nearly missed starring as Veronica Corningstone all together. Realizing that this would have resulted in her permanent ban from work-related friendship, she pulled herself together, plastered her hair down, and took one for the team.

The result? Well, it was more than just the pretty picture seen above. The Channel 4 news team was rewarded with the prestigious honor of 3rd place in the "group costume" division, earning us a $20 gift certificate to a yet-unknown destination. Not $20 each, mind you (we're a nonprofit)--$20 to split amongst the five of us. A just reward.
Sex Panther: They've done studies, you know. 60% of the time, it works every time. 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

When I was an Alien

Tonight we finished up band practice with a cover of Nirvana's "Territorial Pissings." I was thinking about it and I've been playing that song for the past 15 years. That struck me because 1) That's half my life and 2) Though I'm not sure exactly when Kurt Cobain wrote it, I'm guessing he didn't play I longer than maybe five years. Weird.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

We're Pulling Paige from Primary

"In Primary I learned about wise and foolish," Paige said, unprovoked, as we drove up Big Cottonwood canyon in a last ditch effort to see the changing leaves.

"Oh, did you sing 'The Wise Man Built His House Upon a Rock?'" I asked.

"No, we learned about what things are wise and what things are foolish." Then she asked, "How do you spell wise?"

I told her and she wrote in it down on the paper she was holding in her car seat in the back of the van.

"That's great. What things are wise?"

"Umm, saying prayers," she answered. "How do you spell 'prayers?'"

She wrote it under "wise."

"What's foolish?" I asked.

"Saying bad words. How do you spell 'bad words?'" She started a new list.

When we stopped to get out of the car, Traci noticed that Paige had already taken her car seat straps off while we were driving. Traci told her that was not okay. Paige was not pleased with the reproval.

"Mom," said our little, four-year-old pre-teen. "I don't want to hear it."

And then she dropped some serious Sunbeam knowledge.

"Mom, I'm putting your name on the foolish list."

And then, of course, she asked me how to spell Traci's name.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Paigey, No Swiping

Our kids fight over everything. Tonight it was Swiper the Fox. Paige, well, swiped it and then headed up to play with it in her room, leaving Curtis screaming downstairs with Traci and me.

About 20 minutes later, Paige returned with the kleptomaniac fox, now willing to share. Kind of.

"Here, Curtis. You can play with Swiper now."

Before he could even utter his usual "Tank-oo" in response, Paige made it clear that she was still in control.

"You can play with it because I'm bored with it."

Such a gem.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Picture Perfect

Sometimes, the only reward of having kids is being able to take cute pictures of them. But even that can be a struggle.

Both of our kids have gone through phases where they refuse to have their picture taken. Whether it's Curtis having to grab the lens every time he sees a camera, or Paige who may just turn completely around, there have been very few seconds when both kids are actually willing to say cheese at the same time.

We have stumbled upon one of those rare moments. The only problem? Paige has now introduced a "camera smile." It's more than just a particular smile. She closes one eye, tilts her head to the side, and cocks her arm and thumb like she's doing the Elaine Benes dance on Seinfeld.

Don't believe me? Here. (Disclaimer: Traci was at work, so I was responsible for Paige's hairdo during our trip to Gardner Village.)

Still pretty cute, I guess.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Because the Sutherlands Make Sanitary Conditions a Top Priority...

...We allow, nay, encourage Curtis to walk around with his head inside of his Dora the Explorer booster toilet seat.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Monday Morning Mommy

Traci goes to work earlier on Mondays now. That means I drop the kids off at Grandma's on my way to work. It's a lot harder than I would have guessed.

Last week, Traci asked, "What happened here after I left this morning?"

"Nothing. Why?"

"Well, the heat was up, all of the lights were on, an so were both of the TVs."


Today. I got to Grandma's without Paige's backpack, her favorite toy, or apparently having combed her hair. And, my mother was quick to point out, my shirt was not only wrinkled, but "embarrassing."

Once I ditched the kids, I was free to roll into work in our sweet minivan, so it was all worth it. I put the swagger in swagger wagon.

To the Extreme (Makeover)

Of course I watched the first episode of Vanilla Ice's reality show about flipping houses. And yes, I liked it.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Song of the Day: Jimmy Eat World, Movielike

The jury is still out on Jimmy Eat World's new album Invented. But I've made up my mind that I love this track.

Jimmy Eat World - Movielike

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Importance of Heavy Metal Hair, as told by Dave Mustaine

While the rest of the modern world was reading Mockingjay, I had my nose stuck in "Mustaine: A Heavy Metal Memoir."

For those of you who won't be reading the autobiography of Megadeth front man Dave Mustaine, (who am I kidding, none of you will read it) I'll share the best part:

"Everyone had long hair in those days, with the exception of the punk bands. In hard rock and heavy metal, hair was long, and within that framework a decision was to be made:

Up or down.

You were either like Page and Plant (hair down, and thus cool) or you were like KISS, Mötley Crüe and so many other imitators (hair up, and thus not so cool). My hair went down. Always did, always will."

You can read my full review here.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Restoration v. Exploration

They were showing a church video while the kids got dressed after my nephew's baptism today.

ME: Curtis, do you want to move over to those other seats so we can see the show?

CURTIS: A show? I wanna watch Dora.

Our life is filled with disappointment.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Birds, Bees, Bugs

Me: Paige, what did you learn about at school today?

Paige: Sex.

Me: WHAT?!

Paige: Insects.

Me: Oh. Yeah. Insects. Right. Good. Very well then.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Song(s) of the Day: Dan Deacon

Slightly chilly, fall weather. Seems like a good morning for some spastic electronica.

Dan Deacon - Slow with Horns Run for Life
Dan Deacon - Snookered

Monday, October 04, 2010

This Week's Music: Weezer, Brandon Flowers, The Thermals

'Twas a great week for music. All three of these records have already made it into heavy rotation on my iPod. Click on the links for full reviews.

Weezer - Hurley Not quite as a solid as "Raditude" (a record I dearly love), but still ultra-catchy.
Brandon Flowers - Flamingo It's just like a Killers album, only more countrified.
The Thermals - Personal Life If you like garage punk where the singer just yells at you (and who doesn't?), you won't be disappointed.

Some highlights:

Weezer - Ruling Me
Brandon Flowers - Crossfire
The Thermals - Never Listen to Me

Sunday, October 03, 2010

What Time Is It?

Curtis, holding my watch up to his face: What does it say?

Me, looking at the time: 8:25

Curtis, disagreeing: No, it says 'No boys in Paigey's room.'

Clearly, the latest sign Paige hung on her bedroom door is doing its job.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Eels vs. Ted Kaczynski

I loved The Eels during the mid-'90s (many a fond dream of busing tables at the Red Robin to the sounds of "Novocaine for the Soul") and then again in the early '00s (though Traci still hates me for the time she was complaining about something and I responded to her with this quote, "Life ain't pretty for a dog-faced boy." Let that be a lesson to men everywhere, never refer to your wife as a dog-faced boy. In an context. Ever.).

I've tried in vain to enjoy just about anything from the past five records. Nevertheless, I still found it prudent to snatch up the opportunity to interview E, the one-named man behind the band.

I was worried he'd be a jerk but he was, in fact, quite cordial--if not a bit tight-lipped. If you'd like some more in-depth reading, check the article here. Or. if you're more aural, here are some of my favorite Eels tunes:

Woman Driving, Man Sleeping
Lone Wolf

Monday, September 27, 2010

Am I More Bone or More Thug?

I interviewed Flesh 'n Bone of Bone Thugs 'n Harmony the other day. Yes, the fine young men who brought us "I'll meet at tha crossroads, crossroads, crossroads..." back in 1995 are still around and making music.

Other than "Tha Crossroads," a song that I never really liked, I had little I wanted to talk to them about. Luckily, Flesh 'n Bone had no problem talking from the time he picked up the phone until he hung up, without me really having to ask any questions at all. The only real awkwardness happened before the interview really started.

From my article:

"There's nothing more rock 'n' roll than sharing a fake last name -- just ask the Ramones. But something that is awesome on stage can make things a little awkward in real life. Like my call to Flesh-n-Bone (brother of Layzie Bone and cousin of Wish Bone), founding member of Bone Thugs-n-Harmony.

When I called what was hopefully Mr. Bones' cell phone number, a woman answered.

"Hi, uh, is Flesh there?"

"What?" she answered, seemingly confused.

"I'm looking for Flesh. I mean, can I talk to Flesh?"

(I could feel my face getting progressively warmer. Something about asking a woman on the phone for flesh of any sort tends to make me feel a little awkward.)

"Oh, yeah. I'll get him."

Feel free to read the rest of the article here.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Marketing Dad's Dream

Nothing makes a father more proud than when he helps create a cartoon tooth to market a dental insurance plan and then that tooth gets made into a mascot and a burping 8-bit video and some real videos...and then his kids actually think it's cool.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Curtis v. Cypress Hill

I've always loved that guy in Cypress Hill who just repeats stuff. B-Real does all the hard stuff and then Sen Dog just echoes, "I'm insane in the brain!" or "How I could just kill a man" or whatever the chorus may be. And it's like that on every song. Brilliant!

Curtis is our little Sen Dog. Paige comes up with all the original content and then Curtis just mimics her. The only problem is that he has a bit of trouble keeping up. And thus the messages get a bit mixed up.

Paige: I think it's Sleeping Beauty, Mom.
Curtis: I think it's Sleeping Booby, Mom.

Paige: Over my dead body! [Why she says this, I have no idea.]
Curtis: I don't wanna go potty!

Keep working on it, little buddy, and someday you'll rise up to play to a supporting role in a Latin-based, gangsta rap group on a constant crusade toward the decriminalization and legalization of marijuana.

Friday, September 24, 2010

No Means No

Curtis has a tendency to escape from my grasp while getting his diaper changed. Paige was so enraged by his birthday-suited visit to her room this morning that she promptly drew this picture and taped it to her door. It's entitled "No Nakey Boys Allowed."

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Song of the Day: Tokyo Police Club, Favorite Colour

While I was in St. George for the annual Pearson Family Fun Days in August, I snuck down to Las Vegas to see my friend Ty and to check out Tokyo Police Club at the Beauty Bar.

Maybe there was something in the sweaty, after midnight, Las Vegas air as we watched the band in the little courtyard behind the bar, but I quickly developed a man crush on this song and singer Dave Monks. (Which is surprising, 'cause he's not really my type.)

Here's the recorded version, with a live version from Atlanta is below: