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.