We’ve been having a family argument about Christopher’s hair. Maylin has succeeded in convincing Chris that only girls have long hair. I’m doing my best to point out the vast number of hugely popular and successful people who make this position ludicrous. To keep the growth going, I agreed to the group compromise of a haircut. As with most things that we do, we found a few distractions along the way and ended up just hanging around a lot.
This week Christopher started the Summer Scholars program, so he is at our school learning and playing everyday. Since Alexa is free for the summer, we planned a lunch date. Tuesday I picked her up at 11 and we headed over to the 7-11 to buy a very nutritious meal of Lunchables and pizza. We came back to the Ashley Elementary library where I’m cleaning out the old tech closets and supplies in preparation for the new school year. It’s probably fortunate that kids are so excited about going to work when they’re little, because if they knew what was in store for them, we’d have a hard time convincing them that working to be ‘college and career ready’ was such a good thing compared to just being a kid.
Alexa got to see her teacher from this year and some of the big kids that she knows. It still blows my mind the deference and awe that a 5 year-old has for a 9 year-old. I’m bummed that after 40 that deference and awe go in the opposite direction until you’re back at ground zero. After lunch, we worked on organizing the supplies and exploring the library.
After work we made our near daily trip to the store. Alexa wore her best dude gear and then got a chance to begin her driving lessons. She’s learning what all the gadgets and pedals do and has started to practice keeping the truck straight when we start moving.
Last March, Christopher and Alexa made the drive with me to visit their Grandma Rose. They’ve had a hula hoop before, but something about finding the cool old ones hidden in her garage piqued their curiosity. Within the first couple of tries, they both became hula hoop fanatics. We have been steadily moving up into bigger, heavier, and fancier hoops. Kids have tried out hooping with their arms, legs, and necks. It’s become a serious business here.
It’s 100% certain that their skill came from their mom, because I don’t think that I’ve ever gotten more than 10 loops in a row.
Last evening we staged the East Colfax Hula Hoop Championship to see who would claim the champion-of- the week title. Both kids did a fantastic job. Special thanks to Chris for counting so well for us! My favorite move award goes to Alexa’s hands-to-her-head pose. She’s had that pose her whole life and she manages to fit it into any number of unlikely situations; here it fits well.
This skill, on the other hand, they definitely did get from me.
The weather in Denver today registered at magnificent. We spent the afternoon at the park and got to do some tree climbing in Denver! We also started to plot our adventures in Google Maps. Check it out and then bookmark the map to keep track of what we are up to on our adventures! The Colfax Kids’ Adventure Map.
a transfer post from Ed.ucate.Me
Feels So Good is one of the rare songs that managed to bridge the musical generation gap in my family. Both my parents and 13-year-old me agreed on the good vibes generated by the song. Multitudes of other families must have reached the same understanding, because it was on lots of different radio stations lots of different times a day.
I hadn’t thought about the song for a long time until it popped into my head today. I think that if i play it while i’m driving, then i might manage a temporary time-machine effect. I’ll follow up on that later.
originally posted on September 3, 2011.
This is Alexa’s first Kick-Ass Princess design for a shirt. I assisted as the computer robot, but all of the choices came from the princess herself. I’ll have some links to the actual clothes and other accessories soon.
Let me know what you think! Clicking on the image will show you a larger version.
Kuya knew that he loved “Savior” the first time that he heard it. When I played the video for him, it moved up in status to iconic childhood song. He learned to mosh, enjoy absurdity, and found empathy for people in animal suits. We’re now moving into the second hour of having the video on replay. Kuya’s got his sister hooked and drove his mom crazy–the very definition of good music.
Yesterday was the 23rd anniversary of Jim Henson’s death. My first memories of television are of watching Sesame Street. Watching the show religiously made me a fan of Henson for life. As a tribute on the anniversary, Ricky Gervais tweeted a photo of Kermit the Frog poignantly touching a photo of Jim and the world’s most famous frog together. I searched Google images and found the story of the photo. I managed nearly an hour of procrastination doing some Jim and Kermit surfing tonight. I have to admit that the Muppet Show always annoyed me a bit. I think that I was just a little too old, which created an urgency to distance myself from everything Muppet–even though I still watched nearly every episode of the television show. At the height of the Muppet’s’ popularity, I don’t think that I knew a single person who didn’t know who Kermit the Frog was, and a decent amount about him. Young, old, rich, poor, everyone knew the frog.
The image instantly makes me think of my children and want to go hug them. Henson seems so obviously Kermit’s father, that the emotion is as powerful as if there were an actual little boy touching a picture of his father.
|Photo taken by Kevin Williams and Lin Workman.|
Hearing Thin Lizzy on the radio convinced me to ride my bike down to the record store and buy “The Boys are Back in Town.” It turned out to be one of the best possible uses for a 10 year old boy’s allowance in 1976. The single convinced me to upgrade and buy the whole album, Jailbreak. As epic as The Boys are Back was, “Cowboy Song” became my favorite song from the lp. I had no idea what any of the lyrics meant, but I did know that the band’s twin guitar attack defined how I thought that rock music should sound. There isn’t much in the way of high quality video of the band from back in the day, but the first clip of “The Boys are Back in Town” from 1978 isn’t bad. I couldn’t sacrifice the sound of “Cowboy Song” for a bad video, so I included a recording from the BBC.
Lonely Boy by The Black Keys is Christopher and Alexa’s video pick of the week. They rated it high on easy to sing lyrics (oh, oh, oh) and high jumpability.
repost from April 14, 2012 to fix video issues
It started by following a post in my twitter feed. Now i can’t get the song out of my head, which isn’t a bad thing. You can check out more from sisters Meg & Dia and their band at meganddia.com or visit their YouTube channel
This song reminds me of the rock music that I heard in the Philippines during the 00s
Lately I’ve been feeling pretty nostalgic for the music from the beginning of the 00s. It seems that i think endlessly about how strangely and how fast time moves. About ten years has gone by since Puddle of Mudd released Blurry. It seems a lot closer to yesterday than ten years.
Overall, the end of the 90s-beginning of the 00s was a great time for music. To put that in perspective for me, it would be like if my junior high teachers talked endlessly about the music from the mid-60s. We would have thought that they were dinosaurs. Well, i guess that i can accept being a dinosaur!
originally posted on Ed.ucate.Me on November 23, 2011. Reposted to fix video issues.
a transfer post from Ed.ucate.Me, updated to fix video issues.
Paolo Nutini performing Jenny Don’t Be Hasty live in 2012. It is nearly impossible for me to listen to this song only once; I always hit repeat.
originally posted November 14, 2010
originally posted August 20, 2011 on Ed.ucate.Me
It really hurts to have to classify this song by Candlebox with the oldies, but 18 years is quite a while in people years. Still, i’m glad that I got to experience it when it was completely fresh.
I did not meant to treat you bad
But i did it anyway
originally posted November 8, 2010 at Ed.ucate.Me
I was getting bogged down in my usual haze of trying to choose a new work of art for this week’s entry. Just when I thought that I’d made up my mind, something else would draw me away on a tangent. Finally, I got really tired and wanted to go to bed. So, I did what any good teacher would do, and i just googled “the best painting in the universe.” Google saves the day!
A photo of miss universe body painting came up in the first slot. The first painting didn’t come up until position number 4 (ok, in position 2 there was another painting, but i didn’t like it at all–we are talking about the universe here). Congratulations to Mark Chadwick on creating the best painting in the universe (that we know of)!
You can find more of Mark’s work here: http://www.markchadwick.co.uk/
Only Women Bleed came on the radio on the way to work today. I had forgotten about the song completely; it took me all day to remember that Alice Cooper wrote and sang it. (I came up with the answer without google or the internet, so I’m not a complete disaster yet).
This is concert footage from his Welcome to My Nightmare tour in 1975.
a transfer post from Ed.ucate.Me
Back when bands were still learning how to do it, Deep Purple was leading the way. Classic footage of the bands strongest lineup, nicknamed Mark II by fans. videos circa 1970-1973.
originally posted January 29, 2011
I couldn’t get these songs out of my head all night. How they got there, I have no clue.
Rock and Roll Over was released within a year of the album Destroyer. This was the era of my Kiss Army membership and general Kiss fanaticism. I’m just a little older than my parents were when I was descending into Kiss madness. In retrospect, I have to give them credit for letting me go as far (and as loud) with it as I did.
Watching the videos has cured me of my craving for a while. Alexa loves the costumes, but can’t stand the music. I’m kinda glad for that.
The more that I think about all of this, the more that I dread my kids growing up. Stay young babies, stay young!
Filed under the category of learning something new everyday, Pablo Picasso wouldn’t accept any money for the statue, stating that he wanted to make a gift of his work to the people of Chicago (check out the full story). Pretty cool of him.
Before you read the Wikipedia article, what do you think that the Chicago Picasso statue is supposed to be? It has always reminded me of a dog.
From the 1967 dedication ceremony
Taken from aphotoevery24hours they have many awesome Chicago photos.
Taken from aphotoevery24hours they have many awesome Chicago photos.
A color photograph from Wikipedia.
yet another transfer from Ed.ucate.Me
The Doobie Brothers perform at Alpine Valley Amphitheater in Wisconsin during 1979. This was the summer before I started high school. I think that if we somehow could experience the 70s now, we’d have a lot of people freaking out.
Even though I knew the band from the radio and had a couple of albums, I didn’t really appreciate how good the Doobie Brothers were until recently.
I’m feeling very proud for following up a second time to create a third part to the SE Asian Rock series. Rivermaya was getting pretty big when i first visited the Philippines in 2004. They’ve gone through numerous lineup changes, to the effect of being a few different bands across their history.
Umaaraw Umuulan is from the 2001 album, Tuloy ang Ligaya. This is band’s second major lineup.
Kung Ayaw Mo Huwag Mo is from 1997 release Atomic Bomb, and features the band’s original lineup. I really love this one.
A couple more personnel changes in the last few years leaves the band’s future in limbo.
I found a Sopranos montage set to the Kink’s Living on a Thin Line. It sounds delicious. 99% of the time that I think about songs that I’ve listened to in the past, I am amazed at how long ago they came out. When I checked on the release date of Word of Mouth, the album that contained Living on a Thin Line, I couldn’t believe that it didn’t come out much before 1984.
The Sopranos montage is worth watching, but it seems to go up and down depending on which way the copyright police are looking. If it disappears, you can find it here on YouTube. This song has to play a prominent role in the soundtrack to the war between humanity and the super corporation machines.
I’ve been thinking and writing lately about music that I missed during my four years of living in the Philippines. It would be gross exaggeration to claim that I was in some kind of musical dark ages. I should have been able to find anything that I wanted easily, but a combination of forces kept my options limited. The upside is that i’ve had a treasure chest to explore now that i’m back. 5 years of new music crammed into 1.
Some of the music that I’ve missed is embarrassing, just a total blind spot. Tonight, i played Tuesday’s Gone from Garage Inc. by Metallica. I really love that song. iTunes kept playing Metallica, and I heard Death Magnetic for what i’m pretty sure is the first time. Wow! This really qualifies me for having spent some serious time living under a rock or hibernating.
Death Magnetic has some best-of-the-ages metal on it. In the shows that i’ve seen on video, the band prowls the stage larger than life while delivering amazing performances. This show is from 2009, making the whole thing that much more amazing. My grandchildren are going to envy me for having lived through the Metallica age. The more that I realize what I missed at the end of the last decade, the more crazy it seems for anyone to complain about the state of the musical landscape.
Listening to the first ever on-stage performance of Suicide and Redemption with headphones on and volume cranked puts me into a metal bliss.
Oh, to be 12 again. Darryl Hall and John Oates performing Rich Girl in 1977 and a Live from Darryl’s House performance of Rich Girl featuring Ryan Miller of Guster. This song seemed kind of edgy in 6th grade. I couldn’t let mom and dad listen too closely to the lyrics. Good thing that rich and bitch rhyme.
An unfortunate update–the band broke up in 2012. Another one bites the dust.
I’m missing Chicago fiercely. The last year has made it clear to me that even though I may spend my life roaming the earth, Chicago will always be home. I featured some Chicago bands a while back and i’m going to shout out Scattered Trees again. Four Days Straight is a magnificent song–plus it reminds me of home even if it wasn’t all filmed there. The band had multiple video versions recorded by student filmmakers and then chose one as the official video. I’ve included a couple of versions of Four Days Straight and a couple of other songs as well.
The number of views on the videos are absurdly low for how beautiful the songs are. Spread the word. Find more at www.scatteredtreesmusic.com
Picking a favorite song is an impossible task. It just depends on too much. The idea reminds me of the kind of thing that often gets done for ice-breakers and group activities. I always freeze up a bit when i have to pick a favorite of anything. Like pretty much everything, it depends. We are fascinated with absolutes even though very few of them do, or ever will, exist.
In spite of that, I was pretty damn sure that this was the best song in the world when i was out driving in the crisp autumn-like Colorado this morning. When i get out from under the mountain of shit carried over from the Philippines, this is going to be an awesome place for us to be. The Stones kind of cover Robert Johnson’s ‘Stop Breaking Down.’ Mick Taylor was the absolute shit in the day. The whole band was in a historic period of creativity at this point.
Actually following up on an idea, here is a second video in my SE Asian Rock series. This is Up Dharma Down, performing Oo from their 2006 album Fragmented. This song was huge when I first got to the Philippines in 2007. Oo has been the soundtrack for many of my daydreams over the years.
Watching the video and hearing the song again made me realize (or admit) how much the Philippines had taken over my reality. I think that it actually became home, which I didn’t realize until I left. Right now, I’m definitely missing the place much more than I thought that I would. Maylin and the kids will be here in a couple of months, so we’ll see if it is family exclusively or the place that i’m missing.
Lack of job opportunities is one reason that I’ll have to deal with missing the islands. Another reason is that I’m not sure if i’m technically allowed back into the country at this point. For now, I’ll live out my life in exile, dreaming of wonderful weather and beautiful islands.
This is a repost of a series that I started on SE Asian bands. It appears that the contact information for Quicky is no longer functioning.
A great thing about most of SE Asia is the passion for music. Because musicians have to compete with the worst of America’s pop tendencies to survive, many bands do note-for-note covers of the latest Western hits, and do so admirably–if you admire that sort of thing.
This week I got a mention on twitter asking me to check out the band Quicky. You can find their band page at ReverbNation. They come from Bandung, Indonesia (I’ll look pretty silly if ID was actually Idaho in this case). Their twitter account is @BandQuicky
I’ll occasionally feature some of the great SE Asian music that I’ve experienced. First in the series is Quicky performing Yang Terinday.
This isn’t exactly the ‘change we can believe in’ that i had in mind. And i didn’t think ‘Yes, we can’ meant yes, we can trample over the constitution. Obama is presiding over some serious bullshit right now. What is the excuse? It’s out of his hands? If the Democrats can’t stand up and provide a better alternative than this, I’m gone for good.
I put a Plain White T’s cover of Cee-Lo Green’s Fuck You on the Box of Rocks blog over my semester break. I’m embarrassed to admit that while I had my head in the sand in the Philippines, I became the only person on the planet who hadn’t heard the much more profane original. Now that i have heard it, I can’t stop playing it. Simply beautiful. I’ve included a live version with the profanity thankfully intact. Then a pretty cool live version of Crazy by Gnarls Barkley. Finally the Plain White T’s cover that got me here. Ain’t that some shit?
One of my 2014 New Year’s resolutions is that Christopher and Alexa will have the lyrics to this song memorized by the end of the year. We’re about half way there, so still on track to be the next American Band! This song came out when I was about 8, and even a little kid could recognize that these boys were on fire. On a tangential note, I really don’t remember Maryanne and Ginger looking that great.
Almost 2012 update. This is going to be a huge year. I’ll start the year mourning that my kids are still trapped in a 3rd world shithole. I’ll get a decent amount back when i file taxes. I’ll see my babies again for the first time in almost a year. I’ll start teaching those babies how to ride bikes, camp, and be American kids (in all of the best senses of what that conjures up). I’ll either figure out how to reach urban middle schoolers, or i won’t. We’ll know if a teacher’s salary is enough for our reunited family. I’ll face that my primary function in life is now being a dad.
A lot of this just has to do with growing up (still?! when does this end?). Reading some Douglas Coupland always puts me in a better mood about the realities and certainties of life.
No matter what happens, I’m pretty sure that i’ll continue to tilt after windmills.
July 13, 2009
Some quotations from Douglas Coupland, taken from his website
As we age we passionlessly assess what we have and what we lack, and then go about making the best of it, like an actor who goes from playing leads to playing character roles; like a party girl who goes from being a zany kook to being a cautionary tale for the younger girls.
You spend a much larger part of your life being old, not young.
In our heads we’re all about 33 years old.
By twenty-five you know you’re never going to be a rock star, by thirty you know you’re never going to be a dentist, and by forty there are maybe three things left that you can still be – and even then, that’s only if you run as fast as you possibly can to try to catch the train.
You can’t get mad at weather because weather’s not about you. Apply that lesson to most other aspects of life.
I really like the last one, and it comes at a time when i really need to try to apply it myself. But, I still want to be a rockstar.
To Christopher, my Rocket Man, for your 4th birthday.
Elton John’s Greatest Hits was the first LP record that I owned. It was 1974, and your grandmother had no idea what to get me that would match the singles that I had been buying with my allowance. She took a chance and went with Elton’s Greatest Hits and Meet the Beatles. Not bad for someone as indifferent to rock music as she was. I played both of the albums endlessly, completely amazed at what the world had offered up to me.
With the benefit of hindsight, I can see how profound an effect being 9 had on me musically. Who knew that your grandma had it in her? Later I would find out that she was more worldly than I had imagined. Someday you can ask her about all of the wild jazz shows that she and your grandfather went to on the South Side of Chicago before they were weighed down with responsibilities (me, for example).
Fast forward 36 years and I still love every song on Elton’s Greatest Hits. The best of the best for me are Rocket Man, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, and Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me.
Happy Birthday, Kuya. I love you.
originally posted by Alexa on KickAssPrincess.com
One of my favorite groups is the Flobots! We first heard them on the radio here in the Philippines. Me, Kuya, and Papa jumped around to their songs a lot. Today, i found out from their Twitter account that they are from Denver–that’s where i’m moving soon! Maybe we’ll be neighbors and I can jump and sing with them. Here are my two favorite songs. Turn it up loud!
|Jumping to the Flobots!|
I remember less about this time frame than any other of my existence. I’ll just call it the lost period and leave it at that. Aside from this song, i’m still not a big Sisters of Mercy fan. I can appreciate the ambiance, but it doesn’t do much for me. I tried giving them another listen to see if i’d changed my opinion over the last 20 years, but i haven’t. Still, More is a great song and one of the few things that i remember from ’90-’91.
Alexa had just turned one when things were at the worst that it seemed that things could be. She would always try to stay up as long as she could. It was like you couldn’t convince her that everything would still be there when she woke up. She was pretty intuitive about it, because i couldn’t quite convince myself of it either.
We’d go for walks late at night, when, I was often told, babies weren’t supposed to be out for walks. But it was the best time of the day for both of us. The world went away, the stars shone with possibilities, and my responsibility for Alexa seemed infinite, obvious, and perfect.
When we’d get back, I’d tell her stories of all the adventures that there would be waiting for all of us. Of course, she didn’t understand any of it, except for a few words. So, if i dropped the word ‘balloon’ into the middle of a story, then the whole story became about balloons to Alexa. And any world that has balloons for kids in it can’t be too bad of a place. Actually, it could be a very bad place, but that is a story for another day.
I’d tell the stories to try out the ideas in my own mind as well. It was becoming obvious that we were in the wrong place and that things would have to change. I’d play Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol over and over and sing and hum it until we both fell asleep. Now, two years later, when things are much better in many ways, I miss how perfect the space that we made in the middle of the storm was. I miss Alexa.
Where would we be without David Gilmore and Roger Waters? The song can feel like a calling out to someone who is far gone, or a conversation between the me that i am and the me that i should be. So many demons, so little time.
Pick any version, you can’t go wrong.
So, so you think you can tell
Heaven from Hell,
Blue skys from pain.
Can you tell a green field
From a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell?
And did they get you to trade
Your heros for ghosts?
Hot ashes for trees?
Hot air for a cool breeze?
Cold comfort for change?
And did you exchange
A walk on part in the war
For a lead role in a cage?
How I wish, how I wish you were here.
We’re just two lost souls
Swimming in a fish bowl,
Year after year,
Running over the same old ground.
What have we found?
The same old fears.
Wish you were here.
So tell me now
If this ain’t love then how do we get out?
Because I don’t know
That’s when she said I don’t hate you boy
I just want to save you while there’s still something left to save
That’s when I told her I love you girl
But I’m not the answer for the questions that you still have
I love the song, but the video is worth watching just for the fighting mascots/giant stuffed animals.