Thoughts on Things

Hey there. How’s it going?

– Finally, a new They Might Be Giants album for grown-ups. I was a really big fan of The Else, but I am apparently in the minority on that one. In fact, I think I might be in the minority on most of the 2000-2010 output from the boys from Brooklyn. I’ve liked the vast majority of it, although 2004’s The Spine was kind of so-so. So I’m a little surprised that Join Us is resolutely old-school. It’s a little like if Lincoln was made utilizing a whole band, instead of just two guys and a drum machine. In general, it feels a little leaner, and a little more stripped down. As a rule, the songs aren’t overwrought at all (as was the case on The Spine), and they don’t seem to be making as many concessions towards a more mainstream sound (as was arguably the case on Mink Car). Don’t get me wrong, it’s very classical TMBG. It’s just a little less polished, a little more sparse, and moves back to that idea of cramming 18 songs into 45 minutes. So even if I’ve liked the recent stuff, I have a hunch that Join Us might have a little more staying power, and might end up being something of a comeback for them amongst the old guard. It feels like a band eager to recapture what makes them special. Really enjoying it so far.

– I was able to recently pick up the most recent DVD set from Futurama (I’m not sure if I should call it season 5 or what). There is just a shade more permissiveness than there was in their network days, but for the most part the newer episodes feel like a return to form after some of the iffy parts from the movies. At least a couple of the episodes in last summer’s 13-episode cycle are all-timers, and some of the others have tackled some really weighty subjects with the typical Futurama irreverence. Nice to see a show that can still stay sharp and relevant, even after a long time off the air. I haven’t seen as much from this summer, aside from the first two episodes. I liked both of those too, so I like to think the consistency has stayed strong.

– We went to the Borders out-o’-business sale last night, and we bought Forest a little picture book, a lullaby CD, and a dinosaur coloring book that came with stickers and little plastic toys. Just over the last couple of days, he’s shown more interest in just scribbling on paper, so we thought it best that he do so with crayons and coloring books instead of pen and bills.

– My iPod, previously presumed dead, is apparently still fine. One must never give up too soon.

Radio Silence

Well, I went a whole week without updating this bad boy. I haven’t had a single view to my blog in 10 days! Not that people should watch it when I’m not updating, but it does make me think that I ought to jump back in.

So where have I been? I went to a family reunion in Pigeon Forge, TN. For those keeping track at home, that’s about a 12 hour drive from Kansas City. With 9 days to travel, we only spent four of them without driving across state lines. As you can imagine, that took a fair bit of patience. I like driving well enough, but it was much easier before Forest was born. For his part, he did very well. On the way there, he was fighting a fever, which came from an ear infection. He usually responds quickly to antibiotics, but this time the fever was rather tenacious. He’s fine now, but it made the drive there a little more stressful.

As for our actual time in TN, it was a lot of fun. I have a wonderful extended family, and even though there were almost 35 of us in a single lodge, it was big enough that you could still find some privacy for a couple of hours. It was a great time to see family that I haven’t seen in years, and to meet some that I’d never met before. The locale was beautiful as well. If you’ve never been in the Smokey Mountains, I highly recommend a trip there. Pigeon Forge itself had that pleasantly tacky Branson feel (albeit a little more toned-down), but once you got off the beaten path, things got rustic in a hurry. The lodge was located on the side of a mountain, and the drive into the heavily wooden area was filled with switchbacks, steep grades, and gravel roads. Suffice to say our Kansas car was unused to it.

It wasn’t entirely amazing all the time. Forest was kind of grumpy and clingy the first day or so, and we (especially Hope) weren’t able to relax as much as we had originally hoped. The low point was last wednesday, when I pulled something in my back. I was in a lot of pain for about 36 hours, before it finally started to loosen up. That definitely put a damper on the lunch date that Hope that I took that same day.

But overall, we had a really good time. I’m glad to be back, and we were even able to get in a day earlier than we expected. That was nice, because I hate coming back from a long trip and immediately rushing to work the next day. We were even able to go out for Hope’s birthday!

But it’s good to be back on the ol’ blog. Stay tuned this week. I’m going to try and update every day!

Okay, I Guess

Well I know that a lot of you don’t care about Lost, and that there hasn’t been much content for those who actually care about my life. My main excuse was that we were in Branson at the end of last week, to visit with Hope’s family. Hope’s parents have a time-share down there, so we took a couple day to head south and see them. Branson is a fun city, in a tacky plastic way, but it was really nice to not feel pressure to see a show or go do something else. We just did nice summery things, like swim and cookout and have fun. Continue reading

My Son, the Ape

One of the peculiar things about parenthood is seeing your child develop in ways that you didn’t expect. I’m not sure why, but I’m always a little surprised when Forest develops another personality trait. I’m not sure WHY it surprises me, but I think it’s because it’s always something I haven’t seen before. It’s a little like if your dog suddenly decided that he wanted to leave and tried to open the doorknob. Well, maybe that’s happened to you, but you get the idea. So I’m a little amused whenever Forest invents some really interesting trait, like this one… Continue reading

Little bit of this…

Has anyone else noticed that it’s gotten absurdly cool in Kansas City? And I was all ready for that warm weather to stick around.

For those who didn’t know, Forest is now walking. He’s not quite to the point where he goes anywhere and everywhere that way, but that’s only because he falls down a lot. When that happens, he crawls to the nearest anchor point and pulls himself up again. And of course, he’s falling down a lot less with each passing day. Maybe we can encase everything in Nerf, so he doesn’t bang his head…

Hope and I recently finished season 1 of Fringe. Pretty good so far, although I feel like it could have been more consistently great than it was. It’s like it didn’t want to be too good for too long. The split between procedural and serialized story-telling is kind of an uneasy one so far. But there’s a lot to like there, and when it’s on, it’s really good. It really pulls together some neat sci-fi ideas, although at this point, it’s mostly potential. Definitely like it enough to keep going though.

Also watched by me is Ken Burns’ documentary, Baseball. Though I tend to be more of a football guy, it’s fun to revisit my first sports love, and to get more familiar with the really early days of the sport. It’s helped my enthusiasm for the game as a whole. Also helping is the Indian’s fast start. I got to see them play the Royals last week, thanks to my friend who has season tickets behind home-freaking-plate. It’s easier than ever to follow sports, if you know how to get the scores to come to you.

So what’s the haps with all of you? How have you kept busy lately?