Sunday, April 29, 2007

Are you prepared?

Humor like this is right up my alley. And believe me, if these things were for sale, I'd be buying one just for the hell of it. Certainly not at the prices they advertise, though!

I think a change'll do you good

I'm taking Sheryl Crow's advice to heart and I decided to completely give this blog a makeover. I was exceptionally tired of the same old Blogger templates, and I'd been inspired by some of the other ones that I'd seen but didn't want to blatantly rip them (XO) off either. I finally settled on this one, although I'm not very satisfied with the banner yet. In a previous incarnation, it was much busier with more pictures, but then I just settled on the Blue Marble for now. I may add more pictures later, but for now, it'll just have to do as this little bit of tinkering has seriously pushed me to the boundaries of my HTML abilities. However, it beats the heck out of the original picture that was there - E.T. flying across the moon. (Turn on your heartlight!)

La Morte et Vie Boheme

We've been talking about doing it for months now, but Heidi and I finally secured child care (in the ever fabulous Jeff and Caryle) and had an official date - something that we haven't done in a very long time and was sorely overdue. We were originally going to go to a movie - Hot Fuzz was the film of choice, but as the week wore on and we got closer to Saturday night, we decided to do away with that as who wants to spend 2 hours together in a dark theater not talking? It kind of seemed to defeat the whole purpose of going out together.

Instead, we went out to Dublin Bay which is one of our favorite restaurants in Ames. I drank two glasses of wine which rendered me unfit to drive (total lightweight, I know) and had a great 10 oz. sirloin. Heidi had their pub pie, which is kind of like a pot pie, only its potatoes, not bread, that make up the crust. It was great, just sitting there, talking to each other, being silly, looking at other people around us, wondering if you had to be blond to sit at the table with no less than 20 sorority sisters around it. The food was great, the drink even better and the company the best of all.

After that, we headed to Cafe Diem for a nice cup of coffee. Only trouble was, once we got there, we realized there was live music tonight. The music didn't seem bad - a bit bland, but good enough to drink coffee to, but there were so many people there we couldn't even get to the counter to order coffee. We decided that this must be a sign that we were supposed to go to Boheme Bistro - a bar off of campus that we discovered quite by accident one night. It has the best atmosphere and the drink is good as well. Imagine our shock and horror as we drove past it and there were no lights on in the place and it looked completely deserted! It appeared to have closed for good, which was weird because Heidi and her friend Brooke had just been there but a month ago and it appeared to be thriving. Every time we'd been there, it had been doing good (although not great) business. It is also the only place in Ames where I can listen to Fiona Apple. I have tried listening to her at home, but it just is not the same as listening to Fiona Apple at Boheme Bistro.

Dejected and defeated, we headed toward Somerset which is a new development area in north Ames. We ended up at The Cafe - a very swanky (by Ames standards) restaurant which also had a little coffee place as well. We enjoyed coffee and dessert there, and talked about how even though it was a nice area and had a lot of nice businesses, it was still just so sterile that it didn't seem right. The lack of trees was a big turn off for me, but I suppose I must cut them some slack as it's only been developed in the last couple of years, and well, trees don't grow overnight.

After drinking the coffee and eating the dessert, it was pushing 9:30 which is pretty late for us oldsters not used to going out without a 5 year old! But we decided to live on the edge and make a quick run to Borders. On the way there, we made one last drive by the apparently defunct Boheme. I had made a comment idly that perhaps it was their vampire night The first time we went there, I thought it would be one of the most likely places to be a gathering place for vampires that I could think of! (and that's a compliment!) Imagine our surprise and elation to see the neon lights on and Boheme open for business! YAY!! By that point, we couldn't eat or drink another thing, but it was good to see that we could still go there sometime if we wanted to.

The highlight of the Borders trip was definitely walking in and immediately spying Rue McClanahan's autobigraphy My First Five Husbands... which cracked me up and, of course, I had to pick it up and look at it. Certainly not a buyer (and certainly not at $24.95) but it looked entertaining.

The thing I love about being married and going on a date is that you can have all the fun and rush of a date without all the performance art. There is something to be said for the comfortable and familiar - too often it gets associated with boring and mundane. Heidi and I have been married for 10 years this year, and I swear we're still discovering things about each other - but there's also the whole idea that she knows what kind of wine I like and knows I'm the original absent-minded professor and I know she's going to eat the chocolate even when she says she's full because chocolate is (supposedly) not about hunger. I don't have to put on a show with this person and I know that she's going to go home with me at the end of the night.

Ultimately, it's about reconnecting - which is something that you really need to do when you've been together as long as we have been. It's so easy to get lost in your own world - it's especially easy when I'm stressed out from work and she's busy writing and we feel mostly like ships passing in the night, joining forces only to get through a difficult parenting moment or to hash out who's going to do what around the house.

I love you honey - I had a great time and we need to do it again very soon.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Sevens

It is late. Well, it is because I work at 7 tomorrow. And usually, I'd be thrilled by this, but tonight, I'd rather just stay up but time is ticking and I simply must be in bed soon if I'm going to get up in time to get to work tomorrow. Each day this week, I've been getting up a little bit later so I'm actually a bit nervous about whether or not I will get up in time for work tomorrow. I cut it pretty close this morning - got up at 5 till 6 and had to leave by 6:30. Fortunately, I pretty up in a hurry and I made it out the door at 6:36AM.

Things are all amok these days - I'm not sure how, but they are. The universe is off kilter - at work, at home and in the world at large. Life seems an eternal cycle of birth, school, work, death. I went to Best Buy with 15 dollars in gift card + Rewards certificates to spend and couldn't find one single solitary thing to buy. I almost bought CD-Rs as we are in desperate need of them, but that seemed like such a non-fun way to spend gift money. So I didn't buy anything, although I seriously pondered some new headphones because they were all snazzy but ultimately, I decided against them because I just couldn't imagine how I would look with BLUE headpones. I mean, seriously!

I've pushed my luck as far as I dare tonight - I'm off to bed.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Profound

This is a quick one-off post before I head to work, but I was chatting with a blogging friend this morning and he said something that I just thought was amazing/brilliant/profound/etc. We were discussing jobs and work and how sometimes that even when you like what you do, the job can still get to you - get to be too much. But that's when you step back and realize that that's ANY job. This is what my friend had to say to this:

my friend: the brilliance of the 30s [Ed note: as in the age range] is realizing that there's no place to run to
Bloody brilliant. And to the person who said that (whose privacy I shall respect) - thanks a million. I needed that today!

I started her early

I haven't posted a picture of Anna's toddler years in a while, and I found this while looking through pictures on the hard drive. Just take a look at what she's watching!

And as you might expect, she still loves her Madge!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Biennial springtime ritual

Does that post title sound like a subject line to a spam e-mail? I think it does. But it actually does describe something real in my life - something of which I am currently in the throes.

Every two years, I get a little letter from my state licensing board that says (I'm paraphrasing here) "Hey Dan! Do you want to keep working? Well, you better cough up 220 bucks. Oh, and there's that little matter of the 30 hours of continuing education that you need to have done. Show us the proof or else." Something like that anyway.

Every two years, I have to do 30 hours of CE to keep my license. Every year, I put it off until the last minute. And every time, I vow that I'm not going to do it the next time around, only to find myself, inevitably, scrambling to get the CEs done in time. And that's what I'm doing now. The good thing is that there are just TONS of free CEs on the web that I can do so at least I don't have to pay for the privilege.

I knocked out 8 hours of CE tonight in about 2 hours, and I realized that in October of 2005, I actually did a 2 hour lesson, so there's 10 hours. I'm 1/3 of the way there! It's actually not all that bad, but they are so damn tedious and the way the lessons are written reminds me so much of studying for exams when I was in school - all so much the ivory tower bullshit. But I do see the importance of continuing education - it's not like things stay static, especially in my line of work. I just wish I could motivate myself to do one 2 hour lesson each month. It wouldn't even take me two years to do all 30 hours!

I don't know though, it's a shared thing amongst pharmacists - at least the ones I've known. There's always the last minute "oh shit!" that goes along with "it's time to renew your license." I may take my stack of CEs and head back to Cafe Diem tomorrow morning and try to knock out a few more. I know I'm too tired to do any more tonight.

Marvel Zombies

Because Heidi urged me last week to go ahead and order something that I've been wanting but, because of our always precarious money situation, have not, I purchased the Marvel Zombies hardcover from Amazon.com Sellers. I am not one that gets into comics - the closest I got growing up was a huge collection of MAD magazines from about 1981 through 1985. But, as you can reliably predict, when I found out about a zombie take on classic Marvel superheroes like Spiderman, Hulk, and Wolverine, I couldn't resist.

And it was, quite surprising, very good! I loved the fact that the zombie superheroes were not just mindless - they actually had good dialogue, was cleverly plotted. I was reading it yesterday morning while Anna was at dance, but ultimately, I had to put it away because it was too attractive to the 6 year old boys that were waiting there with their parents, and personally, I think it's too gory for that age group. Naturally, Anna found it where I had left it out on the porch and was fascinated by it.

And imagine my delight when I found out that there is going to be a prequel called Marvel Zombies: Dead Days which will chronicle how the heroes became zombies in the first place. I did some online research and found out that it is set for release on May 7th. I might have to go to the local comic store in Campustown called Mayhem - ground upon which I have never before set foot - to go and pick that up. Here's a sneak peek.

I think what makes me most excited about the prequel is that, honestly, it's the genesis of the zombies and the initial "Oh, shit! The dead are walking the earth!" that I love. There's also a Marvel Zombies sequel coming out which, admittedly, I'm not as excited about, but will probably end up picking up in hardcover like I did Marvel Zombies. It's Marvel Zombies vs. Army of Darkness and not being a huge Evil Dead series fan, it'll have to be pretty good to sustain my attention. Although I will admit the cover is intriguing!

And of course, this has made me VERY interested in the comic (although I was corrected by Heidi this morning - apparently the preferred term is graphic novel) The Walking Dead which is available from Amazon.com in hard cover (several volumes at that!) What a great gift that would make for this soon-to-be 35 year old boy! (hint hint)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The start of something good

I was putzing around in my iTunes tonight and came across the tracks from the live CD that Casey Stratton put out back in the spring of 2005 and I realized that tonight, 2 years ago, I was at the M-Shop here in Ames seeing Casey Stratton perform live for the very first time! I mentioned this to Heidi, and of course, she remembered how I wanted to go but was going to be a martyr to the cause (cause unknown) and not go all to save the 6 dollar entry fee. I think there was more to it than that - like the fact that I was nervous to go alone - but the money excuse was the story I was going with.

In hindsight, it was worth so much more than 6 bucks.

I do wish that I had a recording of that show because I remember him covering Tori Amos' "Precious Things" which I have not heard a good recording of since then. Here it is via YouTube (he's performing with Eric Himan - it was a double billing.)



Seeing Casey live is not something to be missed. Unfortunately, he's in Chicago tonight at Uncommon Ground and I am missing it. This time, it really is due to money. Well, and time. Plus, it would have cost a lot more than 6 bucks to go.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

My current soundtrack

Seven songs I'm really into and why. Do it on your blog if you feel so moved.

1) On With The Song - Mary Chapin Carpenter. This is perhaps the best commentary on the state of our nation and this administration that I have heard yet. It starts out like a Boston song - you almost expect to hear "I looked out this morning and the sun was gone/Turned on some music to start my day." It's funny how it is more specifically about the Dixie Chicks controversy, but somehow manages to be bigger than that. The final lyric "I gotta be true to myself and to you/So on with the song/I don't give a damn" is just classic.

2) Sorcerer - Stevie Nicks. This is from her Trouble In Shangri-La CD and was also featured on her recent best-of compilation Crystal Visions. I only knew this song as a Marilyn Martin song prior to hearing Stevie's version. A great song and it shows that next to Lindsey Buckingham, the other person born to produce Stevie Nicks is Sheryl Crow.

3) Human Spark - Michael W. Smith. There was a time that I really got into most of what Michael W. Smith did, even though contemporary Christian music generally makes me want to hurl. However, I got all caught up in the fact that he was all right-wing and a Bush supporter and it became very hard to listen to his music. Then there was my whole crisis of faith (not as dramatic as that sounds.) But slowly, I've started listening to his music again, and this track, from an album that was released during the time I just couldn't handle him because of his perceived politics, is actually quite good.

4) Don't Walk Away - Toni Childs. I had completely forgotten about this song! A powerful female voice that I just loved when I was in high school. My friend Kelly always hated her - said that her voice was like a knife cutting through bread, which I suppose I can see. The album this song came from (Union) is quite good and I had it on CD for quite some time before the great CD purge of 2004.

5) Me & My Imagination - Sophie-Ellis Bextor. I think I am going to have to find a way to purchase SEB's record. All the songs that I've heard from it really appeal to me and this one is EVEN BETTER than "Catch You" if such a thing is possible.

6) Love Alive - Heart. I know, do I listen to any current music? Well, only what I discover through pop music blogs and such. Another classic rock track - albeit a soft track - and was actually in a dream I had the other night. I was listening to my iPod at night while I slept and a live version of "Love Alive" that I have was on so I dreamt that Ann was performing it. As dreams will do to you, it was all screwed up in my brain, so it was like Ann did a horrible job performing the track! I woke up shortly after the dream wondering how it happened because I didn't think I had a live version of this song, but sure enough, I did.

7) Big Wheel - Tori Amos. One of the leaked tracks from Tori's new CD. What can I say? I really love it.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Goodbye gel

I have to say that I am in love with this. I have used Crew gel for the longest time, and I'm really tired of the crunchiness that goes along with gel. American Crew Fiber is the answer. I don't want to sound like a commercial, but seriously, you don't have to use very much, you get a really good hold and as a bonus, you don't end up smelling all girly. Not that smelling girly is bad, but generally, as a man, I don't want to smell like a girl.

I will probably never go back to gel. Although I did have one misadventure with this product last Friday. You see, I'm still trying to figure out just how much I need to use, and I got a little overzealous and my hair was as hard as a rock! And then it didn't help at all that I had a lazy Saturday during which I never showered or washed my hair, and my hair was STILL affected by this stuff.

Anyway, I like it. It stays.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Approaching The Crossing

The Crossing is Casey Stratton's official follow-up to 2005's DIVIDE - his first album since his split with Sony Music. It is a collection of brand new songs that were written between April of 2005 and May of 2006. For this release, he continues very much in the alternative pop/rock vein explored on DIVIDE and his major label release Standing at the Edge.

Introspective lyrics and quiet musical arrangements dominate the 14 tracks. The album, as a whole, is a much mellower affair than DIVIDE was. It opens with the gorgeous "Rising Sun" which Casey played live at several engagements prior to The Crossing's release. A grand ballad in the tradition of "The Hardest Part" (the first track on DIVIDE) Casey's soaring vocals and the intricate piano arrangements belie the fact that this CD is self-produced without all the amenities that a major label will provide. Other standouts include "There Lies The Answer" in which he writes "Underneath all the anger/There lies the answer" - a lesson that so many of us could stand to learn. The title track serves as the other bookend of the album - it's sure to become a staple of his live shows and it ends the album on a perfect note.

In spite of the large number of ballads, there are several midtempo tracks that serve to round out the album. "Projector" - with its strings and piano and, most importantly, C minor key signature was the immediate favorite when I started listening to the album. It is still my hands down favorite of all the tracks. "False Prophet" which is a not-so-thinly-veiled commentary on George W. Bush, features some of Casey's more pointed lyrics and best songwriting. Oddly, it serves as a good companion to Mary Chapin Carpenter's fabulous "On With The Song" which talks about similar issues. "The Window Will Close" features a hook that is vaguely reminiscent of an Erasure track that I can't place. And the song being serviced to college radio, "You Showed Me Again", is the strong centerpiece of the album and shows that there may be some hope for alternative pop music yet.

While the album overall is a strong outing, that's not to say there aren't a few missteps. "Cruel Hand of Fate" starts out promising, but ultimately the chorus doesn't have the hook it needs. "Final Stage" clocking it at nearly 9 minutes (many tracks run over 6 minutes - I think a little tightening could have helped some of the songs) just does not speak to me in the way the other songs do. It is too meandering and doesn't have the strong melody that I've come to associate with his music. In addition, with so many ballads and downtempo tracks, he runs the risk of having things all sound a little bit too "same-ish" with none of the tracks being absolute standouts and all running together in the listener's mind.

That having been said, I think The Crossing is a grower, an album that will take its own sweet time in opening up to the listener. It is certainly taking its own sweet time on me. When I first got it, nothing save "Projector" really jumped out and grabbed me like "In Silence" and "Opaline" did from DIVIDE and "For Reasons Unexplained" and "Blood" did from Standing at the Edge. This can be a good thing. Sometimes, when an album is immediately appealing, there's a tendency for it to burn white-hot for a few weeks and then die out. When an album is a slow burn, I think you're more likely to find new angles and sounds that you hadn't seen or heard on previous listens. This has already happened with me personally. However, the marriage of the introspective and emotional lyrics with a pop sensibility is what has always attracted me to Casey's music, and I think the album could have benefited from a couple of uptempo tracks. It's a good record, just not a perfect one.

Casey Stratton is one of my personal heroes. His ability to cut right to the core of the emotion through his lyrics and music never ceases to amaze me. I think it was what first drew me to him as an artist - the fact that he was so open emotionally in his music. That is not easy - especially for men - and his music, in a way, helps affirm my own masculinity. His music speaks to my soul, which is what all the best music in your life should do. I don't appreciate each and every song he puts out - but the fact that he perseveres on this road despite the obstacles that being an independent artist pose is inspiring. I'm always in awe of someone who does what they want - follows their bliss, to quote the great Joseph Campbell - and then has the ability to affect as many people has he has. He may never be at the level of celebrity of Madonna or any other ultra-famous musician, and Timbaland will probably never produce a record for him (at least I hope not!!) but perhaps that's not what it's about for him. And on a purely personal level, if he ever did gain that level of celebrity, it'd be awfully hard for him to sign CDs in the front bar of Uncommon Ground in Chicago.

Buy The Crossing from Casey's Digital Store
Buy The Crossing from iTunes
Buy The Crossing from CDBaby

Watch "Rising Sun" via YouTube below:

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The White Tree of Ames

A few weeks back, when it was an unseasonably warm 80 degrees, I took a walk about a mile from my house to take several photos of my favorite tree in all of Ames. I walked not solely because it was such a beautiful day and after several months of snow and cold it was as if the shackles had been undone and we were all set free, but also, it's down by Iowa State Center and parking is at a premium. Actually, there's pretty much no parking that isn't permit only, so I walked.

I love this tree - and I'm not 100% sure what type of tree it is, although I'm fairly certain it's a white oak. It is at its most impressive during the winter months, when it has shed all of its leaves and the white bark is there in all its glory. We refer to it (as the title of this post suggests) as "the white tree of Ames" in a blatant Lord of the Rings reference. Once the leaves come back, the view of the bark is obscured and it looks just like any other large tree that you might see.

Here's a couple of the better shots I got that day. (click for full size shots)

This is a shot from the south side of Lincoln Way, the main drag that runs east-west across the center of town. It's a busy street and getting a shot in which there were no vehicles present proved to be more difficult that I originally anticipated!

This shot was taken from the west - the branches that are down almost inevitably came down in the ice storm. I really wanted to take the branches home with me, but dragging those heavy limbs for a mile plus was not my idea of a good time!!

And while I was out there, I took a picture of this tree's neighbor, which I thought looked like it had a "monster" in it. Well, see for yourself.

See what I mean - dead center looks like some space alien that got "eaten" by the tree.

Shoot them in the brains if you want to live

I'm not even sure how I came across this song, but it is right up my alley - although come to think of it, it was probably The Hype Machine or something like that. But whatever possessed me to search for this kind of thing is beyond me. In any event, the song is "Zombie Killer" by Leslie Hall, who (in a strange coincidence) went to high school just up the street from my house!

So many songs that make reference to the living dead are done by thrash metal bands, so it's a welcome change of pace to hear a song like this sung not only by a female, but also in a style of music that is at least pleasing to my ear.

And dang if that's not big hair on the album cover!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The end is extremely f***ing nigh...

...for my time off work, that is. Yep, it's been a fun stretch, and the best part is I still have today! However, tomorrow it will be back to reality. It's been a nice balance of "stuff for me" vs. "stuff that needs to get done" during the last 4 days. I had an idea of how tired and burned out from work I was, but I really didn't know the extent of it until I stopped going for a few days. In most instances, I'd probably be ruing my imminent return to the world of work, but this time, not so much. I'm rested, refreshed and feel like it's time to get back to reality.

I've caught up on my sleep, spent a lot of time blogging and catching up on e-mail, and just generally taking care of myself. It's so easy in this world to NOT take care of yourself. For all the emphasis we put on a solid mental health and making sure we're ok, I think that we as adults (and men in particular) are pretty good at not doing that. For me, it's always "I SHOULD be doing this or that or whatever" not "what do I need for me?" And yes, as usual, there's a balance that needs to be maintained. I don't have the right to become a completely selfish bastard and not attend to the needs of my family or those around me. But ultimately, if I don't take care of myself, I'm not able to take care of them either.

In another lifetime, I'd be wishing for the rage virus to arrive and save me from having to have my time off work end. This time, I'm ready. I think. Ask me tomorrow night.

Saw Saw III

Holy crap, those Saw movies just keep on getting bloodier. I stayed up way too late considering I have to take Anna to preschool by 9AM tomorrow morning watching Saw III (much delayed, I think that the person at work loaned me the DVD probably a month ago!) I didn't much care for the first Saw - mostly because of the little daughter in jeopardy thing. Call me crazy, but that just hits a little too close to home for me now. But then I heard that Saw II was better than the first, so I had to give it a go. And they were right - it was quite good with clever (but gory) traps for the victims and a twist ending I honestly didn't see coming.

And now there's Saw III. The person who loaned it to me at work warned me that they thought it sucked. So perhaps that's why I've put off watching it until now. Honestly though, I really have to be in a mood to watch those gory, bloody, graphic horror movies. I can always be talked into something classic and scary like Night of the Living Dead or Rosemary's Baby - something that scares more with ideas than with gore and blood and splatter. But for movies like the Saw series (and, apparently, Hostel as well) I just have to be in a mood where I can just look away when it gets too gory.

And gory it was. I think I watched about half of the movie - one eye was pretty much continually covered by the blanket. That seriously begs the question "why the hell do you watch such stuff if it bothers you?" I don't think there's an easy answer to that, as much as I'd like there to be one. Personally, I can watch a movie like that and then immediately put it out of my mind - I don't close my eyes in bed and have images of it appear. Heidi, on the other hand, is the complete opposite, which is why she doesn't ever watch those kind of movies. Ever. She watched Shaun of the Dead with me a few weeks back, and even THAT was too gory for her, and I daresay that's about one-third as gory as honest to God zombie flicks like the new Dawn of the Dead.

I think it comes down to I like being scared and that is truly a safe environment in which to do it. If it gets uncomfortable, you turn it off. Or you hide under the blanket.

What gets me about these movies is that I can see why they continually make sequels to them. Saw III blatantly set up for Saw IV which you know I'll watch - and that's exactly why they make them. They can be so bad that it doesn't matter how bad they are. If they scare and deliver a known quantity to a horror audience, they're going to turn a profit. There are no big name stars in the movie. The Saw movies have been shot on a shoestring budget. And then the DVD market makes them even more money than they probably made at the box office. It's a no-lose situation.

Well, I'm off to bed. One more day of vacation, and then it's back to the real world.

Monday, April 09, 2007

A pox on the house of Netflix

Remember this sturm and drang? Well, it's repeating itself. It took me 2 weeks to watch American Psycho (not a bad movie, there's certainly a good story in there somewhere, but it did not translate to the screen well) and I sent it back on Saturday, fully hoping to get "Maude" for Tuesday. Well, Netflix completely skipped over the top of it and are sending me something FOUR SPOTS DOWN MY QUEUE!

Bastards.

To move or not to move

I've been dinking around on Wordpress tonight when I had every intention of going upstairs and watching Saw III. I've gone and set up a domain name and am seriously contemplating moving my blog over there. I've contemplated abandoning Blogger in the past for something sexier, but in every single instance, I've kept the Blogger blog going. The biggest hurdle on all the previous flirtations has been the inability (at least by me) to import my Blogger blog - comments and all - to the new site. However, Wordpress is promising me that it can do just that, which I'll admit, has me very intrigued.

I suppose that ultimately, I could just leave the Blogger blog on it's own site and post one last entry to the Wordpress one, but then there's just one more dead blog out there in the blogosphere. And believe me, I've written way too much to just delete the damn thing. It may not mean shit to the vast majority of the world out there, but all those words mean a lot to me, because it represents a creative effort on my part. Sometimes I'm more successful than others, but I will go back through the archives every now and then and it's like a time capsule. Like I said, maybe not interesting to anyone else, but for me, I'm rather proud of it. Someone told me once when I first decided I was going to do a blog that they'd be interested to see how I did as I would likely not stick with it. Nearly 4 years later, I'm still here - with quite a few more people reading this insanity than I ever thought would.

So who knows what I'll do - anyone reading who has input, I'm all ears. I have to admit, though, that the seeming lack of ability to edit html is a big drawback. I mean, how am I going to put in my last.fm musical quilt?

Wide Eyed Girl

One last post about the brilliance of Savage - here's a video from the Savage long-form video. This one is for one of my favorite songs on the album (although it didn't start out that way) "Wide Eyed Girl." I remember being 15 and being in church and there was this little old 95 year old lady wearing a purple dress and all I could think was "She was a wide-eyed girl in a purple dress..." Anyway, here's Annie - in her sexpot blond wig which I think is perhaps my favorite visual associated with the project.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Like honey from a poisoned cup

Just look at what I found this weekend at Firehouse Books here in Ames!

That's right folks, it's a VINYL copy of the 1987 Eurythmics album Savage. Actually, I spotted it on Friday morning when I finally decided to make a trip to Firehouse - I always think about going, but never do for reasons I can't even begin to understand. I always see their ad in the Toons right above the crossword and I think that finding out they had used vinyl was the straw that broke the camel's back and got me to finally make good on my promise to "go in there some day." I didn't buy it that day - citing a lack of funds (seriously, was I really lacking $3.50?) but I told XO and Yuri about it and they both encouraged me to go out and snap it up. Never one to resist peer pressure very well, I went back out on Saturday afternoon, having scavenged the required fundage from the change jar and a dollar bill in my wallet.

Savage is, without a doubt, my favorite Eurythmics album, bar none. I've blogged about it before, but the brilliance that is Savage just cannot be overstated. The craziness of the first single "Beethoven (I Love To Listen To)" should have been an immediate turn-off - talk about completely not commercial! - but oddly enough, it was that song and its schizophrenic video that attracted me to the album in the first place. Now if only I could get my hands on the Savage video - featuring a music video for each song on the album.

Here's some more shots of it (click for full size to see the details of the album art.) The vinyl is actually in pretty good shape. On Saturday afternoon, while folding laundry and cleaning house, I listened to Savage in its entirety on my iPod. If I had a turntable, I would have thrown the vinyl on there. It's not worth much more than what I paid for it in terms of collectibility, but to me, it's a priceless find.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Little Miss Literal

OK, so today, we're driving back from a friend's house - we hadn't even intended to go there, as I was not even showered and was, honestly, still in my pajamas although I had thrown on a fleece and shoes. We're listening to Crystal Visions in the car, and "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" comes on. Anna and I had been listening to that song in the car the other day and she was all "why is he dragging her heart around?? Yuck!!" I proceeded to explain to her that it wasn't a REAL heart, she was telling him to be nicer to her and not treat her mean. I mean, really, how do you explain the concept of Sid & Nancy kind of love to a 5-year old?

Well, today, when it came on, she instantly recognized it and started singing along to it a little bit. Since it is in my job description as a parent to tease my daughter, I asked her if she was going to drag a heart around - and she said "No! Yuck!!" I said to her, "What do you think would happen if you drug a real heart around? Do you think you'd get bloody?" Heidi's begging me to stop at this point because SHE'S grossing out at the thought of it, but Anna matter-of-factly replies to me, "Well, you could tie it to a rope and then drag it around. Then you wouldn't get blood on your hands."

That's my girl.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

A good lookin' kid

I've been meaning to blog this photo I took of Anna for quite some time now, but for whatever reason, I just haven't done it. I have tons that I'd like to blog tonight, but my lack of brain cells is going to limit it to this. I took this photo of Anna on the central campus of Iowa State University. We go there frequently to walk around and spend time together. In any event, that day was nice enough to sit out on the grass and while we were sitting there being silly, I captured this completely unposed (honest!) moment.

Heidi says it's a very Madge photo, wouldn't you agree?

Monday, April 02, 2007

Weekend recap

A busy and productive weekend was had by all here. Here's a quick recap.

1) Saturday morning - Anna's dance competition. While not quite as bad as the last one, it has still made us realize that we are NOT cut out to be dance parents (which does not bode well for our ability to be band parents or sports parents or [insert extracurricular activity here] parents.) We will, however, continue to survive.

2) Sunday involved chopping up all the branches that fell during the Oscar weekend ice and snow storm. We now have firewood to last until who knows when (probably not as long as we think, as Heidi put it yesterday.) Thanks to Mom and Dad for helping and bringing the chain saw - I even used the chain saw myself! Don't worry, it's an electrical chain saw so I won't be doing the Iowa version of the Texas Chain Saw Massacre anytime soon (or ever.)

3) Last and certainly not least we watched the first episode of the third series of Doctor Who (thank you BitTorrent!!) While I was curious to see how they'd
get along without Rose, I think the answer appears to be "just fine, thankyouverymuch." David Tennant proves yet again to be a fabulous (if "squirrely" as my mom put it) Doctor and Martha is more than worthy to follow in Rose's footsteps as the new companion. Funny how both this series opener and the last one were set in hospitals.

I don't think I'll fall so hopelessly far behind on this series as I did the last one!