Sunday, January 21, 2007

Hi Jeff Tweedy, if you're reading this...

So if you know anything at all about me, you know I'm a huge Wilco fan. My very first post on the original TMBS, in fact, included a link to hear Wilco's album "A Ghost is Born." Huge Wilco fan. Huge.

So guess what?

Wilco has a new album, due May 15th.

And guess what it's called?

"Sky Blue Sky."

Yeah. I'm freaking out just a little bit.

So, Jeff, if you're reading this, um, congrats on the new record! (And if you want to do a liveblog thing or, I don't know, anything at all, let me offer an unequivocal and enthusiastic yes. Just tell me where and when, and how much to grovel.)

Friday, January 19, 2007

Cross-Plug: One Good Piece of Advice

As a former stay-at-home dad, I think a lot about being a father. The good folks at Daddy Types are soliciting one good piece of pre-dadhood advice from their readers. Here's what I came up with (I couldn't just do one piece of advice):

- Video cameras are nice, but get a microphone. If you have an iPod, get a microphone that attaches to it (iMic or something similar). Record your kid's voice (even the cries of the first few months) at least once a month, more if you can. You'll cherish these memories.

- When your wife breast-feeds, sit next to her when you can. Do not read a magazine, stare at the tv, or listen to music on headphones. Be there. Listen to the sounds. Watch your baby. This time doesn't last long, and it's really a miraculous thing. Be a part of it.

- Also, when wife is breast-feeding, offer stuff. Water. A pillow. The tv remote control.

- Get your muscles in good shape - not ripped, but just fit. Look for some easy stretching and toning exercises you can do at home. Once the baby comes, the trips to the gym are going to disappear, and meanwhile, you'll have more strain to your back and your legs than you can even imagine. And your shoulders. And your arms! Holy cripes, I couldn't believe how badly my forearms hurt sometimes, after rocking the kid to sleep for an hour.

- Stop cursing now. Listen to what you say. Start making yourself say "darn" or "fudge" or, I don't know, "hootenanny" - whatever else you can say besides actual curse words. I constantly curse when I'm in the car, driving, and I had to work to force myself to stop once I wasn't the only one in the car anymore. It's hard - start working on it now.

- Get a bunch of music you love (and audiobooks, if you're into them) and put it on your computer or on an iPod, something you can access quickly. If you're home at all with your kid, you'll have lots of down time where the kid's napping and you're stuck holding him/her.

- Don't use your wife's flouncy diaper bags with the really cute flower pattern. Buy your own. Whether it's an official dad diaper bag or just an old Jansport backpack, you need your own. Seriously.

- Don't let your wife go to ped appointments alone. You're part of this, too. Go. Have at least one question to ask at every appointment. If you need to, check with your wife for a good question.

- Last and possibly most important: take time for yourself. Dad work is important work, but take one day a month and go out for beers with your friends. Go watch a movie. Go to the ball game by yourself. Do the things you enjoy. Make proper arrangements with your other half, plan well in advance, and don't feel guilty while you're gone. (But you'll probably want to bring your cell phone, just in case.)

Go look at DaddyTypes to see the whole list of comments. The suggestions are all brilliant and worthwhile. It's an impressive showing of collective daddy wisdom.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Obama '08

Barack Obama's formed a presidential exploratory committee. You can see his pre-announcement here.

I just had to restrain myself from walking into my boss' office and telling him that I'd be taking some time off to volunteer for Obama's campaign. I like Obama a lot. I like that he's a former community organizer, something that prepares anyone for talking to everyday people as if they're actual human beings. I like his optimism. I like his gentle, thoughtful speaking style. I've read his first book, "Dreams from My Father" and was impressed with what I read. I don't know if he'll be the nominee, and I have some initial concerns about some of his stances (mostly because of vagueness). But I'm excited about him, and no other candidate has gotten me genuinely excited yet.

Friday, January 12, 2007

More Snow in Seattle

After the big snowstorm on Wednesday night, this was the scene out on our balcony. We easily had five inches of snow out there. Oliver couldn't have been happier. (Well, except for the nasty cold he's suddenly developed.) He was digging his hands into the snow outside his window, carrying handfuls of it around in a little plastic bucket, sprinkling it over his little Fisher Price play house (hey, little people, it's snowing!) We had some puddles on our floor, but who cares. We was enjoying himself.

West Seattle, by far, got the worst of the snowstorm. I bussed into downtown Seattle to work yesterday, and you could hardly tell that it had snowed. Where was some white stuff on bushes and hedges, the streets were bare.

On the other hand, getting out of West Seattle was an adventure. One bus was canceled because of treacherous road conditions. Streets here are still covered with thick ice and frozen snow chunks. The main drag, California Avenue, was plowed at some point on Tuesday night, during the snowstorm. I don't know if it's happened since. The hill next to our apartment is a solid sheet of ice. It's a bobsled run. I've seen three cars on it in two days.

Mrs. B has been off for the last two days. Poor girl - she's had a full week of snow days and various other days off due to power outages. She's going to be in school until mid-July, the way things are going. But she's pretty jittery about driving on the icy roads, and she's got a number of hills on the drive to her school, so she's happy to be home.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Well, I need a hobby...

I hadn't really considered taking up death metal appreciation as a hobby, but in case I ever did, it's nice to know someone has composed a how-to guide.

Better yet! If you want to shred your vocal cords a la the glamorous George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher of Cannibal Corpse (pictured here), there's a guide to that, too!

This inhaling technique can produce an extreme range of pitch, allowing you to both grunt and squeal like a pig. The incoming airflow will be nowhere near the volume of normal speech. You will need to speak using exaggerated lip movements and the front of the tongue while keeping the back of the tongue muscle in place. While an "inhale vocal tech" may sound "cool", be careful using it. It can (and likely will) damage your vocal cords.

Cool! I mean, gwrrraaaaaahhhhhrrrrrrrhhhhhhaaaaaarrrrr!