Thursday, August 31, 2006

OK I'll have it back

So I just I said my librarian badge should be revoked..? Well as we made it out to shop yesterday I promised to stop in at the library. As soon as it was in sight my daughter pointed and yelled, "The library! There it is! Yahoo, the library, yahooooo."

So I guess I'll get my badge back.

ps: Consider this a reminder to you all that it's time to register for babytime and toddlertime at you local library, too.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

I'm gorgeous

Recently, there have been a number of posts I admire out there all about appearances. As I lack the depth of skill with words I can't keep up with the level of discourse they proffer so let's just say in related news.. last week my daughter described herself as follows: "I'm gorgeous"

I think the vogue photo above attests to her emerging vanities. I am in a word delighted. I am thrilled to hear the clear voice of my daughter filled with self esteem. It is a declaration she has not picked up from me. To be honest I don't know that she is 'gorgeous' this word is far to mysterious in its modern meaning, anyway.

I don't really think of her all Brooke Shields like in the first photo.

I think of her more like the previous moment captured here:

Or as the dear doll you see here from last Christmas time.

Most intimately I know her as the doe-eyed monster freshly risen. (that is the face that emerged from nap into the hub-bub of her 1 year birthday party)

My daughter is my faith and love of life as surely as my son is my heart and my patience. They are beautiful cherished people.

I should confess that posting on my adoration for my children has left me feeling a bit apart from these other admirable posts. I have had twinges of hestation about posting on this at all. So here I am posting twice! (Ah, sensible remedy!) In the precipating post a phrasing of how mothers might want to just eat up their babies rang out? Or did it merely jingle a bit?? Probably I exaggerate...

This is a concept over which I despair. Here I wanted to say a little of my unease with the concept. Heck, I even shiver at the monster claim to 'eat you up we love you so.' I have good and limited and personal reasons for my unease. While I am sure that for many the nature of these words are wholly different.

My mother lives for -- through? -- the edible child. To this day no worry I have, no promise I hold, no happiness I encounter can't be hers to chew up and spit out. It is a bone in the throat of us both -- though she would see it less so.

Mindful of the burr this was in my growing up I check myself constantly not to fall into this manner of mothering. I am consuming instead the goal of respect for my children. Driving always toward ensuring I do not 'eat up' my children. It is imperative I do not return the bravery of their emergence into this world with some hubris. Once they make it out here they need not be bothered with any thoughts that Mommy wants to put them back.

And.. speaking of emergence, wish me luck getting my nerve to post the Nuthatch birth story, I think we are getting close! (Updated to add, birth story now here.)

Sunday, August 27, 2006


A few ponderous souls out there have been thinking and rethinking that astute quote from MD last week.

"Personally, I've always thought that a great marriage is like a duck. On the surface, it looks cool and effortless, but underneath, everybody's paddling like hell."

Really my marriage is not so ducklike Metro... I believe yours may be. But our marriage is rather more like a hedgehog... Everyone *thinks* they'd like one but they are sooooo annoyingly introverted as to make you want to throttle their darlingness. And, from time to time, they tend to anoint themselves in a curious and arrogant manner.

Happy Anniversary honey! And, still "The fox knows many tricks; the hedgehog one good one."

So, dear readers... what sort of animal is your marriage?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Dear spouse

Since some will suggest the standard is that we not blog about anything we wouldn't say to our spouses' faces.... To wit, actual Wo household quote

Mother feeding the infant .. toddler just put to bed. Mother says to father:
Yeah, right. Get off your butt. Put the kettle on for tea. Run the bath. Give it up there book-reader!

... I better turn in my librarian badge, I suppose.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Step Away From the List, Sir

As a general-comment-to-nobody-in-particular I love Night Ranger, and if they had existed, I would doubtless put an album of theirs on my list.

I have, in the course of purchasing the albums I possess, attempted to find distinctive and unique works of art the maddening crowds of MOR-programmed morons were too stupid to ever notice. I have, in the course of attempting to achieve this end, failed entirely. I am too white-bread, too waspish, to vanilla (sorry, Mo) to possess the aural adventurism of some. So what. I now begin to identify albums I really enjoy and even get a bit warm over. Numbers 56-43.

56. VELVET UNDERGROUND White Light/White Heat (1968)

I read a Lou Reed interview where he complained that when VU played in LA people kind of scoffed and looked at them like they were ‘dirty’. I maintain the crowds were incredulous that a band this bad (technically) could get financial backing to tour.

This record is muddy and foul. It is a gutter on vinyl. I love it.

55. GONG You (1974)

This is a part of a bong-powered trilogy produced between 1973 and 1975 and featuring STEVE HILLAGE! The subject matter of the lyrics appears to be gnomes, flying teapots, and trying too hard to fit the hippie mold. That said, the drum major was very major, and it is clear this band rehearsed a fair bit, between fungus-induced comas and chakra-counting bees.

54. JIMMY CLIFF The Harder They Come (1972)

Not really a Cliff album but a soundtrack to a gritty move set in, I forget, Turks & Caicos… somewhere really hot, where people still own sweaters. Not much to say about it other than I am no fan of Marley, or of the genre as known to me, but this record contains some beautiful raw sounds which thrill me.

53. COUNT BASIE & HIS ORCHESTRA Straight Ahead (1968)


52. DAVE MASON Alone Together (1970)

The second appearance by Mr. Mason, and his penultimate appearance, insofar as this list is concerned. This album also represents the first of three appearances on this list by an apparent casualty of rock excess, in this case, a schizophrenic matricidal drummer, I think, or maybe Jim Keltner. (In any event, that came later, after the good times were gone.) The backing band on this record was everywhere: George Harrison’s debut, Clapton’s debut, Mad Dogs and Englishmen, Delaney and Bonnie. They had something going on. On going. Going. (Damn you, MD!)

When Mr. Mason got it right, he got it right. Here, he got it right most of the time. If you can overlook the youmeyoumemeyoumeyoume youyouyou mememe lyrics you may enjoy this one.

51. RADIOHEAD The Bends (1995)

Everybody’s talked this band to death. Whatever.

50. INTERPOL Antics (2005)

Well-crafted pop from a member of (what I will call for no reasoned basis) the “New York School of Limited-Range Singers”. This cd has grown on m like a genital wart. At some point I will have to see a doctor. The top 50 get noted for my favourite song, if I have one, from the album. Here: Evil.


White crunk? Never has an archduke sounded so appealing to me. More guitar - more! Perhaps this betrays my lameness but this record has a frenzied sound which makes me want to ride a bike off a wall. But first I will hire a plaintiff’s lawyer… Franz Ferdinand made me ride a bike from a wall. Franz Ferdinand punctured my duodenum. Give me money, Franz Ferdinand. As far as I am aware, this is the only album both Kanye West and I enjoy. FS: The Dark of the Matinee.

48. SHUGGIE OTIS Information Inspiration (1973)

I like this record so much I made it #48 on my list. Kind of, um, weird, but earnest. FS: Aht Uh Mi Hed.

47. SONNY ROLLINS Saxophone Colussus (1956)

Big man, heavy band. Mr. Rollins has a warm and powerful tone. Max Roach has eight arms. Give me some sugar, baby. FS: St. Thomas.

46. JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE Electric Ladyland (1968)

Boy, is this guy overrated or what? Apparently Mr. Hendrix dabbled in psychedelics. You wouldn’t know if from listening to this album. Bubblegum. (I am treating this entry and #59 as two acts with one guy in common. One notable guy in common. My list!) Dave Mason’s final appearance on this list for those of you who read liner notes. FS: Long Hot Summer Night.

45. BOB DYLAN John Wesley Harding (1967)

Really I just wanted “All Along the Watchtower” listed twice in succession. If only the Buggles had done that song, then, thrice! In any event, this is the only Dylan record I own which does not annoy me. The prose, or poetry, or what have you, it is not so purple. FS: Down Along the Cove.

44. THE QUINTET Jazz at Massey Hall(1953)

Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, Dizzy Gillespie, Max Roach, Charlie Mingus…these guys could’ve played Rick Astley’s Greatest Hits instead of the tunes they did play on this one-time-only gig and I would still think kindly of them. Bop until you drop. FS: Salt Peanuts.

43. ROBERT WYATT Rock Bottom (1974)
This guy drummed with Soft Machine and I nominated a song of his as one of the worst songs ever. I know what I’ve said about the Soft Machine but this isn’t them.

Wyatt wrote this album not long after a fall from a window rendered him paraplegic. (This impaired his drumming to no small extent.) This is a harrowing, beautiful, and distinct work. FS: Sea Song.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Air is sweet

We live up the hill from the City Waste Transfer station. On the odd August day the winds from the river send the scents of the urban detritus across the neighbourhood. But, I don't mind. The occurrences are few and once I confirm that the origin of the stench is external and beyond my control I am usually delighted to put down my OxyClean and try to make it up to whichever cat I had been blaming.

Besides, this neighbourhood is THE BEST. We live on fucking Sesame Street!! Until the kids are 5 I think we would be totally stupid to move from here. P-man, are you out there?

Where we live is pretty plain. We bought a very typical starter home after living in my apartment on the westside for a long time. We were not alone. It seems in the aftermath of people who fly into buildings a bunch of Gen X'ing ME generation types -- like us -- put plans for worldwide domination aside and instead got it together to make the commitment to real property, debt, and procreation. Everywhere you look there are kids. Nice kids, too. Their parents aren't slouches either.

Surrounding all of us are the neighbourhood's pioneers, da Germans. Interspersed are the big new houses with multigenerational families, mostly from South East Asia -- Punjabi market is 6 blocks away. On the high street we've got tons of cheapo dollar stores, the obligatory Starbucks (this is the city after all), about 15 highly competitive green grocers, Filipino Barbeque, and 10 Chinese bakery/restaurants of varying quality. Average annual household income is around $50,000, so I guess you'd call this 'hood working class. There are trees and parks, little homes with people inside them who are nice and I love it.

We go out everyday. Our neighbours are nice. They always greet us. For example, en route to daycare, by foot, about 8:15 one day ... the child and I pass the new Sikh neighbour. He is muttering. Some morning prayers? Child smiles and this grandfatherly man halts his morning.. reaches a gentle hand to cup her chin, and smile in lieu of saying good morning in likely his second language... I could feel something like a blessing pass on to her.

Miss Fancy even got a new nickname this week: Bubbles. Since I've been home and have gone to Starbucks with her I was met with "Oh, YOU'RE Bubbles Mommy!?!" Last week, I was trundling home from the park and got accosted again by charming neighbour #257. "Ah, you finally had your bayeh-beeeee! There is a block party Saturday you know? Come to the block party; bring your bayyyubeee! D. would really like to see E., too, its been a while" -- "What's that E? Ah, yes the Skwhirhills are very snu-heeky. Well said my daughter."

We have lots of easy and breezy relationships around here, it's vital to our family. Our neighbourhood helped my daughter through that "will she be shy or not?" phase -- HA she's King of Kensington now! They relieve me at the playground when my head is buzzing with these responsibilities; provide arms for a child when my hands are full with another. When we had kids I knew we would need stuff. I certainly didn't have a clue it would be this sort of stuff.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Prohibited Weapons

I love my dad. He's got his faults, but I have mine (not that I am admitting any). There was a rather lengthy period during and after my parents' divorce during which I had nearly no contact with dad. Days of Oedipus, starring the pre-Soon Yee Woody Allen. I thought that over the last several years our relationship has been pretty good. We acknowledge our love for one another, are reasonably involved in one another's life, and all that human crap.

Now, however, I am concerned that dad is trying to kill me and my family, and to kill us with kindness.

After e was born, dad appeared to relish making and delivering food to us. He made stroganoffs, meatloaves, pork things, and my favourite, 'porcupines'. I don't know from where the recipe comes but, in essence, a porcupine is a spheroid of meat combined with rice, onions, spices, and grated carrot. Porcupines, once amassed, are then baked in a tomato-based fluid until cooked. They are then consumed by the grateful diner whop makes appropriate eat-grunts and masticatory noises.

Of late, however, the porcupines have not so much resembled the delicious meat-tribbles of yore, but have taken on the character of toxic meat grenades, outlawed by the UN for use in any arena. The last three times the little bombs have arrived, I have cut into them only to find that the now-cooled flesh-spheres are undercooked, near-raw. There was one unfortunate incident when the porcupines arrived, sat covered on the counter for a couple of hours, and then turned green, and smelly... so smelly. I didn't want to tell dad about the toxic meat-bombs at first, because he may have gotten a little sensitive, and after the second incident, I was kicking myself for not saying anything the first time.

So on Saturday, when he called and informed me he was baking some porcupines, I told him. I explained the last batch was underdone and we had to dispose of it. I explained he needed to 'cook the shit' out of the little guys. Maybe I could have put it differently, because he got a little, um, sensitive. He delayed his delivery, informing me he had to 'cook the shit' out of the porcupines. When he arrived the next day, it was with 'charcoal offerings'. While I felt badly for him I rejoiced: cooked porcupines!

That evening, I set about doling out the little bundles of meaty pleasure, when I noticed that, how can I say it, I was handling a vat of e-coli death balls in close proximity to my wee offspring! These porcupines weren't even half-cooked... they were practically on the hoof! I cut one open on the counter, just to be sure, then another, and another... all uncooked. It was then I concluded that pops might have it in for me. So what can I say?

In the cleaning process, I employed a 'citrus' scented antibacterial wipe. The brand in question produces wipes in a variety of unnecessary and inaccurately named scents, from 'green apple' to 'waterfall' (what the fuck is that?). The label touts: kills 99.9% of germs! I tell you now, I am very worried about the fearsome power of the 0.1%, so very afraid.

P-man out.

Friday, August 18, 2006

My Little Love

She must have had a nightmare.

Pad from the wood floor at the door across the carpet of my room comes the little girl. I spring up alert, invincible to her concern, reassuring. My tired limbs and cracking joints ignored as I pick her up and move to her room. In the dim light of dawn and a nightlight I sway to return her to her sleep.

She curls a lock of my hair around two of her still babyish fingers; two other fingertips stroke my neck. These register perfectly the state of her excursion back to sleep. Tightly she has my hair then less and less, her head lays heavy at my throat and I listen to her breathing deepen. In five minutes she's away again with the Sandman, her loving touch disipating.

Like any parent weary in the night I am glad of the swiftness of her return to sleep. I can put her down. I should. But, me? I'll linger a little while. I have spent hours in her nearly two years outside of me doing this, many minutes watching her go to rest. I hunger for the comfort of the sight of her -- sleeping or otherwise. What a thrill is the unrelenting love she gives me that makes so very much more than whole. The love that extends me beyond a single being ... to humanity.

And, oh my god, now there are TWO of them!

** I publish this with some nod to the recent call to keystrokes from HBM though I cannot say it fulfills her criteria. This instead is the best I can do -- a fragment of the story. I say on her blog, and will repeat here, it is so interesting to me how this writing forum can accommodate the marginal. It is intrinsic to this banter that no standard is in place for completeness or perfection.. (or in my case even strict coherence ;> ) I do delight in the exchange of fragments for that is all I can muster.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

A case for Gymboree

I am not a joiner AND I am CHEAP! As a rule -- rather than for any defensible reason -- I loathe stuff like Gymboree. BUT.. judging by the boredom life with me and infant is inflicting on the toddler I better look into some sort of program, sooooon. Case in point:

Video Hosting - Upload Video - Video Sharing

That is a Dora the Explorer Easy--Up if you don't recognize the millinery from Dior. Now, where is that library events brochure? Ah well at least she can 'dress herself".

My Ass

We appear to have fallen off the internet superhighway. It is, perhaps, predictable to consider what happens to the novice blogger (such as this correspondent) when life starts to happen at an accelerated pace. Right now, we have our girl who will be 2 next month, and our son, who is now one month old, both are healthy, reasonably good sleepers, we are healthy, Mo is a good sleeper... things are hectic, occasionally tempestuous, but full of sweet-tasting moments which, while I will not remember them, I will savour as they come.

Given the likely absence of readers, I think this may be a good time to talk about my ass. It is, for starters, located on my backside. I like it there, it means I can't see it.

Before I hit critical ass here, and in terms of this blog, I admit to caring less. I have started the 100 records death march to completely boring boringness (that's my take, on reviewing my list, and not a comment on any other list. l'Homme des Crouton has prepared an enjoyable read in the form of a 100-record list, for example) and I could care less if I finish it. I have read maybe 3 blogs of late, with no consistency, and I don't mind. My comments have assumed an acerbic tone which I am not ready to accept as being of me.

Contributing to this approach is the fact I took July off and returned to work to a poo-storm of significant proportions. I am so overwhelmed right now I am typing this rather than face my desk and the trial which I am scheduled to defend in starting tomorrow. Or the one starting in two weeks. Or the stuff I have yet to finish from earlier this month which is a little time-sensitive. Call me an ostrich if you will but I won't hear you. My head is in the sand.

Normally, I prefer to keep it in my ass. Not now, however, because I traditionally get a case of "court ass" whenever I am involved in lengthy or particularly contentious court appearances. Court ass is a condition which requires numerous and unsatisfying trips to the loo. Enough said.

Is this too much information? I don't know, and frankly my dears... you know the rest.

Monday, August 14, 2006

When you wish...

There is a saying at my house... sleep science is poop science. I firmly believe that regular meals -- and regularity in general -- is crucial to reliable sleep/nap actions of children. I found this belief on a wide range of motherly hocus-pocus. In my brief stint here at El Surrounded I have cursed the failure of my kids to syncronize their naps. Last week I was even more virulently cursing their syncronization of morning poops within the 30 minute outing departure window.

But in so doing I had forgotten my own rule.

Sleep science is poop science. I got my wish. These things come at a price.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Nightly News

There she was in her bed better than bundled. Us parents just made our way in to turn off the glowing star of Ikea child room cuteness (but questionable safety). In the dim light I could see her restful face, finally restful.

Tough night for my girl tonight. There have been a few since the boy moved in, er out. Still, she has been a trouper and even lovely in her frustrations at times. The delays on bedtime lockdown come in the form of 'wanna say nigh-night to Baby Nuthatch' and 'wanna kiss 'im, wanna kiss 'im on the cheek, Mommy!' Some pretty classic delay tactics but sweet as well. Tonight I did let her take a supplementary visit out of the sleep zone to say that extra good night. Following we did manage to get her tucked in with not too much more complaint. A little hugging and some understanding that it is a tough time. She is really still my baby too you know, only 23 months today. She's nervous, a little fearful and fretful. All makes sense.

We don't stay in her room with her so I did what I could to reassure her and then simply weighted her down to keep her pinned. She did look darling just now in the pinpoints of light under a duvet and a blanket. Tucked in with a row of almost a dozen fuzzy heads. Nigh-nigh, Girl Friday and nigh-night to bear, little bear, baby bear, giraffe, lion and mouse, and to rabbit and to Pooh, and little Pooh and tiger and all the rest. To sleep my honey, you're doing a great job. Your the best help a Mama could have. Sleep. sweet dreams.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Fruit Doesn't Fall Far From the Ass (Wednesday)

I know many of you (okay, none of you) have been clamouring for more of the patented P-man "A List of the 100 Records I Own" list but you, you unfortunate reader(s), today is not your day.

Today I will comment on our son and the experience of having a baby, this baby, in this house, these days, and I expect the torrent of saccharined words will start flooding out of me at any second now, like chunder from an inebriated frat boy, so besotted am I by the subject, and so willing am I to venerate the experience of parenting, and to reify he, my first male issue... the goodness and happy times should start, wait for it... now.

Maybe not. As much as I cherish my daughter (e) and son (a) I do not believe they are deities, royalty, or supreme beings. I do not believe that being a parent imbues me with any special insight to humanity, or humanness, or the meaning of the various inscrutable references I abandoned all hope of figuring out in reading 'Foucault's Pendulum' (they were, simply, far too numerous), the popularity of Kid Rock, Uncle Cracker, Cracker, Camper van Beethoven, Beethoven's Fifth, the list goes on. Parenting has not equipped me with any new tools to understand these things. I have the same near-empty toolkit with which I came into parenting. It contains, metaphorically, a chalk line and a hammer. Maybe that's like, a simile. Like, I'm unsure. In any event, my poor kids, having a dad so ill-equipped. They have, together, conspired to teach me daily lessons in humility. It is my wish to stay attentive to these lessons.

All that aside, they (whoever they are, I would appreciate an attribution for this one) say you forget how much work having a baby is and that lapse enables you to have a second. I believe the reference is not so much directed solely to the squeezing of the cannon ball through one's body parts, but the bit that comes after. 'They' are correct. I had forgotten how the infant e had us on the run. Damn it, why did I forget?

One thing I did not forget. Not once did I say to her, during any diaper change: do not point that thing at me. Vive la difference!

On to the subject of my son. Herein the torrent of warm liquid words, frothy like milk, the coffee shop milk produced by one of them high-fangled espresso machines, and the sound these machines make, it is the same sound our son's colon makes when his stomach is upset, and the froth, the yellow-curry froth which flows forth from his wee orifice into the halogen light of the bathroom. Yea, it is bubbly. Aspresso. But enough of this Hallmark moment, you saps, and onto the important subject of me.

I am of the view my daughter is precocious. Her ability to use the variety of vulgar terms she has heard from me (oh, man...) in appropriate circumstances is proof of that. I know baby a is a scant 3 weeks old, but I am concerned he is already lagging behind his sister. He can't do anything around the house, even when I show him how to do it. He is pretty useless.

Lately I have had some files where crystal-ball gazing in the form of expert opinion has figured significantly. I thought I'd try out one of the predictive methods in sorting put how a is going to do with his life. I will use the model which posits present behaviour as a predictor for future performance. I'll tell you now, the results are not pretty.

My son is incontinent. Therefore, as he ages, he will have no friends, and especially no girlfriends. This trait is worse than a repellent personality. I know this for a fact.

My son will be unemployable. He is always sleeping, or crying. Who wants to hire someone like that? My partners share their regrets regarding yours truly quite openly. Bastards.

I can never retire because my son is going to lie around all day, often in his own filth, waiting for me or his mother to tend to his needs. He doesn't clean up after himself. Sure, he's cute, but when will he begin to pull his weight?

In summary, the future for baby a looks bleak. Unless our senate (for which he may be qualified already) is hiring people straight out of the crib, it looks like Mo and I have a long road ahead of us. What was I thinking?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Wheels on the Us

One of the nicest things about 2 is that you don 't have to do so much shopping. We have stuff. yahoooooo!!!! I detest shopping generally and for party dresses and baby stuff in particular. -- With the normal exceptions for baby party dresses, well no, actually that's p-man.

Me, I hate navigating the yuppie minefield that is baby junk. That is until I took the sage mama advice about this stroller. Crap we bought it; I think it is the most expensive bit of baby junk we own and we are doing all kinds of clever long division to justify the expense.

And, we got it in lime green. We have broken through the stroller purchase barrier and come out into some serious material gratification. Just call us team kermit!

By the way 5 things not presently available as stroller options but sure to be on the market by 2010.

1. DVD-R
2. Running water
3. Functioning cupholder -- PLEASE GOD!
4. Vanity mirror with solar light -- don't you do your makeup on the roll?
5. GPS Speak and Spell, Baby Magellan Learn and Longitude Dude!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Are We There Yet?

(Or maybe the next installment of the P-man "Not Ready for Your Ears Only" top 100 favourite records of all time today, with no obligation, shipping & handling included, E&OE.)

First, I would like to note the passing of a musician. There, he just drove by in a rusty Tercel. I refer, actually, to Arthur Lee. Mr. Lee died August 3, 2006 in Memphis and you can read about him here. I cannot overstate the influence of this guy's band has had on me at various times in my life. This is not to say it was a good influence.

Anon, to the list. Numbers 69-57:

I have no idea why I may have enjoyed the music of an angry, bespectacled, white english-speaking musician because I have not been nor shall I ever be any of those things. Oh, wait, I am those things... energetic and articulate white boy rants. Maybe a slight bit tedious or self-serious, I can't say. Too many words but nonetheless it is on the list. This is my list. I am welcome to it and so is EC(2).

68. CHARLES LLOYD Forest Flower (1966)
Dudes, we are searching for the spiritual in and through music. Load that bong with god, man, and strike the match of heavenly intentions... this jazz may be a little too 'free' in places but this band swings hard and kicks ass, in a groovy, spiritual, and healing way.

As opposed to "Steven Stills, Still". (Why must the world suffer so?) Here is the album Stills, Furay, and Young made before they became, in turn, self parody, ultra-Christian (not that there is anything wrong in so doing after years of free love... the bastard), and boring. A patchy album of solo brain buds made before (or during) the bass player's deportation to the evil north and I recommend it if you wonder what these later-famous people sounded like when they weren't fat, rich, or boring (In some cases. I have no idea if the drummer ever got a dime from the rock and roll thing.).

66. (RAHSAAN) ROLAND KIRK Rip Rig and Panic (1965)
Fuck Kenny G.

65. THE STROKES Is This It (2001)
Having heard what followed this debut album I'd say the answer is "YES". Nonetheless, a nice pop album reminiscent of some kind of late-70's early 80's new wave thing but without synth players whose hair should, by the laws of physics, be so heavy as to snap their pencilly necks. That's not what this record is about. It is about counting to 4 and drinking until you can't count to 4, and your dad has to send the limo to get you. This album is not on the list due to its technical merit.

Call me a sucker for any record with fractals on the cover (go on!) but I like this one. It's fun. Not pre-programmed fun, but calculated, post-adolescent fun. I think. (Maybe it is programmed to sound loose. But why bother?)

64. MOGWAI Happy Songs for Happy people (2003)
The title is a trifle misleading.

63. TRAFFIC (1968)
This record bears no relation to the fey psychedelia of its predecessor. It sounds like it was recorded in a bog. I love it and I wish this lineup had done more together. Like all decent records (in my opinion, and did I mention maybe 63 times already this is my list, so I get to come up with the hare-brained theories? Because I do.) there is a fair bit of tension captured in the grooves.

62. HOWLIN' WOLF The London Howlin' WolfSessions (1971)
This is not a lame attempt to get Charlie Watts on this list twice. This is an effort to say: listen to this album. Things will become clearer. The backing band, comprised of a bunch of no-names, acquits itself well. Hubert Sumlin is as he was. Tasty.

61. CHARLES MINGUS Mingus Ah-Um (1959)
I can't listen to this too often because it hurts my brain. This record should come with a warning label: Caution: Unless you are a professional Jazz Listener you must not consume this album in one sitting. I don't know what Mingus was doing but it seems like exercise to me to hear it all while it's happening. It sounds like freedom and insanity to me. I love it a little.

60. METALWOOD The Recline (2002)
Some suggest these guys may be the inheritors of the fusion movement. I'd agree, or disagree, if I knew what that meant. I have seen these guys a few times, playing in stinky little bars and larger rooms, and they give the same nasty groove. This is a jam band made up of people who can jam and leave the noodles at home. In short they are not Phish, String Cheese Incident, Widespread Panic, or Grateful Dead (now I may be persuaded as to the merits of the first 3 named acts, but everything I've heard sounds so watery and lame that they all remind me of the last-named act referred to in this now paragraph-length aside. I must find an editor who will work for free and who enjoys being hectored.). Unlike some jam bands all of the people in this band can play their instruments and can do so without causing themselves or others to suffer headaches.

59. BAND OF GYPSYS (1970)
I curse the spelling but enjoy the heavy sound this band produced. You either like it, or you hate it, and if you haven't heard it you probably should not bother. I don't know why Hendrix' name is on the cover. This is a Buddy Miles album, from before he became a raisin.

58. CAKE Fashion Nugget (1996)
An unusual feature of this cd is that when I listen to it I want to wear a hat everywhere including indoors.

My favourite Beefheart album is "Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller)" but I lost that cd and held onto this one. I am pleased to report there are no obvious signs of musical deconstruction on this record. This is, hmm, remarkably like music, and it isn't boring, and the guy sounds like a short white Howlin' Wolf maybe, on a clear day, and for the most part I do not cringe at the lyrics. Ry Cooder plays on and arranged the songs, which could explain a few things, like why this isn't "Trout Mask Replica."

P-man out.

Friday, August 04, 2006


At home this week, solo, outnumbered by children ... some things I learned.

Thing A. Spongebob bandaids are a must have to slow down a toddler and buy time for lots of things. who knew?

Thing B. Do stuff. Go out.. drive, etc. A moving target is harder to hit.

Mind you..

Thing C. One hour is too long to prepare for an outing. Even the best toddler won't be able to keep their crap together beyond thirty minutes; no matter how many Spongebob bandaids you might throw at her. Be pragmatic about the volume of wicker or paper the child ingests as a protest during the latter thirty min.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Post-partum happiness

So the power of positive thinking is holding out. Papa-Man was back at work this week and yet I am still surviving. Whoa -- I was a bit surprised that my recent post seemed to really strike some nerve or chord or something with folks who have kind concerns about new Moms. Really all I was saying in my #2 comment was that I can't take people taking down my nerve. I need to sustain my powers of positive thinking and duh some confidence... I know the fearlessness. Only because I know the fear. Resist.

I noted in my comments on the comments that it is PERHAPS sorry news that just as so many have worked to ensure systems no longer abnormalize pregnancy.. post-partum life is so consistently feared. I have spent time since the post contemplating the necessity of keeping my nerve.. my confidence.. my post-partum happiness off the blog. But, in the words of my daughter, FUCK IT.

I am lucky. There were times my pregnancy was not going well. I had real fears for my baby. Today we are all well. I can spend an afternoon lazing with him. Feeding him and biding the time while he cannot sleep for the the horrible burps inside. I do this without resentment. I need not fear my husband will be home late angered no dinner is ready. Those things take care of themselves. These two not entirely...

Please remember these eyes when you accuse me of being unfair. Who exactly am I unfair to try for better than subsistence at this time?

ps... if you have kick-diaphragm burping methods the Wo family wants your tips!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Albums Even Sally Fields Would Really, Really Love

These next few albums (No's. 83-70) are occasionally on the threshold between likeable and why-am-I-liking-this-able, or something like that. Broadly speaking, these albums have some killer material and some filler material, or are comprised of something in between those poles. My apologies for this large dose of opinion but if I want to finish this list before our kids finish high school I need to get a move on (get on a move, get moving on, on it getting with... curse you, Metrodad, and your grammarian ways!).

As a caveat to my list in its entirety I do not pay close attention to lyrics, however, if I can make out what the singer is singing and it is cloying, predictable, or otherwise offensive (and I take offence easily) the joy of the song (be there any) will vanish for me. As such, I quite enjoy instrumental pieces. Qualities which can overcome rotten lyrics: superior arrangements and/or playing, great singing, detectable self-deprecation. Ummm, a nice song about me, maybe. Stupid hippie lyrics may be ignored for the purpose of this list. I make no apologies. My list, my rules (except for the rules, which I poached from some other place). What I mean is, this is an entirely subjective exercise. I don't know how I'd react if someone said: Gee, P-man (not my real name), I really like that album too. Pee a little, probably.

83. ROBIN TROWER Bridge of Sighs (1974)

More proof (not that any was required) of wasted days/nights. My idea of the soundtrack at the smoky bar named "Ludes". Understated and reasonably atmospheric, for a power trio.

82. THE DOORS Waiting for the Sun (1968)

Denis Leary summed up the movie about Morrison as follows (this so-called direct quote is rife with inaccuracies but I really don't care enough to dig out "No Cure for Cancer" to ensure I have it right): I'm drunk I'm nobody. I'm drunk I'm famous. I'm drunk, I'm dead. Dead Fat Guy In a Bathtub. There's your movie.

The whole cult around the Lizard Thing will, with any luck, perish with the boomers. That said, I like the band behind the fat drunk guy. They played seriously in spite of the florid lyrical tendencies of the fat drunk dead guy. The tunes on this record withstand a good deal of scrutiny even if the lyrics are, um, pretty stupid half the time.

81. THE JEFF BECK GROUP Beck-Ola (1969)

Rod Stewart did not always suck. That's what I tell myself. Mr. Beck is, apparently, the model upon whom Nigel Tufnel was built. This record has a big, uncaring sound to it. Pre-metal. Stone Age. Stonehenge! I remember in Grade 6 Jose Dino brought this is to play to the class, and to offer an instructive lecture on Beck and why he was the Greatest! or something along those lines. Brother Conti made him stop.

80. ROLLING STONES Let It Bleed (1969)

I detest this band tho' I kind of enjoy this album. I attribute that to their association with Gram Parsons. This isn't too slick an album nor is it entirely self-referential. It may even have a soul. I'm pretty sure this is the record they have been trying to remake for the last 3.5 decades. Maybe not. Mick Jagger sucks. This band is liker a persistent fart in a neverending elevator ride.

79. LED ZEPPELIN II (1969)

Why I like this album: John Bonham. Johnnn Bonnnham. My list, my reasons. I used to wonder how these guys were able to produce two terrific albums in one year. Now I know. Plagiarism!

78. FRIPP & ENO Evening Star (1975)

Early ambient work. Eerie. Beautiful. Music to confuse cats. Fine aural wallpaper.

77. ENO Here Come the Warm Jets (1973)

Baby's on Fire.

I like Eno if even if he got all ambient and later worked to repopulate people's happy-thoughts brain lobes with the earnest and sucking-ever-so-hard U2 of the mid-80s. That came later, after this record. Maybe he had a large mortgage or hair plugs to pay for.

76. MIKE OLDFIELD Tubular Bells (1973)

Hmm. I was baked. The fact I still like this may suggest that this album sits in the place once occupied by brain cells sacrificed during and for the enjoyment of said album.

75. JEAN MICHEL JARRE Oxygene (1976)

I dislike most electronic music. This is an album of electronic music. I can't explain why I enjoy it. I could try... spacy and atmospheric electronic music... has a tempo, but not uptempo... forget it. See No. 76.

74. BOB & DOUG McKENZIE Great White North (1981)

Take off, this album is gold! It has Christmas music, fraternal insults, Geddy Lee without the onanistic distraction of 17/4 time and lyrics about, well, I don't know what Neil Peart is trying to say. But this record is priceless, eh. (Faddish, eh?)

73. DAVID BOWIE Scary Monsters (1981)

I don't know what it is about this record. Maybe I like clowns. Send them in.

72. MC5 Kick out the Jams (1969)

"Fuck You Everybody" put to music. I love it in all its angry, stoned, and ragged glory. These guys kicked ass. Briefly.

71. ARC ANGELS (1992)

Possibly the perfect bar band trapped in a cd.

Was Mojo Nixon correct? Was Charlie Sexton a prisoner to his hairdo? I don't know. This band could have been something, but it wasn't. Oh well.

70. THE KINKS Are the Village Green Preservation Society (1968)

Not only is this album a source of music for HP ads but a source of inspiration for one of my favorite song writers who will appear sneakily on this list in two different places. I'm feeling devil-may-care about the listing policy. Huzzah!

In any event, this record apparently has as a theme the singer's desire to preserve what was old (and presumably good) about England. On the mean the result is neither pastoral nor urban. Perhaps it is suburban.

Ok, now we're rolling. Next time, I'll refer to even more albums I like, which is the purpose of this series. Amazing! Free shipping and handling!

P-man out.