Thursday, July 31, 2008

You're really lucky if you know about AT&T Blue Room*

*And now you do.

I'm pretty lucky, too. AT&T Blue Room is once again bringing Lollapalooza to the Internet for anyone who is interested in watching.

While I do have to work Friday night, I've got the rest of the weekend off. My lovely wife can read the below schedule and make note of certain blocks of time indicating my extreme interest in exercising sole ownership of the laptop.

Have fun and enjoy some free music. I do love The Blue Room.

A question for my readers:

Are there any bands I haven't placed an asterisk next to that I really must hear? Watching the brilliant mayhem that is Gogol Bordello at Coachella earlier this year made me a fan of theirs. Surely, there are some here who I'm not already familiar with who will knock me out.

All times are E.T.

Friday, August 1st:
01:15 PM Holy F*ck
02:15 PM Rogue Wave
03:15 PM Yeasayer
04:15 PM The Kills
*05:15 PM Gogol Bordello
06:15 PM Mates of State
07:15 PM Bloc Party
08:15 PM Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks
*09:00 PM The Raconteurs

Saturday, August 2nd:
01:15 PM Margot & the Nuclear So So’s
*01:45 PM The Ting Tings
02:30 PM Dr. Dog
03:30 PM The Gutter Twins
*04:30 PM The Go! Team
*05:30 PM Duffy
06:30 PM Jamie Lidell
07:30 PM DeVotchka
08:30 PM Explosions in the Sky
09:30 PM Broken Social Scene
*10:30 PM Wilco

Sunday, August 3rd:
01:15 PM Kid Sister
02:15 PM The Whigs
03:15 PM Office
04:15 PM Chromeo
*05:15 PM G Love & Special Sauce
*06:15 PM Blues Traveler
*07:15 PM John Butler Trio
08:15 PM Flogging Molly
*09:15 PM Love and Rockets
10:15 PM The National

Glitter And Doom

Photo by Lou Fimke

I've been listening to nothing but the All Songs Considered podcast of the absolutely marvelous show by Tom Waits at Atlanta's Fox Theater. It'll make believers out of the curious. Watching Tom Waits in concert is not like watching just another concert; it is to take part in true theater. Listening to his band take his songs to another place, hearing good songs given such exploratory treatment by worldly-wise musicians is to watch the stories of the songs' colorful characters through the eyes of their own relatives instead of those of a distant but observant stranger.

I relaxed in my workplace locker room tonight, all clocked-out and with time to kill, lying on a bench and hearing what that lucky Atlanta audience heard on the 5th of July. "Good evening," he bellowed to an exuberant crowd, and the show began. I closed my eyes and smiled. Good evening, indeed.

Every minute of the 140-plus minute show is beautifully paced, perfectly performed, and so warmly received by rain dogs like me.

You're curious? Not yet a fan? Subscribe to NPR's All Songs Considered and download the concert.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

No Phone

My dad lost his phone the other day. In a mix of helpfulness and greed, I offered him my phone as a replacement so that I could inherit my wife's Razr that she no longer needed since she just upgraded to the Blackjack II. I know that the Razr isn't exactly famous for being much good, but it does look kind of sexy and my wife had never had any issues with it at all.

So I give my dad my working phone, my SIM card into the Razr and I'm good to go. Within one day of owning it, it just stops working. Just like that. It shuts down for no reason that I can tell. Great. Now I have no phone and I'm early enough into my latest contract that I can't get any deals on upgrades anywhere. Now I have no phone. We went to the AT&T store last night but everything was way expensive. (I kind of liked the LG Shine, but no matter.)

For how long will I have no phone? It's hard to say, but it's going to be tough with our car situation. I depend on the kindness of coworkers for rides to and from work and now we can't coordinate easily. However, there is a small ray of hope. My wife, in the several months that she owned the Razr, never turned it off. She'd charge it nightly, but she never shut it off allowing for a full battery charge. So there's a possibility that it's just a battery issue. The AT&T store was out of batteries last night but we might check Batteries Plus on Nolensville Rd. tomorrow.

If that fails, I guess I could ask my dad for my phone back and let him solve his own lost phone issue. Heck, he might have even been eligible for a free upgrade in the first place. But I felt like such a nice guy giving him mine. So much for that. I should have just given him the sexy Razr.

Good times as always. Anyway, here's "No Phone" by Cake. If for the title alone, it just seems appropriate.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

"When I'm with her, I'm the richest man in the town."

My daughter keeps making me play "Coney Island Baby" by Tom Waits over and over again. It's our song.

Lollapalooza '08 webcasting live at AT&T Blue Room

I love AT&T Blue Room. I don't get out to shows like I used to, but the sting of life is softened by webcasts. So far this year I've seen quality portions of Coachella, Bonnaroo, and The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. In three days, I'll be able to kick back and watch bits and pieces of Lollapalooza.

(As much as I go on about how awesome AT&T Blue Room is, I wonder if the good people at AT&T would be so kind as to replace my broken phone with one that is not. Just a thought.)

Richard Randazzo, New York's new Mr. Lucky

I love this story of New York doorman Richard Randazzo, who won $5 million in the New York Lotto. I'm pretty sure that if I won that much money all at once, I'd give my bosses a quick two-week-notice and be on my way to doing whatever I want for a long time. Not him though. Not in New York. He wants to buy an apartment in the building where he works but the only one available right now is selling for $10M. So he's keeping his job since the prize is only taking him halfway toward his goal. As the New York Post noted, he's "a millionaire who opens the door and hails taxis for millionaires."

There's just something about that doorman's dumb luck that appeals to this doorman/bellman/shuttle driver. Of course, things are taking typical turns at his workplace. Coworkers are saying that he's not showing up for shifts like he should and he retorts by saying that they're just jealous. He contends that he's a loyal and dedicated employee, replying to charges from his boss that he spends too much time outside and is wearing short-sleeves when the uniform requires long-sleeves. Randazzo called off recently due to a "pressing matter that required his attention," but was spotted later that day playing blackjack at the Taj Majal with his new Swedish model girlfriend.

Nothing wrong with that. Resign, get fired, enjoy the money while it lasts. I know I would.

Recent related stories in the NY Post:

Simply and purely put.

My son just woke up and came into the living room while I was listening to Tom Waits. I let him borrow one earbud as he sat down next to me.

"He talks weird," he offered. "Too bad we can't see him."

True on both counts.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Tom Waits' Atlanta show available for streaming at NPR

Big, beautiful, gargantuan thanks are due to whatever arrangement was made that is making Tom Waits' Atlanta show from his Glitter And Doom tour available for streaming at NPR. I worked another nine hours for low wages tonight, I drove home in a car that feels like it's about to flatline, and I walked into a home full of loved ones who deserve a much easier life than the one they currently live.

Anyway, all that said, I have found my smile for the night. It's been a long time coming as well. All I did was click PLAY. And Tom Waits is doing his thing. I hear the reactions of the sold out audience at Atlanta's Fox Theater. I hear their applause, I sense their smiles, and I just know that most of them have goosebumps listening to the singer, the storyteller, the man of theater open the show with "Lucinda" from 2006's Orphans collection. I had those goosebumps when I saw him at the Ryman for that tour and I've got them now. I sip from the last beer waiting for me in the fridge, close my eyes, and I'm in that crowd again.

Already aware of the setlist, I synchronized my iPod to it this morning (except for three songs I don't own!) and listened to much of that playlist today. So far, only five songs into the streaming concert performance, the studio versions pale in comparison to these onstage gifts. Waits and his band really, really sound fantastic. Every song seems to come from a different part of the world. So far, there's no sameness to dull the listener's senses. The energy is high and he's at the top of his game. He's playful, wild, and just about perfect here.

"Such A Scream" is given a rabid jazz treatment that reminds me a bit of Prince on his Sign O' The Times concert film. Funky guitar, sexy sax, and I can just see him strutting around all Cock of the Walk-style. Following that comes "November" with its slow and seductive Spanish guitar. No matter the song, no matter its flavor, his voice is just born for these stories he shares. I'm so appreciative of this moment, lost in beauty.

If you love him, if you like him, if you're even a bit curious about him, check the stream, give it your full attention, and smile big.

She went all Mia Hamm on that Walmart lady.

Ever get told that something's against policy and get the lamest reason as to why? Here's the awesomest reply to the lamest reason. Actually, I think the consumer was out of line but that doesn't mean she didn't make me smile.

She said I couldn't bring it in because they sell bikes in the store. So I said but those bikes don't look anything like this and this is clearly not a brand new bike, so why is that a problem. She insisted that for the safety of the other customers I couldn't bring it inside, so I asked her why she thought a bike controlled by an adult was more dangerous than a shopping cart being pushed around by someone's bratty kids. 
So she switched back to the excuse that they sell bikes in the store so I couldn't bring another bicycle in. I was starting to get really frustrated since I had ridden all the way there seemingly for no reason, so I asked her if they also sold shirts in the store. She said yes so I took off my jersey and said well then I'd better not bring this in either. She got kind of flustered and said that it was a different situation but couldn't explain why. So I said that if they also sold shorts in the store that I'd better not wear those in either and I took off my shorts. Same goes for the shoes and sunglasses. Now I'm standing there in my spandex and a sports bra... (click here for the rest)

It's my blog and I'll vent if I want to.

My dad lost his phone. I gave him my phone. My wife gave me her old phone since she recently upgraded to a BlackJack II. Now the phone she gave me keeps conking out on me. It just freezes up any old time and it's all I can do not to slam it against a tree. My old phone worked fine. This is what I get for being nice, huh? Lesson learned.

I can't find my camera bag. No worries. The camera isn't in it. I did have around six rechargeable batteries in it though. This frustrates me more than an estimated $20 loss should.

The rest of the stuff is too tedious and oft documented to go into. Basic stuff. We're broke. The cars aren't much better. Transmission still sucks in the van after following the advice of the car guy and dropping $500 on the fix he recommended. My car is making a noise that I can't quite explain. It's not in the engine. It sounds more axle-related? Ugh.

And folks aren't tipping at work like they used to. (Says me. Says AP.) Life's more expensive and my income is less than it used to be. Blah, blah, blah.

Anyone got a happy pill?

New York, I Love You

I've been reading lots of French porn romantic literature lately. It's beautiful and thoughtful stuff. One book in particular is really knocking me out. I'm almost finished with it and the closer to the end I get the sadder I am that I'll be done with it. It's a collection of short stories by Anna Gavalda entitled I Wish Someone Were Waiting For Me Somewhere. I recommend it to anyone who saw and loved Paris, je t'aime.

Thinking of that fine film, warmly presented with so many delicate and sweet vignettes of love and passion, loneliness and truth, I smile tonight at the news of a similar project in the making, New York, I Love You. The lovely Whitney Matheson at USA Today's Pop Candy podcast and blog interviewed musician/actor Saul Williams recently and he made mention of the fact that he would be featured in one vignette directed by none other than Miss Scarlett Johannson. I love them both and I'm excited about this film.

Apparently, the producer of both films wants this to be a continuing series of films celebrating various connections between people in cities around the world. Can Nashville, I Love You be far off? I'd love to see some local talent tackle this idea.Typing that, I'm reminded of one of my favorite You Are So Nashville If... entries from Nashville Scene:
You think there ought to be a movie called Nashville that people can understand. —Joe Robertson

Here's "List of Demands" by Saul Williams. It's used in a Nike ad and is my new favorite workout song.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Rain Dog sayeth:

"My life is like an air-traffic controller's: moments of boredom broken up by moments of sheer terror."

And other pleasing quotes from Tom Waits here.

Hiram Bullock, dead at 52.

I remember seeing him with David Sanborn at Starwood way back when. Hiram Bullock was one of the best I've ever seen.

So good and such a cool showman as well. My dad and I often recall watching Mr. Bullock walk that little barricade in front of the stage like a tightrope while impressively killing on that pretty guitar.

Here's the news at All About Jazz.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Chicks dig dudes on scooters, right?

Tuesday morning, weather permitting, I will attempt to learn how to operate a scooter.

Don't worry, Ma. I promise to always wear a helmet.

Full report upon request.


Monday, July 21, 2008

As Peter Himmelman sings "Gratitude," I blog here.

With no ride-share (read: mooching) options available to me today, I'll turn the key and give the old Honda another go for the first time since last Saturday night as I head to work in an hour or so. Wish me luck. It didn't sound too good on that last ride.

I'm still pondering better paying jobs, but it's easy to feel limited when unsure of the car's ability to get around. I tend to just think of gigs in walking distance. So far, that's a hospital and a library, neither of which are necessarily hiring right now anyway. It's possible that I should worry less about some things and just look for the best job possible, regardless of car concerns. I didn't go to college, but I'm a nice guy, a team player, and eager to learn. Surely there's a $10+/hr. job out there for a guy like me. Colleagues who like to blog and Twitter would be cool, but anything that pays the bills would suffice.

All is well otherwise. I've gone back and "rediscovered"  Peter Himmelman's latest and am playing it over and over again. The inspiration I feel in his words simply amazes me. I'm glad for the music, life, and love that I feel most days. I tend to worry and fret more than I should, but Himmelman's songs always lift me out of those moments of frustration and fear. It can get a whole lot worse than old cars and low-wage jobs. And it can get a whole lot better, too.

Here's to positivity and hope. I'm hanging onto both.

I've seen the future and it will be.

All you bloggers blogging about The Dark Knight. I love you all. However, I've got neither the cash nor the time to see it for myself.

That's cool though. I'll see it soon enough.

For now, I'll just sit on my couch in the dark, sipping Guinness from a frosty mug and listening to the Batman soundtrack from 1989.


Me. All dressed up, a silhouette in the window.

Funky, funky.

Flat broke?

I saw this behind a dumpster near my apartment.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

I want noise outside my window.

Outside my window is quiet. It's 2 a.m. and all is silent. Inside, it's me, listening to opera and worrying about more car-related stuff. Boring, domestic worries. Nothing out of the ordinary. It's just another night in Nashville for this husband, father, son, worker, wannabe writer, forever dreamer.

Meanwhile, my lust for life in the big city is back. I'm happily married and this is a marriage which brings together a country girl who has no use for the "hurry hurry" attitude, everything you want is here notion of big city life, and this city boy who sees a hair too little romance in the "take it easy" attitude, everything you need is here notion of a slow-paced small town life. We compromise easily here in my hometown of Nashville, Tennessee. It's an easy town for compromise and happiness. I love Nashville.

But right this minute, actually these past few days, it's all things New York in my head. I borrowed E. B. White's Here is New York from my local library and read it in a flash yesterday. Down time at work tonight was spent perusing Flickr accounts full of New York City seduction: Hotel Chelsea, the Bronx, Greenwich Village. My heart beats a special beat for New York. I recall a very nondescript photo of me sitting in the window of the Hotel Chelsea which hides somewhere in storage along with many other pictures from my one visit there with my father way back in 1991. Something about that trip permanently turned my head ever so slightly but forever in the direction of that wonderful city. It's been seventeen years and its pull now is as strong as it ever has been.

There's this man I work with. I admire him more than he knows. He lived in New York for a number of years and tells the greatest anecdotes of his time there. He always prefaces apologetically when he's launching into another tale. "Yet another New York story...," he always begins. Of course, the truth is that I hang on his every word. Everyone in his stories is from somewhere else: Jamaica, Germany, Japan, etc. Everyone there is brave, doing there what they could not do in the place of their birth.

I'm happy here. In Nashville, my wife and I have our struggles, but it's a good place for the kids. And, as I mentioned, it's also a good compromise for a country mouse and a city mouse in love. If you like the arts, sports, or music, Nashville is good. If you like outdoor activities like hiking, boating, or biking, Nashville is good. It's just times like these that I wish I had a few grand to drop on a nice escape. I'd sit on my hotel bed at the Chelsea, look through the Village Voice, and listen to all of those cars outside my window, honking in the city streets like it's rush hour at 3 a.m., never sleeping. Similarly, I'm rarely sleeping, always dreaming.

Tonight, I dream of New York. I wish I was there.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

More from the mouths of babes.

While stealing some quiet time to read a book yesterday morning, my daughter wanted me to play with her. Selfishly, I told her that we'd play later but for now I just wanted to read my book. Ever the persistent little girl, she asked me to read my book to her. It was E. B. White's wonderful Here is New York. Struggling to maintain my quiet time while not coming off as rude to my young princess, I spoke but paused in the wrong place, giving her the perfect opening to, well, make me laugh.

I began, "No honey. I can't read to you now. I just don't..."

She finished, "You don't know the words?"

Friday, July 18, 2008

They're getting hitched.

Two very nice people who read this blog and love this town are getting married tomorrow.

My very best to Rich and his lovely bride Aline. May they live happily and prosper together. Hopefully they can make that move to our fair city in the near future.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Front, back, and side. I love this book.

A gift from a friend.

Annie Leibowitz
American Music

There's a shot of Tom Waits in here that just blows me away.

New Blogger-In-Draft stuff.

Oh, sweet. A sttrike strikke strike through button is now available on the blogger toolbar. I never knew how to do that before.

From the mouths of babes at 1 a.m.

She's wide awake and oh so chatty at 1 a.m.

"When I get bigger and play soccer, the other kids will bump into me."

"Yes, sweetie. But you'll probably be bumping into them as well."

"Oh, right. That's called sharing."

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Three links.

My Dark Knight

I dreamed the other night that I saw The Dark Knight. I'm not sure why. I'm sure it's good, but I haven't seen a Batman movie in a long, long time. Not since Clooney's turn in the suit maybe? I even remember thinking in the dream how weird and cool it was that I was watching it. I'm always so busy and broke that I haven't seen a movie in the theaters since Grindhouse. I sat in my seat just happy to be seeing a movie, any movie, but especially this movie.

While I can't recall just what was going on in the movie as I dreamed it, it seems that I was enjoying it nicely. New Yorker critic David Denby reviews the version that everyone else gets to see here.

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Monday, July 14, 2008

As thick as it gets.

This is after four days or so of not shaving. And it's possibly as thick of a beard as I've ever had. What I didn't capture in the shots was the little circle just underneath my chin where no hair grows ever. My own personal crop circle. Or as I once heard a comedian describe it, "the dance floor surrounded by the carpet."

Anyway, I doubt I'll ever be able to grow a full beard. I'm not sure I'd even want one. But whenever I can, I give it my best shot. Because I'm a man like that.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

To go or not to go.

My lovely wife has been out of town since Wednesday. It's been since Tuesday since I've left my little resdential area. The kids and I have walked down to the pool a few times, but we haven't driven anywhere since she left. I've been 24/7-Dad for the better part of four days and four nights.

Now Paige is home and I'm ready to get out and roam, wander, live it up a bit. The ever-cool Kate-O mentioned earlier that Hotpipes are playing at The Basement. It's a benefit show with no cover but donations appreciated. Heck, it's been so long since I've seen a live show and I'd be happy to drop a five in the hat in exchange for a bit of that musical escape for an hour or so.

But then, me being me, I wonder if I need to make that quick trip from Hermitage to Nashville in my car. That's gas money better suited for going to work and back. Anyway, I've got lots of music here and I could get my escape in the form of a night stroll around here accompanied by iPod. My ever-expanding belly would benefit more from a brisk walk than a "belly up to the bar."

Walk around here spending no money at all or treat myself to some music and a bit of a social life, even if it's in the form of quietly watching a band as I sit on a barstool, spending maybe a total of fifteen bucks or so? One more Sam Adams and my decision will be made for me: Two beers on an empty stomach means I stay here. One beer down and I'm debating the night.

Of course, if there is anyone in Hermitage who would like to see a show and be my designated driver, then you're my new favorite person.

[Edit to add: If the thunder outside is any indication of the weather to come, I'll neither walk nor rock. I'll just watch Planet Terror and drink what's left of the beer in the fridge. Nothin' wrong with that at all.]

Inspired by Newscoma

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My Two Dads...are penguins.

From an interesting article entitled, "Bisexual Species: Unorthodox Sex in the Animal Kingdom"

Two penguins native to Antarctica met one spring day in 1998 in a tank at the Central Park Zoo in midtown Manhattan. They perched atop stones and took turns diving in and out of the clear water below. They entwined necks, called to each other and mated. They then built a nest together to prepare for an egg. But no egg was forthcoming: Roy and Silo were both male.

Robert Gramzay, a keeper at the zoo, watched the chinstrap penguin pair roll a rock into their nest and sit on it, according to newspaper reports. Gramzay found an egg from another pair of penguins that was having difficulty hatching it and slipped it into Roy and Silo’s nest. Roy and Silo took turns warming the egg with their blubbery underbellies until, after 34 days, a female chick pecked her way into the world. Roy and Silo kept the gray, fuzzy chick warm and regurgitated food into her tiny black beak.

Read the rest at Scientific American.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Alchemist

I'm listening to The Alchemist on my iPod. Free on iTunes, I downloaded it yesterday and have been enjoying it immensely. It seems that every few minutes I hear something that I just have to write down. This story is filled with life lessons. In fact, on the description of it at the iTunes store, it's said that "a Norwegian community, Arendal, gave copies of The Alchemist to all its civil servants, as a way of stimulating a new type of thought." Phil Jackson's Bulls and Lakers got books on Zen. Arendal got The Alchemist.

It's quite a simple little story. Pretty basic "follow your dreams" type stuff. But I like it a lot. And who doesn't need reminders like that from time to time? Anyway, it's read by the great Jeremy Irons. As the tired old saying goes, dude could read the phone book and I'd hang on every word.

Thanks for reading. Have a wonderful day.

I'm weary and blessed.

Today was as wonderful as it was difficult.

We had the big time at the pool, but Ari, who cannot swim, went under briefly. She was rescued immediately by someone who happened to be right next to her at the time, but it bothered me that I didn't see it right away. The good news is that after resisting swimming lessons for so long, Ari told me afterward that she would like to learn how to swim. The lesson for me was that it's just too dangerous to take two kids to a pool and try to watch both of them at the same time.

Then, as we were leaving for home, Joshua, full of energy, decided to run as fast as he could, with no regard to our rules of always staying where we can see him. Holding floats, beach bags, and his sister, it was all I could do to catch up with him. Yelling his name as I ran, being both worried and angry, I finally caught sight of him where he was waiting at the stop sign where we always hold hands to cross the street. It was there that he received probably the sternest talking to he's ever received in his life. I doubt he was out of my sight for more than thirty seconds or so, but after Ari's incident at the pool, it may as well have been an hour.

Aside from the above, all is well. We played hard, read good books, and generally just goofed around. For the most part, the siblings got along beautifully. I'm just beat. Sixteen hours ago, I awoke. I've barely had a breather since. Welcome to every day of my wife's day-to-day. I'm not whining, rather I'm bowing down to what it's like to walk in her shoes.

And I'm really, really glad she'll be home tomorrow evening. I can't wait to go back to work where I can relax.

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Splash Attack!

Another thing about my daughter.

I mentioned earlier how she, the youngest in the household, tends to be subject to the tornadic-like actions of her 5-year-old brother. She's often bumped into, her little hands stripped of toys, and generally always in second place when he gets that dominant-competitive streak going.

But it should also be said that she often gets things her way in the end. She's quite verbal, very sweet, and sure of what she wants. And maybe more than a little bit manipulative. I got wise to this earlier today when her brother and I found ourselves sitting on the floor before her chair as we took turns quietly painting her nails pink, just as she asked.

When both are swaddled, I can see the resemblance.

The always awesome Newscoma shared this mention of a baby reportedly abandoned in a trash can at a Wal-Mart. Investigating the call, officers determined that the "baby" was, in fact, a burrito.

What she shares is always good stuff.

A bit similar to my great break-up of 1995.

I've danced this dance before. At least it left me with a good story to tell my friends. I'm sure I even had a few "we've all been there" beers bought for me.

No embedding allowed, but here's the link.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Sibling Dynamic, Part Three

Stoic and strong, she's watchful and wary of her surroundings. She can be just as mischeivous as her brother, but hers is the quieter kind. His trouble is announced to the household by the sound of something breaking, something tumbling over and bumping into the wall. As we do that parenting thing and focus our discipline on him, she's silent in the bathroom, making a mess of the bathroom sink, turning everything into a cup or drawing on the wall.

Anyway, in the shot above, we see her standing alone and standing tall. I receive great joy as a father watching her grow up, so delicately and sweetly.

Her brother on the other hand, is all boy. Sweet and loving as well, but you have to pay a bit more attention to see that sometimes. Maybe the Tasmanian Devil was a sensitive soul as well, but you'd have to slow down the tape just to see his face. I wonder if his dad ever saw his son the way I see mine. "Taz. Can you please stop spinning for just a second?"

And there he is above, in the background. An unexpected part of the picture in a sudden flash. I want his zest for life. Where his sister will sometimes stubbornly play no role in whatever we're all doing, he'll jump forward with little to no apprehension. I wish I could remember what it was like to inhabit a body only five years old. After my thirty-eight years, I have to do a complicated series of stretches each morning or I'll be a bit off all day long. This little guy, even when he falls down, he's quick to bounce right back up and get back to the quick pace of his many adventures.

The lesson we're trying to teach him now is that saying, "I'm sorry," isn't the free pass to get out of each and every bothersome thing he does to his sister. One night, while in time out, he kept whining and repeating the same refrain: "I keep saying I'm sorry, but no one ever listens to me." Poor little victim.

These two are going to be fine. They're loved and they are listened to. Even when they think they are not. And for better or worse, they're blogged about as well.

Not Running Away...just practicing.

What I wouldn't give for just a few days of silence. I'm lucky to have what I have and would miss it terribly if separated from it for too long. But a few days of solitude and serenity would be quite welcome.

I've still got that dream of a train trip to the Pacific Northwest rich in my head. (I'd need more than a few days for that one.) Just my iPod, some books, my camera, and lots of time to think. Not much more on the agenda than that. A window seat is all I'd require.

In lieu of a train ticket, I guess I could just hitchhike and see where that takes me. But really it's those thoughts of that train ride that keep stirring in my blood. I listen to too many Tom Waits songs about trains maybe: "Train Song" from Frank's Wild Years, "Down There By The Train" from Orphans, and "Downtown Train" from Rain Dogs are always an iPod's click away for me.

I just like to wander and wonder. I'm a dreamer who may or may not ever contribute much to society in general, but doesn't mind much either way. Meanwhile, the kids are being quiet and cool and I'm enjoying some time to look around flickr and enjoy other people's pictures of their travels.

For instance:

Photo by flickr user, rickpawl. His train shots are grouped together here.


Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Old Girlfriends and the Internet

I was talking to a friend last week about the Internet and its effect on high school yearbook sales. (It's killing them.) Many students aren't buying them anymore mainly because they feel that with websites like MySpace and Facebook, what's the need? All of their memories are going to be online forever, right? Of course, the answer is probably not. Who knows what lies ahead for all things technology and Internet-related, but a book well taken care of will last about as long as you want it to. And your friends can't up and decide that some pics are too geeky and simply delete them. That said, I have no desire to ever look at my high school yearbooks again (too geeky), but I guess that I'm glad that they exist somewhere.

The better part of the conversation turned to how much easier it is for us guys to be found online by curious former classmates and friends than the ladies. Those maiden names tend to go by the wayside pretty quickly for the girls. But me? I'm a Beziat forever. If you can remember how to spell it for the search engine of your choosing, this blog is likely your first stop.

We decided that there were a couple of old flames that we wouldn't mind running into again, in a platonic nature, of course. The ones with whom we parted on good terms, the ones we wished well; it'd be nice to have even the briefest of friendly exchanges with them. The thing that keeps us from Googling some of these names is that decent guys like us don't want to take a chance of coming across as crazy stalkers. And if their names have changed, then it's likely that we put more effort into the search than the ten seconds it takes to enter the name as we remembered it. I think I'd be a bit wary if someone worked much at all to contact me. Or I'd be flattered. I guess it depends on the person.

Anyway, I'll just sit back and wait for my exes to contact me, should they so choose. I won't embarrass the (mostly) nice ladies by putting their names on here, but I'll just say that of the nine former flames I can think of right this minute, I would welcome emails from six. As for the other three? Um, well, you must have me confused with someone else.

[Edit to add: Should she go about Googling herself, she wasn't exactly a girlfriend, but she was a good friend and it would be nice to see how she's doing, Amy Sullivan would be a welcome visitor to my email or comments.]

Lesson learned? Not quite, Princess.

We took the kids to the pool the other day. Ari seems to enjoy drinking the water more than anything. I thought I made progress when I scolded her a bit for it and she looked up at me and told me nonchalantly, "OK. I learned my lesson." She just sounded so proper and earnest about it. What a big girl this young daughter of mine is becoming.

Seconds later: She attempts to take another sip on the sly. I busted her on it and admonished her. "But Dad," she reminded me. "I told you already. I learned my lesson."


Made sense to her, I guess.

When 140 characters just aren't enough.

I approach the blog nowadays with a head full of nothing. If a blog to me is really just about connecting with a certain circle of friends, then Twitter has been taking care of that need lately. I type out my limited little thought of the moment on my phone, send it out, and I'm a part of whatever in the world all of this social media stuff is about. Even if there's drudgery at the workplace, there's connection via 140-characters or less.

The blog, however, ain't what it was. Maybe that's a good thing, too. It does cut down on my whining (read: processing) about money. Newsweek has one of those "blogging is good for ya" articles in the June 30 issue. It's nothing profound, and just touches on how writing is therapeutic enough in diary form, but the built-in audience that comes with blogging takes it to that human touch. (Newsweek also has a nice article about Twitter specifically.

Anyway, I should have more time to spend on the blog over the next few days. Paige is out of town and I am staying home with the kids. I hope we have more fun tomorrow than we have so far today. I got a woefully inadequate three hours of sleep last night and it's been all I can do to deal with the 5-year-old's tendency to be loud and aggressive. Typically, I turn my head for just a moment, his 3-year-old sister begins to cry, and he immediately proclaims, "I did nothing!"

The joys of parenting, huh? I just deal the best that I can and hope the rain passes soon so that I can take them outside to the playground. As I type this, the thunder continues to rumble. Inside we remain, and for the time being, Winnie-the-Pooh plays on the television and I'm grateful for this bit of silence from the two kiddos.

Enjoy your day.

Wordle. From my blog. Looks about right.

I just wish it would post bigger.

One click makes it big and rightly readable.

Monday, July 07, 2008

When you say Chagall...

According to today's Google logo, today is the birthday of Russian-Belarusian-French painter, Marc Chagall. To me, though, I hear his name and it's early-90s Christian rock band, Chagall Guevara that comes to my mind.

Click here for their one music video, "Violent Blue."

Jedi Gym

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Happy 5th of July!

I walked my dog tonight with a head full of whatever it is that I carry with me everywhere I go.

With a beer in hand and my camera around my neck, we strolled our apartment neighborhood and enjoyed a quieter night than last night's 4th of July fireworks. Well, so we thought. Just before heading back inside, the sky went ablazing with quite the noise and fury of leftover pyrotechincs. Happy 5th of July!

So from underneath a rather large and full tree, I share with you what we saw.

I share with you my beer as well. 'Cause I'm nice like that.

My best your way.

Protected and loved.

I come home late each night. In the day I'm a mess, feeling every strain of life. Who am I to my family? To my employer? Will I ever provide for my wife and children in the way that they deserve? There's so much stress that I get lost in my worries and forget to just smile and see how nice things really are. Thankfully, there's always the quiet of night waiting to soothe me, waiting to massage my concerns away. The family sleeps and I relax in my living room. This is when I let go and smile.

Every night, I come home to many rewards. My efforts are appreciated. My family is loved and is safe. Peace and quiet await me in these nocturnal hours. Evidence of their comfort and safety is displayed in ways both obvious and imagined. Georgia, our dog, is always quick to greet me at the door. She can't wait for me to take her out for our nightly walk, confident and proud that I know how perfectly she guarded our home from squirrels and cats in my absence. Also, there is a light by the door that illuminates an image not entirely unlike that of an angel. (Or a dragonfly, depending on where your imagination takes you.) Anyway, I always smile to see it.

I may have my doubts at times as to whether or not anyone's watching over me, but I'm always satisfied to think of my family kept safe by those pictured below.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Little Ari likes arias.

It turns out that my young daughter likes to watch opera almost as much as I like to listen to it. To her, all of the women are beautiful princesses.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Die Soldaten

Alex Ross, music critic for The New Yorker, wrote on his blog tonight about an extraordinary event that should be of great interest to opera lovers everywhere.

German opera Die Soldaten is being performed at Lincoln Center this week. I'm reading up on it and watching clips online. I would love to see it, this previously deemed 'unperformable' opera, due to both size and complexity. I am, however, many miles south in Nashville, remaining tickets are in the $150-250 range and attending such an event is far beyond my financial reach. Alas, I'm one of the "common people" and thus I will keep my seat in my Hermitage living room, watching a Dylan documentary and sipping from my new Bud Lite Lime. (Quite tasty.)

That's cool though. William Shatner and Joe Jackson know my pain. Here's "Common People" featuring Ben Folds on keyboard.

I love this song. It's been out there for awhile, but I first heard it yesterday on WRVU. Thanks to Ashley for playing it on her show, Alphabet.

Boats on the water on the 3rd of July.

This would be better with a photograph. Alas, I didn't even try to get a shot of it. Soon, I need to get serious about improving my night photography skills.

Anyway, driving home late last night and crossing the dam at Percy Priest Lake, my view of the water was more fascinating than ever before. Peering across the dark, dark lake, where usually all I see is the moon's reflection over the water, last night I saw a multitude of lights from the countless boats out over the vast and far-reaching lake, taking their view of early July 3rd fireworks from Nashville Shores.

Except for my low vantage point, I was reminded of late night Southwest flights over small cities, descending onto lonely airports while seeing only a plethora of luminous dots scattered across otherwise rayless and expansive land masses. Whether in my airline seat looking down or in my car looking across, the magic and mystery of distant lights always captivates the imagination. I'm at peace with where I am and curious about where I'm not.

Thanks for stopping by. Have a safe and wonderful weekend.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Don't fall asleep near a 3-year-old with stickers.

I remember once, way back in 1992, hanging out and getting drunk with some lesbian friends of mine after seeing Tori Amos at 328 Performance Hall, I passed out and later awoke to find that they had prettied me up with lipstick and makeup.

Remembering that, I suppose I can't complain too much about these bunny stickers on my arms.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Where we're at.

I think we've got just enough to get the transmission fixed. Thanks to everyone for their kind generosity. Paige will call the good people at the auto repair shop today and see when they can get started.

In other news, one friend is loaning me a bicycle and another friend is loaning me a scooter. (Care to guess who the blogging scooter friend is?) I look forward to seeing some of you on the Nashville Greenways and I look forward to seeing some of you on the street.

In other news, we're looking at the feasibility of trading in the van for a brand new Ford Focus. We still owe a good bit on the van, but I get a huge discount on new Fords because of where I work. (A hotel. Go figure.) It'll take my van-and-truck-loving wife some getting used to if she's going to decide on a small car, but the m.p.g. and new car reliability will go a long way in helping her in that regard.

Anyway, thanks for continuing to read this stuff. I know I've been writing so much lately of general woes. Life sometimes rocks and life sometimes sucks and it all gets shared on the blog.

My best,