Trust the Gene Genie

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Our Achtung Baby

I know. It's something only the people who have some kind of affectionate relationship with my children will find funny. But I'm still gonna post it, because I think it's pretty funny. Some quick background.

We listen to a lot of U2 in our house. We also watch a lot of the concert videos. The latest to make the rounds is the Vertigo show from Chicago. My daughters' favorite part is the encore when the band goes into "Zoo Station" and the drawing of the kid that appears on the cover of "Zooropa" pops up on the big screen and starts crying. It's officially known as the Achtung Baby, which I insist the girls call it. Anyway, life is predictably crazy with Becky still dealing with morning sickness, but the girls are excited that Becky's pregnant and they love talking about what we're going to name the new baby. Claire, my 5-year-old, who's oldest and thus thinks she's the third parent in our family, is always quick to offer the serious, authoritative opinion. So on to the story.

I picked up Claire from school today and so I was asking her the usual questions. How was class? How was show-and-tell? All that good stuff. Well, she starts telling me about her friend whose turn it was for sharing and how she interupted her. I asked Claire why she interupted and Claire told me she announced to the class the newest name for our little bun-in-the-oven. I asked her what name is that. And she said she told the class she thinks we should name it the Achtung Baby. She said we could just call it Achtung. For the record, I'm all for it.

Then tonight, before bed, she wants to tell us a joke. She does the usual chicken-crossing-the-road-bit and then tells us we have to tell a joke, too. So I do one of my favorites about a guy lost in the desert and dying of thirst who comes across a McDonald's and thinks he saved. So he goes inside and orders a peanut butter sandwich (it's really all in the telling). Anyway, Leigh tells a joke and then Claire tells us she's got another she wants to tell. So she starts up about a girl lost on the beach, dying of hunger and thirst who then sees a Chucky Cheese. At this point she stops to tell Becky and me that her joke is just like mine. Then she continues. The girl gets into the Chucky Cheese and, in a parched voice that Claire imitates, orders a bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats. For some reason that was just hilarious. Becky about died laughing. And that's that. Child rearing can be fun.

Friday, April 14, 2006

I'm nearly great but there's something missing

Alright, I give. It's clear a daily post from me is never going to happen. You win, world. It's back to being a quitter for me.

Speaking of sloth (that's the periodic table of sloth to the right), I got on the scale Sunday night and I've finally hit the magic number. I weighed in at 200 lbs. It's like breaking the 4-minute mile of weight, expect in reverse. By my reckoning, that offically makes me a middle-aged American male. I couldn't be prouder of myself. And I know my country is proud of me too.

In other news, I've been on a raging U2 kick lately. The shuffle function on my iPod is a glorious feature. I've been listening to the 440 some-odd U2 songs I've got on my little machine through shuffle and it's like I've gone sonic exploring. I can't get enough. You hear the songs in strange juxtipositions and listen to tracks you'd almost forgotten about. It's like regular shuffle but magnified.

It's been compounded by this (you'll have to scroll down to the third graf), as I'm still discovering material. Anyway, with H.L.'s birthday coming up, I thought I'd send him a copy of everything. Who wouldn't love that? No one, my friends. No one.

And that's Friday for you. Stay close and watch as the counter rolls over to 1,000. It could happen any second! I'm gonna go get a life. Later.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Becky's curious condition

It's been just over three months now and while we're still not out of the woods yet, it's probably safe to comment more specifically on Becky's curious condition. Which continues. She's pregnant with our third child. It was planned. But I'll tell you what, she gets morning sickness something fierce. We're not sure why she's so lucky, but I'd like to think it has something to do with her super sense of smell. I'm serious. If she were one of the X-Men, her mutant ability would be sense of smell. In times of normal, non-pregnancy health, she can smell trace amounts of anything from a hundred miles away. It's pretty impressive. Anyway, pregnancy comes with its nausea and food aversions and her sense of smell is suddenly heightened to cosmic levels. She can smell things no other human smell. It's kind of like a dog whistle for smells.

But in another week or so she'll be through the worst of it. Then it's just being great with child during the long summer months of Redding. The long, 110-degree summer months of Redding. She may find puking every other day in the cool April rain maybe isn't so bad. But probably not. This nausea is pretty awful. And, as pregnant as she'll be, she'll at least be able to swim to beat the unforgivable summer heat. Although, not until she waits an hour after she eats. Or she'll puke.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Did I say every day?

Okay. So the whole posts-everyday-plan didn't quite work out. I'm lazy. Tell me something I don't know. So we'll say, starting today, it's posts everyday until we hit 1,000. I'm so on it. Grab the signs and hit the streets, the revolution starts now.

First off, the last installment of my Perfect Songs Vol. 1 list. You can catch up here, here and here. A friend of mine had the brilliant idea of burning the perfect songs onto a disc and giving them out to whoever replied in the comments sections. That's right, all you have to do is reply. The first three people get a copy of Rob's Perfect Songs Vol. 1. Free swag! The Web is such a wonderful resource.

Spoon's "Everything Hits at Once": It's the first cut from their 2002 kind-of-come-back album "Girls Can Tell" and, while nearly every song off this album could be considered perfect in some way or another, "Everything Hits at Once" grabs you first. It's a sonically dense, bright but dark around the edges little pop song, complete with a piano break and lots of "oooos." It shimmers with minimalist lines like, "Don't say a word/The last one still stinging" and "I go to sleep/But think you're next to me." In the end the song's about tragedy and lost love, but it's brilliantly rendered with an upbeat rock swing and a catchy melody.

U2's "Pride (In the Name of Love)": Sure, it's probably one of the band's top three overplayed, way-too-well-known songs, but it has that status for a reason. The song simply doesn't miss. The guitar riff that backs it is easily one of the best the Edge has ever turned out and the lyrics beg to be shouted out at the top of your lungs. It comes together on every single level. You find yourself unconscienciously tapping your foot when the song starts and by the end you're ready to take the front lines in the fight for civil rights. It's simply U2 at their best, doing what they do best. It's a perfect song, a perfect anthem.

Jeff Buckley's "Hallelujah": Most of Buckley's songs are brilliant. But his cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" is flawless, absolutely the definitive version of the song -- and it's been covered by the likes of Bono and Rufus Wainwright. It's moody, sweeping, sorrowful and joyous all at the same time. Because of Buckley's unsurpassable vocals. It's like the song was written specifically for his voice. He hits these beautiful Irish tenor highs and breathes intimacy into some of Cohen's bolder phrases. Like most of Cohen's songs, it's dripping with Biblical imagery and Buckley is makes it work on various levels. From the opening line, "Well I heard there was a secret chord/That David played and it pleased the Lord/But you don't really care for music do you" to the line "And I've seen your flag on the marble arch/And love is not a victory march/It's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah," Not a single note is wasted, not a single line is thrown away. Buckley makes it his own and it's a prefect song because of it. At some point in your life you will listen to this song and it will make you cry.

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