Thursday, May 24, 2007


I know that Father's Day doesn't come around for another few weeks (I honestly don't know when it is... sometime in June, I think) but my birthday comes right after Mother's Day most years, and I am a father, so I'm deciding to celebrate Father's Day on my own schedule.
While we sat Julie down for some pictures with the boys on her day, we did the same on mine. And a sampling of photos seems a good way to resume what I hope will be normal posting on this site.
Here we see the classic dad and baby pose: me sitting in the glider chair trying to keep control of two very squirmy babies. The original idea of these pictures was to show off their new teeth, but we could never get a picture where they both had their mouths open. So above you can see Will's little teeth. And below you'll finally see where Nate cooperated.
At this point, it's unclear how long we'll be able to take pictures like this. Nate and Will continue to grow (as babies have been known to do) and they're getting tougher to keep balanced on one knee.
And sometimes complete chaos ensues.
But it never lasts all that long.
Over the last ten months, I've also started to really appreciate any time where I can actually devote my full attention to only one kid.
Will here is so anxious to try out his new skill of crawling that he's almost impossible to pin down these days. But every once in a while he'll chill out enough to get a photo of him that isn't blurry. Nate can't crawl yet, and is therefore easier to corral.
And we all agreed it was the best Father's Day ever... assuming, of course that it was actually Father's Day... which it wasn't... but it might as well have been... so I think it's all the same... whatever... goodnight.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007


After more than two weeks, of delay, I've got my laptop back. Almost immediately, things started going wrong. My browser kept changing my homepage and something kept hijacking my Google searches.

But I've run some more trouble-shooting programs and I think I may have quashed this latest outbreak. So it appears the ordeal may be over. I look forward to resuming more regular transmissions this week.


Thursday, May 17, 2007


The year is 1987 and I've just flunked out of high school. With not much going on in my life, I take to watching Letterman with religious zeal. Many people consider this to be Letterman's most productive era. He's no longer a cult figure on television, but there is still something slightly out-of-control with his programs. There really is a feeling that anything can happen.

Then one night, I see the best hour of television I've ever seen. Dave does his monologue (which was and has always been more than a little lame), then settles down at his desk. Usually the Top Ten List comes right after he sits down, but Dave says there's a problem with the list, and they move on. The show goes into break and Steve Martin is the first guest, he comes out and does two segments about Letterman's pencil tossing gag. When they enter the second segment, the entire set is covered in pencils. A very funny bit indeed.

They come back after Steve, announce that they still don't have a Top Ten List, and go to another commercial. When they come back, Crispin Glover is there. He's there to promote "The River's Edge," but Dave can't start much of a conversation with his guest. Dave asks him about his life in Hollywood and about some apartment he used to live in. Crispin keeps saying "no," and looking annoyed. Then this happened. (I haven't seen this clip in about 20 years, God bless You Tube.)

The next guest is a woman with a potato chip collection. There never was a Top Ten List on the show.

I taped that night's show and showed it to my sisters. We played it again and again, wondering just what Crispin was thinking. Some people thought he was on drugs. Others thought it was a performance piece that just spun out of control. Fans of "Ruben and Ed" will note that Crispin looks pretty much like the Ruben character in that movie.

Seven years after Crispin's Letterman freakout, I'm living in Salt Lake City and I get a call from a friend. She tells me Crispin Glover is in town and needs a little help building a set for a movie he's making. Do I want to help out? Yes. Yes I do.

Crispin seemed a little spacey while we were putting together a paper mache tree in an old warehouse on the west side of Salt Lake. But other than that, he seems pretty normal. He explains that the movie is about a girl with Down Syndrome who gets special powers, or something. I had a hard time figuring out what the film is about, but someone I know claims to have seen it on cable. Supposedly, I'm in the credits.

The evening ends with Crispin asking for a ride somewhere, his car, an old Checker cab, has broken down and he needs to get a part at a store. I drop him off, and never see him again. I never got up the nerve to ask about the Letterman appearance in 1987. I wish I did.

On the digital darkness front, there is still no light. They said they'd have my laptop back to me by Tuesday, no matter what. It's Thursday.


Monday, May 14, 2007


Last Mother's Day, People asked to see a photo of Julie pregnant, so I posted this.
She was almost seven months pregnant last Mother's Day, and most of the day was spent wondering what Mother's Day 2007 would be like. "Wow," we thought, "we'll have two 9-month-olds by then. And one year later, sure enough, here they are...
They're wearing some fancy shirts purchased for them in Paris by their Auntie Patti and Uncle Jerry. Since last time photos were posted, they've learned a few tricks. First, they've learned to sit up.
Ok, Nate isn't exactly sitting up in that picture, but he really can. Look...
And, yes, Will can sit up, too.
And despite many photographic claims to the contrary, they actually do play well together.Last May, I was a little apprehensive about the future, about inviting two strangers into our home, about the severe sleep deprivation and life disruption brought about by parenthood. But Julie had a sense of peace about the whole thing. She kept on saying that everything was going to be ok and that our new little boys would be cool.

With the benefit of hindsight, I'm pleased to say that she was right. And this Mother's Day has been the happiest one we've ever had.And yes, those are teeth you see on Will. Hopefully we'll have more photos of that soon.

NOTE: On the digital darkness front, I dropped off my laptop AGAIN, and I don't know when I'll have it back. Meanwhile, if I have to listen to another second of over-the-air radio, I think I'm going to hang myself with my USB cord.

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Saturday, May 12, 2007


This morning I received the joyous news that my computer was given a clean bill of health and could come home once again. I rushed over to the repair store and parted with an obscene amount of cash and took my laptop home again.

I plugged it in and hit start and within no time I was not back online. For some reason, my new "fixed" computer was unable to access anything online. This was most disconcerting as I didn't have that problem when I took it in. Perhaps the technicians didn't understand that when I said "fixed" I meant "repaired" not "neutered."

The computer goes back into the shop tomorrow. I have no idea when I'll see it again.

In other news, I found an old Palm Pilot I haven't used in a long time. Somewhere, I've got a full size keyboard that plugs into it. If I can get them together, I would at lease be able to write without putting pen to paper. My little Palm and keyboard setup was once considered quite impressive. In 2001, I was on a flight to France and I was doing a little bit of writing with my Palm. The flight attendant saw my collapsible keyboard and thought it was really cool. She paid lots of attention as I showed how it folded down into a container the size of a cassette tape. She was French and quite beautiful. I was quite married.

Alas, my nifty technology had arrived too late to make me cool to exotic foreign women. Of course, that nifty technology was a birthday present from an extremely awesome American woman. So I guess that more than evens things out.

I'm completely out of podcasts.

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Thursday, May 10, 2007


I've been trying to keep a diary of my life without my laptop, but it's not easy. What am I supposed to write on? Pen and paper? I don't think so. It would be easy to say that constant use of computers has caused me to lose the ability to write things by hand. But that overlooks the fact that I was never able to write things by hand. I have handwriting so bad it actually counts as a learning disability. (really) But I've got time on someone else's laptop for a moment so I thought I'd check in.

First off, all the rhythms of my life are messed up without my computer. When I wake up, I have a routine. I stagger out of bed, update my podcasts, check my email, and then brush my teeth while my iPod is syncing. Now I get up and I don't know what to do. Of course, I have discovered that I have two children that are usually awake when I get up. Apparently, they are the same two children I have been posting photos of on this very blog for the past 9 months. Who knew? They're actually quite cute in person, too. So I guess there is some good that has come from all this.

But it is the lack of podcasts that is really wearing me down. In my job, I have to drive a lot, and podcasts are my way to pass that time. I have long since given up on radio, what with its commercials and insistence on playing shows and music on a schedule and not stopping their programming when I get out of the car. Luckily, I had about 18 hours of podcast programming on my iPod when I sent my laptop off to the Mayo Clinic. But things are getting a little thin now. Gone are the back episodes of "On the Media" and the Hospital Drum and Bass podcast. Now I'm actually listening to those BBC "In Our Time" podcasts that I downloaded just to make me feel smart. "In Our Time" features a panel of scholars speaking at length on some subject like Greek love poetry or symmetry or some obscure philosopher. I have listened to them all now, and I don't feel smart, I feel very stupid.

Right now, all that's left is an Australian program called "The Night Air." "The Night Air" is a program that mixes elements of "This American Life" with sound art and even some hip hop production values. I once actually heard a host of the program utter the following sentence regarding a fellow sound artist, "David works primarily in the medium of VHS tape hiss." I have only a few more episodes left, then I'm left with nothing but... the radio.

As an experiment, I listened to the radio this week, and it was just as lame as I remembered it. It pains me to say this because radio is my first love. I actually worked as a DJ for a while when I was 17 and it literally changed the course of my life. But things have changed a lot. Now all you hear is automation and angry right-wingers. (NPR is the exception, but I podcast most of their stuff anyway.)

So anyway, I turned on the radio a few days back and heard some man yelling at the top of his lungs about Iraq timetables or something like that. He was screaming so loud I thought he'd damage his studio microphone. I was about to turn the radio off and enjoy the silence, when I heard something even more disturbing on this radio station... me!

That's right, it was me reading a story on zebra mussels. Our station has a deal with a radio station group in town and reporters have to record radio versions of most of their stories. I've been sending out stories for more than a year, but I never had any idea what happened to them once I hit "send" on the mp3 file. But there I was, on conservative talk radio. Ah, if my parents could see me now.

So I'm hoping to hear from the repair place soon an learn that I can have my digital life back. But for now, I'm drifting back into the darkness. Until next time...

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007


For some time, my laptop computer has served as something of a public Internet kiosk. Due to that, and some seriously outdated virus protection software, my computer has come down with a cold. So today I dropped it off at the local computer repair place. Most days, you can drop it off in the morning and you can pick it up when you're done with work.

But it's not going to work out that way this time around. After whisking my laptop off into the nether-world behind the service window, I was informed that they were backed up 3-5 days. This is no good. I've become quite dependent on my digital umbilical cord. Now I have to go without it for up to a week. I depend on it for the bulk of my interpersonal communication, for news of the outside world, and for my beloved podcasts. But now it's all gone... for a while anyway.

In terms of this blog, this news means there will likely be less frequent updates this week. I've got Internet access at work, but I really don't have time to write blog posts while I'm there. While I'm gone, however, I'll keep a journal of my cold-turkey computer comedown. I don't know what I'll write it on. Pen and paper? That seems unlikely. And how will I distribute it? In pamphlet form? Perhaps.

If the pamphlet thing doesn't work, then I guess you'll just have to wait until my computer returns to see how it went. And when that happens, I promise I'll post another set of baby pictures. Until then, pray for my little laptop. He's only 4 years old. Much too young to die.


Friday, May 04, 2007


Last Christmas, my parents sent the twins a play wall, which is something sold by Fisher Price. I'm not sure why they chose this particular item, except the box shows two babies playing with it. And we do have two babies.

We put it together, and it has remained in the corner of our living room for some time. Occasionally the babies would roll towards it. This week, they finally started playing with it.The wall has three main features, some hanging ball thing (demonstrated by Nate)...And a curtain of plastic rods (demonstrated by Will)...And some nylon curtain thingie (image not available). It seems like an odd assortment of things, but Nate and Will love it. I guess those Fisher Price people (and my grandparents) know what they're doing.

In other news, I'm getting ready to clear out the memory card on my camera, and there are some cute photos I should share before I do. But I'm too tired to try to string them together using some kind of narrative. So please feel welcome to come up with your own. As you can see, they're changing quickly and look more and more like little boys every day. They both have upper and lower teeth now, but they've proven difficult to photograph. Until then, enjoy some extra batches of cuteness...
That's Will on the left and Nate on the right.
And now a little look at lunch time with my two little guys, this time it's Nate who's on the left, and Will on the right.
Just enough time for a close up of Will...
And one of Nate...
And that's going to have to do it for me. Good night.

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007


A few weeks back, I introduced readers to Sizzlin' Steve, a character I invented for a radio show in Utah some 15 years ago. Steve was basically the personification of all I hated about 90s Top 40 radio. He spoke in an annoying monster truck announcer voice and rhymed words when it wasn't really appropriate.

Since then, some readers said they'd be interested in heading some old Sizzlin' Steve clips, and a friend even emailed me some stuff he taped off the radio all those years ago. Alas, I don't have the technical savvy to post mp3s to the Internet, so that will have to wait.

But that post did lead to an actual offer of work for Mr. Sizzlin'. I have a friend who runs a website that sells drum loops and the like. It's pretty cool stuff. He was in the process of producing a "best of" disc of loops, and needed a voice for the promo. Enter Sizzlin' Steve. My friend said he wanted to hire him for a voice session. After a few experiments, the voice we wound up with wasn't pure Sizzlin' Steve. This guy wasn't quite as obnoxious, but a little more cheesy. This is more Sizzlin' Steve trying to go legit by imitating that Movie Trailer Guy.

So for those of you who were curious for a little taste of The Siz, I offer you this. It's not pure Steve, but in it you can hear echoes of a pretend person many thought was dead in 1993.

(My personal dream is to translate the script into Spanish and re-record it with lots of reverb.)

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