Saturday, January 28, 2006

Our new car

Today we bought a new car. A '04 Chevy Impala. I certainly didn't wake up this morning with the intentions of buying a Chevy, but I'm usually pretty quick to settle on a car when I see one that meets our needs. We found our new car at Carmax which I would recommend to anyone that has little kids. Woogy loved the play area for kids and was fine while we took care of business.
This is the first car I've ever owned that was designed for comfort. Every car I ever owned up till now has always been a compact (Nova, Escort, Civic, Matrix, Focus)so it is nice to ride in something that is actually comfortable. So why the Impala?
We decided we needed a bigger car with two kids. Wah-Wah decided she didn't want a mini van (why, I don't know). Reviews were pretty positive, both from consumer reports and Edmunds. Finally, I didn't feel like driving all over town looking for something better since I'm running out of time on my rental
As for our old car, the Focus, it was totaled out and the quote I got from the adjuster was much more than I expected. I wonder if he was looking at the right car? He appraised it for a thousand less then what we paid for it. I'm not complaining.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Found focus

After giving up all hope, the police found our stolen Ford Focus. Believe it or not, they found it in Wyandotte County (image that!). Sadly, I don't think it will ever be the same. I don't remember the three bullet holes in the driver side door and I'm pretty sure I had a rear window. Other things that seemed out of place are the cartons of cigarettes and cans of beer, not to mention the new odor of urine that wasn't there before.
Yes, someone had a good time in my car judging by the condom wrappers on the floor. But the lowest thing was they took Wah-Wah's Barbara Striensand X-mas album (which was in the glove comparment). What kind of animal does that? I mean it is bad enough they took the stroller (in the trunk), but Barbara?
The focus was towed to a body shop, and I'm pretty sure they will total it out. Now we just wait and see what the insurance company will give us on it. If it breaks $1000, I'll be surprised. We are deciding if we want to get a mini van or a more practical fuel efficient car. Honestly, I never saw myself in a mini van, but then again, I never thought anyone would steal Barbara's X-mas album.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


I've always loved irony. I think it has a way of making things funny that would other wise be sad. I had a ironic experience at work the other day. Most of the kids that I work with are good kids (just have messed up parents). The other day, I was talking with a client's mom who was feeling pretty down and was complaining that her son is a pretty awful kid (because he fights his siblings, argues a lot, etc). I told her that that wasn't the case and in fact, her son was a very likeable kid. I started going on about all the good things that I saw in her son (such as he has never been in trouble with the law).
At that very moment, I noticed a few squad cars parking outside her house. I told the mom that it was probably nothing, but I soon noticed that the police were talking with her son. He had been busted for breaking neighborhood windows. Even worse, the cops found him with some switchblades.
I felt like I had to eat all those nice things I had said about my client. I still believe that deep down, this is a kid who has potential, but I just found it pretty ironic that as I was telling this parent how great her son is, he is outside breaking windows.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

dad's retirement

Last Thursday, I drove up to Des Moines for my dad's retirement (I was in my rental which is a sweet ride. Still no word on the Focus yet). My dad is 63 but has apparently done well enough that he has enough to retire. When I first arrived at the Wells Fargo headquaters, all the staff was down in the cafeiteria saying good bye. I was pretty impressed with what people said about my dad. They called him a manager who took the time to walk the floor talking to everyone. I was surprised to hear that since he doesn't acknowledge me when I come home. Nor does he (or ever) seemed that interested in what is going on in my life.
After the long party, we went to a nice dinner at a country club with the executive board of Wells Fargo who continued the stories of my father which I never heard. My favorite was the one of him down in New Orleans foam dancing in a club with a few vice presidents. I had a pretty hard time believing this since he usually goes to bed around 9. My dad is obviously a different person at work. The party that I attended was apparently just one of 9 retirement parties he has. Right now he is in Oregon attending more parties. He plans to move there in few months now and spend some time making jewelary and wood carving. I wonder if he'll do more foam dancing.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Need a new car

Wah-Wah and I had a pretty rotten morning today. Wah-Wah went out to start her car (our Ford Focus)to get the engine warmed up. Minutes later I heard her scream that someone had drove off with her car. I've told her time and time again, that leaving her car running in the driveway isn't a good idea, but I was still surprised that someone would take off with it. Of course, our nosy neighbor (who seems to see everything on our street saw the guy who did it, but didn't recognize him.
The police were called and they seemed to think that the car will turn up.

Hopefully it will be salvageable. Since our car was salvaged when we bought it, it isn't worth that much. If we have to buy a new car, we'll take a financial hit. I learned that our Focus seems to attract crime. Apparently our car was used in a high speed chase which originally got it in a wreck. The guy that sold me the car forgot to mention that part. As a precaution, I decided that it would be best to change the locks on our doors since the thief now has our house keys. Unfortunately, the bastard also has our stroller which was in the trunk. But the joke is on him, the only music in the car was Wah-Wah's Barbara Streisand and Johnny Mathis X-mas albums(so hopefully I'll never see those again)

Thank the Lord, Wah-Wah didn't have her purse or the kids in the car, only Barbara and Johnny where stolen. I'm beginning to realize that I might live in a high crime neighborhood. This is the second time in 3 years that something has happened to our cars. Maybe it isn't as bad as I think. After all, a free car with the keys is a tempting offer to anyone, but since our neighbor said that she saw the guy walking up and down our street a lot, makes me wonder if he was scoping the area out. Maybe we would be better living in the "Dot". At least there you kind of expect stuff like that to happen

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Now that the holidays are over

With the passing of New Year's, the holidays are over and 2005 is history. Frankly I'm glad 2005 is over. There were some good times such as U2 in St.Louis, camping, Oregon, and of course the birth of Nibbles. But there were some bad times as well--mainly 3 month's of unemployment and the uncertainness of what comes with it. Thank the Lord I'm starting the new year off with a new job which I'm hopeful for.

My X-mas was some what uneventful. This will probably be the last X-mas we celebrate in Des Moines since my parents plan to move to Oregon this summer. Wah-Wah and I gave Woogy his gifts before we headed up to Des Moines so he didn't get overwhelmed. This year we gave him plenty of new stuff for his train table and Bob the Builder figures. I gave Wah-Wah her favorite show on DVD- "Charmed" seasons 2 & 3. Wah-Wah surprised me by getting me a year subscription to "Q magazine". This is my favorite magazine from England that covers British music.

X-mas with my family was typical, we all watched my dad open extravagant gifts he bought for himself. This year he bought a ATV and a 1930 Model T. I think he misses the point of X-mas. He did give the wives jewelry that he always hand makes for them. I enjoyed watching him open the gift that I got for him- the "Retirement" picture from He got the joke. I did get a digital camcorders which is about the size of my camera. I can start making movies of the kids now.

Wah-Wah had to be back to work on Monday, so we left early. I returned a week later for New Years. Wah-Wah knows how much I hate staying home on New Years, so she was OK with me taking off back to Des Moines. I went out on the town with a couple of college friends to a few clubs. I think I'm getting too old for that sort of thing. Very little drinking was involved since I didn't want to chance a DWI.

The next day, my mom and I went to see the only movie I'll see this holiday season--King Kong. You gotta hand it to Peter Jackson, he knows how to put a human side on everything. He also doesn't over do it with special effects.

Monday, January 02, 2006

My Year in Review of albums

Here's my quick review of some of the albums I bought this year:

Coldplay: X&Y-- If you don't have this album buy it. Album of the year. Coldplay achieves the heights they had hinted at during their previous albums

Embrace: Out Of Nothing-- This album was actually released in 2004, but it took a year to make it to the states. This is another album you must own. In some ways they pass Coldplay with the heights they achieve in this album. It is the kind of album that will stay in your head long after it is done playing.

The Church: El Momento Descuidado-- acoustic album that catches the Church performing their best songs from their 17 album catalog. Very intimate performance. Great album to play to candle light. Beautiful "Van Gough" style art work on the cover

Billy Corgan: The Future Embrace-- Lots of old Smashing Pumpkins fans will not dig this. No real guitar work, mostly synth. So you got to give credit to Corgan for making an album that he wanted to make. You can tell this is the real Billy Corgan. He could have embraced any style he wants to, and choose electronic.

Depeche Mode: Playing the Angel-- Not their best, but it does grow on you. "Precious" is a great song.

Rob Dickinson: Fresh Wine For the Horses-- A late entry this year, but overall good. In case you don't know, Rob is the singer for the late "Catherine Wheel". He doesn't rely on the feed back of guitars like he did in Catherine Wheel, instead just good song writing.

Echo and the Bunnymen: Siberia-- It's OK. Not their best.

Erasure: Nightbird-- catchy pop songs. Very gay.

Fine China: Jaws of Life-- Stinks when you compare it to their last album "You Make Me Hate Music"

Garbage: Bleed Like Me-- Nothing on this album will surprise you, but overall it is pretty solid if your a Garbage fan

Gorillaz: Demon Days-- With the success of this album, I would be surprised if Damon Alburn reforms "Blur". Since Alburn is the brain in this one, he deserves credit for perfectly mixing Brit-pop with a little rap and trip-hop. Definitely one of the better albums of the year.

Joy Electric: Ministry Of Archers-- I'll come out and say it, Ronnie really dropped a bomb on this one. I don't mind experimenting, but this just doesn't do anything for me. Why Ronnie Martin wrote a song about a terrible archer, I'll never know. I found the songs on this album hard to relate too on any level.

Kevin Max: The Imposter-- This is definitely Max's best work--even if you like DC Talk. Max is really developing to be a outstanding solo artist.

Moby: Hotel-- Less electronic, but still really good. I appreciate Moby for adding a bonus ambient disc on this album

New Order: Waiting for the Sirens Call-- A pleasant return for New Order. The album drags in some places, but this band that has been around for 30 years still writes some of the best britpop around.

Oasis: Don't Believe the Truth-- Worst album of the year. A lot of the critics say that this is their best since their heyday, but I can only find one redeeming track on it. This should be a curtain call.

Over the Rhine: Drunkard's Prayer-- They can write some songs I really dig, and others I don't care for. This one is mostly good. Another good album to talk and listen to by candle light.

Sigur Ros: Takk-- surprisingly good follow up to their last album (). Sigur Ros has a very unique artist vision for their music. Clearly lyrics are not important here. Where Sigur Ros will take their music next is anyone's guess.

Starflyer 59: Talking Voice vs. Singing Voice-- A rather soft album, doesn't have the kick and distortion of Jason Martin's previous work. He can do better.

Tears: Here Come the Tears-- With the singer and guitarist of Suede reuniting, it promises a killer of an album. Unfortunately it doesn't deliver. Their is no trash, glam, or raw animal energy. Instead, it is the same "safe" sound that caused Suede to break up.