Wednesday, June 11, 2008

the kids's birthdays

Another kids's birthday season is over. Having two kids birthdays that are two days apart has it's advantages and disadvantages. The disadvantages being that Wah-Wah and I have to plan two parties and order two cakes. But the advantage is that at least it is over till next year.
This last weekend started with the annual Rose Festival in Portland. It's a pretty big celebration and even has a parade that rivals the Rose Parade on New Year's Day. The Rose Fest also signals the start of summer in Portland (but with temps in the 50's and 60's you wouldn't realize that it is summer). This year, 4 Navy battleships came into port. I decided to get on the Max and take Woogy down to the waterfront.

When I was a kid, I grew up in Virginia Beach VA near a naval base. I remember as a cub scout, we routinely got to take tours of ships that were in port. As a kid, I remember thinking it was pretty cool to go on board a battleship, so I wanted Woogy to have the same experience. Woogy and I got a tour of the USS Gary. Woogy was pretty excited and enjoyed climbing all the ladders. However, after an hour, Woogy got really bored.
Here's Woogy on the bridge. I guess the Navy doesn't mind having kids play with the helm.
On Sunday, we invited kids and parents over from our Tuesday night home group over for a party for the kids. Technically, it was Nibbles's party, but both kids were brought gifts. I got Woogy the new Indiana Jones Lego game for PS2. I figured he would love it since we enjoy playing the Lego Star Wars games so much. Personally, I find the puzzles on this one to be a little more challenging than the Star Wars games. We have been playing it every night so far.

We also got the kids this bouncing house that inflates in seconds. It's pretty easy to set up and the kids seem to enjoy it a lot, despite the fact that it has pushed my car out of the garage. Most of the kids that came over for the party seemed to enjoy it.

Here's the kids enjoying Nibbles birthday cake. Every year Nibbles runs out of the room crying when every one starts singing "Happy Birthday." I hope she gets over that some day.

Today, we had Woogy's party after his preschool. We invited his whole class over to a park right after school for pizza and some cake. Woogy enjoyed getting all the presents and received more gifts than he gets at Christmas. Apparently Nibbles doesn't like any one singing "Happy Birthday", because she took off crying again when we sang to Woogy.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

May's Music

I'm really excited about some new music coming in June, including new ones by Coldplay, Sigur Ros, and Bon Voyage. May was still pretty productive too. Here's what I picked up:

Starflyer 59 Ghosts Of the Future For months, Jason Martin has been taunting some of his fans by releasing new songs on vinyl only. A fan must subscribe and get mailed a new song on vinyl every month. This doesn't do a lot of good if you don't have a record player. Fortunately, Forest gave me a secret code that you can use to download the songs digitally. The album I downloaded has got to be SF 59' s best. It's one of those albums that are flawless. I even like the way it breaks SF 59's usual format by offering 20 tracks instead of the usual 10 tracks Jason releases every year. Even a great Smiths cover is thrown into the mix.

Death Cab For Cutie Narrow Stairs I really liked DC's last album Plans. That was the album that broke them into the mainstream,yet they were able to maintain their indie credibility. Expectations were pretty high coming into this album. I got pretty excited when I read that Ben Gibbard was reading a lot of Jack Kerouac and writing in rustic Big Sur, California. Unfortunately, the album doesn't quite reach expectations in my opinion. It's not bad, but it is no Plans. Not a lot of brilliant melodies that made Plans the great album it was.

Garbage Special Collection I've always been a Shirley Manson fan since she was in Angelfish . She is one of my favorite female artists. This is a not a regular release, and in truth, I stumbled upon it on the Internet. It is a collection of B-sides through out Garbage's career. It is actually a pretty massive collection of about 30 songs never released. Garbage does do pretty good b-sides that are worth owning if you are a fan. Most notable on here, is Garbage's James Bond theme "The World Is Not Enough."

The National The Virginia EP Riding high on the success of their critically acclaimed masterpiece Boxer, The National released a EP of b-sides, demos, and live cuts. Unfortunately, I wasn't paying close enough attention and got just the audio tracks from itunes and didn't realize that there was a film that accompanied the disc. Well, I don't watch music movies that often anyway. The songs on the EP are pretty great and makes a great companion to Boxer.

M83 Summer=Youth When I was in KC, Forest was pushing this album pretty hard, so I decided to take a listen. I was sold after listening to a few snippets of it. M83 combines elements of shoegaze and techno into some pretty impressive pop songs. Unfortunately, the album kind of fizzles in the end with a rather long ending track that is so boring it puts you in a trance.

Portishead Third It literally took me 7 listens to this album before I started to like it. I've never been a big Portishead fan despite that they are one of those "Critically Acclaimed" bands that I usually like. I found their sound too icy with trip hop effects and a "spy theme" mood. No "spy theme" mood on this album, just eclectic music. This is one of those albums like Radiohead's Kid A, that at first listen, you don't know weather it is crap or genius. Albums like Kid A and Third make the listener work and think. The pay off is worth it when you begin to see the genius work of art that it is.

Foxtail Somersault Fault I've been really into shoegazer lately and been snatching up everything I can find that fits into the shoegazer genre. This 5 track EP fits into my current tastes. Promising band, can't wait to see what else they will do.
Trembling Blue Stars The Last Holy Writer Quite and melancholy, with airy evocative guitar soundscapes, Trembling Blue Stars are not exactly exciting, but not all good albums explode in excitement. Rather downbeat lyrics, but a occasional female ethereal voice makes it's way into some of the tunes, making it a nice "chill out" album.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Woogy's first Beaver's Game

Today Woogy attended his first big sporting event--his first Portland Beaver's game. The Beavers are not exactly a major league team, but they are closest to a major league team in the area (In all honesty, they played better then the KC Royals did in all the games that I saw).

Anyway, to support little league baseball, the Portland Beavers gave out discounted tickets to dozens of little league clubs in the area. Hundreds of little leaguers showed up in their uniforms at the ball park today.

I decided to take Woogy hoping he would at least be interested in watching a inning or two. I thought this would be a memorable experience for him if nothing else. So we took the Max (the train) down to PGE park in downtown Portland and waited in line for a free jersey. Afterwards, I got a very messy, but delicious chili cheese dog. I wanted to teach Woogy that the joy in going to a baseball game is the snacks.

After the game got started, Woogy began to get into the game and asked a lot of questions and began to wonder why his T-ball team never gets any outs. We took a break for a few innings by playing some carnival type games, then went back to the game. Much to my surprise, Woogy wanted to stay till the end of the game and cheered for the home team when they won. I wasn't actually expecting his interest to last that long.

After the game, all the kids got to run the bases. On the way back, Woogy said he had a great time. I guess that is all you can ask for you first baseball game.