Monday, December 20, 2010

5of9er's Favorite Albums 1992 - 2009.

It's that time of the year... Top 10's from everyone on every subject. If you are not a avid follower of 5of9er, you might not know about my history of Top 10 albums. Before I post my Top 10 for 2010... here is a look back on the years past.

Note: I started the list in 1990, but I cannot find the first three years... and I do not want to go back and just make them up.

best of 2009
1. The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart "s/t" (slumberland)
2. David Bazan "Curse Your Branches" (barsuk)
3. Shrinebuilder "Shrinebuilder" (neurot)
4. Passion Pit "Manners" (french kiss/columbia)
5. Tortoise "Beacons of Ancestorship" (thrill jockey)
6. Nomo "Invisible Cities" (ubiquity)
7. Method Man & Redman "Blackout 2" (def jam)
8. Phoenix "Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenex" (loyauté/glassnote)
9. Lily Allen "It's Not Me, It's You" (capitol)
10. Rose Melberg "Homemade Ship" (k)

Friday, December 17, 2010

TRON Skateboarding?

Tron Legacy Premiere - A Light Session from ENESS on Vimeo.

A friend of mine from Chocolate Giant sent me this video. It's 50% really cool... and 50% really stupid. Not sure what else to say about it.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Veoba Post: RECORD REVIEW: OFF!’s The First Four EPs

Originally posted on

I grew up a punk rock skateboarding child of the 80’s. I had an older brother that heavily influenced my life… I was completely his shadow. We spent free time skateboarding and listening to punk records, and once a week we tuned into Vinyl Rights – a radio show, which aired on KFJC, hosted by Alex Morgan. What Alex spun on his show was what became our “To Buy” list of records.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Veoba Post: 2nd Avenue Records, Portland OR

Posted originally on
I spent two stints in Portland, OR and one of the constants during my time there was 2nd Avenue Records always getting a ton of my money. Like any junky needing a fix (which PDX has long been the place for that), I was in constant need of that new 7″ or 12″ and while Portland has seen many great shops come and go, 2nd Ave was always my go to. Mainly because it’s seemingly been around forever. I recently saw someone label 2nd Ave as the Toyota Camry of Portland record stores… which is not a bad reference. Now I’d never buy a Toyota (that’s for a different article), but just like 2nd Avenue Records the Camry’s reliable.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Veoba Post: Christmas Does Vinyl.

This post was originally was on

This week I was intending to write about a record shop in St Louis since I just made my first ever trip to the Gateway City – but I never made it to any of my three destinations (Vintage Vinyl, Euclid, Apop). So instead of writing about how much of a disappointment this city was and how I lost my sunglasses there (because their record shops could have been the saving grace), I figured I would get into the Christmas spirit and do a little write up about a few notable Christmas albums in my collection (not a “Best of” list). All of these releases are on vinyl, so Faith Hill’s 2008 Christmas album was disqualified from making the list, but David Bazan Christmas 7” series on Suicide Squeeze could find a place. Ready?

1. Low Christmas (1999)
Finally released on vinyl this year by Kranky, this is my favorite Christmas album ever. Period. Instead of Low’s versions of the classics, Low mostly writes their own. Five of the eight tracks are original tunes which have somewhat become new standards. Their approach at keeping their sound without making Christmas song depressing, is pure genius. The added sleigh bells make “Just Like Christmas” more cheery than most Low songs. Their version of “Blue Christmas” makes a strong attempt of dethroning Elvis Presley, while adding noise to “Little Drummer Boy” works perfectly. A true Christmas album that the hippest of indie rock snobs could get into… and it’s not by the Danielson Famile.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Veoba Post: Reckless.

This was originally posted on

Residing in Chicago I find myself surrounded by many amazing record stores. Most of which pop into my head now and then (all of which I hope to write about at some point). One record shop in Chicago is my steady go to: Reckless (on Broadway). Reckless seems to always fulfill my two needs when it comes to record searching: a good place to waste some time flipping through tons of vinyl, as well as a place that (usually) has what I am looking for. There are three locations in Chicago, all of which are great, but Broadway seems to have the largest selection.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Veoba Post: Laurie's Planet of Crap.

This was originally posted on

There is a classic children’s story about the “Little Engine That Could,” who huffed and puffed and worked really hard and made it over the hill. Well, if Laurie’s Planet of Sound was that little engine… the hill would have won. That might sound a bit harsh, but when I walked into the shop on a Friday morning the girl behind the corner didn’t even acknowledge my existence – and I was the only customer in the shop. Seeing as they were missing the customer interaction part, I figured they might be missing some other things as well.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Park Conversation.

The conversation overheard at the park today between two four year old boys:

Boy #1: What did you bring?
Boy #2: Guns!
Boy #1: Awesome!
Boy #2: What did you bring?
Boy #1: An empty bag!
Boy #2: Awesome! Let's play!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Some days...

There are days like today when I think life would be so much easier just being a big fatty.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

The Horse.

I keep telling myself to get back on the horse and write, write, write. But as you can see, no entries for a while now. I have had little free time lately, and when that free times comes I have been spending it in numerous ways... none of those have been writing (and very little reading as well).

I am in the spot where I am ready to start new... just delete this blog and start off fresh somewhere else. Maybe write about something else, not just my thoughts and my life... or maybe just one section of my life and my thoughts. Or maybe just slack off and do none of the above.

I am going to start writing a column for a new music blog in Chicago called VEOBA. My entries will be about record stores around the country I like... since I am a huge supporter of physical music. I will hopefully have my first post on there in the next week.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Whatsforbreakfast, 4.17.2010.

Sassy Eggs at one of my favorite breakfast places in Chicago... Over Easy Cafe. Yum!

Friday, April 09, 2010

Whatsfordinner, 4.9.2010.

You never can go wrong making Risotto with bacon and asparagus... plus plenty of herbs and garlic. Yum!

Wednesday, April 07, 2010


Last night I went out to see a friend's band. I have not gone out to see a band since Miles was born (17 months ago). Sleep is too important these days, and most shows are so late that I just cannot gather the drive to get out the door to go. There were three major factors in deciding to go out last night:

  1. The show was at Schuba's, which is my favorite venue in Chicago.
  2. The band was playing the opening slot, which started at 8pm.
  3. The rain looked like it was going to hold off so I could just skate over there.

I was pleasantly surprised when the band my friend is in was actually very good. It is always a challenge to spin constructive criticism to a friend that happens to be in a terrible band - but I was saved from all of that. Thankfully. They reminded me a bit of Tripping Daisy (or the Polyphonic Spree minus the twenty people in robes). I truly enjoyed myself and the beer I was drinking. I actually did not even mind that I was hanging out by myself at a show... something I usually dread.

Let's go back to the beer I was drinking... since after that beer I had another... and at home I had a beer. Three beers are not technically binge drinking to most. I somehow blocked out the fact that I just spent the 40 days of Lent giving up alcohol, which now makes me a lightweight. When I left Schuba's, after chatting with my friend for a little while, I got on my board and realized I was a little drunk. Wow. I sort of knew this was the case since I was being a Chatty-Kathy inside, but it really did not hit me until I hopped on that board.

So this morning I woke up with a tiredness that is a bit overwhelming. Not a hangover, but a reminder that I am not in my twenties any more.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Whatsfordinner, 3.31.2010.

Today Chicago saw it's first 70 degree temperature for 2010... which means the Webber grill gets pulled out. Hamburgers were consumed to celebrate Spring time! First I had to clean the grill... since I forgot to clean it before I put it away for the winter. Yep, there was some nasty food still stuck on it. Yuck.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Vienna Sausage Juice,

Anyone that rides public transportation has seen just about everything... and smelled just about everything... and heard just about everything. So today I am going to add to my list of firsts for my experiences on the L.

I was on the Brown L sitting by two women with two kids under the age of two (my guess on the ages). They were all eating cheese puffs and getting the cheesy-powder everywhere. Chomp, chomp, chomp. The older of the two little boys signaled that he wanted some more food, so one of the women took out a can of Vienna Sausages and opened it up. Certain foods (especially canned foods) have a funky smell, and Vienna Sausages are one of them. The smell was awful. It seemed to quickly consume my side of the train car, enough for me to cover my nose. I like tuna, but I would never open a can of it on the L. A few people got up and moved to the other side of the train. But wait - it gets better! The woman then proceeded to drink all of the juice in the can before giving the boy one of the sausages. Mmmm... Vienna Sausage meat juice. I gagged just a little, and then (thankfully) realized that my stop was next.

Do people just not think things through? Maybe this is all they could afford, or maybe the little boy really likes Vienna Sausage - but that is not the issue. The issue is having the respect of others not to open that up on public transportation... and not to drink some nasty-ass juice.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


In the past few weeks I've seen a couple Nissan Cubes on the road. Have you? They are truly a bizarre looking automobile. They look like a microwave. They might be the ugliest car made since the Pontiac Aztek (which will go down as one of the worst cars of all time). Why would someone buy a Cube? What am I missing here?

Monday, March 22, 2010

New bag.

Today I received an amazing gift from my brother in SF. He sent me a new bag. Since Spring is here, and in Chicago that means the beginning of the cycling season, every bike commuter needs a good bag. This bag has so many parts to it they did not include instructions - the company (Timbuk2) posted a video. I never thought I would own a backpack that I would need to watch a video to show me how to use it.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

SXSW 2010.

YACHT at VEOBA's Carniville.

Another SXSW has passed and for me this year was so much different than those in the past. The two major differences were:
1. I only went for 52 hours, not 4-5 days like most years.
2. This was my first time away from Miles.

The nice thing about being super busy (meeting up with person after person after person), it kept my mind occupied and not being bummed out about missing LP and MO. The bad part about being super busy in Austin is I only got to see a few bands... not like most years when it seems like I saw 100 bands. Having missed SXSW last year I had talked myself into the idea that I was too old for SXSW and I was happy about not attending... I almost believed myself. It was good to go back, and hopefully next year I will make the trip once again.

Two things never change about SXSW:
1. Austin is nearly perfect in March.
2. It feels great to come home after SXSW.

Two things that happened during SXSW this year, but not at SXSW:
1. Alex Chilton died, and Big Star was supposed to play Saturday night.
2. My good friends AJ & Jason became parents to a beautiful baby boy.

A rare photo of me on this blog... with my pal Rob from PDX.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

RIP Alex Chilton.

Children by the million sing for Alex Chilton when he comes 'round
They sing "I'm in love. What's that song?
I'm in love with that song."

Too bad he did not die in Memphis... because we know, that would of been cool.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Whatsfordinner, 3.13.2010.

Since Miles is going through a phase of not eating vegetables (except for broccoli), LP found a recipe for Lilly Pad Pancakes... pancakes made with peas. They sound nasty (maybe look nasty too), but remind me of falafel, and I actually enjoyed them. Miles did not. We will try again.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The L.

This morning I rode the L for the first time since last summer... which last summer I rode it only once. Since becoming a dad I go out a lot less, which means less trips on the buses and L's in Chicago. I used to walk to work, so being unemployed has had little effect on me taking the CTA less.

The strange thing about being on the L this morning... my first thought was: I wonder if someone is going to blow this up?!

Hello? What did I eat for breakfast? I don't even tend to think in that morbid way, but this morning my mind was fixed on some wacko blowing up my train. Such a positive way to begin the day. So I thought about it for a while and came to the realization that no one would blow up the Brown Line since it is an L.... they would most likely target the Red or Blue Lines since parts of those lines are subway. And that made me not worry anymore.

I believe that I left the house without my brain today since my logic was completely absent.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Shorts at 40.

I love that around this time each year when the temperature outside in Chicago reaches 40 there are always a few dudes wearing shorts. I am all for the shorts... but 40 degrees? Really? They must be single.

Friday, March 05, 2010

TV, update.

A few weeks ago I posted all of the television shows I follow... at least the list that is programed into my DVR. It was a little shocking to see how many shows I have set to record. I know I watch a good amount of television, but did not realize how much I "have" to watch.

So this week I made the first round of cuts. I am cutting out 7 of the 21 shows I follow (that's a third!), not bad for a first round:

The Secret Life of the American Teenager: TERRIBLE TV, but so addicting. I feel bad because I know I am about 25 years too old to be watching this show.
Ugly Betty: So sad it's getting cancelled, but it gets rid of one show for me.
Community: I've been thinking of dumping it, so I did.
Parks And Recreation: Not good enough to follow. Might watch an episode here or there, but will not record it.
It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia: I am surprised to say this... but I am getting tired of it. Next Fall I might add it back to my DVR list.
My Boys: Horrible, but I am addicted. I need to face my addiction and cut it.
10 Things I Hate About You: Another horrible show, but I watch it... no more! Gone

The one show I have added:
Parenthood: The first episode was this week and it was okay... not great. I still have high hope for this (so does NBC).

Wednesday, March 03, 2010


Growing up in California I was never exposed to the kinds of brutal winters that Chicago sees. For the first few years in Chicago I loved the winter. Walking to work in subzero temperatures was fun. Yes, I said fun (technically typed). Snow only meant good times... snow angels, snow balls, walking in the snow. I did not really have to deal with the weather, I could just embrace it and enjoy it. My commute was on foot so my car did not take the daily pounding that winter can often bring.

Now with six Chicago winters behind me I am a tad bit jaded. Maybe jaded is not the right word. Now I get more excited when the weather forecasts are talking about temperatures in the 40's (or even just above freezing). I now have to deal with the weather... from spending cold days inside trying to keep a toddler occupied, to driving around town trying to find something for a toddler to do. Each time going to the car, or getting out of a car, there are layers to be zipped, snapped, and tightened. There are so many extra things to do in the winter for a baby/toddler that I often find myself just staying at home. Then miserable with cabin fever.

This weekend it is supposed to get into the 40's in Chicago and I could not be more excited. I still have a fondness for winter, I just do not see it they way I did when I moved to Chicago in 2004.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Pay for day care, here's the change.

One week into day care and Miles brought home the flu... well a 24-hour virus of some sort. A kid who has gone his entire life being pretty sick-free is now going to be exposed to lots of little tykes with germs every day. So after barfing in the car on Friday afternoon, we got to spend the next 24 hours dealing with a very sick little buddy. Thankfully it passed and life moved on.

Yeah, life moved on until 2am Sunday night / Monday morning when LP and I got struck with the virus and did our version of dueling barfers. Being sick with a little one is bad enough, but when both parents can hardly move it truly is a challenge. There is no way to explain to a sixteen month old why mom and dad are laying on the ground moaning... and keep running to the bathroom. And add to that the biggest obstacle was to make Miles meals since the smell of food just made me want to barf more. Even the smell of Mac & Cheese was unbearable. Thankfully, we had a friend come by and deliver some things we needed to make it through the sickness.

It all passed, and we are all over it (I hope), but these certainly are the times I wish we lived by family.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Paczki Day!

I am too tired to write anything this morning... but since this is one of my favorite days of the year I feel like I should post something. So here is a link to 2007's post. If you do not live by a Polish bakery, then just go grab a jelly donut. Happy Paczki Day!!!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Something little.

Last week I bought my son his first Thomas train set. Nothing fancy since we really cannot afford it. Just a simple oval track that came with a couple trains. No tunnels. No bridges. No cranes, or rocks, or flashing lights. Just trains and a track... and that was all he needed. MO was so happy. He has played with it every day - for hours.

I sometimes get down that I cannot afford to buy MO everything he wants (or everything I want for him), but seeing him so happy with a simple toy makes me realize I can learn from him. I don't need everything I want. I have so much already. I have the important things... I have family, and friends who are like family.

I often forget, and it's nice to be reminded by someone who is only fifteen months old.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Friends, an ongoing lesson.

Friends are a wonderful part of life. Yet friendships are often a tricky relationship. When I have moved to a new city, most of my friends I left behind faded, but the best (and few) kept going on strong. And when I got laid off I was once again surprised by friends.

It's hard to know what to do when you call (text or email) a friend looking to talk... because you're down, because you need advice, because you just want to talk to someone above the age of one, and that friend never gets back to you. It's even harder after a few calls are never returned. Being unemployed can be lonely, and even worse when you feel a good friend has no time for you.

On the flipside is one person in your life that surprises you by checking up on you, calling every so often to say hello. I was very surprised when this happened to me, and look back on all of those calls and feel truly thankful.

Friendships are a relationship, not a collection. One great friendship is so much more rewarding than everyone knowing you.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Whatsfordinner, 2.11.2010

Some nights you just have to make sloppy joes. You just do.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snow Day... Earthquake.

This morning the western suburbs of Chicago were jolted by a tiny 4.3 earthquake. Since it occurred at 4am, I slept through it, but for some strange reason I was wide awake by 4:15am. Not sure if the reason was the cat who was making noise, barfing, and pushing in MO's door - or maybe it was the earthquake. I tried to get back to sleep, but it was useless, so I made some coffee and turned on the TV to watch the news. The local news coverage was all about the earthquake. The local Fox station was interviewing people who called in with their experience, yet the anchor seemed a bit disappointed when caller after called reported no injuries or damage. I found this all very entertaining since I grew up in California, and any earthquake under 6.0 is really more of a hiccup. All of this talk about earthquakes started to make me a tad bit homesick for California, which is a very odd concept - do people see tornadoes on TV and get homesick for Kansas?

Simultaneously there is a foot of snow outside the window, which was the other top local news story this Chicago morning. For me, snow is one of the many things I adore about living in this city. I did not grow up with snow so I am not jaded like many Midwesterners are. I enjoy putting on the Sorels and going tromping in the snow. I get giddy about the idea of making snow angels. I get a tiny bit bummed out when the snow is too powdery and does not form good snowballs. I do look forward to snow every Autumn... and I also cannot wait for it to go away every Spring. I certainly would miss the snow if I no longer lived around it.

My day started out with coffee, being a little homesick, and also realizing again how much I truly enjoy Chicago.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Whatsfordinner, 2.5.2010.

Last night I made Polenta with a Mushroom Sauce and Mixed Greens (made by SV) on the side. Excellent! I forget about polenta... sorry polenta. It's just something I do not make much. This was also the first time I cooked with Marsala wine... nasty to drink, but it gave this dish a fantastic flavor!

It was our Happy 76th Birthday Hank Aaron dinner!

Friday, February 05, 2010


Interviews are an emotional, wild and crazy ride, especially when on unemployment for more than a year. Since trying to find a job in a recession is never easy, I have been forced to apply for mostly jobs outside the music industry, where I have spent all of my professional life. I went with the mindset of the more jobs I apply to the better my chances of an interview would be. With large numbers of talented people out there looking for work, this is not the easiest time to find a job in a different industry. Sure, the job functions of a project manager may be the same, but I have found that most industries think they are rocket-science and an outsider would just not understand.

Before the interview: I have never had a job where I had to wear a suit to work, nor did I really need to wear anything but jeans and a tee-shirt. So when an interview comes around it is always hard to figure out how to dress for an interview. A friend told me once that you can never go wrong with a suit... guess what, you can. Over dressing for an interview can be just as uncomfortable as under dressing. I have found myself finding a happy medium to a few interviews by wearing a suit but no tie. I had an interview once at a PR agency where I took my friend's advice and wore a suit and the first thing one of the interviewers said to me was, "Oh look, you wore a suit. You did not need to do that." I sat there the whole time thinking I just looked like a dork... a well dressed dork. It is hard to "know your audience" when you do not know anyone at the company.

After the interview: For me, the waiting game is the hardest part of the interview process. Since over the past year I have only been on a handful of interviews, I can not help myself but get all worked up about the idea of being offered the job. Maybe it's positive thinking, maybe it's positive hoping. I find myself at times daydreaming about what it would be like to work at the company... what my commute would be... what having money back in my savings account would be like. I so want that feeling of being needed by a company, by a group of people, who thought I was an answer, a solution. Over-wishful-thinking only seems to lead to a big crash when no job offer comes, and a bigger crash when not even getting to the second round.

I know my day will come, and my guess is that I will know it at the interview. I have a feeling that it will feel right, that the company will be as excited about me as I am about the company. I know it will be right when my only disappointment will be the idea of not being a Mr. Mom anymore. I will miss that.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Clean sheets.

Being a stay at home dad makes me responsible for the laundry, among other things. This is one chore I really do not mind. There is something very satisfying to me about clean laundry, maybe it's the fresh smell or the warmth. Maybe it's the feeling of accomplishment... nah, it's got to be the smell (or lack of smelly smell). Plus, all of the trips up and down the stairs is a good workout.

One of the little joys in life for me... crawling into bed with clean sheets. Heavenly. Yet the biggest challenge with doing the laundry is washing the sheets. The reason: there is always a cat sleeping on it or in it, usually Georgia. Something inside me hates to move a sleeping kitty, and when I try to move one of them they play dead. Really. They get really heavy and try to glue themselves to the bed. So most times I just give up and wait until they get up by themselves. The problem: cats always sleep during the day. Our cats could sleep a week straight, like most I'm sure.

So today is the day... the cats must go find a new place to sleep. I have been putting off washing the sheets since Monday.

Georgia playing dead.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Whatsfordinner, 2.3.2010.

Chicken, Black Bean, and Goat Cheese Tostadas... I thought it was a great new way to prepare something we make once a month. The black beans were mashed into a cooked onion, ground cumin, chili powder, and water. LP was just not down with the goat cheese.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Dads night out.

Today I signed up to go to a Dads evening out through the Neighborhood Parents Network of Chicago. This is a group that we just became members of since a few friends highly recommend it. Dads are one of the parts of my life I feel I am missing. Being a stay at home dad, I tend to go on outings with moms... which is great... but I would like to hang out with some dads. Not just dudes, but dudes with kids. Guys that understand what being a parent is all about... hopefully. The few dads I know in Chicago work during the week and at night I am usually too worn out go out.

I had stumbled across a stay at home dads message board / group in Chicago, but I was not amused with some of the discussions that were on the board. One day they were taking a poll of your favorite sex toy - on a stay at home dads message board. Really? I just do not see that this is the place for that sort of discussion. Maybe a poll about what is the perfect time to go to the grocery store, or what is the rudest thing a nanny or mom has said to you... those would be great discussion / poll topics. So just based on those few things, I completely ruled out all dads associated with that group were douchebags. Right or wrong, that is what I did and did not look back.

So on Pączki Day, I will take my little buddy and we will head out to our first play date with dads. Although meeting new people is not my best skill, I am looking forward to (and staying positive about) this outing. Maybe I'll find a dad or two that share some of my interests... maybe.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Unemployment benefits.

On Saturday I received a letter from the State of Illinois stating that my unemployment benefits had expired. Done at 52 weeks. Do they purposely time these notifications to arrive on Saturday - when all State offices are closed? It drives one crazy (especially me). I just wanted to talk to someone... anyone, but I had to wait until Monday morning. So all weekend is spent worrying about what we are going to do as a family.

Monday morning is here so I made the call. After pressing #, and then *, and then holding, and being disconnected, then redial, followed by #, and of course *, and #########... I got through to a living breathing real person! The operator could not tell me any specific information about my benefits, all she could do was to tell me I had to come down to the office to dispute the notice, and I could not make an appointment. Life without a job is tough enough - so why not make it more difficult by trying to deal with the State's unemployment system. Ug.

So my goal is one morning this week I'll be going down to the Unemployment Office and spending my day in line... waiting... waiting... waiting. I sure hope, for their sakes, I don't have to bring Miles.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Whatsfordinner, 1.31.2010.

One of the best benefits of knowing how to cook (or at least not being afraid of the kitchen), is when you need to make something for dinner and have no clue what to make, and it's too late to run to the store (meaning: your kid is hungry!). A simple pork chop, rice and veggie is always an easy option... but one can spice it up with a little garlic, rosemary, cayenne pepper and some Panko.

Saturday, January 30, 2010


I would not label myself a television junky. I won't fall over and die if I miss an episode of a certain show. And being at home all day I am proud to say that the television stays off (most days). I enjoy a few shows that are on, and actually have three evenings per week where nothing I care to watch is even on.

So since I am feeling so good about myself as a non-tv-junky... I looked at my DVR to see what shows, and how many, I record. Wow. I was a bit shocked. My DVR looks like I do nothing with my life but watch television. Below is what my DVR is set to record and my comments... and keep in mind that not all of these shows are on year round.

Chuck: the show is dorky and fun - very me.
How I Met Your Mother: less enjoyable than the previous seasons... I want to find out who the mother is!!!
The Secret Life of the American Teenager: TERRIBLE TV, but so addicting. I feel bad because I know I am about 25 years too old to be watching this show.
Life Unexpected: A new show which has been fantastic for the first two episodes.
The Big Bang Theory: Still fun.
Greek: LOVE THIS SHOW. This is my new Gilmore Girls. Perfect television.
Glee: Good, but not great. Not something I could watch over and over.
Flashforward: Love this show... when is it coming back... it is coming back? Right?!
The Middle: So Malcolm in the Middle, but funny.
Modern Family: Love it.
Ugly Betty: So sad it's getting cancelled, but it gets rid of one show for me.
Community: Thinking about dumping this soon... not very funny.
Parks And Recreation: Better than season one, but still very dumpable.
Grey's Anatomy: I should of dumped this last year.
The Office: Getting a little old.
30 Rock: Still love it... and I arrived very late.
It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia: I am surprised to say this... but I am getting tired of it.
Project Runway: Perfect!
Private Practice: So much better than Grey's.
My Boys: Horrible, but I am addicted. Did this get cancelled?
10 Things I Hate About You: Another horrible show, but I watch it.
Parenthood: Starts in March and I have high hopes.

So that is not that bad... right?

Friday, January 29, 2010

Puppies at play.

Yesterday I wrote about a book and an author that meant a great deal to me... today my post is about a book that gets a whole lot of attention from the fifteen month old in our house.

Puppies At Play is a board book written by no one, or at least no one wanted to put their name on it (cannot blame them). It's fourteen pages long and has very few words. Miles wants us to read it to him over and over and over again. There are other books he picks, but this has been his all time favorite for some time now. We are actually on copy number two because of all the wear and tear... and I suspect copy number three is approaching soon. I can recite this book, and often find myself muttering lines from it. This book might just possibly be making me go crazy.

I hope this book, no matter how tired LP and I are of reading it, leads our little one to enjoy books and finding time to become a strong reader.

I can crawl around. We can run around.
I'm all worn out! Good night!
~Puppies At Play

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Whatsfordinner, 1.28.2010.

I believe this is the first time I have ever made a chili-mac recipe, and I am certain I will not use this recipe again. Out of America's Test Kitchens 30 Minute Meals, it was too easy to make, and really took no cooking skill. Open cans of this, cans of that, and combine with a box of this, and a box of that... oh, and cut and onion and some garlic. Recipes like this often taste boring (and often too salty) to me, and this one was right inline with preconceived ideas. Too processed even though I "cooked" it.

Next time we want a good chili-mac we just head over to the Harmony Grill... they do it really well but this is really a dish only for the winter months.


J. D. Salinger passed away today at the age of 91. I would just like to take this post to say thanks for showing me the wonderful world of the novel.

I was never one for reading. I struggled with it throughout my elementary and high school years. I can remember being made fun of by other classmates in high school whenever I had to read out loud since I would stumble over the words... and once I stumbled, it would escalate, and soon I was flat on my face. Then the teacher would say, "Next." So I learned to be afraid of reading, and quickly learned that you can pass high school without really reading. Yep, I even did alright in English classes without reading the books. Scary. I did not do so well on half of the S.A.T.

When I was in college my older brother, for some reason or another, gave me a book to read... maybe he noticed that I never read anything. The book was Breakfast At Tiffany's by Truman Capote. Since Breakfast is actually a short story it was included with three (?) other stories. It was a very easy read and something I could finish... one story at a time. I recall it taking me a couple months to read (do mostly to my lack of attention span, not my lack of enjoyment), but I did it. I was very proud of myself.

The next book my brother gave me to read was J. D. Salinger's The Catcher In The Rye. A real book, a novel, and not a short story. Another easy read. I adored the story. I was quickly wrapped up, in, and around the antics of Holden Caufield. I read as much as I could every day, often re-reading parts since I clearly missed things on the first read. Then after a couple months I finished it. I had accomplished something I had never done before... I read a novel strictly for enjoyment purposes. I was well aware at the time that kids five years younger than me could read this book in a day, but that did not matter. I was proud, and I only wanted to read more.

To celebrate my accomplishment, years later I found, in good condition, an early edition of Catcher. I try to read it yearly, or even just pick it up and read a few pages now and then. My love of books and stories is bigger than my time for them, but I hope to one day be able to find the time. I still struggle with reading, but the more I read (and write) then better I get. I still often daydream a bit too much (usually when I am tired), but books seem to always be on my to-do list. I hope my love of books and LP's strong reading skills rub off on the munchkin since being a strong reader will take you far.

It's really too bad that so much crumby stuff is a lot of fun sometimes. ~J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye, Chapter 9

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


I made a pledge to myself a few weeks ago that I was going to stop watching American Idol. The show has seen better days, and the past few seasons I have noticed myself getting so bitter over the number of people that make it to the top twenty who have had music deals in the past. I always thought this show was about discovering new talent, not about rehashing the past. Finding some dishwasher (the Susan Boyles of the world) who would never have any connections into the music industry who has an amazing voice is much better television (for me) than hearing some sob story about a person who was dropped from a major label contract a few years ago.

The day I made the pledge, I took American Idol off my DVR schedule and have not added it back since... But I have not missed an episode of the new season either. I am not sure why I cannot turn it off, but I just cannot seem to turn away. Sadly it seems to be better than most TV on these days (does it really?). I know I should just turn the TV off and open a book, but sitting on the couch with LP, a cat, and a beverage of choice just zoning out on television and Twitter (multi-tasking) is a fantastic way to unwind from the day (of course all of this is done after the munchkin is asleep).

I do not plan on adding the show to the DVR schedule... If I miss an episode, then I miss one (well, that's the plan for now).

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Whatsfordinner, 1.26.2010.

I enjoy trying new things in the kitchen... and love the challenge of a fantastic heavily involved recipe. I also keep time open for an easy comfort food recipe that we make a couple times per year. Enchilada Casserole is such a dish... pure comfort food and perfect for a cold winter evening.

Monday, January 25, 2010

My hair.

My hair is the longest it's ever been, or at least the longest it has been in a long long long long time. I can form a small ponytail. My locks of hair are curly in the front, wavy and curly throughout the rest, and thick everywhere. When my hair grows out - it really grows out. I start to look like a clown or crackhead. The longer it gets the more crap (product) I have to use to tame the explosion, but this only leads to my super-curly-wavy-thick hair looking like a crap-product-semi-explosion.
.Each time my hair grows out I get to a point where I chop it off. My standard haircut aims to look like Morrissey, but it never really turns out that way. Not sure if it's because I have curly hair and this look is not possible, or that the person who cuts my hair is terrible (or just terrible at explaining that this look will not work). The end result is always too short, and too short on me means only one thing: Fat Face. I'm not fat, but super short hair makes me look like I have a fat face. Well, maybe I have fat face and short hair just does not hide it. Whatever the case, it looks like poop so I wear a ballcap. Right now most of my hats will not fit on my wideload head.

This week I am getting my haircut (first time is 6 months?) with someone new. I cannot decide if I want to go short, or if there is something I can do to keep it long. I don't mind the way Josh Groban keeps his hair (although his music makes me want to shoot myself), but I am not sure that is possible on me. Since my hair is headed in the direction of the late 1980's (think Warrant, Winger, Mr Big) I need some serious help. The fro-frizz-monster needs to end and I am not holding my breath that Josh Groban can save me.

Hope this person cutting my hair knows the headache she is getting into. I will keep you updated.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Whatsfordinner, 1.22.2010.

Skillet Arroz Con Pollo was what I attempted to make for dinner tonight. Easy recipe and it turned out tasting better than it looked. I need to keep reminding myself that when olives are apart of the ingredients list, I do not need add salt (even when it says too). There is enough salt in the olives to season the dish.

Bad luck signs.

I am not a superstitious person. Never have been. Okay, maybe when I was in my single digit years, and maybe in my tween years (which were called pre-teen at the time), but I have not held on to those pseudo-spooky ideas. However the idea of superstitions are very intriguing, and a bit fun. I can easily get sucked into articles and television shows about the origins of superstitions.

Some of my favorite superstitions:
-If your nose itches, someone is coming to see you. If it's the right nostril, the visitor will be a female, left nostril, male.
-If the bottom of your right foot itches, you are going to take a trip.
[So what happens if your left nostril itches and the bottom of your right foot itches... does this mean you will be going on a trip with the man arriving at your door? Is it to Po-Po?]
-To drop a fork means a man is coming to visit.
[Another man? More Po-Po? My attorney?]
-A bed changed on Friday will bring bad dreams.
-Any ship that sails on Friday will have bad luck.
-To break a mirror means 7 years bad luck.
[What if it's a really small mirror?]

And my personal favorite...
-Keep cats away from babies because they "suck the breath" of the child.

I have though noticed in a past few weeks that superstitious signs have been popping up... just a tad late. The evening I chopped my finger a couple weeks back I saw a black cat cross our path on the way to the ER. Then on Wednesday I burned my hand and about thirty minutes later I spilled the salt.

I'm not sure what all of this means... but if it is some kind of sign from the world beyond that I should start believing in superstitions - PLEASE get your timing corrected. Or maybe this all just means I need to stay out of the kitchen.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


This year my new year's resolution was to be more positive. I found that I needed to lose the negativity in my life that often brews inside me and comes out in different ways, usually as a foul attitude. This would seem simple enough, but once a negative attitude has become commonplace in my daily life it is not so easy to change the habit. Add in that primary elections are coming up next month so the television and newspapers are filled with negativity.

From the time I thought about changing my attitude I was focusing only on what I think about and what I say about (maybe write about) others. I need to find a way trim out the "he sucks" "she sucks" "they suck" "that's crap" spouts that shoot out of my mouth faster than my brain could process them. Being a sports fan it is easy to get into a routine of fun trash-talking... but then when the game is over that trash-talking continues... and then often it is not even fun anymore just mean spirited.

The other morning LP reminded me about something I never thought about - I need to change the way I look at myself. I need to lose the negativity towards myself. I get hung up on this positive self stuff as being too New-Age-y for me. Being unemployed for over a year can lead to depression... but instead I have taken to being extremely critical of myself. I have dedicated so much time to trying to figure out all of my failures and why I lack in so many areas. This constant berating of myself has worn me down in too many ways. How am I able to change the negativity that comes out of my mouth if I am not able to think positively about myself?

I do know the easy answer to feel better is finding a job. I know that if I get hired I will feel a certain self-worth that has been absent for a while. I also know that I cannot wait for others to change what is all mine... myself, my self-worth, my self-esteem. I have to realize that what good things people tell me they truly mean and that they are not just words. I need to remind myself every day that I am truly blessed to be a stay-at-home dad and that alone should fill me with more happiness and self-worth to last a life time.

"I just need somewhere to dump all my negativity."
- Van Morrison

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Whatsfordinner, 1.20.2010.

Chickpea cakes with a cucumber yogurt sauce. The recipe calls for Greek style yogurt, but I have found that using regular low fat plain yogurt works best. A good vegetarian option for dinner.

Tea is the new coffee.

I drink way too much. I am not talking about alcohol, I am talking about liquids in general. The biggest problem is that I consume beverages in record time... which then often makes me a bit gassy too. So to ignore the bigger issue (downing beverages in two swigs), I have decided to cut back on pop (soda, coke, etc.) and coffee.

So far this year I have only had two cans of Diet Cherry Coke (the pop currently in my house), and I am also doing well by stopping most mornings at one pot of coffee (which I share with LP). This all sounds really wonderful, except for the little fact that I have replaced these with tea. Lots of tea. Straight tea. No sugar, no milk. I try to drink mostly decaf, but in the mornings there is plenty of caffeine in the tea I am brewing.

I know there is this liquid called water that so many people rave about, some actually buy it in the store, but water is no fun. Sure, I understand that if you chug anything there is a strong possibility you never tasted it, but that still does not hide the fact that water is no fun. Sometimes I try to drink a glass of water while making a cup of tea, but that is a rarity. If I find myself getting the shakes later in the day, I do drink a couple glasses of water and eat some toast or something like that. I guess I am not anti-water, I just am not going to jump up and down about how great water is... and for those of you that do, please take a long hard look at yourself and see if you are lying or maybe you are just no fun.

The funny thing about all of this is that I see myself ODing on tea in the near future and will replace all of this with pot after pot of coffee - but hopefully the pop fix is gone for good.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Reminding vs Bugging.

Last December when I was in San Francisco, I went out to breakfast with a long time friend of mine. My friend asked me how life in Chicago was in which I replied, "Good, well except for the being unemployed part." My friend was so surprised that I still had not found a job. He asked if he could make some calls to people he knew in Chicago and of course I said yes. Who knows if he did or not... he is a busy, busy person. [I know what you are saying... Follow Up! I will, but I must tell you that this offer has been presented many times and nothing is ever done about it, so I am not sure why I should be so hopeful. Sometimes people just say things to make others feel good.]

This just got me thinking. How many of my friends, the "network" of people I know, have any idea that I am still looking for a job... and that I am really struggling to find a job? Besides keeping in touch with people, and posting things to FB and Twitter, what more can I do? I do not want to bitch and moan (or come across that way) every day about being unemployed and having almost no luck in the job search. So how do I balance the reminding/ informing and not the make it sound nagging/ bugging?

In 2009 I had ONE interview in Chicago. One. It's not the lack of work experience or poor cover letter / resume (I've been told mine are solid by many) - it is the lack of connections. I've been told this over and over. When a project manager position becomes open that I meet the requirements for (and also find), I am just one of hundreds who apply. I have no one to get me in the door. And being a stay at home dad has seemed to limit my social life... so my network of people seem to be further and further away.

Some think I am addicted to FB or Twitter... I might be, but I am not sure how else to let others know I am still here trying to find a job.

By the way, this marks my 500th post.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The mall.

MLKJ Day took us (the family of three) out to the 'burbs to the mall. The Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, IL to be exact. In the 5+ years we have lived in Chicago we have never been to the mall... and actually we've only have been to the 'burbs a handful of times. So why go? Why not. What's more fun than strolling around passing horrible trendy stores, mid-aisle kiosks, tween love, and funky smells from the food court? Answer: probably lots, but let's go anyway.

In the Vans store there are three teenage girls "working" when Tom Petty's "Refugee" comes on the stereo...

Girl #1: Who is this?
Girl #2: Ummmm.
Girl #3: I think it's the new Green Day.
Girl #2: Ummmm.
Girl #1: Really?

Sad to report, there is no official food court at Woodfield. They have random eateries scattered throughout the mall which is convenient for mid-mall snacking.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Jay Reatard.

Jay Reatard... you will be missed, and your music will be listened to for many years to come. Another loss for music and Memphis.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Old at the interview.

Just before Thanksgiving last year I had an interview for a project manager position at a company I was very interested in working for. I did the normal prep work to get ready... in fact I did extra because I wanted to come across well. Sharp. I studied up on the company and then figured out how my background as a PM would fit well with in this position. I went in feeling very confident.

I met with two other PMs at the company. They were in their (my guess) mid-twenties and had never given an interview before (my guess again). The interview did not flow like a conversation which most tend to these days. Instead they took turns reading questions from their clipboards. Important questions. Questions like: If you were a food, what kind would you be? and If we met your best friend what is one thing they would complain about you. No questions about my background. No questions about my skill set.

When they came across the question about naming my hobbies I listed off a few things and ended with the fact that I love chick-flicks. This answer triggered the first response from them which was, "Oh, then what is your favorite chick-flick?" Easy answer: Notting Hill (could of been You've Got Mail). They looked at each other and almost in unison said "Never heard of it." Ouch. I'm old. I knew right then I was probably ten years older than the two PMs and they were most likely thinking the same thing. I am sure they were looking for a new co-worker and BFF... and there was no way I was going to fill that role.

On my way home from the interview all I could think of was that my answer should of been "The Twilight Saga." I did not make it to round two.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Record Shopping.

A good day record shopping always does me well. Even if I spend no money. Flipping through rows and rows of 12"s is filled with excitement and a little bit of a history lesson. This morning's trip to Reckless had some good finds... and they gave me enough credit from my sell pile to pay for everthing I picked out. Very excited to find the UK version of Let It Bleed!

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Whatsfordinner, 1.9.2010.

My first attempt at making Pad Thai. I would give the results a C+, but I have made enough notes that the next time around I am sure I can bump that up to a B+. I am not sure if I need a better recipe, or if it's just something that the more you make and tweak the better it gets.

But nontheless... it was a fun dinner to make before heading out for a night at the Opera House to see Merry Widow. Hopefully it's a good date night out. It will be a freezing cold night in downtown Chicago.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Sleep is changing.

My fourteen month old is going through some crazy sleeping cycles. He is in that period of losing his morning nap, but really not wanting to let go of it. So some days see no naps and extreme over-tiredness (cranky). Plus he has been congested and snotty which makes for poor sleeping. And on top of that... the kid has never been a good sleeper. These past few weeks we've been back to waking up three or four times per night to rock him back to sleep... just like when he was a newborn.

Parenting... it never stops.

Thursday, January 07, 2010


I am not sure how making cheese grits so quickly landed me at the ER, but strangely enough it did. I thought I would make some cheese grits with shrimp and ham for dinner since it was quick, easy, and also comfort food for a cold Chicago night. It was all pretty much done when I sliced off the top of my index finger when attempting too many things at one time... one of those being slicing scallions. Yep, the top of the finger was a few inches away from my finger on the cutting board.

Sure there was blood everywhere, but it did not look that bad (it's not like I chopped my finger in half). I bandaged it up and ate dinner (which ended up being way too salty because of the ham). When the blood would not stop I went next door to my neighbor who is a paramedic. She gave me the news that I needed to go to the ER. Grand. Just at the time Miles needs to go to bed, we have to hop in the car and head to the ER.

Everyone in the ER, which was busy, was sick. I was sure I was going to catch H1N1 there and probably should of asked for a face mask for my own protection (Miles & LP got the H1N1 shot). Since I was bleeding, they saw me fairly quick (and my BP was 190/110 so I was a little freaked out) and within an hour I was headed home. No stitches since the opening was too large. They just put some medical foam on which acts like skin. Oh the inventions of science.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Whatsforlunch, 1.6.2010.

The current book I am reading (Hot Dog: A Global History by Bruce King) is making me hungry for hot dogs. Thankfully Chicago is one of the best places on earth to get a great hot dog!

Thinking Republican.

I am not a Republican. I always tell people I don't make enough money to be a part of the GOP. I am not some extreme left wing Democrat either. I vote in every election and try to pick the best candidate, not just side with party lines. I tend to leave many spaces blank since I would rather not vote on a specific category I am not read-up on than to vote for the "wrong" candidate. Yep, all of those Judges and Country Sheriff spaces are left blank by me.

This year Illinois is looking at the second worst state financial crisis... California being first. Like many states, this year also holds elections for a Governor, a US Senator, and countless State House seats. Right now (and this could change) all I can think about is not voting for an incumbent. Period. This state is in so much debt, and the Democratic machine cannot seem to stop spending. What happens if there is another big dip in this recession?

Less spending and smaller government seem to look good right now... and at the same time health care seems good right now too (which is more spending). Maybe this is why I do not tend to write about politics.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Willie Mitchell R.I.P.

Willie Mitchell passed away today. A big part of the Memphis music scene, and one of the best producers ever to live. He will be missed. Here is a post I did a couple years ago about Willie...

5 of 9er... A Thoughtful Gift.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Whatsfordinner, 1.4.2010.

Spaghetti Puttanesca with Flaked Tuna out of the America's Test Kitchen magazine was tonight's dinner. Quick and easy to make... a recipe that most, if not all, of the ingredients are already in the house. I would use low salt diced tomatoes next time since it was a little salty for me. Also shrimp or salmon would be better than tuna.

Back to unemployment.

I am not going to make 2010 another year of whining about being unemployed, but this morning it was a bit difficult to read through posts about everyone going back to work. Only one person was actually excited to go back to work, and this person owns his own company. I truly feel left out... I want to complain about going to work too.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Whatsfordinner, 1.3.2010.

I do not tend to cook much Asian food, but decided to add two new recipes to this week's dinner menu. Both came out of the America's Test Kitchen's magazine and both are fairly simple to make... just called for a few ingredients that are not stocked in my kitchen. This noodle receipe was great for a day when I find myself with a little bit of a cold. The fresh ginger and chili-garlic sauce blended well with the chicken and spinach and opened my clogged nose right up! A good cold weather dinner.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Whatsfordinner, 1.1.2010.

News Years has started off right this year... with good food. Sure I am hoping for employment, but knowing the call will not come today I can at least make my tummy happy.

As always, black eyed peas were made since LP is from the South and all good Southerners eat black eyed peas on New Years Day for good luck. No chicken since that is back luck (they scratch backwards or somrthing like that). We tired pulled pork sandwiches since we found a good recipe in the latest issue of Cook's Illustrated. BBQ done at home in the oven is never all that great... but this recipe is pretty amazing. Liquid smoke in the brine and on the pork before slow cooking is the key. A little bit of slaw and some Corky's sauce and all is right.