Known Johnson

September 30, 2005

Seen on the way to work today, vol. II: the sequel

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tom @ 8:34 am

License plate: MRSPOOH. The conversation in my head went like this: “Mr. Spooh? What kind of name is that?” A few moments of contemplation. “OH! Mrs. Pooh.” Another moment of pregnant silence in my head. “But still . . . “

September 29, 2005

Seen on the way to work today

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tom @ 7:56 am
  1. A girl wearing a Santa cap
  2. Best bumper sticker ever: “The #1 reason to procrastinate: 1.           “

Not seen on the way to work, but I’m going to be sure to keep an eye out for Kate Moss, who checked into a rehab clinic in Wickenberg, which is northwest of Phoenix. Personally, I hope the first place Kate stopped when she arrived here was, say, a Wendy’s to pick up a bunch of nuggets. A bunch. Girl needs to eat!

September 25, 2005

“I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tom @ 10:48 pm

She's not happy about this shot

I attempted a little photoshoot with Amanda today in an attempt to see if we could get something for announcements ourselves without having to go to a professional (because, you know, that costs money.) Background aside, I’m really happy with a couple of the shots I managed to capture, including this one where Amanda has definitely had enough. I’ve got another incredible shot, but I’m keeping that one close until we decide if we’re going to use it or not – why spoil the surprise for the announcement recipients?

September 23, 2005

Record set

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tom @ 8:14 am

My diaper-changing record has been set this week. In the span of two minutes, three diapers were changed. Off comes one dirty diaper, wipe bottom clean, and just as I’m lifting her rear-end to strap on a new one, a fresh shipment arrives at the back door. Luckily I was close enough, and had diaper in hand, to catch the unloading and avert a gigantic mess on the table (something that unfortunately did happen to Alissa the other day.) So into the trash that one went, another wipe clean, and on with another diaper.

It wasn’t but 10 minutes later that she required another diaper, but the record-setting window had already closed. I hoping this records stands for quite a while.

September 21, 2005

New stuff from Dave Douglas and Brad Mehldau

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tom @ 7:56 pm

Dave Douglas, “trumpet player of the year” award winner from a buttload of in-the-know jazz magazines, one of my very favorite new voices in jazz, has released a new album, Keystone. The problem is that, unless you live outside the US, you aren’t going to find it in stores. Maybe burned after his brief association with major label RCA, Douglas has opted to self-release the new album on his own label, Greenleaf Music. So if you want Keystone (released just this week,) which is in the vein of 2002’s Freak In, head over to this page and order yourself a copy. And while you’re there, be sure and order a copy of his also-internet-only live album. I hate seeing incredible musicians like Douglas get screwed by the music industry, but I love seeing them take things into their own hands like this. If you’re a jazz fan, think about supporting Dave and independent music by ordering a couple discs for yourself. (A nice plus: prices include shipping.)

UPDATE: I received my package from Douglas’ Greenleaf Music on Friday, Sept. 23. That’s two days after ordering it – and it shipped from Illinois. Now that’s customer service. I was so impressed that I ordered a couple more discs from them – Douglas’ Mountain Passages, which I missed out on when it came out earlier this year, and the other band on his label, the very promising Kneebody, whose album Break Me is a really exciting blend of trumpet jazz and hip-hop-ish sensibilities, similar to what Douglas is doing with Keystone. Check ’em out.

UPDATE TWO: The order for the two discs above was placed Saturday morning, Sept. 24. I found the package in the mail yesterday – Sept. 26. How they managed to get this package to me from Chicago in less than two days is beyond me – and with $1.88 postage.

Day Is Done is the title of classically-trained jazz pianist Brad Mehldau’s latest outing, this time backed by a partially new trio. Jeff Ballard replaces Jorge Rossy on drums, as the latter has chosen to study and spend time with his family. And in what appears to be turning into a tradition, Mehldau takes on yet another Radiohead composition, this time “Knives Out,” from 2001’s Amnesiac, which opens the album. As much as I love his Radiohead covers, I’ve found myself obsessed with his take on Nick Drake’s “Things Behind the Sun,” found on his 2003 album, Live in Tokyo, which I just picked up the other day. I would have loved to have seen a full-band version of that, but alas it’s not on the new album. There are plenty of other promising pieces, a balance of covers and originals.

Ferris saves!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tom @ 10:34 am

And now, presenting a Post That Was Originally An Email But It Became So Fantastic It Deserved An Audience . . .

Dear Wife,

Why did we see Godzilla when it came out? We saw that in theaters. It was crap! But we had to have known how bad that would be beforehand, right? Why did we actually pay to see that? I’m really torn up about this – and I know it was me who actually decided to take us to it. Why didn’t you talk sense into me? I actually feel damaged by having wasted our time on that pile o’ turd.

After reading this post about movies he’d seen in which he was one of the only people in the theater, and one of them was Godzilla 2000, I have to know why we fell for Godzilla. I know we didn’t fall for Godzilla 2000 – we’d already been burned once by the big green beast – but the fact remains we did fall for the Matthew Broderick-driven Godzilla. I mean, didn’t the fact that it was an action movie starring Matthew Broderick tip us off that something was distinctly wrong with this movie? Ferris Bueller fighting a giant lizard? Come on!

I know you’re the smarter of us, why did you let me corrupt you like this?

Shamefully yours,

Bill Frisell fans: additional East/West tracks to be released!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tom @ 9:37 am

Favorite new jazz news and reviews resource, All About Jazz, reports in their fantastic review of Frisell’s amazing East/West that 11 additional tracks from the shows the two discs are sourced from will be available here.

And if you’re unfamiliar with Frisell, take a moment to check out the free listen Nonesuch offers of East/West here.

September 20, 2005

The grid

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tom @ 7:01 pm

For whatever reason, it seems that Tuesday has become “must-see TV” night anymore. It’s unfortunate that so much good TV is packed into one night, when most of the other nights are so desperately in need of something good to watch.

Monday nights are all about Arrested Development, in its new timeslot at 7 pm (here in AZ, at least – 8 pm everywhere else.) We gave both the show that follows it (one on Fox, Kitchen Confidential, and the new show on CBS, How I Met Your Mother, a chance) but they both stink. It’s all that “edgy” type of humor that attempts to come off as something new and unusual, but really it’s just sophomoric and, generally, centered around barely getting away with some really crude comments. It’s not funny – it’s just childish.

Tuesday night, as I said, is the big night. Gilmore Girls at 7 pm – even though this show is struggling to regain the heart and fun it use to have (having succumbed to being simply a silly soap-opera for the past two seasons) it still has enough intelligence and humor to keep me coming back. I know, I’m a guy, and I love Gilmore Girls – I’ll even admit it’s not just because mom Lauren Graham is totally hot.

Following that, at least tonight is NBC’s new comedy, My Name Is Earl, a show whose premise and basic storylines seemed sketchy, but it’s getting good reviews and it stars Jason Lee – not a big name by any means, but he’s a very capable actor and it strikes me that he knows he’s better than most sitcom material. So let’s hope he’s not simply looking for a quick paycheck in between movies. (UPDATE: Very promising – fans of Scrubs will likely enjoy this a lot.)

After that is the return of The Office, which was a surprisingly successful and quite funny adaptation of the incredible British original. I’m glad to see it return – besides Arrested Development, there really wasn’t much hope for TV comedy at the end of last season.

And, one more time tonight at least, at 9 pm, is the conclusion of RockStar: INXS. I have to admit it, as morbidly weird as it is to shop for a new singer to replace their dead one on US TV, I’ve been hooked on this fluff since it debuted a couple months ago. For a reality show, it focused most on the performances rather than on the lives of these INXS lead-singer wannabes, which is good because who seriously gives a damn about any of them as people anyway? There’ve been some really awful examples of singing, but also some surprisingly good voices have emerged. I’ll anxious to see if the internet rumors are true: that Australian Mig is a ringer, and the show has been rigged all along for him to take the prize. We’ll find out for sure tonight who “is not right for [their] band, INXS.” (UPDATE: Did Brooke Burke seriously say in the intro that the winner gets the chance to front “one of the greatest rock bands of all time”? Are we still talking about INXS here? Oh, that’s right, I forgot – in the “greatest rock band” pantheon, it’s the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Who, Pink Floyd and INXS. UPDATE 2: I’ve told Alissa to keep me informed when they get to some actual content – so far it’s all rehashing of the past two months. Yawn.)

Next week, at the same time as Earl and The Office, CBS’ always fun The Amazing Race begins, which will throw a serious wrench into our Tuesday nights. This will force us to do some creative watching and taping. Gilmore Girls always spills over into the next hour, annoyingly, so we have to watch that in one room while the DVR cues up to record the NBC shows – and then we quickly switch over to CBS to catch the Race after the recap is over. Then we have to find a time during the next couple days to watch what we taped . . .

. . . which is an issue because Lost is on Wednesday, and you really cannot tape an episode to watch at a later date because the surprises will likely be spoiled for you the next day at work. And now ABC’s loaded up the timeslot after it with another promising show – Invasion – which is getting good write-ups already.

Thursday, of course, is Survivor night. We watched last week’s episode and it seems a lot more promising than the boring first few episodes of last season (after which we gave up.) Our only other committment that night is ER because what man doesn’t need his Linda Cardellini/Maura Tierney/Parminder Nagra fix every week?

That leaves Friday . . . completely open. Nothing, not a single show. CBS ruined it by killing off Joan of Arcadia last year. Well, I guess it’s all good – we need a night to catch up on recorded shows and, I guess, our sanity.

September 19, 2005

Nipple confusion, the sequel

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tom @ 11:26 am

Amanda is turning out to be as picky as her parents – no surprise there, of course. Following the successful initiation of being bottle-fed last week, and after Saturday night’s game where we left her with the in-laws (and where she proceeded to eat like we starve her, apparently,) we found out that not just any old nipple-shaped item will soothe.

Last night, after many hours awake, hoping she would finally fall asleep, and after quite a few breast-feedings, Alissa just had to give up – there’s only so many hours mom can handle feeding, and Alissa’s heroic efforts were draining her in more ways than one. It was clear that Amanda wasn’t hungry anymore – how could she be after eating over and over again for half the night? – but that she simply wanted something to do. The thing is, being three weeks old and all, she really doesn’t have many options on what to do. There’s sleeping – that’s preferable, and there’s eating, which is preferrable for a while, and there’s crying, which is decidedly not preferable. There’s also a hidden fourth option that she exercises every once in a while, which is “crying and flailing limbs about completely at random.” Amanda chose this option last night.

In our ER experience a couple weeks ago, the doctor and nurses suggested a pacifier to soothe her when nothing else would. And, as with a plumber, car mechanic, etc., the simplest solution they offer is the one that works in their shop . . . until you need it to work on your own. So, fussy as she was last night, we shoved (delicately) first one pacifier in her mouth, which she promptly spat out (Alissa reports that it actually was truly spat out and had a trajectory like a pop-fly ball – fast and narrow. Another type simply worked its way out of her mouth, even if we tried gently holding it in there. She wasn’t having any of it.

Finally, I figured, “hey, if she loves feeding from the bottle, why not try one of those nipples?” I grabbed one, stuck it in her mouth, and she happily sucked away at it. The only problem: being an open-nipple, she was gorging herself on air, which is not a good thing unless you really dig lots of burping-action. The solution was simple – plug it with a fingertip. Unfortunately, she really enjoyed this and just wanted to suck at the nipple . . . for a long time. And so I sat until after midnight, one arm propping her up, the other angled oddly so I could keep a finger blocking the nipple. She wasn’t tired, but she was content. After a while, Alissa simply had to take her because I couldn’t keep my eyes open much longer – and I had a long drive to and from work in the morning.

The success of this makeshift pacifier means I’m going to have to adapt one of the bottle-nipples for this use. I’m not sure what to block the nipple hole with that can’t be sucked into her mouth, but I’m going to figure out a way to attach a strap . . .

September 18, 2005

Filling in the holes

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tom @ 5:56 pm

Presenting the other side of “collecting”: when you run into something you actually did want that really is hard to find. Take as an example my afternoon today. I made a Zia run with a batch of purgeables and wound up running into not one, not two, but three things I’d wanted – all used, too! The most important of these three is a used copy, for a mere $1.99, of Sugar’s “If I Can’t Change Your Mind” single. Now, if you’re a big Sugar fan, you’ll probably be thinking “aren’t most of those tracks on Besides, the cleverly titled b-sides compilation? And in most cases I’d say, yes, you’re right, and I wouldn’t have bought this. However, what I ran into today, for the first time ever in the 13 years since this single was released, is the other version of it. See, the one version that I’ve always seen has a non-album track with two live versions of album tracks – all three of these are on Besides. What I found today, however, is version two, which features three live tracks from a BBC broadcast that are available nowhere else. This is the kind of thing that makes me love looking for music – something I had seen existed, but have never actually seen, and for a dirt-cheap price (in contrast, the other version of the single was also available – for $4.99!) And yes, these live versions are worth seeking out – it’s a much tighter version of Sugar than you’ve probably heard in other live releases (again, on Besides and the totally-cool limited live disc that came with it, or bootlegs,) perhaps due to the live-in-studio nature of most BBC live material. Either way, it’s a really fun addition to have.

Other purchases, with trade:

Brad Mehldau: Live in Tokyo – I held off buying this until now, not quite sure why, but maybe it’s simply because it’s a solo-piano release and I really like Mehldau’s chemistry with his two bandmates. I took the plunge today because I’d been listening to Largo and was fascinated with the delicate intricacies of the actual physical aspect of Mehldau’s playing – he’s such a stunningly talented pianist that you can really hear the extreme dynamics available on the piano, which is something most pianists today either don’t know how to do or simply can’t. I’m also curious to see if this is the same show as a Mehldau solo bootleg that I downloaded a couple years back – seeing the inclusion of a 20 minute rendition of Radiohead’s “Paranoid Android” piqued my curiosity, as this is a feature of the much longer bootleg that I already have. I’m hoping not – as much as I want to support artists like Mehldau, I’d really rather have a completely different performance. I’ll have to dig that out tonight and see . . .

Blues Traveler: Bastardos! – It’s entirely by chance that I even ran across the fact that BT has a new album. I, like many people my age, know the band from the singles they released off of Four back in the mid-90s as part of the grunge movement, which is odd because they’re not a grunge band. They were, however, a jam band, a genre I tried to enjoy but ultimately found frustrating because most of the musicians just aren’t strong enough to carry off long improvisations like they wanted to. That, or maybe I just needed a lot of drugs to really appreciate the “artistry” in hearing the same riffs over and over for 25 minutes. Regardless, Blues Traveler managed to surpass the genre over time, but as is always the way, they disappeared from view of the majority of music listeners. Last week, however, Alissa and I happened to be up late with the fussy Amanda and I saw the band perform on the Tonight Show. The song really resonated with me and, what’s more, I really enjoyed hearing the fluid, emotive contributions of their bassist, who replaced the guy who died a few years back. It was a great, catchy song, and, from the brief glimpse I got, showed that the band had indeed progressed beyond the limiting confines of the jam-band scene to simply make good songs. Today I ran into a used copy, so I could safely expore without investing too much. Now I feel a little guilty – it’s a very solid album and, as AlMusic says, it’s entirely possible that it’s their best album.

John Vanderslice: Life and Death of an American Fourtracker – I picked up Vanderslice’s latest album, Pixel Revolt after reading consistently solid reviews and, I admit, a download of the album to check it out – it blew me away and I had to have it, and it’s definitely one of the best releases of the year. JV’s one of those disgustingly talented guys who can make any subject matter an intriguing listen. Pixel Revolt‘s subject matter veers from a soldier experiencing the Iraq war to a man remorsefully admitting to losing his girlfriend’s beloved bunny, all wrapped in thoughtful song compositions that bring to mind Sufjan Stevens and Andrew Bird (another two whose albums are among my favorites of the year.) I have no doubt that more lyrical adventures away in Fourtracker.

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