Thursday, January 25, 2007

Elephant Pancakes

Wow. I just realized how seldom I've been posting Eleanor updates. I didn't even do a Christmas post. Oh dear. I'll try to make up some of that now.

Eleanor is a lot of fun to be around these days. She's constantly interpreting the world in a new and interesting way. The way she categorizes things is great fun too. For example, anything on or above your head is a hat, anything round is a ball, and any bodily excretions are poo-poo. Her vocabulary is growing every day. Today her new word was "more." She learned "bear" this week as well, but it comes out "bu-bu." One day she found the bag of oranges on the floor and brought several to me one by one saying over and over "ball...ball...ball".

Eleanor likes to climb these days, but usually only in the nude. She's found that she can scale the ottoman in very little time. I know this picture isn't the best, but you get the idea.

Eleanor also really likes feeding things. This morning she found a toy bottle and fed Jack Sparrow, a chicken, a frog, and a snake. Then she put the frog in a shoe. Then the frog got a ride on the merry-go-round.

Matt sometimes lets Eleanor play with his iPod. She loves listening to the ear buds, even when they are not on. She also likes to listen to crayons, Christmas lights, and various other slender objects.

This is one of Eleanor's favorite ways to look at the world these days. Once she accidentally did a somersault.

Eleanor is learning to use her potty more consistently and only once as a hat.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Program: Week 2

Who is this contemplative, distant young man? Click on over to Matt's new music blog to find out. It's an ongoing experiment in music, discipline and community. Can you take up the challenge of listening to only two albums per week, learning each song like knuckles on the back of your hand?

Don't worry, no one gets slapped.

Go ahead, click "Matt's Mog" to the right and hear this young man sing and hear what the two Matt's are listening to this week. Who knows, you may have one of the albums already and can give us some pointers on what to listen for.

Friday, January 19, 2007

The Program: or How Make Listening to Music Fun Again

No this isn't installment 28 in the iPod Rehabillitation unit series. I'm happy to report that all my electronic friends are functioning within acceptable parameters. However, my organic friend Matt Cleveland
and I noticed that our iPods were making us susceptable to another sickness: we weren't really listening to our music anymore. I know this sounds counter-intuitive, given that the iPod is meant to make your whole music library as portable as a thin bar of soap (albeit fragile $300 soap). But what we noticed was that since our mp3 collections were in digital form now for easy uploading and sharing, we were acquiring so much music, so quickly (from friends, relatives and perhaps less... savory means) that we really weren't giving each album the time it deserved. What was worse, we weren't enjoying what we were listening to because there was so much else to get through.

Our solution? The Program: Together the two Matts have made a pact to choose two albums with which we are not yet familiar and give those albums as many listens-through in one week as we can (at least 3-5). Indeed, we choose to listen to these albums as if we had paid our hard earned allowance-money for them. Matt describes it in greater detail in the link above. We'll be posting the albums of the week on our respective Mog - Music Blog sites along with our comments and the cumulative effect on our listening enjoyment and hopefully a renewed appreciation for those albums that only start to really shine after a few spins. Feel free to play along.

Albums this week:
Cold War Kids: Robbers and Cowards - Raw garage-rock with high-pitched, multiple storylines.

Dntel: Life is Full of Possibilities - Postal Service minus Ben Gibbard. Trippy ambient textures and analogue syths for your enjoyment.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Matt's Top 5 Albums for 2006

5. The Flaming Lips: At War With the Mystics

Oklahoma weird-rock from Wayne Coyne and friends. Not as strong as "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots" but sonically and lyrically more direct. I mean, who else is still using the 'talk-box' guitar effect? Good album, even if the "mystics" they're at war with are religioius folk. "What would you do with all your power?"

4.Josh Ritter: The Animal Years

Third album from perhaps the best folk songwriter of my generation. Putting into practice advice from Pete Seeger, he settles into his rural Idaho roots. Beautiful poetry grappling with the great questions. "The keys to the kingdom got locked inside the kingdom..."

3.Derek Webb: Mockingbird

Derek's most confrontational writing yet. Sparse guitar and piano behind words as hard as canon-balls aimed at breaking down the walls of Pharisaism and apathy growing up among us church folk. "Don't teach me about moderation and liberty, I prefer a shot of grape juice." "Peace by way of war is like purity by way of fornication..."

2.Neko Case: Fox Confessor Brings the Flood

Neko used to tour with the New Pornographers but has since taken her golden floodgate of a voice from their line-up to sing lovely, southern-gospel tinged, imagistic songs of love, loss and a madman with a dirty knife dug into his spine: "He sings nursery rhymes to paralyze the wolves that eddy 'round the corners of his eyes..."

1.Gnarls Barkley: St. Elsewhere

Hip Hop producer DJ Dangermouse (of Gorillaz and the Beatles/JayZ mashup 'the grey album') and Rap/Soul vocalist Ceelo found a perfect match in one another for this collaboration. It's rare a pop album gets spun on my iPod but this is one of those rare pop albums that's sells becuase it's actually good music. Besides, this is also Eleanor's favorite album of 2006. If she even sees the album art on the screen she'll start smiling, bouncing and making the hi-hat sound from "Crazy": "Tsht tsh tsh tsh." Needless to say, we've heard it way too many times and I've yet to get tired of it; the true test of a great album. "Who do you, who do you, who do you whodyou think you are, ah hah hah, bless your soul, you really think you're in control?"

Honorable Mention The Raconteurs: Broken Boy Soldiers

After catching Jack White (the tall one) and Brandon Bensen (the skinny one) at Austic City Limits Music Fest, Jack is my guitar-hero. The man is a physical giant who seems to enjoy himself every time he picks up a guitar. This is a great disc to throw on, plug in the guitar, turn the amp to "ten" and jam along with Jack. The fun is contagious. "My baby's on the level, I try to read her mind, she's on the straight and narrow, I'm guessin' all the time..."