May 2006

On Friday, TG got a call from a friend of hers about an immediate need for a foster home for a little Boston Terrier. This particular dog had bounced around from home to home and the current owner of said dog was planning on taking them to the local pound. Because we have a little room and are suckers for little dogs, we decided that we would give the little pup a home.

So, we now have three Boston Terriers under our roof. How long we keep Lucy sort of depends on how well she gets along with our two current dogs, and despite a few spats, it’s been fairly smooth sailing so far. Without further ado, a picture of Lucy…

Lucy the cartoon dog

This past week or so has been sort of a blur of business as usual around here. I’ve been writing and reading and working on some music and tending to the garden and the yard and attending a few family events and trying to keep my sleep patterns normal after the warmer weather threw me off. I’m about halfway through with a nearly 600 page book, I’ve felt the agony of defeat several times as the baseball team I follow (Nebraska Cornhuskers) limped into the conference tournament after a great season start, and I got my haircut shorter than it has been in years.

There have been other things, but that’s about the jist of it lately. TG is taking not only an online summer course, but an intensive 3-week course that basically has her doing homework every single night (including weekends), so I’ve found things to do by myself and have kept busy at them. This past week has been great (other than the every present wind) for rollerblading especially, and I’ve taken advantage of it. In the past 5 nights, I’ve managed about 30 miles, including a burnout in 85 degree heat yesterday that left me gasping in a good way.

This seems to be a bit of a quiet period for the most part. Plants are growing but not producing yet, several little projects are still floating on the hard drive in states of various completion, and the changing weather is making everything seem like a bit more of a chore than it should be.

At least the beer is cold.

This week while doing my reviews, I realized about halfway through that one of my featured albums was going to be a release in which the artist name, album title, and songs were all in Finnish. For a moment, this put a bit of fright into me, as I didn’t want to completely butcher the pronounciation while doing the podcast, then I just decided to do an internet search and see what I could find.

As it turns out, I found a site that not only gave pronounciations of different syllables and letters (including special characters), but included sound files so you could hear how they were supposed to come out. After doing a little bit of reading and some prep time, I just managed to plow through the podcast with the help of the online guide. Of course, I probably still messed things up, being as that I’ve never been in Finland (although somewhat close with a trip to Sweden and Denmark) and find myself plop in the middle of the United States, but hopefully I don’t offend too many ears.

Who says I don’t learn anything doing these dang reviews?

Can't Stop Won't Stop by Jeff ChangAlthough I’ve been doing music reviews for about a decade now (if you count the time I spent writing with my college newspaper), I’ve never considered myself a person who is really well-rounded in terms of being knowledgable in regards to all different genres. I know my indie rock and electronic music quite well, with dabblings of smarts about jazz and classical and other styles, but when it comes time to start discussing something other than the areas I know best, I start to feel rather stupid.

That was one of the reasons that I decided to order a book about the history of hip-hop. I’d heard a lot of good things about Can’t Stop Won’t Stop by Jeff Chang and decided it would be a good starting point for me. As it turns out, it was probably one of the best places that I could have dipped my toes into the water, as it has a very thorough (if a bit trunicated) history of everything from street parties to breakdancing to graffiti artists to black nationalism right through to DJs and MCs and hip hop and rap music into present times. The time span covers roughly the last 30 years, and although I knew little bits and pieces about little things here and there, it was interesting to read the book and sort of tie all the loose ends together.

One of the things I enjoyed most was reading a more involved history of groups like Public Enemy, whom I really enjoy. I didn’t really discover the group on my own terms until well after their most popular (and controversial) period, and it was intersting to read about not only the things they did right, but their mistakes as well. Oddly enough, the book seemed rushed as it moved towards a conclusion, seemingly whittling down especially the past 10 years or so into a much smaller section of the book, but overall it was a highly enjoyable read. At least I don’t feel like quite as much of an idiot about hip hop music now.

Wedding photoIt’s almost midnight (and therefore May 8th), so I think I can get away with saying that it’s officially the 2nd Anniversary of TG and I. The weather today was a lot cooler than it was two years ago, and I distinctly remember a rather severe thunderstom the night we got married. I remember the latter because our dogs were staying at a kennel for the night and we talked about how we hoped they weren’t too frightened by it while being away from home.

I don’t know that I have any great wisdom to impart from the first two years of marriage, but I will make mention of the same thing that I told a relative who’s about to tie the knot in a couple weeks.

Before I met TG, I was one of those people who basically ate what I could to have enough energy to do what I wanted to do and get by. I could follow a recipe well enough, and even whip up a decent batch of chili if I wanted, but I didn’t take too many chances and it wasn’t a rare occasion for me to eat the same thing 3 or 4 nights in a row.

When I met TG, I discovered that when cooking for someone other than yourself, it becomes a lot more fun. Instead of just trying to fill the hole in your own stomach, there’s someone else to hopefully impress. Over the course of the five years that I’ve known TG, my cooking skills have grown exponentially, and if circumstance neccesitates it, I’m able to take a look into a decimated refridgerator and somehow pull something together that tastes good to both of us. Of course, it goes the other way as well, and I’ve often eaten things that TG has cooked that taste much better than one could get at a restaurant.

We’re both super busy people and have our own interests, and while there are several nights per week where we don’t spend much time together at all, we manage to sit down and eat dinner together just about every single night. There have been a few times where we’ve plopped down in front of the television with a bowl of food (which inevitably leads to a string of jokes about “the ‘merican way” of eating), but for the most part we join each other at the table in the evening and eat and talk about our days. It’s a nice little given, and on the days when it doesn’t work out (TG is out with friends, etc), my day feels slightly out of sync.

While not every single one of our interests overlap, we have a good middle ground and seem to learn different things from one another. TG puts up with my bleep bleep bloop music and obscure band trivia and I’ve absorbed a rather large amount of information about clothing design and textile history while we both contribute to an out-of-control book collection that tips the scales at almost fifteen hundred books.

Good times. Good times.

As you can tell by the picture, everything around here is green right now. No color adjustment was needed. Our garden is just getting started, but I’m very, very excited about it this year. We’re trying lots of new things (including pumpkins and tomatillos) as well as the old familiar classics, so here’s hoping for fresh veggies in couple months time.

Elsa and Zoey in the grass