Sunday, June 29, 2008

Welcome to the Blog-erhood to My Wife

Yes, Michele has decided to make the leap over to blogspot to post her deep thoughts and plenty more pictures of Isabella and us. Check out her new page here.

Still haven't updated from the last weekend. After a visit from my Grandpa and Grandma last Saturday, we headed downtown to meet up with our friends Brian and Lynn to walk around and let Bella see the downtown area again. After a good long walk around, we sat down for dinner at a pub in the Loop. They must be a tiny bit unaccustomed to having kids eat at their restaurant, as you can see from the Guinness cup used for Bella's milk.

They then had a Luau party day at Bella's day care, I'll leave it to Michele to tell the story of that more, but I can at least share some photos from that.

Thankfully it's only a 4 day workweek ahead for us, but it's also a 4 day school week for me, so that is the bad news for me. At least I'm halfway through with this semester, that is the good news.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

More Free Music

There's an album out there now you must pick up, I say this because it's going to cost you a whole $0.00 to download it (legally) online.

The album is the new one by Girl Talk, which is basically a one-man band/dj named Gregg Gillis. He mashes up songs that usually have no place being the same radio station, let alone in the same song, and makes brilliant dance music from it. Go to this website, and click on the icon toward the top for "Feed the Animals." It'll ask you how much you want to pay , go ahead and enter "$0.00," it'll give you a quick multiple choice question of why you chose that, and then you are free to download away.

The first song alone has "Gimmie Some Lovin'", "Let My Love Open the Door," "We're Not Gonna Take It," "Hunger Strike" (by Temple of the Dog), "Nothing Compares 2 U," and a couple of rap songs all jammed together seamlessly in a great track. And that's only the beginning, I've read that there is an estimate of about 300 samples used throughout the entire album.

This was only released last week online, but it's already ranking up there as one of my favorite albums of the year. It starts to become a fun contest of trying to figure out what songs are all jumbled together, while marvelling at how music that is usually considered to be on far ends of the musical spectrum work well together. Is that Nine Inch Nails' "Wish" backing up Kelly Clarkson's "Since U Been Gone"? Why, yes it is!
Of course, there's some questionable language from the rap samples, so you if you have little ones to worry about, you might not want them listening to all of it. But I guarantee you'll enjoy this cd, you'll be sure to get your money's worth anyways!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Drum Solo Video

As promised a while back, here's the video of one of Bella's awesome drum solo performances. More updates to follow...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Indianapolis Zoo Photos

Here are our photos from our quick trip through the Indianapolis Zoo on Sunday. Bella's favorite part as predicted was the seals, or, "Pinky, Pinky Pinky Pinky!"

The shark was in a big pool they had where you could actually reach in and touch them. Good times.

Photos from our Indianapolis Weekend

A couple of our shots from our walk downtown, and a few from the venue for the Death Cab show. The first band shot is the opener, Rogue Wave, followed by Death Cab of course. Photos from our zoo day to follow.

Today is the Day!

Yes, today is the day that has annually become one of my favorite days of the entire year. Today is the day that they finally released the schedule for Lollapalooza 2008.

As I've said before, I usualy spend this day poring over the schedule the way most people do over their NCAA basketball tournament brackets. I spent a solid hour this morning looking over every detail of the schedule and making sure I didn't miss anything, as well as plotting my route throughout much of the weekend.

Okay, it ended up being more like 3 hours by the time I moved on to something else. And yes, that was all while I was at work.

So you can view my schedule online, you can click to see it here. By my count, there are about 28 bands I'm going to make an effort to see, I paid $170 for my ticket, so that's a little about $6 per band for the weekend. Not too shabby, especially with two of my favorite bands, Radiohead and Wilco.

It's official, Michele and Bella will be making their Lollapalooza debuts on Friday, Aug. 1st as well, since each of our three favorite bands (Butch Walker, Terrible Twos and Radiohead) will all be playing that day. Bella's going to have to work on her arm strength for all of the air drumming that she'll be doing that day, so we're going to be busy over the next few weeks.

Overall, I'm pretty happy about the schedule, with a few exceptions. Friday is a solid day, no major conflicts, there are pretty much 11 bands I'm going to try to see, and we'll be able to have a decent place saved to watch Radiohead. I'm much less happy about Saturday, the first half of the day is okay, but then there are two bad conflicts that I have to choose between, one is Broken Social Scene (one of the highlights of Lolla 2006 for me) and Battles (the highlight of Pitchfork 2007), and then Wilco against Rage Against the Machine at the end of the night.

Sunday is a much slower day, with many wide open breaks to give me the chance to fill my stomach with those delectable rib shaped mystery meat rib sandwiches. The day is pretty wide open til 6:15, then a bunch of bands are crammed in all at once. I have to miss Kanye West this year, since he's against Nine Inch Nails. Oh well.

Only another month and a half to get through now til it all begins...

Monday, June 16, 2008

Daddy's Day Weekend Wrapup

We are back, we had a pretty good weekend over all, our excursion to Indianapolis was well worth the trip.

We had great weather Saturday and Sunday, the three of us even got better tans (or more freckles in Michele's case), and we missed the bad thunderstorms that hit both Chicago and Indy. We got there at a decent time Saturday afternoon, and walked around part of downtown Indy for a little while. It was a good, relaxing time, but unfortunately Bella decided that she did not want to do any walking, so we had to carry her the majority of that time. Fun.

We rested back at the hotel for a little while before heading over to the venue. We saw one of the strangest things we have ever seen on tv while we were there, we saw a commercial for A CHAIN OF GUN STORES called, I believe, Dan's Guns. Sadly, I could not find a YouTube link to a video of this commercial, it was so bizarre that Michele and I were laughing about it for 10 minutes afterwards. It's pretty much one of those high quality commercials that you see when you are out in the middle of nowhere, and it's pretty much an old guy behind a counter covered with guns wearing an ill-fitting suit, and it ends with him saying something to the effect of "why do I love guns? Because of that sound they make!" Wow.

So we walked over to the venue, which was less than a mile from our hotel, and got in line for Death Cab For Cutie. Luckily Bella was in a very good and cooperative mood, so we didn't have to deal with any freakouts, and that lasted the entire night too. When we walked in, we were astonished to see that they actually hand out little folding chairs for all of the people sitting on the lawn there! That would never happen in Chicago, since most of the cities that let shows happen assume that the audience would end up flinging every one of those chairs at the stage, even for a band like Death Cab.

We picked a great spot, ate some fine cuisine (two of the greasiest pretzels we ever had (and how exactly do you make a pretzel greasy??), and a hamburger and fries) while watching the opening band, Rogue Wave. Bella was surprisingly mellow through their set and through part of Death Cab's set, since at that time normally at home she'd be running around our basement or upstairs doing the Hula Hoops on our Wii Fit.

Death Cab came on right on time at 8:30 and put on a fantastic set as always. They opened with "Bixby Canyon Bridge" from their great new album, Narrow Stairs, and jumped all around their career from that point on. One thing that was funny was that we were mostly surrounded by a bunch of 20 year olds (of course), so they were surprised to see Bella there and thought she was the cutest thing of course. Somehow, being the smartest and soon to be most music obsessed girl in the world, she started singing along to the chorus of "A Movie Script Ending" after only hearing the song once or twice before, and the girl next to us thought that was the cutest thing in the world.

What was funnier was that Bella got her second wind during their set, and was fascinated with the band' s drummer, partially thanks to the drumset that her Uncle Mark and Aunt Jenn got for her. Duing "Cath...," Bella started waving her arms to the beat and was pretending to play the beat herself. That continued for a few more songs during the set.

The show concluded right around 9:15 Chicago time, which has somehow become Bella's usual bedtime at home, with a fantastic version of one of my DCFC favorites, "Transatlanticism." Bella clapped a bunch at the end, and as we walked back to the hotel, we asked Bella if she liked it, and she definitely said yes. She of course fell asleep in record time after that.

The next morning we headed over to the Indianapolis Zoo, not far from the concert venue, and walked around for a little while. Bella was thrilled that she got to see more seals again like in Florida ("Pinky! Pinky! Pinky!"), but she again did not want to walk anywhere, and was being a bit of a pain for us, just in time for Father's Day.

Oh well, guess she was suffering her first concert hangover or something. It was a very good time, we somehow drove back right between a storm system that went south and north of us, so we got very lucky there.

The next show on Bella's concert itinerary: Feist at Ravinia July 11. Pictures of the trip to follow of course.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Daddy's Day (Weekend anyways)

Ahhhhh yes, it's almost here, the best weekend of the year, Father's Day weekend, where I can be a lazy bum and have a legitimate excuse for it for once.

We've got your textbook Father's Day weekend planned though. Since we missed them on their last show in Chicago (we were still on an airplane somewhere over Kentucky or so), we're driving down to Indianapolis to see one of my favorites, and one of Bella's new favorites, Death Cab For Cutie. The best part about it is that it's at an outdoor venue in Indy very similar to Ravinia here in Chicago, so we are able to take Bella with us. We've been having her listen to a couple of their cd's in the last few weeks, and she definitely likes them, and she's even started her version of singing along (okay, closer to humming) to some of their songs from their previous cd, Plans.

The funniest part is asking Bella to say their name, it comes out sounding something like "eth ab or Cutie." Sadly her DCFC onesie doesn't fit anymore, oh well.

We'll be staying in Indy overnight, and Sunday morning we're going to go and check out their zoo and let Bella get alot of walking in before the drive home. We're crossing our fingers that they'll have some seals there, so Bella can say "Pinky!" about 20 times once again.

Okay, so I guess it's not your typical Father's Day weekend. Sounds like a pretty great one to me anyways!

We'll post photos upon our return. I'll try to post a video of Bella and one of her magnificent drum performances also before we go.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Big Girl Room

The big event for us after our return from Florida was the delivery of the furniture for Bella's Big Girl Room. It was pretty funny when we picked it out, we knew what we were looking for, and we took Bella to a store to see if she would like it. As soon as we got near the set we were thinking of in the store, Bella jumped up on the bed and pretended like she was a sleep. So we figured that was a pretty good sign that she was going to like it.

So the furniture was delivered a couple of days after we got back as planned. I went and picked up Bella at daycare that day for once and brought her home. By the time we get to her new room, Bella ran in there and said "MINE!" So again, we think she likes it.

The good news is that Bella has slept through the night on it every night without waking up, which is fantastic. The bad news is that it's taking much longer for her to fall asleep every night, we're now well past 9:00 every night. Yay.

Our other crazy Bella news of the moment has to do with her baths. From January through March, somehow Bella developed a complete and total fear of taking baths. We're talking screaming like she was about to get a shot just for being near the bathtub. So those were three really fun months for us as you can guess. In April and May, she finally started calming down and was fine with standing in the bathtub if we held her hand the whole time. Obviously that got old as well, but it was a step in the right direction.

We don't know what happened, but shortly after we got back from our trip, Bella has suddenly become OBSESSED with the bath tub... As soon as she comes home with Michele, the first thing she asks is "bathtub?" She's back to sitting in there for at least a half hour each night now, playing with her toys, splashing and blowing bubbles and everything. We have no idea what changed, but that has definitely made life easier. Now if only we could get her to go to sleep before 9 PM again.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Florida Photo Extravaganza Finale

Alright, last ones, I promise. These are the last of the butterfly world shots, and one last trip to the beach while the clouds were gathering. It was funny, Bella didn't get much good napping time in through the trip, and while we drove home from the beach around dinner time, she passed out. We carried her inside and let her sleep on the couch, but she was completely out cold. Michele's parents' dog even gave her a bunch of kisses right on the face, and that didn't even wake her up. Seems like a good place to end the photos of our trip.

Florida Photo Extravaganza Pt 6

These are from the butterfly world thing. The last photo is of the bravest known butterfly in existence, the one that actually landed on Michele's back for a few seconds and took its eight-day long lifespan in its own hands.

Florida Photo Extravaganza Pt 5

More from our dinner for Grandma's birthday, and a long day at the beach.

Florida Photo Extravaganza Pt 4

Day 2 of our trip, with our trip to the Miami Seaquarium. The middle photos are from Bella's highlight of the weekend, the seal show at the Seaquarium, or the "Pinky show," as Bella has named it after her favorite pink stuffed animal.