Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Twitter Machine Tuesday

So after 9 days of the month I've knocked out 8 items on my 30 by 30 list.  I grade myself on a curve, but I find that to be damn impressive.  This is the most committed to writing that I've ever been since starting the blog.  This is both new and scary.

Some of you may be going back and saying "You've actually only post like 6 blog posts about that this month."  First of all, stop being such a nit-picker.  Nobody likes that.  I'm counting the trying new foods post from earlier this year, and I included two in one on my last post.  So it's 8.

Either way, I'll be back at it tomorrow.

For tonight we're Twitter Machining the shit out of this.

-Sometimes I want an actual Twitter Machine, so I can try to make made up hashtags take off.
-I've been kicking around an idea for #undecidedvoterproblems. Examples below.
-Four hours later, still at the grocery store. This paper or plastic thing has thrown me for a loop #undecidedvoterproblems
-I put my pants on one leg at a time. Just not sure which leg should go first. #undecidedvoterproblems
-Wait I have to choose heads OR tails? #undecidedvoterproblems
-Grace likes to put on every necklace she can find.
-For Halloween I'm giving her a mohawk, putting her in a jean vest and a feather earing and teaching her how to say "Pity the fool"
-If you don't understand the last reference, I hate you. #truth
-I've become very Zen about the playoffs. Maybe I've lost my edge after 2010. #sfgiants #MLB
-It's still stressful and nauseating at times. I still find myself cursing and sitting in my "lucky chair." Just doesn't feel life or death anymore.
-On second thought, I hope the Giants win the next two games, run rampant in the NLCS and get to another World Series
-The girls are going to pumpkin patch for the first time this week. I'm so damn excited! Pictures will be taken.
-I feel bad about my birthday. We're trying to spend less, and I know that a 30th birthday party isn't going to be cheap.
-On the other hand, bring on the booze and friends! #goodtimes
-What is the rule on stealing your kids' trick or treating candy?
-I feel guilty up until the moment I put the Reese's Peanut Butter cup in my mouth. #parentingproblems
-This is the first year the girls will be going door to door. The next few weeks will be all about teaching them "Trick or Treat"
-In case you're wondering at home, they'll be lady bugs this year. Because the costume still fits and we ain't spending money on something new.
-Plus it's a lot like reruns. If the neighborhood hasn't seen it, it's new to them.
-Is there anything better than homemade tortillas? I could just eat them all night.
-Fall weather is the best. It gets cool at night and pajama pants become must wear items. And it's soup weather.
-If you think any month is better than October, I hate you and all you stand for.

That's all for this week.  See you next Tuesday.

Monday, October 8, 2012

30 by 30: Learning an Instrument & Writing a Song

Two for one special in this post!  This officially will make up for any day I've missed thus far.

Much like movies, I also have a deep love for music.

There isn't a day goes by that I'm not singing something.  Whether it be a song I heard on the radio or putting what happened to me that morning in song form throughout the day (I'm a lot like Randy Newman that way).

It seems lame writing this, but I really have always thought of my voice as my instrument.  Actually that was incredibly lame.  I'm actually embarrassed that this is now on my blog.  Not so embarrassed that I'll edit it mind you, but I'm still cringing looking at it.  Nevertheless I still think that I have a pretty good voice, and there isn't a song I won't sing or a melody I won't whistle.

This love of music and singing has already rubbed off on our children.  The girls don't so much know their ABCs as much as they know the ABC Song.  They love singing along to songs like Twinkle Twinkle and Are You Sleeping.  And it isn't just nursery rhymes and old school kids songs that they love to sing.  They know the chorus to Little Bird by Ed Sheeran.  They sing along to Jason Mraz.  And thanks to Elmo, they know It Takes Two.

There are times when Grace just sings absentmindedly to no one in particular.  She has music inside her and it finds its way out constantly.  She'll be sitting in her crib avoiding nap time, and she'll just be singing to her blanket or stuffed animal.

The love of music throughout our house made me want to learn how to play an instrument even more.  And this desire to learn to play an instrument went hand in hand with writing a song.  There are many songs about people named Grace, so I thought I could make something equal opportunity about Grace and Ana.  Seems only fair.

Here's the problem: There is a real reason why the phrase "You can't teach an old dog new tricks" exists.  Most people think it's because an "old dog" is someone set in his or her ways and that older people aren't as adept at learning.  This is true, but the bigger issue is that older people don't have the time to learn new shit.  As a parent or just an adult think about the amount of free time you have to dedicate to learning something completely foreign to you.  Let me just slip my music lessons in there between my 8 hour work day, spending time with my two-year-old twins and seeing my spouse.

Now these are obvious excuses, but I will not be deterred.  I still plan on learning on instrument and writing a song.  This will not happen before I turn 30, but it will happen.  It has found its way onto my official bucket list.


30 by 30: AFI & Oscars

If you haven't learned from reading my blog, I love movies.  Like love them.  I love movies that are bad because I can talk shit on them.  I love movies that are great, so I can watch and re-watch them.  I love movies that only I think are good simply because of one or two lines.  I love old movies and new movies.  Animated movies and live action movies.  Horror movies and love stories.

I can watch just about anything and find something redeeming about it.  Well almost anything.  There are a few movies like Sex and the City that are just not meant for me at all.  And I've only actually walked out of two movies in my lifetime: Big Momma's House and House of the Dead.  Maybe this says more about movies with the word House in them.  That may be why I never got into the TV show House.  But that's a story for another day.

This love of movies has led to me spending way too much of my time and money on them.  I have over 400 movies on DVD in my collection.  There was a time that I spent every Friday night with friends seeing the newest release to theatres.  Many times it was a Thursday at midnight showing.

I don't even want to calculate the amount of time I've spent staring at a screen showing a movie.  Let's just put in somewhere between 5000 hours and two years of my life.

But I regret nothing!

In that time spent watching anything I could and my downright psychotic, completist nature, you'd have thought that I would have gotten around to see all the AFI 100 or every best picture winner.  It hasn't happened.  As it stands now, I'm 21 movies away from seeing the entire AFI 100 list and 24 away from all the Best Picture winners.

I still have time before my birthday to knock them out.  The problem is availability and time.  Some of the older movies on the list aren't so easy to find, and we cancelled our Netflix account some time ago making it that much more difficult.  Factor in that we have so little time to actually sit down and watch a movie like Cavalcade, and it makes it somewhat difficult.

Something that I definitely want to do is watch some of these great movies with our girls as they get older.  And maybe they'll fall in love with movies just like their dad has.


Saturday, October 6, 2012

30 by 30: Snowboarding

It's been over 10 years since I last went skiing in the snow.  Probably closer to 15 years if I'm being 100% honest.

This has nothing to do with being in the snow.  I love the snow.  Love it.  I lived in Colorado for two years and not once did I complain about a snowstorm.  There may not be a more beautiful sight in nature than fresh snow in the morning.

So why haven't I skied or bothered to learn how to snowboard in that time?  Hard to say.  Erin has been a snowboarder for a large chunk since we've been together, but I've never had the desire to learn.  I think a good portion of it has to do with how expensive it can be to start.  From equipment and lessons to lift tickets, it just isn't a cheap pastime.  I could read a book in the morning while she was snowboarding and snowshoe or do other snow activities with her when she got back.

It was cheaper and less taxing to not learn.  But I did miss out on spending time with my wife and her family when they would go hit the slopes which started to gnaw at me.  I hate missing out on a part of life simply because I didn't want to pay for it.  I think spouses should share interests because husbands and wives that do stuff together usually have a stronger relationship.

So it didn't happen in the last year, but I guarantee it will happen this winter.  I just love the snow too much to not at least try.

In fact I plan on passing my love affair with snow onto our daughters this winter.  We haven't had a chance to go up to Tahoe/Truckee since they were born.  I have a feeling that they will love the snow.  Well I think that they'll be afraid of it at first, but they'll fall in love with it.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

30 by 30: Wrigley and Fenway

The baseball season ended yesteday.  This sort of put the final nail in the coffin of seeing a game at Wrigley Field and Fenway Park before my 30th birthday.

I knew this particular goal was sort of stretching it when I put it on the list.  I'd be a little bit insane to think I would be able to fly across the country with two toddlers and my wife just to see a couple of baseball games.  For one we don't really have the type of money to spend on such frivolous things.  For two the other option was going on my own which would be completely missing the point.

So if I knew that I would never follow through with this particular goal, why would I put it on the list in the first place?

It goes back to the same reason why love baseball in the first place.

Baseball is a sport that celebrates what is happening in the here and now.  It does so though in the context of its entire history.  Every great occurence that you see on a baseball field is viewed through a prism of how it relates to every great occurence that came before it.  Baseball doesn't ignore its history.  It celebrates it.

This is an ideal that is becoming more and more rare in our world.  We celebrate the newest and latest breakthrough as if it is the greatest thing we've ever seen.  We immediately forgot about everything that has led to a breakthrough the moment we can have the newest thing.  We wait in line for the newset iPhone.  We go out to buy LED TVs because our plasma just isn't good enough anymore.

So I view Wrigley and Fenway as a breath of fresh air.

Here are two ballparks that have stood the test of time.  These are the two oldest ballparks in the country.  I'm sure Boston and Chicago could have built new yards for the Red Sox and Cubs, but you don't improve on the greatness that is already there.  The coolest thing about both ballparks is the fact that history has already happened and will continue to happen there.  I could sit in a seat that someone else sat in while watching Babe Ruth hit one of his 714 homeruns.  I could watch a game in the same place where Willie Mays once played.  This is reason enough that these parks should stand forever.  They're historical landmarks.

So going to the hallowed ground of Fenway and Wrigley didn't happen in the past year, but it's going to happen eventually.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

30 by 30: Yard House

If you've never heard of Yard House, first of all shame on you.  Second, I won't judge because some people just aren't beer drinkers.

But if you are a beer drinker, Yard House is like beer drinker heaven.  I'm saying this with no incentive at all from Yard House.  They wouldn't have to pay me for me to talk about their beer selection.

As a self-proclaimed beer snob, I love the selection and the fact that I could go every day for a different beer and not have the same beer until halfway through the year.  That isn't hyperbole.  They have over 100 beers on tap and introduce new beers on a monthly basis.  So when I put a goal of trying every on tap beer that Yard House offers, it was quite the undertaking.

The first problem: I know which beers I like and really want to drink every time I go in.  So I'm faced with the dilemma of trying completely new beers every time I go or adding a beer or two to the one I was already planning on drinking.  This is obviously a good problem to have.  Like a baseball manager with too many good hitters.  I just played it by ear every time I've gone in.

The second problem: How do I keep track of every beer I've tasted and know when new beers come into their rotation?  This one started with me just writing down beers as I've tried them.  When Erin and I swung in on our anniversary, we learned there is a Yard House app.  Said app allows you to track and rate every beer you've tried.  This was a revelation.

Needless to say I couldn't wait to transfer my list to the app
I'm nowhere near finished trying every beer, and I'm may never be finished with their rotating featured beers.  This goal was more about getting out of my comfort zone and trying something simply because I hadn't.  I think I know exactly what I like, but I wouldn't know for sure until I've tried it all.  Erin is certainly helping.  She's planned a beer-themed party for my birthday.  That could help close some of the gap.


30 by 30: Please and Thank You

When I was growing up, the most important thing my dad tried to instill in me is respect and good manners.  He also emphasized a strong work ethic, the importance of helping others, recognizing your blessings and numerous other good habits.  The thing I always remember growing up was him reminding us to always have good manners especially at someone else's house.

This is something that stuck with me as important now that I have kids.

We all know the kids that are rude little snots, and all I can ever think when I see a kid act that way is "What the hell are the parents doing?"  I just can't comprehend a mother or father sitting idly by and allowing some of the behavior that I see.

Knowing that I judge parents hard based on the way their kids act in mixed company, I really don't want to deal with the sideways glances and judgemental glares that come with a hell-spawn child.  I'm sure there is a mix of nature and nurture when it comes to the behavior of your kid.  If we can tame wild animals to perform in the circus or be household pets, we can also tame a wild child that is hyper and rambunctious.  There really is no excuse for allowing that sort of behavior.

Apparently Erin feels the same way I do because we have both made a strong effort to teach our girls to have good manners.  We've taught them (or at least have attempted to teach them) that they'll be a lot more likely to get what they want if they say "Please" while asking for it.  Even when they're asking for something that we have no intention to give them, the still say "Please."

For example, the other day Grace was playing with a fake flower.  This particular fake flower is apparently a mixture of pure gold and crack for our girls because they fight over it all the time.  There was no way Grace was giving it up to her sister once she had her hands on it.  I asked Grace if she would give it to Ana, and she replied with a simple and firm "No."  Ana in turn said "Sissy fower, pees?"  Grace still wasn't giving it up, but I loved that Ana asked nicely and said "Please" because she knew that Erin and I always tell them to say "Please."

The "Thank you" thing is still hit and miss.  Because we always say "You're welcome" to them, they usually just say "Elcome" when they get something they were asking for.  I'm still going to count it.

I guess some of it is getting through, and I can just see myself telling them to "Use their manners" as the leave for a friend's house 10 years from now.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Twitter Machine Tuesday

I can't really be back until I have a Twitter Machine post, right?  Well here it is.

I call the girls Kiddo all the time.  As in, "It's time for bed, kiddo" or "Have fun today, kiddo."  This morning I told Ana that we had to put on our shoes before we left for their Grandma's house.  I said "It's time to go kiddo."  Her response was "Go kiddo" with a smile as infectious as I've ever seen.  I swear they know exactly what to say to make my heart burst.  Every single time.

On to the much delayed and lowly regarded Twitter Machine.

-I mean really. Revolution is just an atrociously bad idea for a show.
-The last month has included so many new albums by artists I love. Ben Folds Five, DMB and Mumford & Sons in back to back to back weeks.
-I've listened to all three non-stop. I got a week long break before the new Matt & Kim to really enjoy the others.
-The girls are on a high five kick. Ana loves to give what she calls Eye Fives.
-She just say "Daddy, eye five?" then "Mama, eye five?" then "Sissy, eye five?" #rinseandrepeat
-Erin smacked me in the eye the other day with her open hand and said "Eye Five." It wasn't nearly as funny as she thought it was.
-The Giants winning the West is sweet. What would be extra sweet is eliminating the Dodgers from the playoffs #sfgiants
-Had a root canal last week. Will start flossing as many times per day as is necessary to avoid that shit again. #antidentite
-It's funny that my tooth never actually hurt until AFTER I went to the dentist. And I had to pay a lot of money to be tortured. #antidentite
-I feel like dentists are one step down from serial killers. They just don't have it in them to kill. But torture? Sure. #antidentite
-I did at least replay numerous scenes from Finding Nemo in my head during the root canal. #beingadad
-Saw a girl with a bunny iPhone case. Yeah this doesn't bring you any closer to your goal of being a playmate. #dreambig
-I held an iPhone 5, and it was super light. I also had no desire to buy it.
-Now I know how Erin felt when she held a baby besides our girls and proclaimed "Nope I don't need to have another one yet"
-No I'm not comparing an iPhone to a baby human. Unless said baby human is the most advanced baby known to man.
-I'd like to ask the lady who bit Danny Bonaduce's face what he tasted like. I'm guessing failure, spray tan and just a subtle hint of ginger.
-So Doyle from the Gilmore Girls may write Mockingjay. Do you think Coin will be inspired by Paris Geller's overthrow of the Yale Daily News? #HungerGames #GilmoreGirls
-There are like three people nodding at that reference right now. And that is plenty for me.
-The girls have long enough hair now to put in pigtails. In other news, I'm so wrapped and have no chance of ever saying no to them.
-In case you're keeping score at home, Lover of the Light is the best song on the new Mumford & Sons. Debate = Over.
-Does anyone know where I can take banjo lessons? #mumfordproblems

That's all for this week's Twitter Machine.  Good to be back.  See you next Tuesday.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Why I Stopped

I've had a few comments and emails along with some questions on Facebook asking why I stopped blogging.

First things first, I am not sick.  I wasn't abducted and waiting on Liam Neeson to save me from shady East Europeans.  I haven't sustained any horrible injuries to my hands that are preventing me from typing.  I am not dealing with any sort of family turmoil.

In fact it has been quite the opposite, and that has contributed to the problem.

My family life has been fantastic.  Our girls are learning more and more every day.  They have become little girls and have left the toddlers/babies they once were in the rear view mirror.  They interact with Erin and me like little people.  They repeat everything and can hold semi-conversations.  They are singing their ABCs and counting to ten.  As I said before, my life has been utterly fantastic.

And it has also led to a desire to live my life more than blog about it.  I totally understand why Erin got burnt out on her blog and just stopped because you think more about what you're going to write that day instead of actually living that day.  I'd rather spend my mornings with my girls, my work days trying to do a good job and my evenings with my wife.

It isn't as if what I write or don't write has any Earth-shattering consequences.  I'm sure there are a handful of people that wondered long and hard why I disappeared.  Some of you might have stayed up at night wondering when the next Twitter Machine was coming just to hear my thoughts on how ridiculous the premise for Revolution is (It really is an awful idea. Really?  All the power went off?  All of it?).

I know that I write fluff with a subtle hint controversy and a little too much pop culture.  Like Community but not as witty.  That is the other reason I stopped.  I read blogs from Renegade Mothering, Yep the Blog, Kopp Girls and Becoming Supermommy and feel like my contributions to the blogging world just don't hold up.

Then the other day I remembered why I started this thing in the first place: I wanted to keep track of my mindset and the growth of my girls throughout all the stages of parenthood.  So I'm coming back.  And with my 30th birthday in 30 days, it seemed like a good time to revisit my 30 before 30 list.  Obviously some of them aren't going to get completed, but I want to post about all of them.  I want to tell you why they're on my list, my progress on completing each of them and whether or not they'll move to my bucket/40 before 40 list.

So the next 30 days will be filled with a blog (or more) every day.  Enjoy...or don't.  Whatever.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Twitter Machine Tuesday

As a bit of a confession, my last post about my mom's graduation was almost entirely written from my iPhone.  I don't write this confession as a way to brag or pat myself on the back.  I do it to raise a point that I have no excuse to avoid writing.

I can literally post from anywhere, but I don't out of laziness or a lack of ideas.  I could have easily posted from my vacation.  I decided not to.  I think I've earned that right.

Speaking of vacations, I'll be writing all about it in my next post.

With that we're on to the Twitter Machine...

-The Giants not only swept the Dodgers, they worked them like a freaking speed bag #sfgiants
-The Dodgers respond by trading for Adrian Gonzalez and a quarter of a billion dollars in contracts #notatypo
-In the world of poker, this would be called "on tilt." Dodgers are better right now, but those are some horrible contracts.
-I went to training for the RAV4EV last week. I was leery at first, but it is a phenomenal product.
-The girls sing "Are You Sleeping?" but change the words from Brother John to Sister Ana and Sister Grace
-Ana likes to say her name very loudly when you sing it
-Maybe I'm un-American for thinking this, but why all the fuss behind Madden?
-You by a new game every year that basically only offers roster updates. How does this keep making money?
-Jason Priestley is 43 and has settled for doing Old Navy commercials. I feel old and a little disappointed.
-A path of destruction is heading to the American Southeast. Also Hurricane Isaac is touching down. #RNChumor
-Where was Greek yogurt 5 years ago? I feel like the person that pushed Greek yogurt on America is worth millions now.
-His name is probably John Chobani or Greg Oikos or something.
-I feel like Snooki having children should be a stark reminder to men everywhere that alcohol leads to bad decisions #birthcontrol
-So Prince Harry likes to get naked. Who doesn't?
-I think it's very telling that all the news stories on Prince Harry are being reported in Entertainment sections
-Sick kids after a vacation seemed inevitable
-Sick parents is also happening. It's fun in our house right now.
-I think I'm the only person that hates Lance Armstrong. Except the French and his ex-wife and Sheryl Crow and other cyclers. #livewrong
-Neil Armstrong on the other hand was a badass #rip
-We have Amazon Prime and haven't ever streamed a free movie. I feel like we're squandering our potential.
-Ana and Grace literally say "Go Giants!" everytime they see an SF logo #socute #damnstraight #sfgiants
-Erin and her sister watched Something Borrowed the other night. Every character is damn detestable in that movie.
-The MVP isn't awarded in April in the MLB #mattkemp
-The only question I have left for The Office is when will we see Michael Scott again before it ends.
-Our go to food when we don't want to cook: frozen pizza from Costco. Scoff all you want. They are damn delicious. #nom #pizza
-Knocked out a few items from my 30 by 30 list and didn't even realize. Posts to come.
-Fake laughter loses sincerity very quickly. Especially since I'm not the best actor in the world. #arecbarwin #insidejoke #teamamerica
-I am however a beautiful singer. Not just propping myself up. It's kind of true. #fergieandjesus

That's all for now. Vacation post for tomorrow.  See you next Tuesday.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


My mom graduated last night.  This wasn't a higher education thing, and she didn't really get a diploma. But it was a class of sorts.

She graduated with one year of sobriety.

Our family has a history of drinking.  Much of that history involves drinking way too much.  It may have started before my great grandfather George, but he is the oldest family member I can think of that had the problem.

George was a clown.  That isn't an insult.  He was actually a professional clown by trade.  Like painted face and prat falls.  He had a larger than life personality from what I remember.  Every room he entered felt a little smaller because his personality stretched from wall to wall.  He loved to laugh loudly and tell jokes.  He was also a mean, ornery drunk with a bit of a temper that didn't know the definition of too much.

In a lot of ways my mom and grandpa have both emulated his personality.  You know when they're in a room. They have a joke for every situation and only one volume, loud.  They also have a bit of a short fuse and have been known to fly off the handle at times.  One thing that my mom also inherited is drinking.

I'm not going to go into all the tell-tale signs of her alcoholism because this post isn't about that.  I just know there have been times that I was embarrassed of her drinking.  There were times when I worried what she would do to herself.  There were times when I was glad that my wife and children weren't around to witness some of her darker places.

One other character trait that has been passed down from generation to generation in our family is our hard-headedness and our absolute need to always be right. It can make some family functions seem like a war, but I'd like to think this has had a little bit to do with her success over the past year.

Now that she has come out the other side of a year of sobriety, I couldn't be more proud of her.  Her graduation included her group talking all about how she inspired them.  They talked about how big her personality is and how full of humor she is.  They talked about how big her heart is.  And I saw that in the relatively short time (compared to how long I've known her), they've recognized everything that I love about her.

I'll say the same thing here that I told her last night. I know that much of her humor, like mine, comes from how we deal with pain in our lives. It's our coping mechanism. I'm glad she has that to cope instead of alcohol. I'm glad she doesn't have to experience her grandchildren through a fog. I know she isn't perfect, but she also admits that and is always working on just bettering herself. And my daughters are lucky that they'll only really know the sober version of their grandma. They'll only see her as the loud, funny and admittedly crazy woman that so many people can't help but love.

I love my mom. I'm proud of all she's accomplished in this past year and all she'll accomplish from this point forward.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Twitter Machine Tuesday

There is just something so special about a Giants-Dodgers series.  Fans of Michigan and Ohio State get it.  Yankees and Red Sox fans get it.  Cubs and Cardinal fans know exactly when they'll play each other every year.  If you root for the Redskins, you know from very early on that you have to hate the Cowboys.

Yankees-Red Sox get all the pub, but Giants-Dodgers has a longer history filled with even more bitterness.

There are teams that don't have long-term, natural, bitter rivals, and the fans of those teams just don't understand.  If you're a Denver Nuggets fan, you have no hatred toward another team.  You may dislike Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, but there isn't 100 years of history and hate to pull from.

That is why my house will always have a level of tension when the Giants and Dodgers play.  It's why I still hate saying the name Salomon Torres.  It's why I'll always think fondly on a scrub like Brian Johnson.  It's why I hate Steve Finley and his stupid grand slam.  It's why I can't listen to a game on Fox that Eric Karros is announcing.  Joe Morgan is a horrible announcer, but he gets the ultimate pass for knocking the Dodgers out of the playoffs.

Our girls will be brought up to carry on the tradition of loving the Giants and rooting against the Dodgers.  I won't teach them to hate anyone.  They're just not allowed to like anything blue.

-Social Media has made being a fan of bitter rivals so much more fun. Talking crap to someone in another part of the country has never been easier.
-Note to 65+ year old lady with dreadlocks: Not an especially good look on just about anyone especially you
-Notable exceptions on the dreadlock front: Anyone named Marley, Whoopi and Gary Oldman in True Romance
-I actually set the volume on the TV to 24 throughout the first game of the latest series. In honor of Willie Mays #sfgiants
-Very much looking forward to some time near the water.
-I actually don't really like going out on boats though. It's the duality of me.
-Bought The Hunger Games the first day it came out. I haven't done that in a very long time. #marriedlife
-Jingle All the Way was on earlier this week. Erin was equal parts disappointed and confused I was so into it.
-I also had a root beer float while watching it. Yeah I'm 12 years old.
-I'm very disappointed with Melky Cabrera, but I feel no shame that I rooted for him. I thought it was just a great story. #sfgiants
-The part that sucks the worst is how unfunny and unoriginal the jokes from Dodgers and A's fans are
-Yeah two left fielders for the Giants are linked to PEDs. Yeah Juice Man instead of Melk Man. You're so clever.
-I always love training classes for work. There is no sarcasm in that fake tweet.
-I just love learning new things and getting outside input on how to improve.
-Going to learn about a totally new product tomorrow. Very excited.
-I'm going to write a full post about Tony Scott killing himself. I have strong opinions.
-There was no need to add a second wild card team in baseball. One game playoffs are dumb #mlb
-One game doesn't determine the better team in baseball #mlb
-What is it about Dr Pepper that is just so damn delicious?
-When are New Kids on the Block coming to town? #thingsiveneversaid
-We did FaceTime today and Grace kept saying Hold you which was adorable and heartbreaking
-I keep looking at my 30 by 30 list and feeling sorry for myself for failing almost all of them #stupidgoals
-Do Ed Hardy shirts come in a size besides small? #legitquestion
-To any Oakland fans: We aren't rivals. Get over it.

That's all for this week. Vacation is almost 24 hours away. See you next Tuesday.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Lake Living

This week is vacation week.

For the last three years, Erin's parents have rented a cabin near Donner Lake.  It doesn't have the same name recognition of a Lake Tahoe, but it is still a beautiful (and not as crowded) destination.  It allows us to escape the heat that has been a constant in our area for the last few weeks.  We can go on hikes and take the boat out on the lake.  We get to play cribbage and farkle and any other board and card games with weird names.

Last year we took the girls before they could really move and get themselves into trouble.  This year will add some beach and lake time with the whole family.  Not only that but Grace absolutely LOVES the water, so she'll be in heaven for the next few days.

It's going to be a great week.  Or more accurately for me at least, it will be a great four days.

I have to work for the first part of the vacation for a variety of reasons including wanting to do a great job at work, coverage at my job and not really having vacation accumulated yet.  I don't mind working.  Trust me.  I appreciate the ability to earn an honest day's wage.

The real problem is that Erin and the girls left yesterday which means I'm home alone for the next few days until I head up the hill.  This means I can't wake up to them for the next three mornings.  I can't put the girls to bed for the next three nights.  I can't spend time with my wife for the next three days.  We aren't going to sit down for dinner together for three evenings.  This basically throws my whole life out of the normal axis.

I'll just keep working hard for the next 72 hours looking forward to the 4 days of fun that will follow.  Based on the pictures that Erin has been sending me, it is a beautiful and serene place to spend some time off with my family.  The days with them will make me forget all about the next few days without them.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Daddy Daughter Days

On Wednesday morning Grace had a follow up appointment regarding her hurt leg.  For anyone who doesn't remember, she hurt herself when we were going down the slide.  We weren't sure if there were any broken bones because the X-ray didn't really show anything conclusive.  After a little time of her refusing to stand on it, we didn't it was time to put here in a cast.

The doctor told us we were looking at two weeks in the cast and then they would reevaluate.  If they saw any bones in the process of healing, they would put her back in the cast to continue healing for another couple of weeks.  If it still showed nothing broken, she was out of the cast.

We were obviosuly rooting for the no cast option.  We're going on vacation next week and really wanted it to be a vacation without a kid in a cast.  Bath time would become that much easier.  We wouldn't have to rub it in Grace's face that she couldn't go in the pool.  And we could just relax (as much as you can with two 2-year-olds).  It turns out we got our wish.  Apparently Grace has Wolverine-like healing ability because she did in fact break a bone in her leg, but it had completely healed since then.

So yesterday we had a first Daddy Daughter Day without an injured kid in what seemed like forever.

See no cast here.  Just four legs and tennis shoes.  On our way to the park.

I just love Ana's face in this picture.  She always seems like she's up to no good even when she is stuck in a swing.

We went on a march around the park.  Ana decided that we should speed up.  She said "Bye-bye" and ran off.

And Grace faced her fears and went right back down a slide in spite of her last slide leading to injury.  Actually she feared nothing and went right after it like it's her job.

Ana is a little more careful on the slide...

...until I told her to go the other way.  Although it may have had more to do with her sister sliding down on her butt.

And then she got even more adventurous and went right to the big slide.

We logged some building block time.  I asked Grace what she was making here, and she replied with "House."  Obviously she is going for a Frank Lloyd Wright-type design.

We were pooped after a long day of parks, blocks, helping to clean mom's closet and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  Great day.

I hope everyone out there has a wonderful and safe weekend.  There won't be a Daddy Daughter Day post next week because I'll be on a little vacation, but I'll have four days worth of Daddy Daughter Vacation pictures when I get back.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Twitter Machine Tuesday

I'm currently running on fumes.

Actually fumes would be a welcome jolt of energy right about now.

I've gone over time and again how much I hate summer, and it has never been more true than this week.  We've had a run of 100+ degree days that seems to have started weeks ago and doesn't show any signs of stopping.  In reality it's been about a week and hopefully will end soon.  But the thing about consecutive days of high temperatures is that it doesn't cool off so much at night.

And last night was the all time stuffy, staying warm, good luck trying to fall asleep in a pool of your own sweat type of nights.  I couldn't fall asleep.  4am came around, and Grace had apparently reached her limit too because she woke up crying.  I feel ya kid.

Now I'm counting down the minutes until I can go to sleep again.  I hope to all that is holy that it cools off tonight.

On to a very unenthusiastic Twitter Machine...

-Man I just want it to be hotter for a longer stretch #thingsiveneversaid
-I just wish I had the kind of money to run the AC at 68 degrees at all times. That would be glorious.
-I don't care about the money or acclaim. I just want to be a celebrity, so I can be the Star in a Reasonably Priced car #topgear
-When did schools start going back in early August? If I was a kid I wouldn't stand for it.
-Our girls' obsession with Nemo has led to Ana speaking whale. #findingnemo
-Grace also likes to say "BUTT! BUTT! BUTT!" whenever she sees the boat #findingnemo
-You know who had it all figured out? That Joe Stalin guy #thingsiveneversaid
-Put on the movie Rubber the other night. Seriously WTF is that shit?
-Paul Ryan may be a great man and politician. The problem is he has two first names, and you can't trust that.
-A friend that I've known for 20 years got married over the weekend. It was a beautiful and fun night.
-And I danced my ass off #ofcourse
-If I don't leave your wedding sweaty, you really should have invested in a better DJ/music #justsayin
-What I really want to watch tonight is Project Runway #thingsiveneversaid
-The girls love marching. They say "March" and then march around the house following me.
-I know that I didn't do a Daddy Daughter Day post last week. I just never remember to take pictures.
-Sometimes I wonder what the internet has actually given us as a society
-Then I see the Baby Got Back video made from movie clips and realize that all is right with the world wide web #bestthingever
-Man I really hope the Dodgers score a few runs here #thingsiveneversaid
-The Hunger Games comes out on DVD this week. May have to purchase that one.
-I didn't even realize that Kate Miller-Heidke had a new album out. And it's been out for months. Now I want it.
-Shark Week is the one time of year where we look forward to watching the same damn shows over and over.
-Robert Pattinson is NO Peter O'Toole, so it should go without saying that he ain't fit to play T.E. Lawrence #lawrenceofarabia
-The only problem with Kindle's Lending Library is I finish books more quickly than they can lend them out #amazon #cheapskate
-I haven't had Thai food in far too long. I need to remedy that.

Hope everyone has a happy, safe and cool week.  See you next Tuesday.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Twitter Machine Tuesday

When I first started working at my new job almost a year ago, I would constantly hear from people that working with your spouse is tough.  I was told that you never get a break from your significant other, and it can wear on your relationship.

I have to admit that I'm not seeing what they meant.  I love working with Erin.  I get to see her all the time.  We can go to lunches together.  I can just swing by her office to say "Hello" whenever I want.  I think it just tells me that everyone that warned me didn't really have a healthy relationship with their spouse because I've been enjoying every minute of it.

It's just been on my mind as I'm coming up on my one-year anniversary that I've thoroughly enjoyed every moment of my new job.

On to some fake tweets.

-Apparently Bret Easton Ellis was being considered to adapt 50 Shades of Gray for the screen. #huh #theguywhowroteamericanpyscho #really
-I guess they wanted to get someone that actually knows how to write to adapt it #makessense
-Curiousity might be the worst name for a NASA mission/rover ever. The Peekaboo was taken #obviously
-I see the picture of Loughner and think "Yeah that guy shouldn't be walking around outside of concrete walls for the rest of his life"
-Gaming addiction is now a thing. Prescription: Get an effing job.
-Remember that two week period when everyone was addicted to draw something then it just went away?
-Ana constantly sticks her fingers in her diapers to feel out her work.
-Real Horror: My kid comes up to me and says "Yucky" with feces on her fingers #eww
-Although I think what she really thought was yucky was the dog hair that also stuck to her fingers
-I always tell myself to write these on Monday nights and then post them the next day.  I never do. #lazy
-I love what some people deem an appropriate time and location to argue.
-Now that track and field has started in the Olympics, I still don't care #notapologetic
-Although I think Usain Bolt is an incredible talent and also a dickhead
-How did we determine that the 100-meter dash was what determined fastest man alive status? Was there a vote?
-Sure they run fast for 100 meters, but dudes who run 200 meters also run pretty damn fast.
-I'm sure there is a snarky wife somewhere who refers to her husband as the fastest man alive #inbed
-What is it about chow mein that makes me want to come back for seconds, thirds and more? I can't help it.
-I think it might have the same chemicals as beer because I come back for seconds, thirds and more with that too.
-Saw the trailer for This Is 40, I just love Paul Rudd so much.
-Although is there anyone that hates Paul Rudd? He's just so damn likable.
-Our children are obsessed with Finding Nemo. They saw a clown fish in the tank at Nordstroms and started saying "Nemo" repeatedly.
-I'm glad it's Pixar. Hopefully we can just keep them locked in on those and distract them from the princesses.
-Grace has acclimated very well to the cast so far. She spends every bedtime kicking the side of her crib with it. #noisemaker
-Erin got tickets to Giants-Dodgers on Sept 9th #bestwifeever #babysitterwanted
-This will be only her second ever Giants-Dodgers game and they'll both actually be playing for something this time.
-Nothing better than a Giants-Dodgers game that means something.
-I should probably post this before midnight on the East Coast. #twittermachinewednesday

Have a great week.  See you next Tuesday.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Grandma's Garden

We went up to my parents' house on Sunday for a little barbecue lunch and to hang out with my family.  It was a great, relaxing day.

We got up there before everyone else arrived, so we spent a little time picking veggies from my mom's garden.  Her garden is totally legit in case you were wondering.  We actually ended up eating the corn that the girls helped pick and grilled it on the barbecue.  It was delicious.  My mom also made a cobbler and cake with the peaches from her tree.  Also pretty darn good.

And of course Erin snapped a bunch of pictures.


Grace and Grandma

Smelling the flowers

Ana and Pop Pop

Picked a winner

In the tall stuff

Look what I picked

We love corn and 'matoes!

Child of the corn

Friday, August 3, 2012

Daddy Daughter Days

Let me tell you what throws a curve ball on a day off with your kids: When one of them is in a cast.

You can't really do anything involving water in fear of getting the cast wet.  Grace can't really get around as well, so you have to carry her everywhere.  You can't put them in certain outfits because they may not fit over the cast.

We didn't let this deter us from having a great day.

We left the house right after breakfast and went over to visit the girls' great grandparents.  Her Grace is on the couch with her great grandma.  I think it's so wonderful that they get to have a relationship with their great grandparents.  I still remember spending time with my great grandparents when I was growing up.

We also had a couple of special treats.  I walked in and saw the big bowl of dough sitting on the counter and knew exactly what that meant.  Great Grandma made cabbage buns a.k.a. bierock.  It is ground beef, onions and cabbage wrapped in a delicious dough then baked in the oven.  Put a little yellow mustard on it and enjoy.  Basically you can't be in our family if you don't love cabbage buns.

And Ana and Grace passed the test and can remain in the family.  They LOVED the cabbage buns and ate them how our family enjoys them with watermelon on the side.  They didn't try them with yellow mustard just yet, but that should happen next time.  They also got to taste a peach pie that their great grandma made. Don't worry.  They're going to be pie people.  Start 'em young, that's what I always say.

And we had a surprise visit from our Auntie Nina while we were there.  She always loved to see them.  Grace was in the midst of screaming in excitement at this point.

We even spent some time serenading everyone there.  This was a song they co-wrote called "Let's Pound on All the Keys" which is a waltz. 

When we first arrived the girls weren't in such a playful and gregarious mood.  It took a little music and stuffed animal time to really warm.  Here is Ana's dance routine.

So much fun that this is what the went down in the back seat within 4 minutes of pulling away from their house.  Some tired little ones.

I went in to sell a car in the afternoon, so I took the girls in with me to exchange cars with Erin.  While there Ana ran right up to the FR-S and kept saying "Car" and "Open" while pulling on the door.  So I opened the door and she climbed right in.  Then she kept saying "Closed" so I would close the door.  She was totally digging it.  The apple doesn't fall too far from the tree.  She started crying when I took her out.  Maybe my best argument for getting this car.  Just saying.

That's all from this week.  Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Gold Medal in Parenting

Erin has been all over the Olympics.  She watches every night (unless the Giants are playing then she switches between the two).  And she is enthralled.  Like edge of her seat, sobbing like a baby after every event, won't walk into the other room enthralled.  She knows the results of many of the events and is still watching with bated breath.

I've never been all about the Olympics for a number of reasons, so it is just background noise for me for a couple of weeks.  I came to the realization that it is a perfect storm of women's entertainment.  You have incredibly athletic, shirtless dudes.  You have women's gymnastics.  And you have NBC tugging on your heartstrings by constantly going to the human interest well and showing all the parents' emotional reactions.

Because when you really think about it, you are watching children compete.  Sure many of them are teenagers, but they are still children nonetheless.  This is especially true in women's gymnastics and some of the swimming events.

This has led me to think about how much of their childhood many of this kids have given up.  I'm all for my kids doing things they love and doing whatever I can to cultivate a true talent or knack for something.  I want them to push to be the best, but part of me can't comprehend dedicating their young lives entirely to the pursuit Olympic glory.  And really unless they're Nadia Comaneci or Mary Lou Retton (i.e. truly legendary performers) that glory is really fleeting.

And this is part of the thin line that I think every parent walks with their kids.  Do I want to push my kids so much that they'll miss out on all life has to offer them?  Am I doing them a disservice if I don't push them harder and they don't realize the potential to do something great?  Will pushing them too hard or not pushing them hard enough lead to missed opportunities or unrealized potential?  Will they resent me either way?

I just know that I don't want to be like Aly Raisman's parents.  She's one of the girls on the American Gymnastics team that just won Gold.  If you're watching, you've probably seen her parents' reactions throughout her performances.  I'd link to the video but the IOC has blocked it on Youtube.  Just to give you a blow-by-blow, they writhe, squirm and contort their faces like they're watching the latest Saw movie.  I find it incredibly hard to watch.  I understand you want to see your kid succeed, but this is extreme.  Their reactions, to me, go beyond cheering your kid on.  These are people that are living through their kid.

I want the best for my girls, but that is also a cop out, generic statement.  What is the best for them really?  I can't really determine what it is right now.  I guess more than anything the best is to give them as many opportunities as possible.  The best is to love them for who they are and not what they can do.  The best is to be in their corner no matter what.  The best is to give them a variety of options instead of shoehorning them into a particular activity.

For now I just want them to be kids and to enjoy everything that goes along with it.  For now they'll get the Gold Medal in being adorable.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Twitter Machine Tuesday

We wanted to let Grace heal on her own after her slide injury.  This was especially true after we saw two separate x-rays with no signs of a break.

She seemed to be progressing.  She started crawling.  Then tried her hand at standing.  She even got to the point of trying to take a few steps.  She still had a limp and wasn't moving or acting the same, so we had another appointment scheduled for this morning.

And we decided on this...

Grace rocking a cast and Ana consoling her
 Erin and I have never had a cast in our combined 60 years of life, and Grace is in a cast before she even turned two.  Bad luck kiddo.  Better safe than sorry.

Onto the Twitter Machine's triumphant return.

-Having a kid in a cast is going to be a pain. No baths and we'll have to wrap in plastic before showers.
-I really want to sign it with inappropriate stuff to get sideways looks from other parents.
-That or a heart with Justin Beiber written in it
-We hung out with Kim and Janelle this weekend. It. Was. Awesome.
-If you think they're cool in blog form, you don't even know how rad they are in person #seriously #timesathousand
-We even have inside jokes now. I'd have no problem scheduling a monthly get together. #baconwrapped
-Janelle's kid Ava is going to make a mint babysitting. Seriously this kid is beyond her years and fantastic with little ones.
-Giants trade for Hunter Pence #yesplease #sfgiants
-It's just great for Giants and Dodgers fans when both teams are good because they'll do whatever they can to beat the other.
-I liken it to an arms race between nations except without the fear of nuclear winter
-The Olympics are on every night in our house. Or as I like to call it "Time to catch up on my reading"
-I've started the Harry Potter series for the first time. Amazon Prime Lending Library #FTW
-Seriously as if free shipping to Amazon Prime members wasn't cool enough, you get a free book from their lending library once a month
-Great gift for a new parent would actually be an Amazon Prime membership. Bought so much baby crap in that first year without paying shipping.
-This is by no means an advert for Amazon. I just like the service. #gratisadvice
-I'm not an Olympic fan. I just don't understand why we hand out medals for basic survival skills like running and swimming.
-The Girls both say "Limpics" though. I blame their mother.
-How would you like to be a high schooler competing against Missy Franklin? Chick wins gold medals. Seems unfair.
-I wanted to post parts of this Twitter Machine on tape delay, but NBC wouldn't release their superior technology to let this happen
-I'd comment on the Opening Ceremony, but I refused to watch.
-Is there any event more self-congratulatory than the Olympic Opening Ceremony? Maybe the Oscars.
-I don't agree with Chick-Fil-A's politics. They just make a damn delicious chicken sandwich.
-How come you always want Chick-Fil-A on a Sunday when they're closed? #hangoverfood #murphyslaw
-We cancelled our Netflix streaming some time back, but I think we're going to need to reinstate to finally watch Breaking Bad
-Had someone tell me that I provided them with the best car-buying experience in 30 years. #winning
-I love me some Tolkien, but did we really need to make The Hobbit into three movies? #overkill #moneygrab
-Snoop Dogg is now Snoop Lion after travelling to Jamaica. This is actually a thing.
-What took Snoop so long to travel to the pot capital of the universe? I'm thinking they may not have had enough pot until now.
-No I will not confirm you as my family or allow you to post my info on your MyCalendar app #facebooksucks
-I really don't care who you're voting for nor does anyone else on Facebook. I'm here to see clever status updates and comedy videos #justsayin

That's all for this week.  See you next Tuesday!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Daddy Daughter Days

I took a week off from blogging and it was somewhat glorious.  I didn't have to worry about being clever or figuring out what I wanted to write for a whole week.

Now I know why people stop entirely.  Because it is just so easy to decide not to do it anymore.

You go on a vacation and see this...
And this...
And you think "Why am I worrying about writing and blogging and not just experiencing life?"  But I came full circle on it and remembered that I started this whole deal to record our life as a family.  That way we'll always have something to look back on.

So I jumped right back into it this Thursday for Daddy Daughter Day.

We love to color.  In fact Grace sees the table and immediately starts saying "Color. Color."  It is adorable and a great way to learn the different colors.  At one point Ana ripped the orange crayon out of Grace's hand, and Grace started screaming.  Of course it was the orange crayon.  She wouldn't do the same for a Dodger blue crayon.

Here is Ana doing yet another self-portrait.  I saved you the 10 pictures of the ceiling that she took as she kept hitting the camera button at the bottom of the iPhone screen.

Grace put her baba in my mouth and her blanket (Zeebs) on me and said "Dada nigh-night" and went back to playing with her toys.  I was honored that she gave me her stuff to go to sleep, but I was a little disappointed that she didn't want to keep playing with me.

I just...this kid is so...  I'm so in love with these girls.

Sometimes when you need to use the potty, you just need to read a good book.  In this case, it was That's Not My Bear.  Grace also used the potty 3 times on Thursday.  I was so proud.

Just loungin' so hard.  No big deal.

And we love to play with our new chalkboard.  Thanks to our mom for finding that one.

That's all for this week.  Hope everyone is enjoying the weekend.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Daddy Daughter Days

I won't complain about work because I could obviously have it so much worse than I do right now.  I have plenty of time to spend with my family.  I have an okay schedule that allows for down time in the middle of the week to spend a day with my daughters.  I'm not nearly as stressed as I was in my previous job.  All in all it's great.

There are times however where it can lead to a little extra stress.

This Daddy Daughter Day was interrupted about halfway through, so I could go into work because a customer needed me to come in.  I'm all for being available to help.  Instead of spending the morning playing and enjoying time with the girls, I had to get the house cleaned up, so I wouldn't be embarrassed if someone had to come over.  Instead of going to the park, I had to get ready to go into work.  And instead of relaxing during their nap time, I was in doing work.

Again I can't complain because I actually have a job that I enjoy.  I just hate when my day with my daughters doesn't go according to schedule.

With all that being said there are still some pictures of our day.

The day started the night before when we went on a walk with the girls and Molly the dog.  Grace went potty right when we were about to leave, so Ana and I had some fun outside with the dog while we were waiting.  Ana kept saying "Bye" and walking away with Molly.

Every morning the girls come to me and say "Elmo."  They have conditioned me to do a call from Elmo on my phone first thing in the morning.  By the way, the Elmo Calls app is pretty cool if you have a kid that is obsessed with Elmo.

Morning Giants Game + Morning Snuggle = Morning Giant Snuggle

Normally you can't pry this necklace away from Grace.  You can kind of see her in the background.  Most likely about to grab it away from Ana.

What's the deal with women having to go to the bathroom with all their friends?

There is a frog on the water table.  We name him Frederick.  At one point Frederick jumped onto Grace's hand, and she didn't react at all.  Then he jumped onto Ana's shoulder who totally freaked for a half-second.  Then he hopped away.

Ana has learned the importance of accessorizing.  Dada's belt probably doesn't work with that outfit, kiddo.

We went to a park with a lot of great slides.  Ana was having fun.  Grace was too until she hurt her leg going down a slide with me and Ana.  She twisted her leg on the way down and hasn't wanted to stand on it since.  We iced it and gave her infant Ibuprofen.  This morning she still didnt want to stand on it and kept saying "Hurt" in her little voice.  We took her to the doctor, and he didn't see a major break or fracture.  Thank God for that.  But I feel terrible about it.  I didn't want her to get hurt.  I just want my angel to get better.

And a video.  Yeah maybe I should be teaching my girls to say things that will be more useful in real life.  But we're Giants fans damnit.

Every one have a wonderful and safe weekend.  We'll see you next week after our mini-vacation.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Criminally Underrated 4.0

If you've been following my blog, you know how much I love sharing music, movies, tv shows and other assorted things that I find to be underrated.  Not just underrated but criminally underrated.  This is the stuff that should be way more popular, so I decide to make it my own personal mission to share them with the world (or at least my readers who will share it with two friends who will share it with two of their friends and so on and so on).

You can read previous incarnations here, here, and here.

On with the underrated...

Music: Walk the Moon
I downloaded the song Anna Sun as one of iTunes' free downloads a while back, and I haven't been able to get it out of my head since.  It is such a fantastic and epic song that I bought their entire album the day it was released solely on the strength of the one single.  And let me tell you the rest of the album doesn't disappoint.  They're the band I wanted The Killers to become.  Powerful and catchy pop songs that make you want to sing along.  They have a somewhat electronic sound on some of their songs that I don't usually like, but somehow it just works on their songs.  Ultimately they're just a killer band that has some earworms that you can't help but enjoy.  Try listening to Anna Sun, Tightrope or Shiver Shiver and not sing them the rest of the day.  Impossible.  Also they'll be on Conan tonight.  Tune in.

Music: Matt & Kim
Speaking of earworms.  I'm not sure if you remember the music video of the two people stripping naked in Times Square.  That was Matt & Kim.  The video garnered the attention, but the music is really what remains and stands up.  Daylight is probably their most popular song.  You know it and don't even know it.  What is most impressive is it's literally just Matt & Kim making all this great music.  They incorporate so many styles from hip-hop to disco and any other genre you can imagine.  But once you start listening to them, their sound is so distinct and unmistakable even with all these different influences.  They have a new album coming out at in the fall.  I'll be buying it.

Movie: Bottle Rocket
This movie came up the other day thanks to State I Am In.  She posted a picture to Instagram of new picture frames on a book shelf.  I saw her DVD collection underneath and couldn't help but comment on a few of the movies.  Bottle Rocket being one of them.  You've no doubt heard of Owen and Luke Wilson, and you're probably aware of the director Wes Anderson after Moonrise Kingdom just came out this summer and is being lauded by critics.  This was the directorial debut of Anderson and the feature film debut of the Wilson brothers.  It has all the flourishes found in Anderson's later films: eccentric characters, an old-timey feel, great music, complicated schemes hatched by the characters, missed love connections, quirky comedy, etc.  It's just a fun and enjoyable movie.  If you like The Royal Tenenbaums or Rushmore, you'll love this movie.  If you've never seen Tenenbaums or Rushmore, start with this one and watch all the Anderson movies because they're really fantastic.

TV: Freaks and Geeks
18 episodes.  One of the best television shows of the last 20 years only lasted 18 episodes, but it launched the careers of so many people.  Judd Apatow.  James Franco.  Seth Rogen.  Jason Segel.  Apatow and Paul Feig (who later went on to direct Bridesmaids) were the men in charge, and this show has a lot of the Apatow themes: angst, lovable losers, underachievers, mismatched love interests and the perfect mix of drama and VERY funny comedy.  It's just excellent television.  And the thing that Apatow and Feig did so well was making it feel so real and relatable.  So many shows and movies focus on the popular and beautiful kids.  This show was all about the kids that 90% of us were in high school.  It's the same reason we still look back fondly at the John Hughes high school movies of the 80s.  These are characters we could see ourselves in.  With the advent of DVD and streaming media, you can go back and watch the entire run and wonder what the hell NBC was thinking when they cancelled it.

That's all for this round.  Go and listen, watch, enjoy all these things.  If you don't think the stuff I like is that great that's fine.  If you do, share it with someone.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Twitter Machine Tuesday

Next week we are actually going to have an honest-to-goodness vacation.  We're going down to Southern California with Erin's parents, her grandma and the girls.  It's pretty exciting since this is the first time off I'll have taken since starting my new job.  It's also the job that is allowing me to go down there in the first place.

But mostly I'm looking forward to taking the girls to the beach and going out to nice dinners.

It actually isn't an extended time off for me.  I'll only be down there for two nights and flying back on Tuesday.  But you probably don't care about that.  All you care about is what this means for you the readers?  Well I won't be posting a Twitter Machine next week.  I also won't be posting anything on Monday.  When I go on vacation, I go all the way on vacation.  I also don't post stuff from my phone because that's way too dedicated.

At least you can enjoy the Twitter Machine this week.  Or at the very least tolerate it.

-I don't think people should be forbidden from telling certain jokes. If Tosh wants to tell a rape joke, then he has the right to. #tosh
-It isn't your job to police what people say. If you don't like it, you exercise your right by walking out and not giving him your money.
-His response of five guys raping that audience member wasn't funny. You need to address hecklers in a more humorous way than that.
-The moment we start deciding what should and shouldn't be said is the moment we start losing our freedom. Hurt feelings happen. Get over it.
-I've been putting off my recent Criminally Underrated for too long. I'll be posting it tomorrow.
-For those of you who tuned into the All Star Game and saw a Giants' game instead: you're welcome #sfgiants
-Dark Knight Rises comes out this weekend, and I probably won't be seeing it because we're watching our money. #stupidresponsibilities
-Keep in mind that buying movie tickets isn't the only cost to consider. Babysitting. Popcorn. Junior Mints. It isn't cheap.
-Ana loves holding Grace's hand. On walks she says "Hand" and walks with her. #twins #myheart
-The Bachelorette claimed that the finale will be the "Live event of the summer." I guess we don't consider the Summer Olympics either live or an event. #whoknew
-I find it funny when someone that has had a bunch of plastic surgery calls someone else fake. I'm sure you're like 38% real though.
-My girls don't even want to snuggle in the morning anymore. They've been conditioned to ask for a call from Elmo first thing. #elmocalls
-This whole Viacom/DirecTV thing has led to no Futurama or Yo Gabba Gabba in our house. I'm not happy about it.
-In a related story, I called DirecTV and complained that I would cancel and got $30/month off my bill for 12 months. And free Showtime and Starz for 90 days. #winning
-It has at least allowed us to DVR the last season of Weeds #littleboxes #littlevictories
-I still want my Futurama back, and I get the distinct feeling our girls still want Yo Gabba Gabba back
-MLB The Show and MLB.com feature a Dharma Initiative logo at Turner Field. It makes me chuckle and want to rewatch LOST. #LOST
-This morning Ana was saying TV. Really? We hardly let you watch it for this very reason.
-I want to write a song if only to include the lyric: It's hard to get over you when I was never under you
-Apparently owning a separate non-smartphone to take out when getting drunk is a thing. #kidstoday
-I don't know what I'm more jealous about: The ingenuity of the idea or the fact that people have that kind of disposable income.
-Erin actually asked me if the DVR knows that The Bachelorette finale is airing on Sunday instead.
-I don't know why she is so concerned with it. She already read the spoilers of who will be chosen.
-Funny thing is if I had read the spoilers and told her, she would have been pissed.

That's all for this week's Twitter Machine.  I won't see you next Tuesday, but I'll be back the following week.

Monday, July 16, 2012

It's Potty Time!

We always had the best intentions when Erin got pregnant.  You read the books and hear about how other parents have helped their children develop.  And you want to be just as on top of it as they are.

We wanted to do sign language because it's the chic thing to help communication.  Didn't happen.

We wanted to keep them away from sugary sweets and processed foods for obvious reasons.  Did a little better there, but good luck explaining that to grandparents, aunts and uncles.

We kind of lucked into a pretty regimented schedule as far as eating and naps because of the NICU.

And then there's potty training.

You hear about all the horror stories when it comes to potty training.  The messes on carpets.  The ruined clothes.  The crying kids that don't want to use the potty.  And then you hear about the parents that potty trained their kids with no big issues, and you hope to god you can at least fall somewhere in the middle (while secretly hoping your kids will be potty rock stars).

And for a lot of people it seems like a contest.  You hear someone say "My daughter was potty trained at 16 months" or some ridiculous age like they are so much better than everyone else.  We even heard it from family members.  Erin was trained at 18 or 19 months.  Her mom was telling us this when her grandma chimed in that her kids were all trained at 12 months.  It isn't a contest, but that would be some sort of record if it was actually true.

The thing is your kids sort of determine when they're ready.  And with two completely different kids, this is when the job can get hard.

A few weeks ago Ana and Grace started telling us when they had dirty diapers.  They would say "Pee-pee" in strained voices while squatting and making faces.  Apparently this is more common with cloth diapers because they aren't as absorbent as their disposable counterparts.  That is a huge positive because discomfort leads to wanting to avoid discomfort.  It's human nature.

It also told us it was time to start the potty training process.

So we headed to Babies R Us and picked up some training toilets.  Since then we've had somewhat mixed results.

Grace has taken very well to it.  It helps that we know when she usually has to go.  So we've been sitting her down on the potty after naps and meals or when she tells us "pee-pee."  The first time she went pee in the potty was so exciting.  I had sat her down after her nap.  She sat there reading her book like it was no big deal at all.  Ana woke up crying, so I went in to check on her.  I heard Grace say "All done" from the bathroom, and she walked into their bedroom without any pants on.  I picked her up was telling her she needed to stay on the potty until she was done when I saw that she had used the potty and was in fact all done.  Later that night she pooped and the very next day she went pee again.

Ana on the other hand HATES using the potty.  The first time I sat her down she cried the entire time and kept trying to stand up.  Whenever we sit her down her response is always "No, no, no."  She has had rashes and sitting on the potty seems to bother her.  She doesn't really get that she probably won't be as itchy and rashy when she stops wearing diapers all the time.  So up to this point she has yet to use the potty.

But we gave Grace a treat for going poop in the potty the other day.  Maybe Ana will see that Grace is getting something she isn't and get with the program.

What I really learned about it is I don't care what the books and supposed perfect parents did.  All I care about is the look on Grace's face when she saw how happy her mom and I were after she used the potty.  She was so proud of herself.  So if you want to tell me your theories on how to potty train or when your kids were trained, don't.  I just don't care about comparing my kids to yours.  Mostly because my kids aren't your kids or anyone elses kids.  And also because I already know my kids are awesome and don't need the comparisons to prove it.