Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Bet You Can't Have Just One

Last week Erin and I were surprised by a visit from our friends from Michigan.  We met them through Toyota, and our families have spent vacations together over the years.  They were driving cross country to move one of their siblings' stuff to San Francisco.  And since they were driving through and hadn't met our girls, they stopped in for an impromptu visit.  Basically their family is awesome in every way imaginable.

They were only able to hang around for a few hours in spite of our numerous requests to stay a little bit longer.  While they were here, the topic of kids came up (since one of the sisters is getting married next month) and what we'd consider the perfect amount came up.

We're not really at the point where we feel the desire or pressure to have more.  I definitely want to have a son, but I know that this is out of my control.  But it was great to have the discussion with this group because they have five siblings in the family, and they had four daughters before having a son.  I don't know that I'll be able to go that many rounds just to have a boy, but it seemed to work out great for them. 

I'm pretty sure we're not going to end up with five kids.  Erin will pull the "No mas" card long before we even get close to that point.

We all agreed that we feel bad for only children because they'll never know what it's like to have that relationship with a brother or sister in a big family.  I'm so thankful we had twins for this very reason.  They'll always have at least one person around their age to stand in their corner.  Friends aren't guaranteed to always be there, but a brother or sister is.

And as a parent I have to wonder, how do you stop at one?  We didn't have the option since we had two right away, but I feel like it wouldn't have even been an option if we started with one.  I look at how our girls interact with one another.  I see how they run up to each other to give hugs and kisses.  I also look back at my life growing up with an older brother and two younger sisters, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

I can't imagine a child that didn't have that experience growing up.  I can't imagine a family really feeling like a family with only one child.  I'm glad that I don't have to.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Twitter Machine Tuesday

Today is my sister's 28th birthday, and all I can keep thinking is how old she is and how old I am by proxy.  I don't know if I'm the only person that feels this way, but I never feel older on my birthday or when I look at myself in the mirror.  It's always when I see someone else getting older that it hits home for me.

I get that I'll be turning 30 in October, and I realize that is milestone birthday.  Some may even say that is old.  I don't personally.  Yet I see that my sister is 28 and I think "Man, we're getting older."  It's weird and a little backwards.

Anyways happy birthday to my little sister.

-The Call Elmo app is so entrenched in our lives that the moment the girls get in our bed in the morning they say "Elmo?"
-Although I'm going to make sure they avoid that Elmo impersonator that cusses kids out
-Ana actually is saying the word Giants now and points to any logo I have on me when she sees it. #getemyoung
-It just goes to show that you don't choose your teams, your team chooses you.
-Or your parents choose them for you #eitherway
-Working on some more Criminally Underrated stuff for you. Should be out next week.
-I've had a Groupon for Icing on the Cupcake for like a month without using it.
-Obviously my love and devotion for cupcakes should be called into question.
-After the surge of cupcakes, cupcakeries & cupcake TV shows, how has there not been a similar surge in Mini-Pies? #getonthatamerica
-Alex Trebek. Who is a game show host that just had a heart attack?
-Anthony Davis trademarked his unibrow. I think Bert has a case against him #sesamestreet
-A lot of chick flick lovers are going to be heartbroken by Nora Ephron dying #sleeplessinseattle #whenharrymetsally #youvegotmail
-I don't think the All Star Game is a big deal, but it would be cool to see some more Giants make it #sfgiants #MLB
-I don't know how we lived without Facetime. Seriously coolest invention ever.
-If your child is getting picked on by a bigger, older kid that may have a disability, how do you respond?
-Any time we don't watch The Bachelorette on a Monday has to be considered a win.
-Erin, her siblings and I went to the Giants-A's game on Sunday. Last second trip and was totally fun.
-I don't want to be a snob or anything, but AT&T Park provides a much better in-game experience than Oakland
-A's won with a walk-off. And an A's fan said it was the best game ever. #perspective
-And her argument when I said that the Giants won the series "Well we suck, so it isn't a big accomplishment" #really
-At least we agree on one thing, the A's do in fact suck
-My wife and I have been eating ice cream more often. Probably because she is foul temptress.
-Ana likes to tackle Grace. It's how she shows her affection.
-Ana has been blowing kisses for a while, and Grace has started doing it too. It seriously is too much for my heart.
-I know there are more popular condiments, but guacamole is far and away the best #thereisnoargument
-Seriously stop thinking about better condiments. You just won't win this one.
-I still hate the Dodgers in case you were wondering #sfgiants #beatla

That's all for this week.  I have to get myself ready for another Giants-Dodgers showdown.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Twitter Machine Tuesday

Fathers Day is a great day to reflect on being a dad, but it can also be a lot of damn work.

It used to be about buying a gift for dad and writing him a nice card (or more accurately having your wife do it because she'd better at that stuff).  Now we drive to places after loading the girls in the car along with everything we could possibly need for 8-10 hours away from our home.  This followed cleaning the house before we left to make sure we didn't come home to a disaster site.  Trust me my past self was my present self's favorite person when we finally got back home after the long day.

All I'm saying is that being a father means that you have kids which means you're probably chasing said kids throughout the day.  This means that what you've really earned is a good night sleep on Fathers Day evening.

-Matt Cain is a better pitcher than you. Period. #sfgiants
-If Sandy Koufax is reading this, you are the only one with a legit argument
-Golf is the most boring of spectator sports. I'm reminded of this every Fathers Day. #usopen
-Any champ that can be determined simply by another guy losing is horrible. #usopen
-I mean a guy who never led the entire time he was on the course won it? Weak #usopen
-Microsoft created what will probably be a better tablet than the iPad. It still won't sell as well. #applefanboys
-Arsenio Hall is coming back to late night. It's like 1990 all over again!
-Let me hear what the dog pound thinks...nothing?  Ok then.
-I hate the movie, but I'm very intrigued by Cars Land at Disneyland.
-Why couldn't Disney do something Incredibles related? Like an island or 50's style city.
-Johnny Depp is back on the market...ladies
-I can't believe Brave is already coming out this week. A strong female lead in a Pixar is win-win.
-I'm all for preventing flopping in the NBA, but some guys are going to have to change their games #ginobili
-I hate the DH. Call me a baseball purists, but it is just a stupid rule to extend the careers of no-glove players
-I really want to go camping. I can't wait to take our girls to the great outdoors. I don't know if they're ready to sleep in tents.
-It's looking more and more like the Heat are going to be the champs unless they have a monumental collapse.
-Of course LeBron suffered cramps. He is a vagina.
-On Tuesdays Erin's mom brings the girls by our work after watching them. It makes my afternoon.
-Ana got inside of a Scion FR-S and Grace climbed in with her. My two loves met for the first time.
-I just don't get excited about the Olympics at all. #thereisaidit
-Futurama is back for another season! Love that show.

I'm pretty low on ideas after a long week and day, so I'm checking out for now.  See you next Tuesday.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Being A Dad

I didn't post anything on Father's Day because I rarely post anything on Sundays.  Not only that but we spent a large portion of the day in the car (or at least it seemed that way).  Erin had an awesome observation about it.  Her exact words being "Whoever put Mother's Day and Father's Day on Sundays obviously didn't have a job to go to the next day."  So very true.

Anyways I could have planned ahead and written this post last week and scheduled it for yesterday, but planning ahead and mapping out all my posts really isn't my style.  Case in point, I didn't even realize I was about to reach 200 posts until I was already at 195, and I didn't even plan from that point.

But as always I digress.

I was thinking about what it meant to be a dad on the drive to and from the Bay Area yesterday.  There is something about a long drive that allows you to reflect on your life.  Especially when you aren't driving and at least one of your kids passes out for an extended period.

Being a dad isn't just about knocking somebody up although that is a necessary ingredient.  When it comes to being a dad giving the life is nowhere near as important as shaping it.

You need to be a hand to hold.

You need to be a shoulder to cry on.

You need to be open arms to hold and protect.

You need to be a pillow on sleepless nights.

You need to be the light in a dark room.

You need to be strong for protection.

You need to be stern and lay down the law (even when it sucks).

You need to be the jungle gym to climb on.

You need to be a playmate when the need arises.

You need to be the clown when they want to laugh.

You need to be the example of how a husband should treat his wife, so they don't end up a douche or married to one.

You need to be the chef and the maid (until they can pick up their own toys and clothes).

You need to be ready to read every one of their books about 1000 times.

You need to show them how to fly on their own but remind them that the nest will always be there for them when they need it.

Mostly you need to want to be all these things because your children need all of these things from their dad.

I'm lucky to be Grace and Ana's dad.  I don't really need any gifts on Fathers Day because waking up to their smiling faces is good enough for me.  Happy Fathers Day to all the dads out there.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Beat the Heat

It's so damn hot!  Milk was a bad choice!

Oh and here is how Grace beats the heat when it hits triple-digits.

Stay cool out there people!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Daddy Daughter Days

I love my days with the girls.  I actually start getting excited about them the night before.  I check what the temperature will be before bed time (HOT).  I make a plan for how we'll spend the day.  I think about what I'll make for breakfast the next morning (FRENCH TOAST!).  I just love Thursdays so much.

Anyways I'll let the pictures do most of the talking.

Grace pulled some books down from the shelf.  These are a little advanced for her right now.  But I'm sure she'll love the work of Madeleine L'Engle in few years.

Because of the aforementioned hot temperatures, we went to the park almost immediately.  What better time to enjoy the slides than before they've been roasting in the sun all day?  The girls walked right past the little kids jungle gym and went right to the big kids one.  "Jeez dad, we're a lot bigger than you think."

I climbed to the top of the highest slide to take this picture.  The entire time Ana yelled "UP!"  I felt bad to leave her down there.

Grace through the jungle gym floor.

Grace really is fearless.  She just goes right to the slide and lets go.  She loves it.

Ana on the other hand is not so fearless.  She did stand on the slide, but going down it is another story.

We hit up the swings before heading back to the house for a morning snack.  To answer the question you're asking in your head: Yes, her hair is always that wild.

We had a visitor yesterday too.  He's a Dodger fan that had to get rid of these Blue Moon Giants pint glasses that he got from his bar.  He figured that they really needed to get out of his house after the Matt Cain perfect game.  Two of those glasses will be on the way to Becoming Supermommy.

Grace has some meaningful conversations with the pink ducky during bathtime.

Finally I leave you with a video of Ana.  Enjoy.
"Monkey!  OOH-OOH!  EE-EE!"

That's all for this week.  I hope everyone has a great weekend.  Happy Fathers Day to all the dads and soon-to-be dads out there.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Small Bump

I wrote about Ed Sheeran in my Criminally Underrated post from last week.  I've been looking forward to his album + coming out in the US for months.  Last night I figured that it was past midnight on the east coast, so I went to iTunes to download it.

I absolutely love it.  From start to finish it is fantastic.

One song in particular has grabbed hold of me.  It's called Small Bump.  Give it a listen and read on below.

When I first heard the song, it pulled back all the old memories of finding out I would be a dad.  It brought back the joy and wonder that goes into preparing to be a first time parent.  Sheeran put into song almost every thought and feeling I had when I first heard that Erin was pregnant.  You may think that he cheapened it and just threw in the last section about losing the child.  And it would feel tacked-on and cheap if you hadn't gone through the experience too.

We knew that we wanted to have children from the moment we were married.  I actually knew I wanted to have children with Erin the moment I first kissed her.  We tried to be as responsible as possible and didn't start trying until we were married and were in the position to bring kids into our life.

I remember my heart absolutely soaring when we found out Erin was pregnant.  I was so excited to be a dad.  I had a chance to pass along all the things I learned to this innocent little child.  It was all possibility like a sculptor with a fresh hunk of clay.  I had names ready whether it was a boy or a girl (although I'm sure Erin had different names in mind).  I found myself wondering what he or she would look like and all the things we'd do together.

I could hardly contain myself when we went to the ultrasound appointment to hear the heartbeat for the first time.

Then the doctor said "This isn't good" and my heart fell into my stomach.

We both were like zombies for the rest of the appointment.  The doctor told us that our child just stopped growing at 8-10 weeks.  This little perfect being didn't even make it to three months before being taken from us.  We didn't even have a chance to meet him or her.  We never got to hold him or her in our arms.  We were just sitting in his office staring through him as we discussed the DNC procedure.

We walked out of his office, rode the elevator downstairs and I just held my wife and cried in the lobby.  We went home and cried some more.

There was no explanation besides "These things happen," and that does nothing to make the hurt go away.  In fact it just makes the hurt worse knowing that there was no plan in something so precious being taken away from us.  It was just random theft that could happen at any moment.  This is where the song got it perfectly.  It comes out of nowhere and blindsides you.  You don't ever expect to lose a pregnancy.  A part of you knows it can happen, but you never actually see it coming.  You track it and hope it goes well.  You get excited and plan, but everything can be taken away in the time it takes to snap your fingers.

We actually had a chemical pregnancy after that which made us start to wonder if we were going to have troubles like this every time we tried.  It taught us cautious optimism because the excitement could disappear like fog on a windy day.

When we walked into the ultrasound appointment on our third try, all I wanted to hear was a heartbeat.  The doctor lightened the mood significantly when he told us "Here's the heartbeat...and here's the other heartbeat."  I loved the "Oh shit" face Erin had when he said it.  And the lump in my stomach that was my heart was now soaring.  We prepared ourselves by tempering our enthusiasm, but we didn't prepare for twice the babies.

I never told Erin, but my first thought was that this was God giving our first child back to us.  I've looked at Grace and Ana as a blessing ever since.  If I learned anything it is that life is so precious, and we were entrusted with two lives to protect and shape.  I've loved every moment of being a dad to these girls.  I know I would have loved them no matter what, but I truly appreciate every moment because I know that there was no guarantee that I'd ever meet them.

I wouldn't trade what I have for anything.

Also if you can listen to that song and not bawl, you are heartless.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Twitter Machine Tuesday

I don't want to offend anyone else that bought gifts for our girls back on their birthday, but there was one gift that was clearly the best.  That would be the year pass to the zoo.

It's just been a great gift, and we actually use it more as the girls have gotten older.  It was fun the first time we took them, but it is so much more entertaining and enjoyable now that they know what they're looking at.  Also them being able to walk and run from animal to animal makes it that much better.  They see monkeys and can say monkey.  They see tigers or lions and actually growl.  There was even a tortoise and a few other animals for them to actually interact with on our last trip.  This wasn't really possible earlier on.

You get to see how they've developed in the short time since we first started going.  Their little minds are growing and expanding and learning all about the animals that they are seeing.  They're no longer all "doggies" like they were on our first visit.  Now they can differentiate each animal and learn about new ones.

This isn't to say we don't love and appreciate every other gift that they received.  I'm just saying there is a clear leader in the clubhouse.

On to the Twitter Machine.

-I know the NBA Finals will be exciting simply because of the talent involved, but I just don't think I can root for either team.  #NBA
-I'm not totally fond of LeBron.  I can't root for a team that was ripped from Seattle. My fandom is causing conflicts.
-So essentially I'm rooting for entertaining games and don't care who wins. Oh God, I've become a casual fan! #thehorror
-I'm happy for the LA Kings fans. Anyone that roots for a long-suffering team should feel good for them.
-Apparently Joey Lawrence is going to appear at Chippendales #whoa
-Now that I'm a father I can totally understand the dad that killed the man that was sexually abusing his daughter
-Not saying it's okay he killed a man...actually killing that dude might have been okay
-Tommy Chong has cancer. Treating it with weed. That sound you're hearing is absolutely no one gasping in surprise.
-Misplaced Grace's blanket a.k.a. Zeebs for an entire night. She wasn't happy but took it like a champ until he was found.
-She isn't fond of letting go of him since he was located the following day.
-There was a fight that finished amid a ton of controversy this weekend. #boxing
-You can copy and paste that last comment after every major boxing match. Save it for later.
-Free HBO weekends are always fun with the DVR. It's all about scheduling to maximize the number of movies you record.
-Pro-Tip: Many times HBO will replay it's big movies very early in the morning. Avoid conflicts and record those.
-We watched Bridesmaids for the first time. Pretty funny flick. Not as good as The Hangover #butstill
-Jon Hamm was of course fantastic as the uber-douche
-Personally I thought the brother & sister roommates were the funniest part of the movie, but that's just me
-I could write an entire post simply about this past episode of Mad Men
-I'm still not going to feel sorry for Pete Campbell though. No matter how sad panda he is #madmen
-I will continue to love him getting punched in the face though. More of that next season.
-But there is a large existential question about whether people are capable of change that is left hanging at the end of the finale #madmen
-Django Unchained! That is all. #tarantinoisabetterdirectorthanyou
-Is it a blessing or a curse that Will Smith turned down the role of Django?
-Also love the trailer for the movie Flight. Not the biggest Denzel fan, but it looks like it will be fantastic.
-Whenever the girls see my iPhone they say "Elmo" and I'd like to thank the Elmo Calls app
-I don't know anyone who has The Simpsons Tapped Out. It was pulled immediately with all the server crashes it caused.
-My name is ZombieNed in case you play.

That's all for this week.  I hope everyone has good one.  See you next Tuesday.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner (with Beer)

So today is the big day of my 200th Post Giveaway.  I'm sure you've all been waiting by your computers with bated breath all day wondering when I'd post this little bit of loveliness.

Well we went to the zoo with the girls.  That was followed with Grace screaming for joy repeatedly while we were eating lunch at BJ's.  Then we decided to get down and dirty with some yard work this afternoon.  Finally we went to a friend's house for dinner and dipping our feet in the pool.

I honestly didn't even think of this until I walked past the laptop and remembered I had to give something away.

So to let you know how this little exercise worked.  I assigned a number to every entry.  1-43 for all my public followers/minions.  The first number assigned to my earliest followers all the way through my 43rd follower.  Then 44-55 were assigned to the people that left comments on my 200th post.  The 56th entry was given to Janelle because one of the commenters name-dropped her and her blog.

After that I went to and clicked their handy-dandy random number generator and it spit out 24 as you can see below

True Random Number Generator

Powered by RANDOM.ORG

The number 24 was assigned to the one and only Becoming Supermommy!

I know you can't enjoy a beer or adult beverage just yet what with you being pregnant and all, but you can take a trip to BevMo on me as soon as you're able.  I'll reach out to you to get your contact info for shipping your prize.

Thanks again to all that entered.  For all those new readers, I hope you've enjoyed what you've read.  For all the loyal readers that follow me even when I'm not giving crap away, thanks for tolerating me.  Have a great week everyone!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Daddy Daughter Days

Back again with another Daddy Daughter Day.

The girls and I had a very busy day, so I'll just get right to it.

This is Grace with one of Erin's stuffed animals.  His name is W.G. Snuffy Walden after the guy who composed all the music for The West Wing.  This is actually true.  As you can tell, she is saying "Eye" here.

We believe in excellent dental hygiene in our house.  Whenever they see me brushing my teeth, the girls run up to the sink and say "Teeeeeth!"  They then "brush" theirs too.  Although Grace almost always ends up brushing the bathtub or closet doors.

I try to make special meals for them on Thursdays.  This was French Toast made with sourdough wheat bread and strawberries.  I'm not the greatest cook in the world, but I make a mean French Toast.  I know what you're wondering, what makes it so mean?  Well it has been known to insult you while also pouring powdered sugar in your gas tank.

"Daw done.  Ow-ool"

Time for Mother Goose on the Loose.  Ana was very social during this round.  She was going up to other kids and talking to them.  She went to the front of the room to help with the book for the day that they know and love (I Dream of an Elephant).  And Grace just chilled with dad.

Nap Time.  Day Game.  Matt Cain.  Giants Win!

Ana found one of my Giants hats and put it on just like this.  Seriously don't know how I'm ever going to say no to that face.

Oh and then there's Grace in a Panda hat for good measure.

We went down to my brother's house because it was his wife's birthday yesterday.  I put the girls in their Giants outfits that she bought for them.  She wants those to exist for every age.  I agree.  There was all sorts of family there.  We ate too much good food.  The girls got to see their cousin.  Ana tried to climb into her bassinet to see her and give her a baba.  Grace pulled out all the stuffed animals and blankets and piled them up on a bouncer.  It was a great afternoon/evening.

Bonus:  Going to start a new website: Texts from This Morning (from a toddler).  Going to be huge.

That's all for this week.  You're officially cut-off from entering my contest as of today, so sorry to anyone who didn't sign up.  I'll be announcing the winner on Sunday.  See you then.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Twitter Machine Tuesday

So I was planning on this post being the cutoff for entry into my 200th Post Contest.  "What contest?" you ask.  Why it's the contest where I'm giving away pint glasses and a BevMo gift card to fill said glasses.  It's funny because I've had a ton of page views on my 200th post, but only a handful of people are actually entering to win.

I know what you're thinking, "I'm not going to win anyways, so what's the point of signing up?"

That, my friends, is a defeatist attitude.  Michael Jordan would tell you that you don't make 100% of the shots you don't take.  And if everyone thought there was no point in entering, there would never be any winners in this world.  Of course there also would probably be no contests to win because no one would enter them.  Someone has to win.  Just ask Janelle over at Renegade Mothering who won my 100th Post Giveaway and some delicious cupcakes as a result.  You could literally be the next Janelle (except probably not as cool, but still).  In fact some might say that winning BevMo swag is way cooler than Icing on the Cupcake swag.  I'm not here to rate the two, but I'll just say that the money you save by winning the BevMo card could be put toward purchasing cupcakes.  And there are few things more awesome than eating cupcakes after drinking free hooch.

This has been a very long-winded way to say that I'll extend my entry period through Thursday.  I'll still be announcing the winner in this very space on the 10th.  It could be you!  And with how few people have entered, the likelihood is very high that it will be you.

On to the Twitter Machine.  Be warned I will be discussing Mad Men and there will be spoilers.

-Ana & Grace know what flip-flops are. Ana even says flip-flops. Actually it comes out more like fip-faws.
-It just goes to show you the preferred footwear in our house.
-Am I going through a mid-life crisis if I covet the new FR-S in Hot Lava color? #toyota #scion
-And what does that say about how long my life will be if my mid-life comes before 30?
-As a Giants fan I feel it is my obligation to point out that in the last 7 days the Giants have gained 4.5 games on the Dodgers #sfgiants #watchyobackbums
-Rooting hard for Spurs-Celtics finals if only because Duncan secretly hating KG all these years makes it that much more compelling #nba
-Also it's always nice to notch off one more year of LeBron not winning a title after their 6-7 titles proclamation
-It was pretty obvious that we've been heading toward a Lane Pryce suicide this week #madmen
-I couldn't have been the only one laughing when the Jaguar wouldn't start and he couldn't kill himself with it as a result #madmen
-I really need to get on the ball for my 30 before 30 list. I mean I've only checked off one so far. #embarrassing
-Sometimes I just like to break into dance with the girls. We all seem to enjoy those moments.
-Have a new project at work. This sort of stuff invigorates the hell out of me. #bringit
-It actually has me excited about my current tasks and how to fold them into each other.
-Johnny Depp performed with The Black Keys at the MTV Movie Awards. May have gotten my wife interested in The Black Keys.
-Still wouldn't have been worth sitting through all the Twilight related nonsense to see it.
-I can't believe Mr. Trololo died. I'm gonna miss him so damn much.
-And we lose Richard Dawson on the same day. #whygod
-I don't know if you've seen the video of the 2-year-old hearing his mom's voice for the first time. It is heartwarming.
-I have a lot of crazy shit running through my head. If I put it all on here, I'd probably lose every reader.
-That my friends is called decorum
-Does Andy Samberg leaving SNL mean no more digital shorts a.k.a. the only reason to actually watch SNL?
-I guess he can just start uploading everything directly to The Lonely Island website or Funny or Die #butstill
-Still don't know how I got snookered into watch The Bachelorette with my wife #marriedpeopleproblems
-The Bro-liday in Bro-muda was almost too much to handle
-Ana says "Ummm" when you ask her questions. Slowly perfecting her stall tactics
-They also like to say "Ugg" and hug each other. I pretty much die every single time.

That's all on the Twitter Machine today.  See you next Tuesday.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Criminally Underrated 3.0

One of my favorite things to do is point out music, movies or television shows that aren't getting the love they deserve.  Because really part of the joy of finding some new or underappreciated entertainment is sharing it with your friends.  And we're all friends here, right?  Okay maybe insomuch as you're like a friend because you tolerate my inane bullshit for the slight possibility that I may coax a laugh.  But I think I'm doing you a solid here, so read on.  Maybe you'll find your new favorite artist.

You can read the previous editions of Criminally Underrated here and here.

Music: Ed Sheeran
You may have actually heard of Ed Sheeran at this point.  His song The A-Team is getting a bit of radio play recently, and his number one album from the UK is finally getting released in the states on June 12th.  I started doing research on him when I saw that he was opening for Snow Patrol during their tour this spring.  I thought we may be going to that show, so I downloaded a few songs from him.  I was blown away.  He's like a wonderful combination of Brett Dennen, Jason Mraz and Damien Rice with hints of David Gray.  Essentially right up my alley in every way possible.  If you can listen to his some of his songs and not find yourself humming the tunes throughout the rest of the day, you're a better person than me.

Movie: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
I just want to first point out that I love me some RDJ.  I've always loved just about everything he's been in.  Erin and I had a conversation after seeing The Avengers about how ridiculously rare it is for someone to ruin their career and then bounce back with an even better career.  People often point to the first Iron Man movie as Robert Downey Jr's redemption after squandering his career through drug and alcohol use, but that wasn't his first step back.  His first step was Kiss Kiss Bang Bang which lead to A Scanner Darkly and Zodiac and eventually Iron Man.  Kiss Kiss Bang Bang was his announcement that he was back and better than ever.  It is total Noir in the vein of John Huston and Hitchcock.  It has some of the sharpest and snappiest dialogue of any film I've ever seen.  The interplay between RDJ and Val Kilmer is fantastic.  The story is great and totally meta with RDJ serving as the narrator that actually points out how unreliable he is.  Just know that Shane Black was picked to write and direct the third Iron Man movie because of what he and RDJ did in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.  Rent it tonight.

Comedian: Bill Hicks
As far as I'm concerned Bill Hicks is one of the top five funniest comedians of all time.  So why have you never heard of him?  Well he died of cancer 28 years ago for one.  He also got banned from NBC because a joke about a classmate he had in a wheelchair.  Apparently NBC had rules that comedians couldn't tell handicapped jokes, so he was banned from David Letterman.  Obviously humor can be very subjective, so he may not be up your alley.  But if you like Dennis Leary's stand-up, you'll love Bill Hicks.  Mostly because Leary stole whole chunks of Hicks' routine.  He was angry and controversial and forced you to think about things that make you uncomfortable.  And he was damn funny.

Music: Andrew Bird
When I saw the bands that were scheduled to perform at Outside Lands this year, I was for the most part apathetic.  Dispatch getting back together was a big deal, and I like The Walkmen and Fun right now.  The one name that really excited me was Andrew Bird.  His influences run the gamut.  From classical to folk to rock and roll, he is all over the place, but it doesn't feel schizophrenic when you listen to his music.  Somehow all of these influences find a harmony in his hands.  What would you expect from a guy who can just as naturally play a guitar as a violin.  He'd probably be worth the price of admission if I was the type to go to a three day music festival again.

Music: Josh Ritter
Josh Ritter doesn't write songs.  He writes epic poems set to music.  When one of his songs starts, you know you're starting a journey.  He's one of the few songwriters whose music has character development and a beginning, middle and end.  I feel like he could take any moment in history and turn it into a compelling and interesting piece of music.  There is something so American about his songs and what he writes about whether it be Southern Pacific railroads or discovering new worlds.  The only difference between Bob Dylan and Josh Ritter is that Ritter's voice isn't grating.  Lyrically he is right on par with the greatest songwriters ever.  If you like well-written songs that tell a story, make your heart ache and stir your soul, give Josh Ritter a try.

Oh and as a reminder, have you entered my contest yet?  Seriously what is the damn hold-up?  Go now.  Enter.  It's free swag.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Godfather

My brother and I have had some rocky times.

We've always had our ups and downs like I'm sure most siblings do.  There have always been arguments and actual physical fights.  This is just a reality of being a brother.  At least it has been in our house.  Maybe some of you actually always get along with your siblings.  I don't see how it's possible.  When you have similar DNA, you have similar personalities.  And similar personalities oftentimes clash especially when you're as hard-headed as my brother and I both are.

We also have very different interests and world views.  The problem is we didn't really get a chance feel out our relationship as we both became adults.  My brother was in the Air Force and lived on the other side of the country for quite some time.  I also spent a two year period in Colorado away from my family that helped me grow, but sequestered me from many of my friends and family.  As we were both becoming the men we are today, we weren't around each other to interact and understand who each of us were becoming. 

Since we both moved back, we spent a little bit of time together even living in the same house for a while.  Even then we may as well have been two different planets in the same solar system.  His girlfriend at the time was also living there.  I didn't really have a soft spot in my heart for her, and I was more focused on my new job and the life I was about to start with Erin.

For awhile we were embroiled in an argument that just wouldn't go away.  There isn't a reason to get too in depth about it here.  Needless to say our hard-headedness and desire to always be right never helped.  For some time I feared that I would just have to live with the fact that my brother was family that I just didn't see or spend time with unless it was a holiday.  This killed me because I want to be in his life.  I want my children to grow up with his children.  Our girls were born a year before his daughter, and it seemed like we should be destined to watch these cousins grow up and experience all that life throws at them around the same time.  I worried that this wasn't going to happen.

So when he and his wife asked me to be their daughter's godfather for her upcoming baptism, I was overjoyed and honored.  I couldn't be more proud and couldn't wait to say "Yes."  And really the symbolism involved in baptism is perfect for our relationship and what it needed.  We needed to be washed clean of our past and start new.  We needed some divine intervention in our lives. 

I've seen the baptism of my own girls, and being part of the baptism team at our church has allowed me to see numerous other families go through it.  It's a moving experience every single time.  Now I get to see it as a godfather, and I couldn't be more excited.  I couldn't be more ready to carry the light of God for their daughter.

I've always loved my brother no matter how much we disagree on most every topic.  He may frustrate me and I know I frustrate him, but he was still the guy I looked up to all those years.  I'm glad that a fractured relationship is being pieced back together.  I know that both of our wives have pushed us to get our relationship back on track, and I thank them both for that.  Hopefully we can be an example to our children that brothers and sisters don't always agree, but they're always going to be there for each other.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Singing and Dancing

We didn't have a traditional Daddy Daughter Day yesterday because I was working on my normal day off.

It was okay because we put together a nice little song and dance routine when I was home.


Did you enter my contest yet?  What the hell?  You get to win free crap for simply leaving a comment on a post.  I mean you don't even technically have to read anything.  You of course should instead of robbing yourself of my witticisms.  So go enter already!