Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Feeling Old

Today I picked up the latest CD from James Taylor from my local library. (I hardly ever buy CDs anymore.) This CD is called "Covers" and it seems that every popular artist puts out an album of covers at some point - usually after they have exhausted their own musical catalog. One of my favorite cover albums is Under the Covers by Dwight Yoakam. I have not listened the the James Taylor disc yet, but just carrying it home made me feel old. It reminded me of why I cut off my long hair a couple of years ago. Most of the men I see with ponytails these days are old and gray. When I was sporting my ponytail I was beginning to feel like one of those old hippies holding onto the past. Listening to James Taylor gives me the same feeling.


It feels like the proverbial Monday. The same one that Bob Geldof mourns in his song “I Don’t Like Mondays.” The same Monday that most workers bitch about after only having a weekend off. The same Monday when most theaters are dark.

The sky is overcast and the robins are sitting on high branches, waiting for the sun to reappear. My own life feels somewhat overcast recently. Even though there is trouble on the horizon of my marriage, I still feel somewhat self-confident and at peace with my current state of mind. Que sera, sera.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Nap Time is the Right Time

This morning when I awoke I could see a nice frosting of snow on the tree outside my window. The actual accumulation was hardly more than a dusting, but it was evidently enough to keep my son’s babysitter from driving to our house. I was kind of looking forward to handing Justin over to her for five hours, since my wife is taking a couple of days away at a hotel in the U-district. (For those of you who follow my blog religiously [insert laughter here], you will remember that my wife and I try and give each other a few days away every few months.) When I found out that the babysitter was not showing up I decided to take Justin to the local community center, where — for two dollars — a parent can take their kids to the gym, where a variety of toys are laid out. The hope is that the child will run around enough to be tired for a nap later on. Justin was actually bored fairly quickly, after checking out each item. He then started asking for lunch, so I convinced him to allow me to make a quick stop at the bookstore, and then we would proceed to Jalisco’s Mexican restaurant. All of that worked out fine, but he was still pretty wired when we got home, and proceeded to tear his room apart. Now, at 2:30 pm, it appears that he has worn himself out enough to fall asleep. I can probably depend on him sleeping for two to three hours. Enough time for me to do some reading, and probably fall asleep myself. The nap is kind of mixed blessing these days. When he takes a good nap the nighttime bed routine becomes a battle of wills. When he skips his nap he usually falls right asleep around 7 pm, with no pleading for water, or potty time, or insisting that he sleep on the floor just inside his bedroom door. Well, the clock is ticking. Time to stop writing and enjoy my brief respite from toddler taming.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sunday Morning Music

Justin has been fed, and now it's time for me to eat breakfast and read the news. Playing on the turntable in my mind this morning is -- appropriately -- My Morning Jacket.

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Porn Mustache vs. The Wrestler

I saw The Wrestler, starring Mickey Rourke, the other night and it reminded me of John Stossel's brief interview of David Schultz. Here it is for your viewing pleasure.

My only question is: Why does Stossel still sport the Harry Reems mustache after all these year? The 1970's are over dude. Not even Harry Reems has a Harry Reems mustache anymore.

As for the film The Wrestler, it was quite good. I used to go to professional wrestling matches when I was eleven-years-old, and it didn't take long to figure out that it was fake. Fake as far as the matches are all predetermined, and these guys are, for the most part, friends outside the ring. One of my hints was realizing that the "good guy" and "bad guy" dressing room doors opened into the same big back room. That and just watching closely and realizing that, if they were really enacting some of these moves, a lot of professional wrestlers would end up dead. But the truth is that these guys inflict a lot of punishment on themselves to heighten the realism. There is a scene in The Wrestler when Randy "The Ram" Robinson intentionally cuts his forehead with a razor blade that he had hidden before the match. I remember seeing Lou Albano in interviews and noticing all the tiny scars on his forehead. These guys remind me of side show geeks, who will stick pins through various parts of their body to make a few bucks. Mickey Rourke gives a great performance in The Wrestler, which wouldn't have been half as good without his presence. I couldn't imagine anyone else doing the role. I tried to picture Tom Cruise taking on the role, but couldn't do it. As the film begins, Randy has burned all his bridges, and when he suffers a heart attack he realizes that he has no one to reach out to. Marisa Tomei plays a stripper in a club that "The Ram" frequents, and Rourke's character tries to connect with her as more than just a customer when he senses that the end is near. Rourke transforms Robinson, a faded star at the end of his career and possibly his life, into a sympathetic character that the audience urges to get his life back on track. Rourke will probably not take home the coveted Oscar®, for which he is nominated, but I'm hoping that this role will mean more quality work from him in the near future.

Tower of Power

Today we had a scheduled power outage, starting at 9 am. I was informed earlier in the week that the utility pole across the street was going to be replaced this week. I was even asked if one day was better than another, which was a nice gesture. A card was left in our door, declaring that there would be a power outage from 9 am until 3 pm. At approximately 2 pm the light in the bathroom came on, which was the signal that life could return to normal. The biggest drawback to the event was the fact that our house has electric heat, but even that was not too bad, since it is probably in the 40's today. My son spent the morning out with his favorite babysitter. They went to music class and then lunched at Red Robin, which is becoming Justin's favorite eatery. I managed to get another thirty pages read in The Language Instinct, and also had a short nap before the postman knocked on my door bearing bearing a box of belated birthday gifts for Justin. At the moment I think that Justin is falling asleep for his afternoon nap, which would make two days in a row! He even went to sleep well last night, after about a three hour nap in the afternoon.

I am enjoying The Language Instinct by Steven Pinker, but he is quite meticulous when it comes to explaining his theories, and I have to pay attention. That means that this book is taking me longer than I would prefer. It's not like burning through a mass market mystery. As much as I would like to take a fiction break after reading this scholarly work, I will probably read some more non fiction, such as The Dark Side by Jane Mayer.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Morning Music

My son is at co-op this morning. I just finished breakfast and am now catching up on a few e-mails. It is time for some morning music with Ed Harcourt, who is evidently a fellow cat lover.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Press Reset

So, after not getting an evening out with my wife last week, we will try again tomorrow night. Our babysitter is scheduled to be here from 5 to 10 pm, which should give us plenty of time for dinner and a movie. I think we are planning on hitting our favorite Thai restaurant, Little Thai, in the U-district and then walking over to the Seven Gables Theatre to see The Wrestler.

This evening I attended a mandatory parent co-op meeting. Our son Justin has been enrolled in the co-op program for about two years now, and he gets quite a bit of enjoyment from it. It helps him to learn to socialize, which is good since he doesn't have any siblings. Tonight we discussed starting "small group play" with the kids to try and teach them to interact more with each other. Each Tuesday, or Thursday a different parent will come up with an plan for their particular group. It can be something as simple as reading to the children and trying to engage them in a discussion about the book. Or the parent can take the children outside to collect rocks, or leaves. The possibilities are endless.

Tomorrow I'm hoping to meet up with a friend with our children in tow. I've e-mailed him with the idea late in the day today, so it may not work out. I hope the weather tomorrow will be as bright and clear as it was today. It was shirt-sleeve weather today. Running in the park with the dog kind of weather.